May 18

Where to Begin: The most played casino gambling games in Canada

If you’re new to casino gambling, you may be wondering where to begin. Don’t feel bad – every gambler has a “first time” experience. We all had to start somewhere. Most people are far too intimidated to sit at a live dealer table right off the bat, leading us to the slots or video poker machines, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Building up a little confidence first can be a good thing.

For he most part, I believe casino gambling is an experience best enjoyed for entertainment value. To get the most entertainment out of it, you need to try a little bit of everything. Not all at once, mind you, but to get a good grasp of what’s out there, and what you enjoy most, you’ll need to spread your wings.

For beginners, I generally recommend starting out with the most popular types of games. That way, you’re most likely to find something genuinely exciting, without limiting yourself too much.

The Most Played Casino Gambling Games in Canada

You can’t go wrong playing the most popular casino games in the country. They may not all be your cup of tea, but there’s surely something fun for every Canadian on this list. After all, they are the most played games for a reason. So, without further ado, here they are…

#1 Slot Machines

Most Played Casino Gambling Games #1 Slots

Don’t look so surprised! Yes, these games draw the intimidated newbies like moths to a flame, but it’s not just their solitary nature that makes them so approachable. Slot machines are just plain fun. Manufacturers endow with them with incredibly attractive themes – everything from tropical destinations and unimaginable wealth, to hit TV shows and Hollywood films.

If there’s anything out there you genuinely love, you can bet there’s a slot machine themed around it. With crystalline graphics, enthralling animations, and exciting features, it really is hard to deny the entertainment value in a good old fashioned (or digitally modernized) slot machine.

#2 Poker

Most Played Casino Gambling Games #2 Poker

It’s true – Texas Hold’em (and other variants) draws a vast crowd of Canadian players to the felt; or the virtual felt, as the case may often be. There’s something about competing against other players like yourself that makes poker so intriguing.

Sure, the games are fun on their own, but when you know you have this much control over your destiny – when you know that your level of skill, the decisions you make, and your ability to convince someone that you have the best hand (whether you really do or not) is far more impact on your odds of winning than pure luck – it’s easy to see the appeal for live and online poker in Canada.

#3 Roulette

Most Played Casino Gambling Games #3 Roulette

None can deny the exponential thrill that takes hold when that wheel starts spinning. Your bets are on the table, and their fate is entirely up to the speed, weight, and trajectory of that little ball, bouncing and bobbling around the wheel’s many numbered columns. The adrenaline pumps ever faster as it finally makes its descent into that fateful pocket. Then, with wide-eyed wonder or the inevitable pangs of disappointment, we place more bets only to see the process repeated.

The thrill of anticipation is by far the main attraction of roulette. However, there are some things you should know before you choose this game. First and foremost, pay attention to the number of zeroes on the table and wheel. If there is a zero (0) and double zero (00), it’s the American version. It has the worst house edge of them all, 5.26%. If there’s just a single zero (0), it’s the European version, featuring a house edge of 2.7%. Better still, if it has a single zero (0) and features the La Partage rule, it is French Roulette, which features the lowest possible 1.35% house edge on all even-money bets, and 2.7% on all others.

#4 Blackjack

Most Played Casino Gambling Games #4 Blackjack

Just as roulette is loved for its simplicity, lacking any real strategy (aside from gamer selection) to increase your odds, blackjack is loved for the opposite reasons. In blackjack, players do have some control over their fate. A player’s decisions can make or break their experience. That doesn’t mean the smartest players will gain an edge over the house. The rules make that virtually impossible (without some fancy card counting techniques). But a smart player can easily achieve a house edge of around 0.25%.

It’s this knowledge that makes blackjack such a popular casino game in Canada. Not necessarily the strategic knowledge itself, but the knowledge that such strategy exists. Even knowing it’s available, you’d be surprised how many players don’t employ even basic strategy. The majority play on gut instinct. While professional may scoff at such behavior, there’s something to be said for the increased entertainment value of playing off the cuff, so to speak.

#5 Baccarat

Most Played Casino Gambling Games #5 Baccarat

I’m convinced that the popularity of baccarat (pronounced bah-kuh-rah, not back-a-rat) has everything to do with its depiction in Hollywood films. There’s nothing more dramatically suspenseful than watching James Bond play baccarat (aka Chemin de Fer) in so many of Ian Fleming’s iconic 007 films. – Casino Royale (1953), Dr. No (1962), Thunderball (1965), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), For Your Eyes Only (1981), and Golden Eye (1995).

The game itself is somewhat complicated to learn, and yet extremely simple to play. The way the cards are dealt, and the hands are built, is based on a complex system of rules. But you – the player – do not need to understand the rules to partake. All you need to know is how to place a bet. Drop your chips on the Banker, or the Player, or if you’re feeling particularly lucky, the Tie bet. That’s all you have to do. The dealer will take care of the rest.

