Online Poker California – Best Legal CA Real Money Poker Sites in 2021
Although California’s land-based poker scene is robust, its online counterpart still has a long way to go. You’d think the state would already have a well-developed online poker market and licensed online operators, but that’s not the case. The largest state in the US has yet to reach state-wide regulation.
With land-based casinos offering world-class poker rooms, poker is always the top-choice among gamblers.
Still, if you’re looking for more convenience, online platforms are the best solution. While we’re all waiting for native poker platforms, players can join offshore gambling platforms that cater to California residents.
Where to Play Online Poker in California
We have handpicked a range of online poker sites where we just know everyone living in California is going to be able to access and play a very large and diverse range of online Poker games, with this in mind please have a good look through the following collection of legal California online Poker sites and checkout the size of their new player sign up bonuses, they are huge!
My list of the best US poker sites which I consider to be the best rooms to play in 2021:
- Ignition Poker
- BetOnline Poker
- Intertops Poker
- Juicy Stakes Poker
- Americas Cardroom
- Bovada Poker
- BlackChip Poker
- SportsBetting Poker
100% Legal & Licensed Verified Bonus Mobile Friendly Advertiser Disclosure. Must be +18 to participate.
All of the above California State online poker site bonuses are subject to change at any time, should any of them be of interest to you please visit the respective Poker sites website for full terms and conditions of any bonus listed.
My video review on online poker in California
Latest Online Poker News For Californian Poker Players
Unfortunately, California still hasn’t legalized online gambling. However, even though California residents will not see sportsbooks, online casinos, and poker platforms in 2021, next year might just be the one. Three ballot initiatives to legalize sports betting with support from various political interests are circulating in the state. Any of them could end up on the ballot in November 2022 if they manage to collect 997,000 signatures from registered voters or achieve a majority vote.
A lucky California gambler scored a huge win at Orleans hotel-casino in Las Vegas. Bruce came from San Diego to try his luck on Aristocrat Gaming’s Buffalo Grand and hit the $665,106 jackpot.
Mission Indians’ flagship San Manuel Casino will soon change its name to Yaamava’ Resort and Casino at San Manuel after launching a new $760 million hotel. Another California-based tribe, Koi Nation, will claim Sonoma County land to develop a new casino and hotel. One built Shiloh Casino and Resort will employ 1,100 people and offer a hotel, gaming facility, spa, meeting center, and six dining options.
How to Select a Good Online California Poker Room
It’s not difficult to locate an online poker room that caters to Californian players. There are plenty of them in operation. However, not all of them cater to the market on a good enough level. That’s why we have gone through the full range of them and singled out the platforms that provide gamers within California with a great experience – and a safe one, too!
All of the poker rooms that we recommend here have gone through thorough testing and we’ve reviewed them in full, too. By checking through these reviews, you’ll be able to find out which ones hold respectable licences, which ones cater to and support your preferred payment method, how good their withdrawal processes are and much more. Reading through such will allow you to filter them to find out which one(s) works best for you.
Selecting a good online California poker room isn’t something that should just be done on a whim. After all, this is all to do with money. Online gambling shouldn’t be taken lightly by anyone. Find a site that you feel comfortable with. See what kind of licensing status it has. Find out about its various offers. Check to see how long it has been in operation. Uncover what kind of poker games it provides within its lobby. See if it supports your preferred payment method. All of these features are what you should look out for and more.
There’s little doubt that there will be one or more online poker rooms that will cater to your preferences. Then, it’s simply a matter of registering at the site and proceeding on with your initial deposit to start playing the games there.
History Of Poker In California
The beginnings of poker can be traced back to the 19th century. Thanks to the Gold Rush, San Francisco quickly became one of the US’s leading gambling destinations. Over time, multiple state governments have attempted to make poker illegal, but somehow, the game always managed to persevere.
In the late 20th century, two significant events led to a poker boom in California. In 1987, California legalized the flop version of Hold ‘em, Stud, and Omaha poker. Until that moment, the state only allowed draw variants of the game.
