9 Aug

Betsafe Poker – Boldly Go Where So Many Canadians have Gone Before

Unabridged review of Betsafe Poker for Canadian players.

Betsafe Canada Poker ReviewThis isn’t just another drop in the overflowing bucket of online poker reviews. We don’t write fluff or spackle the gaps. Our reviews are based on real experience, by real players, delivered without bias. We aren’t here to tell you where to play online poker. Our goal is to give you the information and tools necessary so you can find the poker site that’s a perfect fit for you.

With that said, Betsafe Poker may be worthy of your consideration. It is one among a short list of highly distinguished, Canadian-facing operators that illustrates the exemplary qualities we look for in a poker room. It doesn’t boast the largest player base, or the highest guaranteed tournaments, but it’s got a lot to offer for both casual and dedicated poker players. We’ll tell you about all of this and more in the following…

Betsafe Canada Poker Review

Betsafe soared into existence in 2006, launching as an exclusive sports betting operation. Over the next three years, the company expanded into poker and casino gaming. With a fresh, upbeat marketing campaign, the Betsafe brand grew quickly, attracting hundreds of thousands of players, as well as the attention of one of the oldest gaming companies in the world, Betsson AB (est. 1963). In 2011, Betsson acquired all shares in Betsafe, bringing the burgeoning iGaming firm under its expansive wing.

Betsafe is a proud member of Microgaming’s MPN poker network, pooling players from 18 distinguished operators from all over the world (as of writing). The network is currently averaging about 450 cash game players at any given time; double that at peak European hours.

While the traffic doesn’t quite compare to some of the bigger Canadian competitors, like 888Poker or PartyPoker, Betsafe’s low-key profile has its perks. The cash games are soft, and it’s not uncommon to find overlays in the tournament roster.

Ownership, Licensing and Regulation

Betsafe is owned by Betsson AB and operated by the BML Group, headquartered at the Betsson Experience Center in Malta. The poker site operates under a bulk of licenses from the Maltese Gaming Authority, the most respected iGaming jurisdiction in the EU.

The operator also carries a license from the UK Gambling Commission; by the far the strictest regulatory body on the planet. While that license is only required to accept UK players, its underlying implications go much further. No company that operates any gambling website, UK-facing or not, in a sub-par manner, will qualify for a license from the UKGC. The fact that Betsafe has one speaks volumes to its integrity.

Software and Cash Games

Betsafe employs Microgaming’s MPN poker software. It’s a sturdy platform available for desktop, laptop and mobile devices. The instant-play version is compatible with all major operating systems, including PC, Mac, Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows Phone. A download client is provided for PC users, with a mobile poker app for Android and iOS.

All editions are designed for easy, intuitive navigation, and offer customization for avid users. The software is engineered with RNG-based random shuffling mechanics that are audited monthly and certified for fairness by Technical Systems Testing (TST).

The cash game variety is more extensive than you might expect for a low-key player base. Of course, that means the less common games will have little or no action. Even at peak hours, it’s hard to find anything more than a high-stakes heads-up game at the Draw, Stud or Razz tables.

The full selection of cash games, with stakes scaling from $0.01/$0.02 micro-limits to the highest $50/$100, includes:

  • Texas Holdem
  • Omaha Holdem
  • Omaha Hi-Lo
  • 5 Card Draw
  • 5 Card Stud
  • 7 Card Stud
  • Razz

The most action takes place in micro-limits and low-stakes NLHE, as is to be expected from a predominately recreational poker room. There are two key areas where players congregate the most…

Anonymous Poker Tables: These games allow players to hide their identity. Usernames are not revealed, making it impossible to track down and compete against specific players. Many new and inexperienced players flock to these games in order to avoid becoming a target for sharks.

Blaze Poker Tables: This is Betsafe’s equivalent of fast-fold poker. These high-octane tables keep the fuel pumping for non-stop action. Once a player folds their hand, they are instantly seated at a new table with other players who’ve also just folded. No wait, no boredom—just fast and furious Texas Hold’em.

