23 Jul

888 Canada Poker Review: Why More Canucks Get their Poker Game On at 888Poker

Why more Canadians get their Poker Game on at 888

888 Canada Poker ReviewReviewing any online poker site comes with great responsibility, and it’s one that we take very seriously. We have years’ worth of experience in the field. We don’t just research operators. We play the games, too, not only on the site being reviewed, but at a multitude of competitor brands. This gives us an element of expertise that’s sorely lacking so many of today’s so-called poker review websites. And based on that experience, we’ve chosen 888Poker as our #1 recommended poker room for Canadian players.

There’s no single feature that led us to this conclusion. It’s a compound of multiple high regards, from award winning software, to a large, diversified player base, to superior regulation, leading directly to the strongest player protections. You’ll learn more about these and other qualities in the following…

888 Canada Poker Review

888 is one of the oldest online gambling companies in existence today, dating back to 1997. Its online poker operation was launched in 2002. At that time, it was known as Pacific Poker, and was among the most popular brands in the global market.

Although the name changed over the years to align with the complete 888-branding package (888Casino, 888Poker, 888Sport, etc.), it still enjoys the honour of being among the world’s largest poker networks; home to the 6th largest active player base overall, and 2nd largest serving the Canadian market. As of writing, 888Poker averages 1,150 players online at any given time.

Ownership, Licensing and Regulation

888Poker is owned by 888 Holdings and operates under a license by its subsidiary, Cassava Enterprises Ltd. 888Poker is regulated by the Government of Gibraltar, via Remote Gambling Licenses #022 and #039. Gibraltar is among the EU’s most respected online gambling licensing authorities.

The company also holds a license to operate in the United Kingdom from the UK Gambling Commission. That fact alone speaks volumes to the integrity of 888, as the UK is universally recognized as the strictest remote gambling authority in the world. All of 888’s operations, in and outside the UK, must live up to those high standards in order to receive a UK license.

Software and Cash Games

The poker room runs on proprietary software developed and maintained by 888 Holdings. The software is innovative, fully functional, and aesthetically appealing. It supplies all the ease-of-navigation features today’s poker players have come to expect from an award-winning platform. Its random shuffling RNG is safety and fairness certified by eCOGRA, the number one name in iGaming software certification.

Cash game variety is above average, and includes NL Texas Holdem with stakes ranging from micro-limits of $0.01/$0.02, up to high-roller stakes of $500/$1,000. There isn’t much high-end action, though. At peak hours, mid-level stakes get some visibility, but the majority of traffic is confined to lower stakes tables.

FL Holdem can be played from $0.02/$0.04 up to $50/$100, but again, the lower end gets the majority of the action. PL Holdem is also on the menu, but the cob webs on those tables are thick.

888Poker presents a wide range of Omaha Holdem games, including PLO, NLO, FLO, PLO Hi/Lo, and FLO Hi/Lo. The more uncommon varieties see little or no action, and those that do tend to be micro-stake levels.

Seven Card Stud and Stud Hi-Lo are also on the menu, available from $0.02/$0.04 to $30/$60. You’ll find the occasional heads-up games here, mostly in the higher stakes range.

888Poker also hosts a unique cash game known as Flopomania. Similar to NL Holdem, this game skips the entire opening process of a hand, starting instead with the flop and proceeding from there. These tables are fairly popular among players who prefer a faster-paced game without the usual pre-flop uncertainty.

Finding the Fish

888Poker is a vast sea of fish. In fact, many grinders and high-rollers avoid this online poker room due to the somewhat random nature of its VIP Rewards program (see below). Thus, recreational players make up the bulk of their player base. This presents a great and lucrative opportunity for those seeking out more fishy players than rakeback deals.

Fish are, by default, found most often in the lower-stakes cash games and low-cost buy-in tournaments. Most are either inexperienced players—meaning they stick to the cheapest NLHE tables—or carefree players with more than enough money to care about losing at relatively low stakes levels. For this reason, you’ll find the majority of 888Poker fish pooling in the NLHE cash games of $0.01/$0.02 up to $1/$2.

The daily Fish’n’Chips Tournaments (see below) are cheap enough to attract quite a few, as well. But beware, you won’t be the only shark in those waters…

Tournaments

SNGs are active all day in a variety of stakes and table sizes. 888Poker hosts SNGs in NLHE, PLO and Omaha Hi-Lo formats, with buy-ins scaling from $0.01 to $1,000. Turbo and Super Turbo SNGs are available in most formats, and the table size can range from heads-up to full.

MTTs are a constant, as well. Their most famous, and potentially lucrative, are those in the Sunday Mega Series. There are 5 events held each Sunday in the series, drawing thousands of players at each level. They include, from lowest buy-in to highest:

  • Sunday Mega Micro @ 19:30 GMT – $5 buy-in, $4k GTD

  • Sunday Mega Dozen @ 18:00 GMT – $12 buy-in, $20k GTD

  • Sunday Mega Knockout @ 21:15 GMT – $209 buy-in, $5k GTD

  • Sunday Turbo Mega @ 20:30 GMT – $215 buy-in, $15k GTD

  • Sunday Mega Deep @ 17:30 GMT – $215 buy-in, $100k GTD

Satellites for all events in the weekly Sunday Mega Series start as low as $0.50.

888 hosts an extremely popular Fish’n’Chips Series throughout the week, too. They are low-cost events with buy-ins that range from $1 up to $30, and carry GTD prize pools of $1k to $5k. You can generally find them by looking for any MTT with the word “Fish” in its title (i.e. Goldfish, Catfish, Swordfish, etc.)