Since California already had a solid poker foundation, the number of games in the region drastically grew. At that time, the state welcomed the legendary poker rooms in the Commerce Casino and The Bicycle Club that operate to this day.
The second event that brought even more popularity to poker happened in 1988 when Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), allowing casino properties to operate on Indian land. In the next couple of years, the number of poker rooms rapidly grew. To this day, some casinos in California are the most popular poker destinations.
Is it Legal to Play Poker Online in California?
While the state of California hasn’t got any laws regarding the legal status of online poker, players from there still have the ability to access such games. In fact, California is one of the largest states within the country, meaning that a large portion of players actually operate from there. Essentially, the reason that there aren’t any specifically legal online poker rooms in operation within California, is because there are no regulations in place to allow it.
Yet, there is still a perfectly legal way of accessing online poker from California. Players simply have to sign up to a site that operates from outside of the US. It’s not difficult to find such sites, with many providing their services out of locations like Costa Rica, Panama, Antigua, Curaçao and others. And while some online poker rooms that provide their services to the US do block certain states, California isn’t one of those.
This means that regardless of which online poker room you choose to access from The Golden State, you should still be able to register and deposit there to enjoy rounds of poker.
There are many of these sites for you to access and join in with playing poker alongside other US citizens. In fact, we’ve located plenty of them for you as well, meaning that you can check out the ones that we think are the best. This will help you to avoid any poker rooms that may seem shady and take you along to those that can be trusted instead.
Laws & Regulations In California
With the introduction of the UIGEA in 2006, many poker rooms were affected – especially when it came to the online poker industry. Many companies pulled out of the United States entirely, although California’s constitution doesn’t mark poker gameplay as illegal in any way.
This is more so relative to land-based poker though, which means that the state maintains a strong selection of card rooms throughout the land.
These have been in operation since around 1850 when California officially became a US state.
Unfortunately, online poker isn’t considered to be a specifically legal operation within the state. That’s not to say that it is illegal, but the UIGEA is still in effect across the US, which does put restrictions on what California is able to do as far as online poker is concerned. Tribal casinos are their own entity, and even though people from the state have been trying to get laws passed through to establish legal online poker, a lot of backlash has come from the tribal communities.
In more recent years though, things seem to have died down with the intention of legalising online poker in California.
For example, much of 2018 and throughout 2019 so far, no poker-related proposals were put forward during legislative sessions. This is a bit of an unfortunate outcome, although the Supreme Court did overturn the PASPA ban in May of 2018. Perhaps a new ruling on online poker will come in due course.
Recent Attempts To Make Poker Legal In California
Based on my research, the first attempts at creating a regulated online poker market date back one decade. To my surprise, I discovered that the person who started a petition to launch a state-run poker platform was Anthony Sandstrom, a YouTuber. Unfortunately, the attempt was unsuccessful after he failed to gather the 430,000 necessary signatures.
In 2008, Assemblyman Lloyd Levine attempted to introduce the California Gambling Control and Intrastate Poker Legalization Act. However, the tribal gaming sector was against such legislation because it would interfere with their interests. That endeavor was rejected, and so were others in the following couple of years.
In 2016, two Assemblymen introduced the Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act intending to authorize entities to apply for seven-year licenses to operate online poker platforms. Although this move seemed promising, it was later rejected. That’s how the state of California remains to this day without a regulated online poker scene.
Future of Online Poker in California
As far as online poker legalization is concerned, California hasn’t made any significant progress in the last couple of years. One of the main reasons that the process always comes to a halt is the intense relationship between PokerStars and Pechanga.
In 2016, the Pechanga coalition suggested a ten-year freeze-out of PokerStars in the state of California. Fortunately for PokerStars, the petition never led to anything, but it ruined any progress previously made in this field. With no solution in sight, we just have to wait and see who will be the first to budge. Until that is resolved, online poker probably won’t become a regulated part of California’s gambling market.