Finding the Fish

Obviously, Blaze Poker isn’t the place to hunt down fish at Betsafe Poker. The Anonymous Tables are teeming with them, but you’ll have to weed them out with each new session.

Fortunately, thanks to Betsafe’s Achievement Badges campaign, the fish often come up for air at regular tables just to show off their badge-bling. Bear in mind, though, that they’ll see you coming from a mile away if you happen to be toting your own vest full of badges.

The fishiest players at Betsafe Poker follow the same schooling patterns of other Canadian online poker sites. They prefer the lowest stakes and most basic game rules, so you’ll want to check the NLHE tables with limits of $0.01/$0.02 up to $1/$2 at most, or the FLHE stakes of $0.02/$0.04 to $0.10/$0.25.

Although Betsafe does take measures to protect its fish with a recreationally-geared poker platform, they do allow the use of tracking software, and provide a convenient in-house hand history viewer.

Tournaments

Betsafe has more than enough SNGs and MTTs to keep a tournament grinder busy. There’s enough traffic to ensure a constant flow of SNG start-ups. Most of them seat 6-10 players, but there are some heads-up and dual-table opportunities, as well. You’ll have no trouble finding opposition at most NLHE stakes, but expect a longer wait for Omaha SNGs.

True risk-takers are drawn to Betsafe’s Fish Party Jackpot Sit’n’Gos. A spin-off the innovative lottery-style tournaments pioneered by PokerStars several years back, these 3-player SNG tournaments deliver a random prize pool that is determined the moment the seats fill up. It could be anywhere from the usual 3x buy-in, up to 5000x. Thus, a $1.00 + $0.10 buy-in/fee could award a typical $3 prize for 1st place, or jump as high as $5,000 for the winner.

As for MTTs, the schedule is full of the usual stuff, with buy-ins ranging from $1 up into the hundreds, and prize pools based on registration. As for guaranteed tournaments, MPN hosts a weekly schedule that accommodates players of all bankroll sizes and skill levels, including a $215, $10k GTD High Society event every Monday evening for high rollers.

Like so many online poker rooms, the bulk of high-value GTDs take place on Sundays. Some of the more popular events include (times listed in GMT):

  • Big Top – Sundays at 5:00pm, $110 buy-in, $7.5k GTD

  • Big Break – Sundays at 6:00pm, $5.50 buy-in, $5k GTD

  • Big Kahuna – Sundays 7:00pm, $22 buy-in, $15k GTD

  • Mount Olympus – Sundays at 7:30pm, $110 buy-in, $15k GTD

  • Big Foot – Sundays at 8:30pm, $11 buy-in, $4k GTD

Freeroll Tournaments are a big deal at Betsafe Poker, but the vast majority of them are available only to newly registered members. Everyone gets access to at least 28 New Player Freerolls with $50 up for grabs each. New players can earn entries to additional freerolls, worth up to $1,000, by completing basic challenges. See the Welcome Bonus Promotion section below for more details.

Lat but not least, players of Betsafe Poker can compete in qualifiers to earn a spot in Microgaming’s live tournament series, the MPN Poker Tour. Traveling the globe, the series guarantees a minimum of $1 million each year across a multitude of events.

Welcome Bonus Promotion

Canadian poker players would be hard pressed to find a more accommodating welcome bonus package. Betsafe offers a choice five different bonuses to suit everyone, from the occasional player up to hard-core grinders, plus access to dozens of New Player Freerolls valued at over $10,000.

To claim a bonus, all you need is a minimum deposit of $10. The bonus is not based on a percentage match. Instead, the bonus of your choice is paid out in 5%-10% increments once the required conditions are met. You’ll need to contribute $5 in rake and/or tournament fees for every $1 of the bonus to clear it in full.

The following is a list of all welcome bonus choices and the bonus codes to claim them. Consider their value and rake/fee requirements carefully before deciding which suits you best. Whichever you choose, you’ll have just 60 days to clear as much of the bonus as possible before it expires.

