Legal California Online Poker Sites

Unfortunately, most CA gambling laws and regulations haven’t been updated since 1873, in this guide find out the Legality of Online Poker in California

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Avatar Author Adrian Sterne
Fact checked by Dusan Jovanovic

Unfortunately, most CA gambling laws and regulations haven’t been updated since 1873 and target very specific forms of gambling. As a result, California deems a small number of gambling venues and casino games legal.

On top of that, the state doesn’t regulate online gambling at all. That leads us to a limited number of places where the Golden State’s residents can play both land-based and online poker in California.

Keep reading to learn more on this topic.

To answer this question, we’ll have to discuss two concepts — the legality of poker and the legality of online gambling in California. We’ll do that by covering the California gambling regulations in more detail below.

Poker Laws

LawCalifornia’s Penal Code 330 PC, initially introduced in 1873, prohibits that its residents carry, deal, or play any house-banked and percentage games.

These games are known as Class III or Nevada-style games. In addition, the same regulation outlaws 11 casino games by name.

Poker is not one of the 11 games California bans explicitly, but it is considered a Class III game. So, Californians cannot bet real money in a game of poker anywhere in CA’s land-based gambling venues, with one exception — tribal casinos.

Tribal casinos are regulated by the CA’s Indian Gambling Regulatory Act issued in 1988. This act’s established an individual regulatory body in charge of all gaming occurring on Indian land. So, tribal casinos allow Californias to play regular real money poker on their premises. However, they have to adhere to the law that stipulates the legal age for poker in California, that is, be at least 18 years old to play.

As we’ve already mentioned, online gambling is not regulated in California. So, you won’t find any online casinos licensed in this state to play real money poker either. However, Californians can play poker using digital coins in sweepstakes and social casinos in this state.

Below you’ll find a list of the laws we’ve referenced. Make sure you’re familiar with all of them before you play poker in California.

Best Legal Poker Rooms in California

It might seem that the above-discussed laws leave Californians little to no choice for playing poker in the state. Yet, that’s not entirely true. Poker aficionados have found a way to go around the CA gambling restrictions and still enjoy pursuing this universally popular hobby. The following paragraphs discuss how you can play both online and land-based real money poker in Califonia.

My list of the best poker sites which I consider to be the best rooms to play in 2024:
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  • Must be 18+ to participate.
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How to Register at a Legal Online Poker Site in California

If the idea of playing in an offshore online poker room excites you, you’ll be happy to know that you can do that quickly. Simply follow our step-by-step guide below, and enjoy the best real money online poker in no time.

Choose A Poker Room

Choose the poker room you like the most from our table at the beginning of the article.


Open its official website and select the Join button.

Fill in the necessary information like your birth date, address, email, user name, and password.

Confirm your account request and wait for a verification email from the poker room.

Use the verification code from this email to confirm your email address and log into your account.

Deposit & Play

Make a deposit and choose the poker variant you’d like to play.

Land-based Casinos With Live Poker

Besides the mentioned card rooms, Californians can play different poker variants in 76 Indian casinos in the state. These gambling venues host various poker games, employ friendly dealers, and promise a great overall gaming experience.

If you’re a fan of standard real money land-based poker, you can visit any of these Indian casinos in the Golden State. We’ve compiled a list of the ones that have the best poker rooms in the state below:

Other Resources

Final Thoughts

Even though California has strict gambling regulations and prohibits many casino games by name, its residents still play poker in the state. California licenses numerous land-based card rooms and tribal casinos that offer poker games.

You can count on tribal casinos that host traditional real money poker and card rooms where players bet against other players rather than the house. Californians can also play real money online poker if they join CA’s sweepstakes, social casinos, or offshore poker rooms that cater to US players. All in all, the options are plenty.


Is online poker legal in California?

California currently doesn’t regulate online gambling, including online poker. Since there are no laws that bar CA residents from playing real money online poker games, they can still join offshore online casinos. You can find a list of the best poker rooms at the beginning of the article.

What poker sites are legal in California?

Sweepstakes and social casinos are the only online poker sites licensed by California. Nonetheless, these platforms don’t offer real money poker games. If you’re interested in playing poker for real money, you can do so in offshore casinos listed at the top of the page.

Are my poker winnings taxable in California?

Yes, California imposes state and federal taxes on all winning from gambling, including poker.

Is California going to legalize online poker?

California has tried to introduce an intrastate online poker bill several times over the last couple of years. Nevertheless, all those attempts have been unsuccessful. While there’s no lack of interest in this regulation, stakeholders are finding it hard to agree on all the issues this type of bill should address.

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