As for strategy, the best thing you can do is bet on the Banker – always. There’s a 5% commission on all winning Banker bets, but the rules of the game still give the Bank hand a slight advantage, reducing the house edge to 1.6%. The Player hand carries a 1.24% edge. Don’t bother with those Tie bets either. They come in at a dastardly 9.5%.

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Apr 28

Burlington Poker Lotto Winner Cashes in for $100k

Burlington Poker Lotto Winner Cashes in Cards for $100,000

Ontario’s lottery program has expanded a lot over the last few decades. Since the debut of ‘Wintario’ in 1975, the ON Lottery and Gaming Corp (OLG) has brought a series of new number draws to the province. Lotto Max, Lotto 6/49 and the Daily Grand are by far the most famous among them, but there are many more you can play – ten of them in all. One that doesn’t get nearly as much coverage is the Ontario Poker Lotto. Even the game’s latest winner, David Haynes, wasn’t a regular player before he cashed in his lucky cards for a cool hundred grand last month.

$100k Payday for Burlington Poker Lotto Winner

Haynes, an auto industry worker from Burlington, is a regular lottery player. In his daily travels, he makes sure to purchase tickets for all the big drawings. The Poker Lotto isn’t usually on that list, but when he saw the jackpot growing quite a bit higher, he decided it was time to play. That decision turned out to be one of the best choices of his life.

On March 4, 2021, 56 year old Haynes matched all five cards on his Poker Lott ticket perfectly. He didn’t know it yet, but when went back to the store the next day to check his tickets, his surprise was catching.

“I was shocked when I used the Ticket Checker to check my ticket,” said the Burlington lotto winner. “The store clerk was just as shocked as I was!”

In his requisite interview with the OLG Claims Centre, Haynes said his regular ticket purchases include the Pick 3, Pick 4, Daily Keno, Lotto Max and Lotto 6/49. He couldn’t be happier that on that fateful day, while buying his usual stack of tickets at the Petro Canada on the Guelph Line in Burlington, he chose to invest a few extra dollars on a Poker Lotto ticket.

What’s Next for Latest $100k Winner?

Immediately after finding out he’d won a 6-figure prize, David went straight to his mother’s house to share the good news. She was just as shocked and excited as he was. But Haynes said it still hadn’t sunk in that he had won all that money, even when he received the payout from the claims centre.

Haynes is turning that disbelief – as well as the current lockdown – to his advantage.

“I plan to sit and look at the cheque to let it sink in before taking it to the bank,” he said. Then, he’ll take some extra time to decide the best way to spend that money, but not until the country begins to reopen.

“I will treat myself more once lockdown is over,” said the Burlington Poker Lotto winner. “Until then, I’ll be the one around town with a permanent smile.”

How to Play & Win Poker Lotto

Ontario Poker Lotto Pays $100k Jackpot

The Poker Lotto is a unique $2 lottery draw that takes place every day. Instead of the usual numbers, tickets depict five playing cards, randomly selected from a 52-card deck. Each ticket has two chances to win a prize.

The first happens instantly, the moment the ticket is purchased. The ticket’s five cards are assessed, and if they make a winning poker hand, the player can instantly win up to $5,000. For an additional $1, players can activate the “All In” feature, increasing the prizes for the top five poker hands.

The second chance to win comes with the nightly drawing, held at 10:30 p.m. you’ll need to match at least two cards to win a prize. Matching all five cards unleashes the progressive jackpot. The jackpot starts at $10,000 and keeps growing until its won.

Learn more about the Ontario Poker Lotto.

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Jan 18

How to play Fast Poker online (even though you shouldn’t.)

Learn How to Play Fast Poker Online, Even Though You Probably Shouldn’t

New casino games are, well… nothing new. They come along all the time. Game inventors are constantly looking for the next big thing. Most games never even make it to the casino floor. Of those that do earn a trial run, most of them fail. Some new games skip the land-based option altogether, earning their stripes in the digital realm. Such is the potential fate of Fast Poker, a new online card game from SmartSoft Gaming.

How to Play Fast Poker Online

The first thing you need to know is that Fast Poker is a house-banked casino game, not a player-versus-player poker game. You won’t be competing against the dealer, either. In fact, Fast Poker is more like a video poker game, where players win for achieving a high enough hand rank. The difference is that you get to choose which cards to place in your hand, rather than being randomly dealt cards from the top of a shuffled deck.

