All in, eh? The history of poker in Canada

History of poker

You hear a lot of people talk about how Canada is pretty big on the international poker circuit. After all, we've seen big name Canadians take down poker tournament after tournament, including mega stars like Daniel Negreanu and Jonathan Duhamel, both of whom have collectively won tens of millions of dollars.

But it's not just about what Canadian poker players are doing abroad. It's about what's happening here at home. Canada's poker history is ridiculously rich, especially when it comes to what's happening online.

We've put together a list of the most important moments in Canadian online poker history. What you'll discover about Canada's involvement in poker will definitely surprise you.

Sometimes you get a better idea of how to master poker and other games when you know the history.

  • Learn the history of poker and its evolution in Canada
  • Get to know the Kahnawake Gaming Commission
  • Learn how Jonathan Duhamel made history

1995 - Two Canadian brothers, Andrew and Mark Rivkin, start a company called CryptoLogic in their parents' basement. The company develops a secure online financial transaction system, and they want to take it to the next level.

1996 - Cryptologic grabs its first licensee, InterCasino. The online casino uses CryptoLogic's gaming software, payment processing services, and support services. A number of online poker sites follow.

1996 - The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is established on the Kahnawake native reservation, just outside of Montreal. The commission is created to licence and regulate online poker rooms and other Internet gambling sites. Today, over 250 different gambling sites are licensed by the commission.

2001 - Isai Scheinberg, a Canadian businessman, starts a little online poker site called PokerStars. Today, the company is worth billions and is the largest online poker site on the planet.

June 2010 - The province of British Columbia becomes the first jurisdiction in Canada - and in North America - to offer government-sanctioned online poker over the Internet.

June 2010 - Canadian poker player Jonathan Duhamel makes history as the first Canadian to win the World Series of Poker Main Event. He wins $8.9 million for topping a field of 7,319 players.

December 2010 - The province of Quebec starts its own online poker site, Espace Jeux. The site is open exclusively to residents of the province of Quebec. Also in December, the Playground Poker Club opens just outside of Montreal, in Kahnawake. Playground Poker Club would go on to become of the most popular poker clubs in North America, attracting poker players and celebrities from all over the world.

April 15, 2011 - The Department of Justice in the United States shuts down three of the biggest online poker sites, including PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and UltimateBet/Absolute Poker. No Canadians are affected by PokerStars' shutdown as the site continues to operate. However, Canadian players of the other two sites find difficulty in getting their hands on their money.

April 16, 2011 - With millions of online poker players in the United States left without a place to play, many contemplate making the move to Canada, where poker players are free to enjoy the game they love.

March 2012 - OLG, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp, announces a plan to modernize its gambling business. Part of its plan includes creating an online poker site.

May 2012 - The province of Quebec hosts The Grand Loto-Quebec Poker Tournament, Canada's biggest online poker tournament. It features a first place prize of $1 million, paid out in the form of a $1 million seat in the Big One for One Drop in Las Vegas.

July 2012 - Guy Laliberté, Co-founder and CEO of Cirque du Soliel, finishes fifth in the Big Drop for One Drop tournament in Las Vegas for $1.8 million. He's the only Canadian at the final table.

January 2013 - The province of Manitoba launches its own provincial online poker site, based on the PlayNow platform.

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