Varieties of Online Poker in California
Playing poker in California is a great past time many enjoy, however those who may be just discovering poker online may be unaware of the different variants that they will have access to when registering with an online poker room. The positive side to this is the discovery will enlighten new players to not just the standard Texas Hold ‘em, but will see them being in the position to learn multiple other variants such as Seven Card Stud, Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo and Omaha Hi-Lo and standard Omaha.
One of the advantageous large poker rooms provide is learning tutorials. This can include detailed explanations on how each variant is played and include lessons relating to strategic playing techniques, to will include video tutorials.
When you consider the different variants that we mentioned, the one most played is Texas Hold ‘em as it is the version of poker most known to the majority of players, whether casual, professional or those that play home games. Its rules are the easiest to understand, however so too are the other variants, so taking time to learn them will not only provide an increase game variety but will increase your knowledge overall of poker and the finer details to playing it.
Payment Options On Californian Poker Sites
As you can see, online poker sites offer plenty of deposit options to their users. Now, signing up to an online poker site is one thing, but making a deposit into your account is quite another. You’ll need to know that the payment method that you prefer is supported at your chosen site before registering.
The introduction of 2006’s UIGEA law did affect transactions taking place to gambling sites, which was one of the main reasons that multiple operators chose to pull out of the US. However, since that time, various alternatives to bank transfers and card deposits have come into effect.
One of the best options to go for when it comes to depositing at an online poker room, is to use a cryptocurrency. There are so many cryptocurrencies available to use these days, including popular options like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin and Dash, to name but a few.
Because cryptocurrencies aren’t attached to any sort of central financial institution, the UIGEA law can’t have any sort of effect on them. This means that you can readily deposit and withdraw via any supported cryptocurrency. Due to this, multiple online poker rooms have taken the decision to start supporting such payments.
While cryptocurrencies are slowly taking over the online gambling industry, players who prefer more traditional payment providers can choose between various digital wallets, such as Neteller, Skrill, ecoPayz etc.
Other Alternative Payment Methods
If digital wallet or cryptocurrencies aren’t supported or if they’re just not your preferred payment method, one or two other options are generally available to utilise.
Many online poker rooms accept Money Orders as a valid form of payment. The issue with these can often be that they also come with transaction fees that you will need to pay for both depositing and withdrawing. The main other alternative to this is to make use of a Person to Person transfer, which operates in much the same way.
Before you request to withdraw any winnings, make sure you comply with all the requirements stated on the website. I always tell players to read the fine print — otherwise, the entire cash-out process can become complicated, and none of us want that. Therefore, check the withdrawal limits, transaction time, and any additional T&C you come across to ensure your cashout goes smoothly.
Advantages of Playing Online Poker in California
Many Poker players enjoy taking part in Poker Tournaments however it is often the case that getting to and from the venue where they are being held can prove to be hard, especially if those Poker Tournaments are being held out of State.
Thanks to the online Poker plying environment then you are able to instantly, and with no effort what so ever, take part, enter and play in a huge range of Poker Tournaments whenever and wherever you like, simply by logging into one of our featured Pokers sites.
With there are such a very diverse range of online Poker Tournaments available then you will find plenty of free of charge Poker Tournaments up for grabs, plus you will also be able to take part in Satellite Poker Tournaments which offer you the chance, via a very low entry fee, to win a direct entry into a large paying Poker Tournament.
There really are lots of additional benefits of moving your land based Poker playing action online, so do make sure you checkout all of the above listed sites who all have something unique to offer you whenever you choose to log on and play!
Is Playing Poker Online Safe in California?
There isn’t specifically direct and easy answer for this question, because it generally depends upon the poker room that you’re playing at. For example, players from California won’t have any issues with accessing online poker sites, but not all of them operate in a safe and secure way. This is why it’s always good to make sure that the platform you’re accessing holds a gambling licence or at least has a good reputation behind it.
