Checking out the poker scene in Canada
At this point, it’s safe to say that poker has become quite the worldwide phenomenon. More than that, it has actually become accepted by the masses as a sport just as legitimate as chess. Thanks to a historic 2003 televised broadcast of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) tournament by ESPN, poker’s status increased tenfold, bringing its popularity up to where it is today.
(Canadian professional poker player Matt Jarvis from Surrey, British Columbia, known for his November Nine appearance in the 2010 World Series of Poker. Image Source)
Although decidedly an American game, poker’s international appeal has spawned recognized pro players from all four corners of the globe, Canadian card sharks among them. Names like WSOP main event winner Jonathon Duhamel, Surrey-bred young gun Matt Jarvis, TV personality and partypoker.com brand ambassador Kara Scott, GPI Poker Player of the Decade honoree Daniel Negreanu, and many others have become so prolific at poker that aficionados of the sport are already familiar with them; and may have even gone up against them.
(One of the world’s largest casinos, the futuristic Montreal Casino. Image Source)
There’s a thriving poker community in Canada, with enthusiasts joining games in both online poker rooms and brick-and-mortar gaming establishments. Of the latter, three of the more noteworthy ones are the Casino de Montréal in Quebec, the Edgewater Casino in Vancouver, and the River Rock Casino Resort in British Columbia. With more than 20 poker tables, the Casino de Montréal offers one of the biggest poker rooms in the country. It also holds regular Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments for budding players to ply their skills, with bonuses awarded to players who score the highest hand of the day.
(Edgewater Casino is Downtown Vancouver’s Boutique Casino, nestled on the seawall next to BC Place and Rogers Arena. Image Source)
For real action, though, Edgewater is the place to be. Although it has less tables than the aforementioned casino, it has a busier schedule of poker events on slate, including major ones like the annual West Coast Poker Championship tournament.
(Richmond’s River Rock Casino Resort is the largest in the province of British Columbia. )
As for River Rock, it only has 14 tables in its poker room, but play long (and well) enough, and you just might be granted exclusive access into the high stakes VIP room called the . Upon entry, be prepared to face players with some of the deepest pockets around. Players with very high skill levels should be able to clean house in this room. Then again, every other member was granted access in the first place because of how well they’d played, so matches here should be quite intense.
When it comes to playing poker in North America, most people immediately look to the poker rooms of Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Take your search a bit more towards the north, though, and you just might be treated some of the best poker action around.