Here’s what you need to know…

The game is dealt from a 20-card deck, consisting of four of each 10, J, Q, K and Ace. This set up increases the chances of being dealt high ranking hands – especially the highest paying a Royal Flush. All 20 cards are dealt face down at the top of the screen. The object of the game is to achieve a hand rank worth of a payout (see Fast Poker Pay Table below)

Fast Poker Rules & Game Play

  1. The game begins when you choose a bet size (0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, or 20) and press the Play button.
  2. From the 20 face down cards, you will select five cards to build you hand. Your chosen cards will turn face up and move to the bottom section of the screen, labeled Your Cards.
  3. Once all five cards are selected, they will automatically settle in the highest ranking hand position. If the hand ranks high enough for a payout, you win the corresponding amount displayed on the pay table. If not, you lose your bet.
Learn How to Play Fast Poker Online

How to Win – Fast Poker Pay Table

There are only five winning hands in Fast Poker, with payouts ranging from 2x to 100x the bet. Winning hands, values, and the probability you’ll receive them, are as follows:

5-Card Hand RankPayoutProbability
Royal Flush100:10.026%
4 of a Kind20:10.516%
Full House10:13.096%
Straight3:16.579%
3 of a Kind2:112.38%
Anything ElseLose77.40%
House Edge = 11.64%

The Good – The Bad – The Ugly

What’s good about this game is the overall entertainment value. I think allowing players to choose their own cards gives them a sense of control, increasing the overall enjoyment. It doesn’t change the odds in any way, mind you, but it does make players feel better. A happy player is a repeat player.

What’s bad about this game is the probability of actually winning. As you can see from the pay table above, odds are that 77.4% of your hands will be losers. That’s more than 3/4 of all games that will end in either a pair or two pair, both of which are losing hands. Only 12.6% will result in a 3 of a kind or anything better, worthy of a win.

Last but not least, the ugly part – the house edge of 11.64%. Players can only expect to win back 89.36% of their wagers. That’s as bad as most Las Vegas slot machines, and the reason we say you probably shouldn’t play Fast Poker online at all.

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Apr 03

Is postponement in the cards for the 2020 WSOP schedule?

Is Postponement in the Cards for 2020 WSOP Schedule?

An unprecedented series of events flipped the world upside down in March 2020. Covid-19 went from a shocking news story out of China to a global pandemic that’s got everyone huddled in their homes; some voluntarily, some by government mandate. That includes the countless professional and amateur poker players who flock to Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas each year to attend the world’s most prestigious poker festival of them all – the World Series of Poker.

Last year, more than 182,000 people turned out for the 2019 WSOP, registering for one or more of the 90 events in the 50th anniversary edition of the poker tournament series. This year, just as many – if not more – were expected to attend. But with the current situation, it’s not certain what’s going to happen when it comes time to “Shuffle Up and Deal!

Postponement in the Cards for 2020 WSOP Schedule?

Seth Palansky, the WSOP’s Vice President of Corporate Communications, has been on the phone with numerous media outlets in the past week or so. The biggest question on the interview docket is an obvious one:

Will there be a 2020 WSOP?

There are only three possible answers to this question. It can either be held, canceled, or postponed. Unfortunately, that’s a question Mr. Palansky has been unable to answer. According to the WSOP spokesman, that’s not going to change for a while. He doesn’t expect organizers to come to a decision before May.

That’s a long wait for the countless poker players who are surely waiting for a decision. The 2020 WSOP was originally scheduled to run from May 26 to July 15, with a record-setting 101 gold-bracelet events on the roster.

To date, World Series executives have already pulled the plug on 10 WSOP Circuit events since March 13, when the global pandemic first led to social distancing. Future Circuit events schedule through May have already been scratched off the menu, as well. It only makes sense that the official WSOP bracelet series would be either canceled or postponed, but to date, officials refuse to make the call.

“We Don’t Need to Make a Decision Now”

Last week, in an interview with Jim Barnes of the Las Vegas Review Journal, Seth told the poker community that no decision will be made until it has to be, and until then, it will remain business as usual.

“We keep our heads down, keep planning in place,” said Palansky. “We don’t need to make a decision now.”

Further comments pointed towards potential postponement. Palansky said that the WSOP is normally unable to reschedule, due to the Rio in Las Vegas having a packed convention slate. Now, with many conventions being canceled, he says it could give them enough wiggle room to run the tournament series at a later date.

But again, no official word has come down, nor does he expect it to anytime soon. In another interview with CardPlayer Magazine this week, he reiterated his previous statements.

“Everyone’s health and safety is paramount in the decision making, and there is no need to make a decision today,” said Palansky.

As for what might impact the decision of organizers in weeks to come, he said:

There are a plethora of factors to consider, especially when you conceptualize alternatives. That said, the only factor that matters for the WSOP, for it to be held as planned, is the health and safety of guests and staff. So, if we can’t host an event like we have in the past 50 years in Las Vegas, where everyone can participate safely and without risk, we won’t.”