Bonus
Level
Incremental
Release Rate
Incremental/Total
Rake Needed
Bonus Code
To Claim
$25 $1 (5%) $5/$125 25MGBLACK
$75 $5 (6.67%) $25/$375 75MGBLACK
$250 $25 (10%) $125/$1,250 250MGBLACK
$500 $50 (10%) $250/$2,500 500MGBLACK
$1,000 $100 (10%) $500/$5,000 1000MGBLACK

In addition to the first deposit bonus, new players are invited to participate in a series of New Player Freerolls over the first several weeks of memberships. A total of 40 freeroll tickets can be claimed. All new members will first receive:

  • 28 Level 1 Tickets for daily $50 freeroll’s (expires after 4 weeks).

During that time, the player can qualify for $500 Level 2 Freerolls by participating in any 10 real-money hands of Texas Hold’em. Upon completion of this goal, the player receives:

  • 8 Level 2 Tickets for bi-weekly $500 freeroll’s (held Wednesdays and Fridays only, expires after 4 weeks).

Next up, the player becomes eligible for $1k Level Up Freerolls by participating in 10 real-money poker hands, buying into any single MTT for $1 or more, and competing in one Fish Party Jackpot SNG. Doing so will unlock tickets to the final new player freeroll stage:

  • 4 Level Up Tickets for Sunday’s exclusive freerolls, worth $1,000 + $150 MPN Poker Tour Qualifier Tickets (expires after 4 weeks).

VIP Rewards & Poker Rakeback

At Betsafe Poker, a player’s monthly LP generation will determine their VIP level. In turn, their VIP status will determine what they can exchange their LP for.

Status tiers include Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. Players can exchange LP for cashback at any level, but only up to a certain percentage. The percentage allowed is equivalent to the player’s rakeback earnings, and scales from 10% up to 30%. Once the max cashback/rakeback percentage is claimed, any remaining LP can be exchanged to enter eligible multi-table tournaments.

Here’s an overview of the VIP Status tiers and associated qualifications to earn online poker rakeback.

VIP Status LP Requirement Rakeback
Silver 0-499 10.00%
Gold 500-999 15.00%
Platinum 1,000-2,999 20.00%
Diamond 3,000+ 30.00%

Deposits & Withdraws

One of the few negatives in our Betsafe Canada poker review is the succinct list of available banking methods. Credit/Debit cards, online payment processors and bank transfers are all you’ll find. In their defense, they only work with the most reputable and secure payment facilitators.

All transactions are secured with state-of-the-art encryption technologies to ensure optimum protection of your personal and financial details. The operator’s SSL encryption methods are security certified by VeriSign.

The following is a list of all banking methods available at Betsafe Poker. Note that, once logged in, the list may differ, based on what options are available in your location.

Payment Method

Deposit

Withdraw

Visa Credit/Debit

Yes

Yes

MasterCard

Yes

No

Maestro

Yes

No

Entropay

Yes

Yes

Neteller

Yes

Yes

Skrill

Yes

Yes

Paysafecard

Yes

Yes

Bank Transfer

Yes

No

Instant Banking by Citadel

Yes

No

PayPal (Germany, UK only)

Yes

Yes

Customer Support

As part of the Betsson Group, Betsafe boasts a multi-award-winning customer service department. It is, quite possibly, their most impressive feature. The FAQ section alone is incredibly well laid out, with filters and term searching to easily find answers to all common, and some uncommon, questions.

If that doesn’t solve your issue, Betsafe provides 24/7 Live Chat support, a 24/7 Call Back service that responds within 15-60 minutes, and an Email support system that can take anywhere from 2-12 hours to respond. All of the reps are friendly, and extremely well trained and knowledgeable of the entire Betsson product line.

Awards

In finishing up our Betsafe Canada poker review, here’s a look at some of the more prestigious awards the poker site (Betsafe), its parent company (Betsson), and software platform (MPN), have received in recent years.

  • Excellence in Customer Service – WIG Awards 2014

  • Best Customer Service Operator – EGR Awards 2014, 2016, 2018

  • Poker Software of the Year (MPN) – EGR Awards 2015

  • Poker Network of the Year (MPN) – EGR Awards 2015

  • Customer Service Top 50 (5th Place in UK) – ICM Awards 2016

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