To put it simply, if an online poker room doesn’t have a gambling licence, then there aren’t really any regulations in place for it to adhere to in order to ensure that it’s providing you with a secure service. While some sites that don’t hold a licence do operate in a fair and just way, there are others that can take advantage of players who don’t know about this. So, while gameplay from California is a safe option, this can’t always be guaranteed unless you do your research beforehand.
Other than having a valid gambling licence and/or a good reputation, you should also check whether or not the platform is utilising a secure server and data encryption technology. Without such, there’s no guarantee that your personal data won’t be kept out of the sightline of prying eyes. It’s very important that an online poker room utilises these features, so that you know you’re not going to be giving up personal and private information to anyone and everyone by using it.
All payments to and from the poker room are carried out using reliable, professional payment processing companies and therefore receiving winnings withdrawn from the poker rooms is not an issue. Many now opt to use cryptocurrencies as all payments are untraceable and therefore remove any potential risk that pertains to federal laws. However, it is important to note; federal authorities do not prosecute individual players. They will, however, if deemed to be acting in defiance or against the wire act laws, will prosecute poker room operators but this is rare and has not occurred in years, so, therefore, playing in California is safe, and players should not have any worries or concerns in doing so.
Famous Poker Players From California
One California based Poker player that you may be familiar with is Erick A. Lindgren, one of the most successful Poker players who is from Burney in California.
He has proved to be a mean opponent at many Poker Tournaments and has so far won for himself two World Poker Tour titles and has managed to additionally win two World Series of Poker Bracelets.
You may have a few different questions regarding playing online poker in the State of California, and as such below we have listed the most frequently asked questions and answered them all for you!
Why is online poker still not regulated in a state as big as California?
Despite several attempts to regulate the online poker market in California, the state hasn’t managed to reach a decision and legalize online poker. The state currently offers many gambling opportunities. From land-based casinos and the horse racing industry to commercial cardrooms, many stakeholders are in play.Consequently, it’s been challenging to reach a consensus and find a solution that would benefit everyone. Therefore, we have yet to see how this situation will develop in the future.
Do players have to be in California to play online poker?
Given that California doesn’t have a regulated online poker scene and that the best options are offshore international poker platforms, players don’t necessarily have to be within state borders. However, if California legalizes online poker and regulates the market, they’ll need to be in the state. Until that happens, poker fans can enjoy playing various online poker games offered on the best gambling platforms.
What is the legal gambling age in California?
Generally, the state of California allows people older than 18 to partake in gambling activities. However, most casinos allow only those over 21 to enter. Still, since you’ll be playing in offshore online poker sites, you need to be 18 or older.
Are there bonuses for online poker players in California?
Are online Poker games available 24 hours a day in California?
YES. All poker games offered with online poker rooms are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is regardless of where you are located or the state you reside in.
Is there a charge or fee to download the online Poker sites software?
NO. Online poker rooms provide software free without the need to invest in purchasing the software as they retain full ownership of the software. You simply need to visit the poker room, click the download link and the software will begin downloading onto your computer. Some poker rooms are offered via a web browser and access to is also free to those that do.
Are Freeroll Poker Tournaments available to play online in California?
YES. Yes, all freerolls that are available to players online and not restricted to specific countries. Therefore entering freeroll tourneys is as simple as registering and being logged in at the time the tournament begins.
Can Private online Poker Tables bet set up at Poker sites?
YES. No, not all sites offer private tables. PokerStars is one of those that does however they currently do not allow those in California to register and play at the site.
Will I be able to play 7 Card Draw Poker online in California?
YES. Most online poker rooms offer 7 Card Draw Poker and those that reside in the state of California are able to access cash games, sit’n’go’s and 7 Card Draw Poker tournaments online.
Poker Sites by US States
- new hampshire
- new jersey
- new mexico
- new york
- north carolina
- north dakota
- rhode island
- south carolina
- south dakota
- west virginia