26 Jul

Party Poker Canada Poker Review: The Largest Poker Site for Canadian Players

Party Poker Review: Evaluating the world’s largest poker site in Canada

Party Poker Canada Poker ReviewTo review any online poker site, one should have extensive knowledge of the industry as well as competitor brands. How can anyone evaluate a product without having something to compare it to? Our reviews are based on years of industry insights and personal experience with all of the most reputable poker rooms that accept Canadian players; the qualities so many of today’s overabundant poker reviews are blatantly lacking.

After nearly two decades in the business, Party Poker has earned its position on our list of worthy operators. It’s not just about having the largest Canadian-facing player base, or a long-standing reputation for satisfied customers. It’s about the software, the ingenuity, and the inspiration behind it all. You’ll discover all of Party Poker’s qualities—the good and the bad—in our exhaustive…

Party Poker Canada Poker Review

Party Poker is among the industry’s oldest poker sites. Its foundations date back to 1997, followed by its debut in 2001. For the next few years, it enjoyed top honours as the world’s largest internet poker room, serving almost the entire globe. The United States passage of the UIGEA caused a shift, wherein the operator made the ethical decision to withdraw from the US market, resulting in its loss of that esteemed title to PokerStars (who, I might add, suffered for its decision to stay put a few years later.)

It’s interesting to note that, while PokerStars may carry the world’s largest player base overall, its parent company is headquartered in Toronto. Therefore, PokerStars cannot accept Canadian players, giving Party Poker the title of largest poker site facing Canada.

Party Poker is currently averaging approximately 1,300 active players online at any given time, beating out their closest rival, 888Poker, by about 150.

Ownership, Licensing and Regulation

Founded by PartyGaming, the site’s parent company merged with Bwin in 2011 to form Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment. Then, in 2016, following a bidding war between GVC Holdings and 888 Holdings, the company was acquired by its current owner, GVC Holdings, for lofty price tag of £1.1 billion.

PartyPoker.com is operated by Bwin.Party-owned, ElectraWorks Ltd, licensed and regulated in Gibraltar under Remote Gambling Licenses #050 and #051. Gibraltar’s regulatory framework among the most reputable in the European Union.

To its esteem, the operation is also licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. UK iGaming regulations are universally recognized as being the strictest in the world. Such was proven when ElectraWorks received a stiff warning and hefty fine of £350k in January 2018 for violating the UKGC’s marketing policies in regards to misleading promotional advertisements.

This is, to date, the only blemish on the operator’s record.

Software and Cash Games

Party Poker’s software has received significant improvements since the early days. It now features all the usual bells and whistles, like search filters and lots of player customization. The design is appealing, and the user interface is intuitive enough for anyone to navigate with ease.

The software’s RNG regularly tested and certified for fairness by iTech Labs. The independent auditor’s monthly reports are available for public viewing on the website.

Cash game variety is fairly average, presenting all the usual stuff. Games and limits include:

Poker Game

Minimum

Maximum

NL Texas Holdem

$0.01/$0.02

$200/$400

FL Texas Holdem

$0.02/$0.04

$30/$60

PL Texas Holdem

$0.10/$0.25

$5/$10

Fast Forward NLHE

$0.02/$0.05

$2/$5

PL Omaha

$0.01/$0.02

$10/$25

FL 7 Card Stud

$0.50/$1

$30/$60

The vast majority of cash game traffic is found in low- to mid-range NLHE games. Micro-limits up to $2/$5 get most of the full-table action, although you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a heads-up opponent at the highest stakes. FLHE rarely attracts anything beyond a heads-up game at lower and mid-level stakes. It’s hardly worth checking the PLHE tables—it’s a ghost town.

As you probably noticed, Omaha games are available exclusively in Pot Limit (PLO) format. Much like the Texas Holdem tables, action is constant at the low- and mid-range stakes, while a few big spenders might appear in heads-up play.

The Stud games rarely see action, also limited mostly to heads-up when it does happen.