Seth added that contingency plans are being discussed everyday, but as the situation constantly changes and evolves, it’s impossible to come up with a definitive solution at this time. His best prediction for a final answer to the mystery of the 2020 WSOP schedule is early May, at best.

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Mar 31

Three worst online casino game ideas that bombed.

What Were They Thinking? Worst Online Casino Game Ideas that Bombed

The online gambling industry is unique in many ways, one being that each internet casino presents limitless borders. An operator can pack in as many games as it wants and never run out of space. As such, virtual gaming floors are the perfect forum for testing out new game ideas.

In the last two decades, we’ve seen a lot of new games rise to ultimate glory. Microgaming’s 243 ways to win slots were a smashing success! Lottery-style sit-n-goes, first introduced by French operator Winamax in 2013, revolutionized internet poker. Live dealer casinos, debuted in 2003 by Playtech and perfected by Evolution Gaming in 2006, solved the lack of realism in RNG-based gambling.

Worst Online Casino Game Ideas that Bombed

Not every game created is an instant success. In fact, just like land-based table game inventions, the majority of them die on the virtual gaming floor – some faster than others.

7-Card Stud video poker was a perfect example. It made the games more complicated than they needed to be. Similarly, 7-reel slot machines failed to attract players, who found them to confusing to keep up with. Duplicate Poker turned players off by elimination the luck factor entirely. Yes, poker players love the skill element, but without the marginal influence of the luck of the draw, no one wanted to play anymore.

Those games were historically bad ideas, but none more so than the three games I’m about to tell you about. These titles died so quickly, today’s players may have completely missed their short-lived appearance.

#1 Showtime Hold’em Poker

Showtime Holdem Poker

Showtime Poker was an online poker variant introduced by PokerStars in May 2018. It was conceived under the premise that players believed it was “about time poker players show their folded cards”. At the end of a hand, all mucked cards would be revealed.

PokerStars wanted this game to take off like a rocket! They were so enthused about it that they contracted some of their most famous pros to build hype by streaming Showtime Poker tables on their live Twitch feeds.

There were two major problems with this format. Pro players hated it, because it forced them to give away their game play secrets. Amateurs hated it because they don’t give a crap about seeing mucked cards. End result – everyone hated it!

#2 Live Casino Slot Machines

In 2011, the creative minds at Evolution Gaming believed they’d had an epiphany. Live casinos are a perfect playground for table games, but they were unable to accommodate players of the most popular casino games on the planet – slot machines. Enter stage right, live dealer slots.

This bold introduction was meant to revolutionize the live casino industry. Evolution put a lot of thought and detail into its debut, going so far as to replace virtual reels with actual spinning wheels. A dealer would host the game, offering commentary and providing live chat interaction with players.

What went wrong? Well, slots players enjoy traditional slot games for a reason. They like the singularity. They like controlling the pace of the games. Turning slot machines into a social affair was unnecessary, uninvited, and unwelcome.

Of worthy mention, live dealer slot machines are attempting a comeback this year, although I don’t expect the results to be any different.

#3 Virtual Reality (VR) Gambling

VR Casino Gambling

This is one concept most of you will remember. It wasn’t long ago, around 2015-16, that the virtual reality movement made its push. The concept was spot on. Throw on a headset and enter a virtual casino world, where your real-life actions transfer into the virtual realm in the most realistic digital casino games ever imagined exist!

Yes, it was quite a concept, but it did not catch on, and for one very simple reason. The technology necessary, and availability of that technology, has not yet reached mainstream households. That’s not to say that VR gambling doesn’t still have a chance in years to come.

Microgaming was making mobile games back in 2003, but it wasn’t until 2007 that the first smartphones appeared. Who wanted to play slots on a flip phone? No one. Another five years would pass before the mobile gambling revolution actually gained a foothold, and now, it’s the number one way to play over the internet, and enjoy all the new online casino game ideas that developers are constantly spitting out – the good and the bad.

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Mar 26

Play Games Online: It’s good for your mental and physical health!

Play Games Online – It’s Good for Your Mental and Physical Health

I don’t think I have to explain the “physical” side of that statement right now. The world is currently in the grips of a global pandemic as the novel coronavirus – COVID-19 – bears down upon us. Everything from public schools to non-essential life-sustaining businesses are closed. Millions of people are going online to file for unemployment, and at the same time, looking for ways to entertain and amuse themselves and their families without leaving their home.

There’s not a parent today that hasn’t heard it’s vital we “limit screen time” for our children. Some advise no more than 30 minutes a day looking at a screen. I think we can all agree that everyone, no matter the age, is using screens far more than 30 minutes a day, and we have been since long before the term “social distancing” became a household phrase. Now, screen time may be the best thing for us – not all of the time, but a generous portion of it.

Play Games Online – It’s Good For Your Health!

