23 Jul

888Poker Review: Why More Canucks are Choosing 888 in 2022

888 Canada Poker Review – The Premier Choice for Canadians in 2022

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. Our authors play the games; 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 high regards, from award-winning software, to a large, diverse player base, to superior regulation, leading directly to the strongest player protections. You’ll learn more about these and other high-quality features 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.), the website still enjoys the honor of operating among the world’s largest poker networks; home to the 9th largest active player base globally, and among the top 5 serving the Canadian market. As of writing, 888Poker averages 575 players online at any given time, doubling to 1,045 at peak hours.

Ownership, Licensing and Regulation

888Poker is owned by LSE-listed 888 Holdings. It has multiple domains, serviced by multiple operating brands, each with a jurisdictional license applicable to players from various regions of the world. For example, players in Canada are subject to the regulatory guidance of Gibraltar, which supplies a license to 888Poker operator VDSL (International) Limited. The full list of operators and licenses, per the 888Poker website at time of writing, are as follows:

  • United Kingdom
    “Our services in the UK are operated by 888 UK Limited, a company incorporated in Gibraltar. 888 UK Limited is licensed and regulated in Great Britain by the Gambling Commission under the account number 39028.”
  • Gibraltar
    “Virtual Global Digital Services Limited and VDSL (International) Limited are licensed and regulated to offer online gaming services under the laws of Gibraltar (Remote Gaming License Numbers 112 and 113)… In the event that you have registered from Canada, our services are provided by VDSL (International) Limited.”
  • Malta
    “Our services in European Single Market member states (except for states in which our services are provided under a local license) are operated by Virtual Digital Services Limited, a company incorporated in Malta which is part of the European Union.
    “Virtual Digital Services Limited operates under the auspices of a gaming license provided under the laws of Malta – MGA/CRP/543/2018 issued on the 11/10/2019.”

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.

UPDATE: 888Poker’s eCOGRA certification expired on January 16, 2021.  As of May 2022, the link has yet to be updated with current certification status.

Cash game variety is just average, and includes NL Texas Holdem with stakes ranging from micro-limits of $0.01/$0.02, to high-roller stakes of $250/$500. 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 cobwebs 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.

Other Cash Games

Seven Card Stud and Stud Hi-Lo are no longer on the menu. Like so many of today’s biggest poker sites, 888Poker chose to reduce the game variety to popular variants only.

888’s only other games are NL Hold’em variants, Flopomania and SNAP. Flopomania games are just like NLHE, except there’s no pre-flop action. The hand begins at the flop, and moves forward from there. SNAP features a common attribute known as quick-fold, or fast-fold. The moment a player folds, they are dropped from that table and seated at a new one, where they can be instantly dealt into a new hand.

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 who prefer a fishy player base to a good rakeback deal.

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 more elevated 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 pennies to hundreds of dollars. 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. 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.)

Fish’N’Chips Tournaments
  • The Goldfish – Daily, $1 buy-in, $1k GTD
  • The Swordfish – Daily, $30 buy-in, $5k GTD
  • The Catfish – Daily, $12 buy-in, $1,500 GTD
  • The Blowfish – Daily, $5 buy-in, $1k GTD

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:

Daily High Rollers
  • 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

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 withdrawal requested on a Friday won’t be processed until the following Wednesday; no exceptions.

888Poker accepts the following payment methods. The list below denotes which are available for deposits and/or withdraws.

Payment Method Deposit Withdraw
Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard) Yes Yes
Debit Card (Visa, MasterCard) Yes Yes
ApplePay Yes No
AstroPay (not in Canada) Yes No
Boleto (not in Canada) Yes No
ecoPayz Yes Yes
iDebit Yes Yes
Instadebit Yes No
Interac E-Transfer Yes No
Interac Online Yes Yes
MuchBetter Yes Yes
Neosurf Yes No
Neteller (no tin Canada) Yes Yes
Nordea Yes No
Online Bank Transfer (not in Canada) Yes Yes
Oxxo (not in Canada) Yes Yes
Pankkisiirto (not in Canada) Yes No
Pay4Fun (Brazil only) Yes Yes
PayPal (not in Canada) Yes Yes
Pix (Brazil only) Yes Yes
PurplePay Yes No
Op-Pohjola (Finland only) Yes No
QR Code (Thailand only) Yes No
Rapid Transfer (not in Canada) Yes No
Skrill (not in Canada) Yes Yes
Sofort (not in Canada) Yes No
Todito (Mexico only) Yes No
Transferencia Bancaria (La.Am. only) Yes No
Trustly Yes Yes
Verkkopankki (Finland only) Yes No
Wire Transfer Yes Yes

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 the 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 its response time; anywhere from 2 hours to no more than 12 hours in our experience.

Awards & Accolades

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
  • Poker Marketing Campaign – EGR Marketing & Innovation Awards 2021

Play Canadian Texas Hold'em in 2023

Party Poker Canada, the most trusted Canadian gaming destination, and our editor’s pick for two years, now offers a wide variety of popular card games: from Texas Hold’em, to  Omaha, to 7 card stud, to Limit Hold’em and even casino games like blackjack. Play for fun, for free, or play for real, for real money that is ! Our editorial pick for 2023.

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(Reminder to Gamble Responsibly)