Party Poker’s Fast Forward tables are a unique blend of NLHE and ultra-fast-paced game play. When a player folds, they are instantly removed from the table and seated with a new group of players who have also just folded. Aptly named, the action here never stops.

Finding the Fish

The Canadian poker room is especially famous (or infamous, depending on your view) for its Anonymous Poker Tables. Available exclusively in cash games, players’ names are never revealed. Instead of names like JoeShmoe123 and FishBoy987, you’ll only see Player 1, Player 2, etc.

The obvious reason behind this is to promote recreational play. The obvious result is a dramatic reduction in highly skilled poker players. For all you sharks (highly skilled players) out there seeking the biggest pools of fish (highly unskilled players), this could be viewed as a negative or a positive.

On the negative side, you won’t be able to use any tracking software to determine who your fishiest opponents are. You can’t figure out who’s easy to beat, and seek them out for a future ass-whooping session. On the positive side, however, with so few sharks in the water, the overwhelming majority of Party Poker’s members are fish. With a little due diligence on your part, you should have no trouble countering their inexperience with more skillful tactics.

Finding the fish won’t be too difficult. By definition, they are low-stakes players who don’t know a whole lot about poker. Thus, they stick to NLHE, and rarely play anything above the $0.01/$0.02 – $1/$2 range. The cheapest tournaments attract a lot of fish too, but you’ll find plenty of sharks and grinders frequent the tournament roster for Party Poker’s indubitably high rakeback (see VIP Rewards and Poker Rakeback below).

Tournaments

Party Poker has a fantastic tournament schedule teeming with SNGs and MTTs of all shapes, sizes and buy-ins. Being the largest online poker site for Canadian players—as well as players from many other regions of the world—overlays are a rarity. The tournaments almost always meet or exceed their GTD expectancy no matter the time of day.

The site is most famous for its Power Series events, which offer players of all bankroll sizes an opportunity to compete for big cash prize pools. Some of the most notable include:

  • The Main Event – Every Sunday, $109 buy-in, $150k GTD

  • The Title Fight – Every Sunday, $215 buy-in, $300k GTD

  • The Contender – Daily, $22 buy-in, 15k GTD ($25k GTD on Sundays)

Many other events in the Power Series take place multiple times daily, including Featherweight, Middleweight, and Heavyweight tournaments that can guarantee a collective $2+ million every week.

The lowest stakes tournaments are the Boot Camp variety, occurring all day, every day, for $0.10-$0.22 buy-ins, and paying out more than $100k weekly. Conversely, more than 20 High Roller events are also held weekly, where buy-ins of $530-$2,600 guarantee no less than $1,000,000 per week.

The site’s Monthly Majors are held—of course—once a month. Anticipation is high for these, as the $1 million prize pool is mighty tasty.

Satellites to most Party Poker tournaments are available for as low as $0.10. You can also find Feeder Satellites for major land-based events, including the World Poker Tour and select WSOP events.

Welcome Bonus Promotion

There are two bonuses for players making their first deposit. You don’t have to pick one—you can have it all. They include a free $20 bonus, and a 100% up to $500 match bonus.

$20 Free

Party Poker’s initiative to attract recreational players began with an up-front new player bonus of $20 free. All new players are eligible, but a minimum $10 deposit is required. The $20 credit is split into two sections—half cash and half tournament tickets. You have 14 days after registration to claim this bonus, and it will expire after 40 days of reception. Claimants must generate 20 loyalty points in that time to withdraw any winnings derived from this bonus.

The $10 cash credit can be enjoyed at any cash game tables with stakes of $0.01/$0.02 up to $0.10/$0.25. This includes the site’s exclusive Casual Cash Game tables, designed specifically for inexperienced players. Anyone who plays on these tables cannot multi-table; a perfectly effective measure for keeping shark-toothed grinders at bay.

The other $10 worth of tournament tickets include 2x $1.10 tickets, 1x $2.20 ticket, and 1x $5.50 ticket.