As it turns out, online gaming can be extremely good for your physical and psychological well being. Yes, the physical aspect is that you can play games on a computer, smartphone or tablet while practicing social distancing. You don’t have to interact physically with anyone, or even leave your home, to do it. But what are the psychological benefits?

Let’s take a look…

  • Entertainment: The most obvious benefit to your psyche is the entertainment value. No one likes to be bored – especially children! Online games give us something fun and interesting to do while we wait for answers to the coronavirus crisis.
  • Interaction: Being locked up inside all day – and all night – has left billions of people all over the world craving for human interaction. We can call our friends and loved ones, and video chat with them on Facetime or some other video-conferencing app, but there’s only so much to be said in a basic conversation. Playing online games with each other enhances the interactive experience ten-fold.
  • Stimulating Brain Function: There are many games out there that are specifically designed to enhance brain function and motor skills. Other games do this naturally. A match-3 jewel game trains our brains to recognize patterns. Crossword puzzles keep our eyes, and our vocabulary, sharp. Online casino games like blackjack, video poker and Texas Hold’em, give us the opportunity to invoke mathematically and probability driven strategies. Even something as seemingly ineffectual as Angry Birds puts our cognitive mentality to work, considering the best trajectory for one-shot success. Many of these games can be played socially against other players, providing the same interactive entertainment mentioned above.
  • Stress Reduction: These are strange times we live in. There’s no denying an elevated rate of stress and anxiety among the global population. Games have forever been a go-to for stress relief. Recent studies have shown that those who play games online – particularly video games – are able to combat stress. If it can work for a 15 minute break during the work day, it can work at home during these unprecedented times.
  • Quality Family Time: I think we can all agree that quality time with the family doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should. COVID-19 has certainly changed that. Families are digging out dusty board games, shuffling up decks of cards, and downloading digital PC and console video games more than ever. Fortnite’s 4-man squads aren’t just made up of school mates these days, but families. I can personally attest to that!

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Feb 10

A Question for the Modern Ages: Is Gambling Legal in Canada?

Question for the Modern Ages – Is Gambling Legal in Canada?

A simple question such as this deserves an equally simple answer. In today’s modern age, there are many different types of gambling. It would be easy to convolute the problem with legal jargon and complicated interpretations of the law, but I promise you, I won’t do that.

As an avid enthusiast of online gambling, I’ve spent more than enough time researching the Canadian Criminal Code to understand its meaning. Fortunately for you, as a career journalist in the field, I’d like to think I can translate it in a manner that is as easy as possible to understand.

Q&A: Is Gambling Legal in Canada?

The short answer is, Yes!, gambling is legal here in Canada. However, that is a vague question. There are many different types of gambling. I have no idea whether you’re referring to casino gambling, poker games, bingo, sports betting, horse racing, lotteries, raffles, etc.

Most of these are legal in some capacity, with restrictions. In the following sections, we’ll discuss each type of gambling, and just how legal it is.

Note that all of these laws extend into the online gambling realm, at least to some extent. To be thorough, I’ll give you a brief summary of online gambling laws to start.

Legality of Online Gambling in Canada

Is Online Gambling Legal in Canada

Online gambling is legal in Canada. Internet gambling sites come in two varieties – Provincialand International. Either way, both are legal.

Provincial online casinos are only available in B.C., Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, and only accept player’s who reside within their respective borders. International online casinos are located offshore, regulated by their own jurisdictions.

So long as an offshore operator does not have a physical presence in Canada (offices or servers on Canadian soil), they are not illegal.

Casino Gambling Laws

Casino games are legal in Canada, so long as they are conducted in a licensed gaming facility, or with a provincial charity-gaming permit. There are more than 100 commercial casinos in the country, from Quebec’s Casino de Montreal, to British Columbia’s Hard Rock Vancouver. We also have tribal casinos, like the Bear Claw Casino in Carlyle, Saskatchewan.

Charities are able to host “casino night” events, where table games like roulette and blackjack can be legally held, so long as the right permits are obtained from their provincial government.

As for online casino gambling, there are hundreds of legal, reputably licensed operators in Europe that accept Canadian players.

Poker Gambling

Poker-based card games are also legal in Canada. A commercial casino, poker room or charity may host poker games, and collect a “rake” (profit) for doing so, as long as they have the correct license or permit. Home poker games are legal, as well, but no rake (profit) can be taken by the host / home owner.

Online poker is also legal, either through provincially or internationally regulated websites.

Bingo Halls / Charity Bingo

Bingo games are among the most popular forms of game-based fund raising in the country. Again, with proper permits, bingo games are perfectly legal. Some Canadian casinos, especially the tribal variety, are famous for hosting organized bingo games.

Online bingo – same as casino and poker – can be done at provincial or international gambling sites.