The tournament roster also includes a daily running of high-roller events that see much smaller fields, making them quite valuable for those that can afford them. Based on a torrential weather theme, they include:

  • The Typhoon @ 9:00 GMT – $55 buy-in, $3k GTD

  • The Twister @ 11:00 GMT – $55 buy-in, $3k GTD

  • The Tornado @ 20:00 GMT – $109 buy-in, $10k GTD

If it’s fast-paced action you seek, 888Poker hosts Fast-Fold SNAP games, exclusively in NLHE. The moment a player folds their hand, they are instantly whisked away to a new table with up to 5 other players who’ve also just folded, resulting in immediate action at all times.

It’s also worth noting that 888Poker is a key sponsor of the World Series of Poker, meaning you’ll find a plethora of WSOP satellites on the menu leading up to the big event in Las Vegas each year.

Welcome Bonus Promotion

New members of 888Poker are privy to a pair of welcoming promotions. It starts with an $88 no-deposit bonus, followed by a 100% up to $400 match bonus on the first deposit.

The $88 no-deposit bonus is divvied up in a rather complicated manner. Upon sign-up, players will receive $1 in free money to use at any of 888Poker’s cash games, and another $7 worth of $0.50 tournament tickets.

The rest of the $80 bonus is paid out in $8 increments (again, $1 for cash games, $7 in tournament tickets) each time the player generates 250 poker points. Points accumulate at a rate of 2 points per $1 in rake contribution and/or tournament fees. Hence, you’ll need to win some cash in order to continue receiving incremental bonus releases without making a deposit.

The 100% up to $400 deposit bonus is also restrictive, but much less complicated. It requires a minimum $10 deposit, and is released in $10 increments for every 100 poker points generated. With points accruing at a rate of 2 per $1, the bonus equates to 20% rakeback.

VIP Rewards & Poker Rakeback

The online poker room promotes a unique loyalty rewards scheme known as the 888Poker Club. The club is based on point generation—the more points you earn in a month, the higher your status becomes. Its most intriguing aspect is the fact that players who succeed in reaching a higher VIP status can never be demoted, regardless of how little, or how much, one plays thereafter.

Rewards for VIP members typically include exclusive freeroll tournament entries, gold tokens, and instant-win scratch cards. Gold tokens can be converted, at the player’s discretion, to cash or tournament tickets.

Climbing the VIP ladder is atypical at 888Poker. Instead of accumulating poker points, the system bases status on the completion of Challenges. Some of the challenges are simple, such as competing in at least one cash game or paid tournament on three consecutive days. Others require more dedication, and possibly multi-tabling, grinding the felt enough to contribute specific rake amounts in a 24-hour period.

There’s no set pattern to the challenges or number of points acquired, making it difficult to assess the value of the program in terms of rakeback. This unfortunate fact keeps a lot of pros at bay.

Deposits & Withdraws

Employing 128-bit SSL encryption, 888 promotes a supremely secure banking platform. The majority of deposit options are instant. However, 888’s Achilles heel is their excessive pending period on withdraws. The industry-standard is 48 hours pending before a cashout request is processed. 888 extends the pending period to a full “3 business days”, meaning a withdraw requested on a Friday won’t be processed until the following Wednesday; no exceptions.

888Poker accepts the following payments methods. The list below denoted with are available for deposits and/or withdraws.

Payment Method

Deposit

Withdraw

Visa Credit/Debit

Yes

Yes

MasterCard

Yes

UK only

Diners Debit

Yes

No

Local Debit Cards

Yes

Yes

ApplePay

Yes

Yes

AstroPay (not in Canada)

Yes

No

Bank Transfer

Yes

No

Boleto (not in Canada)

Yes

No

ecoPayz

Yes

Yes

EntroPay Virtual Visa

Yes

Yes

EPS (Austria only)

Yes

No

iDebit

Yes

Yes

Instadebit

Yes

No

Instant Banking by Citadel

Yes

No

MuchBetter

Yes

Yes

Multibanco (Portugal only)

Yes

No

Neteller

Yes

Yes

Nordea

Yes

No

PayPal (not in Canada)

Yes

Yes

Payr Virtual Visa

Yes

No

Postepay

Yes

Yes

Op-Pohjola (Finland only)

Yes

No

QIWI Visa Virtual

Yes

Yes

QIWI Visa Wallet

Yes

No

Skrill

Yes

Yes

Sofortuberweisung/Sofortbanking
(not in Canada)

Yes

No

Todito (Mexico only)

Yes

No

Transferencia Bancaria (Latin America only)

Yes

No

Trustly

Yes

No

Verkkopankki (Finland only)

Yes

No

WebMoney

Yes

Yes

Wire Transfer

Yes

Yes

Yandex.Money (Russia/CIS only)

Yes

No

Customer Support

888Poker boasts one of the most categorically organized FAQ pages in the industry. Players can choose from such topics as bonuses/promotions, banking, games, account management, registration, and technical issues, to find quick resolutions to many common problems without need of contacting support.

On the negative end, however, those who do need to contact a live support rep won’t find any Live Chat feature available. This is by far the number one gripe, and ultimately surprising in today’s tech-driven community.

Immediate assistance can be reached via toll-free telephone (Canada +44 203 795 5029). Email support is also available, and is generally very quick in their response time; anywhere from 2 hours to no more than 12 hours in our experience.

Awards

We’ll wrap up this 888 Canada poker review with a list of the esteemed awards the poker room has received over the years. They include:

  • Socially Responsible Operator of the Year – 2010 EGR Operator Awards

  • Platform of the Year – EGR Operator Awards 2011

  • Best Gaming Product – 2012

  • Platform of the Year – EGR Operator Awards 2012

  • Platform of the Year – EGR Operator Awards 2013

  • Best Digital Operator of a Gaming Platform – Global Gaming Awards 2016

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