100% up to $500

The 100% up to $500 first-time deposit bonus also requires a minimum $10 deposit, but it’s a one-time deal, so depositing more is recommended, if possible. This offer must be claimed within 120 days of sign-up, and comes with a 90-day expiration to clear the full amount.

This bonus isn’t paid immediately, but added to your account in 10% increments for generating loyalty points. You’ll need to collect 12x the total bonus in loyalty points to release the full bonus; 1.2x points for each 10% release.

For example, a $100 bonus would require 1200 loyalty points to release in full, or 120 loyalty points per $10 incremental release. Each bonus release should appear in your real money account balance with 48 hours of eligibility.

Loyalty points are earned at a rate of 1 Point for every $1 contributed to rake and/or paid in tournament fees.

VIP Rewards & Poker Rakeback

The VIP loyalty system at Party Poker is one of the best you’ll find anywhere. You can earn 20%-40% rakeback, based on the extent of your game play. Players must earn a minimum of 25 points to earn rakeback (aka cashback), paid directly into your account every Monday.

  • 20% rakeback is earned for accumulating 25, 50, 75, 100, or 150 points.
  • 25% rakeback is earned for generating 200, 250, 300, 350, 400, 450, 500 or 600 points.
  • 30% rakeback is paid for 700, 800, 900, 1000, or 1200 points.
  • 40% rakeback requires 1400, 1600, 1800 or 2000+ points.

This system is designed to benefit all player types, and is the highest rakeback program for serious grinders. It is, in effect, the most alluring aspect for high volume players. The presence of Anonymous Tables and Casual Cash Games is deterring most sharks from the ring game pool, but for tournament grinders, Party Poker rakeback is about as good as it gets.

Deposits & Withdraws

Party Poker has spent nearly two decades building a trusted relationship with their players. The security of its banking systems comes without question.

Most deposit options are instant. All withdraws are subject to an internal processing period of up to two days. However, Party Poker is meticulous about its security reviews. If they have any reason to suspect suspicious behavior, such as fraud or collusion, they will review your activity for as long as necessary before releasing a cashout.

Accepting players from so many countries all over the globe, the full list of deposit options is beyond extensive. For your convenience, I’ve truncated the following list to all eligible Party Poker payment options for Canadian players, with side notes detailing which qualify for deposit and/or withdraws.

Payment Method

Deposit

Withdraw

Visa Credit/Debit

Yes

Yes

MasterCard

Yes

No

Diners Club Intl

Yes

Yes

Maestro Debit

Yes

Yes

Electronic Transfer

Yes

Yes

EntroPay Virtual Visa

Yes

Yes

Instadebit

Yes

No

Instant Banking by Citadel

Yes

No

Paysafecard

Yes

Yes

Customer Support

Getting assistance on Party Poker stars with an exhaustive, multi-category FAQ section that answers all common, and some less common, questions. It may be a bit too exhaustive, to be honest. Players can spend a lot of time searching this section to find answers, unless they know exactly what it is they’re looking for.

To speed things up, members also have access to 24/7/365 Live Chat support, in the software and on the website, and toll-free telephone support (Canada 1-877-447-2183). Email support is also available, and typically responds anywhere from 1-8 hours after receipt, sometimes sooner.

I’ve witnessed a small degree of complaints about Party Poker’s customer support reps being unhelpful. However, in my experience, and the experience of all my colleagues, representatives have been very knowledgeable of the system, responsive to player needs, helpful and very friendly.

Awards

In concluding our Party Poker Canada poker review, I’ll leave with this to consider. Party Poker owns a brimming trophy case, having won many awards over the years for its platform and services. But there’s one that outshines them all; the one they are most proud of.

At the 2017 EGR Operator Awards, Party Poker unseated the 3-year defending champion, PokerStars, receiving the most prestigious honour in the global online poker industry—the 2017 Poker Operator of the Year Award.

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