Sports Betting in Canada

Canadian sports betting laws in 2020 are a topic of great import. As the law stands now, only provincially-run, parlay-style betting is permitted. It is conducted much like a provincial lottery. In fact, some provinces actually call it the Sports Lottery; others call it Pro-Line. In parlay wagering, bettors must select a number of correct picks from various sporting events, and they must all be correct to win anything. The payout is high, but the odds are higher.

It is for this reason that so many Canadian sports bettors are turning to offshore, online sportsbook operators – remember, these are not illegal in Canada – to place single-event bets. There’s a strong push in the federal government to pass a single-event sports betting law, but until that happens – of ever it does – most sports wagering dollars are flowing offshore.

Horse Race Betting

Horse racing is the oldest form of organized, legal betting in Canada. There are tracks all over the map, from B.C. to Nova Scotia. You can place bets at these tracks, at offsite betting locations across the country, or via online racebooks.

Lotteries & Raffles

The second oldest form of legal gambling are the national and provincial lottery games. The first drawings were held in 1973 to help raise money to pay for the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. It was a huge success, raising $230 million from 1973-76. Lotteries have been helping to fund government budgets ever since.

Online lotteries are legal in Canada, too. Most of our provinces sell online lottery tickets to drawings, as well as the scratch off variety. Tickets for international lotteries can be purchased from offshore websites.

Raffles are most often held as charitable events; legal with appropriate permits.

Conclusion & Brief Word on Internet Gambling

By now, you should have more than enough information to answer the question; Is gambling legal in Canada? However, before I wrap this up, I have to issue a brief warning about gambling over the internet.

If you do not live in a province where online gambling is locally regulated – or if you choose to gamble at internationally regulated websites – please do so with caution. Not all offshore operators are reputable. Stick to websites that are licensed in major European iGaming jurisdictions, like Isle of Man, Malta or The UK. They are held to the strictest standards, and are considered the absolute safest, most secure operators in the world.

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Dec 30

Defunct Gaming: Concept and consequence of Unfold Holdem.

Concept and Consequence of Unfold Holdem, and How it Might Work Today

Seated among the a small but formidable group of hard-core grinders, you peak down at a questionable hand. It’s a pair of 8s. You’re under the gun. You want to make a move, but you’re out of position. You call, hoping the action won’t get too heavy, but it does. Sweat beads threaten to form on your temples, so you make the only move you can – you fold. The flop comes down, 8-4-4. Doh!

You should have stayed in. A full boat like that doesn’t come along often. With the right moves at the right moments, you could have exploited that for a big cash, if only you’d known what was caoming. But wait… what if it’s not too late? What if you could rewind? Stay in the hand and turn your unpredictably poor choice into a profit? What if you could… unfold?

Concept & Consequence of Unfold Holdem

Once upon a time, not so long ago, the marketing innovations team behind PokerStars and Full Tilt put their heads together in an effort to bring something fresh – something provocative – something enticing for players, and at the same time profitable for the brands, to the virtual felt. What they came up with was a new game that would allow players to “unfold” a mucked hand.

This new Unfold Poker concept was heavily promoted by both online poker rooms, and in the beginning, it drew a fair number of players to the tables. Before long though, the crowds dispersed. Its popularity waned. No longer was anyone interested in what could have been a very intriguing and opportunistic way to play Texas Holdem.

What Killed Unfold Poker Games

The rules of this intriguing new poker game were simple enough. The game was played just like Texas Holdem, except that an extra Ante bet would be required from each player, prior to each and every hand. This bet, equal to half the small blind, went into a side pot known as the Unfold Pot. If no one unfolded, or the hand was decided pre-flop, all Unfold antes would be returned. The Ante was a bit excessive, but the return rules were good.

The biggest problem was that, in order to unfold a hand, the player would have to place yet another bet – this one equal to the total size of the Unfold Pot. With a full table, that can get expensive.

If a player did unfold, they obviously couldn’t compete against fully active hands. They would instead compete against other Unfold-ing players. But if only one player folded pre-flop, they wouldn’t even be eligible to unfold, having no one to compete against.

If two or more players folded, then any one of them could Unfold. If only one player did, they would automatically win the Unfold pot. If more than one Unfolded, their hands were compared. The winner took to pot – minus the usual rake fee applied to standard poker pots, of course.

The problem was plain to see. It was just too expensive. Players felt they were being exploited by PokerStars and Full Tilt, who were collecting rakes on two pots. Everyone complained that Unfold’em Hold’em (as it clearly should have been named) was a rip off.

Could Unfold Games Ever Ride Again?

The only way Unfold Holdem could ever acquire the fame it was originally poised to acquire, would be to make the fees more reasonable. The rake should be reduced to match all other cash games. The Ante should be dropped to 10% of the big blind. This would make it cheaper to place the required bet to qualify for the Unfold Pot. Players who do unfold should be allowed to bet/raise on their hands, as well, encouraging them to fight for those pots, rather than letting one bold, bluff-happy player take every Unfold pot, simply because no one else is confident enough to risk enough chips to compete for it.

In essence, make it a good game that everyone can enjoy, without scooping so much off the top as to make it unprofitable. And please, to whatever company may eventually decide to restructure and introduce a better version, call it Unfold’em Hold’em. That is all…

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , ,

Nov 25

Introduction to Live Texas Holdem Bonus Poker from Evolution

Introduction to Live Texas Holdem Bonus Poker from Evolution Gaming

When you think of Texas Holdem, what comes to mind? Probably a group of players seated around a table, fiddling with their chip stacks, stoic poker faces revealing nothing of their underlying emotions. But there is another game of this nature known as Texas Holdem Bonus Poker, and anyone can play it, with or without a bluff-worthy poker face.

In its traditional format, Texas Holdem is a player-versus-player (PvP) gambling game; one wherein the players compete only against each other, and the casino profits by taking a commission, or rake, off the top of each pot. The Holdem Bonus Poker edition is more akin to every other casino-style amusement, where the player competes against a single house bank.

It didn’t take long for Texas Holdem Bonus Poker to catch on in land-based and online casinos. It became so popular, in fact, that everyone’s favorite Live Casino supplier, Evolution Gaming, chose to convert it into one of their award winning real-time streaming games. They call it Live Dealer Texas Holdem Bonus Poker.

Live Texas Holdem Bonus Poker by Evolution

The base game is incredibly similar to a normal Texas Holdem poker game. Hole cards, community cards and hand ranks are exactly the same. While other players can join in, you won’t have to worry about them. Much like blackjack, your only job is to beat the dealer’s hand to win. In that regard, it’s kind of like playing heads up poker – one on one against a single opponent.

Like any other house banked game, however, the casino always has an advantage over the player, no matter how slight. In this case, the rules give the house an edge of 2.04% on the Ante bet alone, 0.53% overall. Let’s take a closer look…

How to Play Live TX Holdem Bonus Poker

Casino Gaming Online: Live Dealer Texas Holdem

What draws most players to this game is the ability to increase ones bets when the cards are falling in your favor. It gives you the opportunity to control your own destiny in terms of situational hand value.

You start with an Ante bet (we’ll talk about optional side bets later). The dealer will then dealer two hole to the player and him/herself. The player’s hole cards are face up; the dealer’s face down. From here, you can either fold, forfeiting the ante bet, or play on, placing a Flop bet e1qual to 2x the ante.

After placing a Flop bet, the dealer will deal the first three community cards (the Flop). Next you can Check, placing no bet but staying in the hand, or place a Turn bet, equal to 1x the ante. The fourth community card (Turn) is played face up, followed by one last Check or bet – the River bet (1x ante).

At this point, the final River card is played. The dealer turns up their hole cards and both hands are compared. Each must come up with the best possible 5 card hand using any 5-card combination of the 7 cards available to them – these being their own two hole cards plus the five community cards.

Don’t worry, the computer will automatically generate the best possible hand for player and dealer. At this point, the two hands are compared, and the following win, loss and payout rules apply:

If… Then…
Dealer wins Player loses all Ante and Play bets.
Player wins Player wins even money on Play bets (Flop, Turn, River); Ante is a push.
Player wins with Straight or better Player wins even money on all Ante and Play bets.
Dealer and Player tie All Ante and Play bets push.

Live Dealer Texas Holdem Bonus Side Bets

Evolution’s live dealer Texas Holdem Bonus Poker comes with a pair of optional side bets known as the Bonus Bet and the First 5 Jackpot Bet. These wagers are entirely optional. They have no bearing on the base game, nor does the result of the base game have any bearing on the side bets. They can be won or lost irrespective of each other.

Bonus Side Bet

The Bonus bet is based on the player and/or dealer’s hole cards only. The best starting hands in Texas Hold’em are the ones you’re aiming for with this bet, including any pair, or any A with a Jack or better (A-A, A-K, A-Q, A-J), with suited hole cards paying more. You cannot combine the player and dealer cards. Either the player’s and/or dealer’s hand must match one of the winning hands shown in the pay table below.

Hole Cards Payout
A-A, Player’s and Dealer’s Hand 1000 to 1
A-A, Player’s Hand Only 30 to 1
A-K, Suited 25 to 1
A-J or A-Q, Suited 20 to 1
A-K, Mixed Suits 15 to 1
J-J, Q-Q or K-K 10 to 1
A-J or A-Q, Mixed Suits 5 to 1
Any Pair 2-2 thru 10-10 3 to 1

First 5 Jackpot Side Bet

This $1 side bet carries a progressive jackpot, paying out to any hand of high enough rank. Only the player’s hand rank counts towards the First 5 Jackpot bet.

The jackpot grows with every First 5 side bet placed, and pays out 100% of its girth when a Royal Flush is dealt (assuming at least one player made the bet). Since all players are sharing the same hand, all players who have placed the bet will share in an equal portion of the total jackpot. A progressive counter display on the right of the screen will show exactly how much of the jackpot each player is privy to if a Royal Flush is dealt.

The following hand ranks and pay table apply.

Hole Cards Payout
Royal Flush 100% of Jackpot
Straight Flush 2,500
4 of a Kind 250
Full House 50
Flush 25
Straight 10
3 of a Kind 3

Overall RTP

Each eligible bet within this game carries its own theoretical return to player. The Play bets have the highest return rate of 99.47%. The Ante bet only has an RTP of 97.96%, but is required in order to get the higher RTP on any Play bets.

The side bets are sucker bets, of course. The Bonus side bet will net you an RTP of 91.46%, equivalent to a house edge of 8.54%. If you think that’s bad, the First 5 Jackpot is far worse at 81.84% RTP (house edge 18.16%).

Don’t be fooled into making this bet. Many players feel the urge to place it, thinking the odds of winning at least a share of the jackpot will be so much higher with a large number of players participating, but it is nothing like the Bad Beat Jackpots on a traditional live Texas Holdem game (PvP). There is only one player hand being dealt – not one hand to each active player. The odds of a Royal Flush being dealt are still an incredibly low 1 in 43,316, no matter how many players are at the table.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , ,

Aug 02

KamaGames’ new video poker app for Android and iOS extends the brand’s wildly successful social casino games portfolio.

KamaGames new video poker app for Android and iOS

KamaGames is among the worlds leading mobile poker operators; responsible for the social gaming phenomenon that is Pokerist. After launching what would become the wildly successful Pokerist Texas Poker app for iOS and Android in 2011, KamaGames has since grown into the largest social poker operator in all of Europe, averaging well over half a million active players daily. In 2018, it was the top grossing app in more than 100 countries on the Google Play Store.

As the company’s social poker success skyrocketed, KamaGames decided it was time to expand into the realm of social casino gaming. Basing their future of brand recognition, they built off the original theme with a series “-ist” games – Rouletteist, Blackjackist and Baccaratist, launched in 2013, 2016 and 2017 respectively.

KamaGames has been scaling upward and outward ever since. But it wasn’t until this week that the company finally spread its wings into what seems a natural expansion of their existing market dominance – video poker.

KamaGames Launches New Video Poker App

On Wednesday, KamaGames issued a press release announcing the official launch of the digital gaming lab’s first foray into social video poker games. Again keeping with the simplicity of their celebrated “-ist” branding, they call it Video Poker by Pokerist.

Video Poker by Pokerist

As of now, the app includes just three classic video poker titles; Deuces Wild, Jacks or Better, and Bonus Poker. The creator guarantees fair play via their certified random number generator (RNG). Video Poker by Pokerist is free to download and play, with free daily chip allowances and daily achievements to top off a player’s stack. Anyone who wants to purchase additional chips can do so, spending anywhere from $0.99 to $99. However, being a 100% social casino gaming app, chips can never be exchanged for real money.

As Real As It Gets (Minus the Money)

The stand-alone app was built with the intention of mimicking the exact same experience as the most popular video poker machines in Vegas. According to the reviews by some of the app’s earliest adopters, KamaGames succeeded in that goal entirely.

Deuces Wild, Jacks or Better and Bonus Poker on KamaGames Video Poker App

One review on the Apple Store calls Video Poker by Pokerist a “classic experience”, thanking KamaGames for creating “exactly the same video poker machines which I usually play in traditional casinos.”

It’s only been out for a few days, but it’s worth noting that Video Poker by Pokerist currently has a perfect 5.0 rating from both Android and iOS users.

Aim to Draw New and Existing Customers Alike

KamaGames CEO Andrey Kuznetsov is extremely proud of the versatility they’ve achieved in their ever-growing social casino apps. “We are placing a strong focus on differentiating our portfolio of social casino games in many directions this year,” he said. “As an iconic element of the Las Vegas casino, video poker is very familiar to our audience and in-line with the products they want from KamaGames.”

Kuznetsov sees this latest addition to the company’s portfolio as the perfect means to attract new players to the brand, as well as draw existing users from the Pokerist app. “With this exciting new addition, we hope to both satisfy both our existing players whilst also attracting a fresh, new audience.”

He goes on to assure users that KamaGames will be working to install additional games on the new video poker app throughout the remainder of 2019.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , ,