Online Poker in California & CA Gambling Laws 2020

Online poker is massively popular all across the world. While it was legal in a widespread manner for many years across the United States this is no longer the case. If you are looking to play online poker in California, there are some offshore global poker sites that you can check out. This guide walks you through everything you need to know about playing online poker in California.

Top 3 Online poker Sites in California, CA, USA

For Californians, there are a number of ways in which you can play online poker if you wish to do so. We have handpicked the best online poker sites in California that are currently available for you:

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Is online poker in legal in California? No

Currently, online poker in California is not legal. There have been numerous attempts in recent years by lawmakers to try to introduce legislation for online poker legalization. However, to date there has not been much progress made on the issue. online poker california

The Native American tribes in the state have extensive tribal casinos operations and they do not want these to be put in jeopardy due to the expansion of online gambling in the state. One of the most notable tribal faiclitties is the Pechanga Resort Casino. There are legal Texas Hold’em, Omaha and five card stud California card rooms found all around the state similar to those in Nevada where you can play live poker, but you can only play in-person games at these facilities. You often see World Poker Tour events taking place in the state, particularly in and around Los Angeles. Currently, there are no Las Vegas-style commercial casinos in the state.

As mentioned there are commercial poker rooms and card rooms in California, with some of these establishments also offering player-banked games such as blackjack. The tribal casinos are also dotted around the region and there are a number of racetracks that allow for pari-mutuel horse racing betting. Currently, there is no legal sports betting or daily fantasy sports (DFS) wagering on offer either as part of the state gambling laws. Finally, you have the likes of the state lottery and sweepstakes that are popular in the region.

Our Recommended Online Poker Site in California

Our Rating

  • Well-respected platform
  • 200% first deposit bonus up to $1,000
  • Great range of tournaments
  • 400+ players per hour
intertops online casino

Top 3 online poker sites that accept players from California

If you want to start to play online poker in California, you have a few different options to do so. It is important that you are using a reputable platform that has plenty of liquidity, allowing you to play poker games as you please. After conducting extensive research, we have handpicked the best online poker sites for California residents.

1. Intertops Poker - A great long-term reputation (200% deposit bonus up to $1,000)

Intertops Poker has been around for more than two decades so you know you are dealing with a popular platform that is tried and tested. It shares its player base with that of Juicy stakes poker, with the player pool average at 400+ per hour.

You have the option to download the client or to play directly through your browser. There is a nice variety of Texas Hold’em and Omaha cash games for you to check out, with the lower stake US poker games being particularly popular. One of the main aspects of this offering is the tournaments. The fixed prize for most events will be from $250 up to $1,000.

With Intertops Poker, you have many different payment methods and 24/7 customer support. For new signups, you can get a 200% first deposit bonus up to $1,000, as well as getting 25 free spins for the online casino.

Our Rating

  • Well-respected platform
  • 200% first deposit bonus up to $1,000
  • Great range of tournaments
  • 400+ players per hour
  • No mobile app

2. Ignition Poker - Massive player base ($2,000 welcome bonuses)

Ignition Poker, formerly known as Bodog caters to players all across the US, including in California. It is a respected platform and it is one of the largest online poker California sites you will come across in the US. You have tons of guaranteed daily tournaments, as well as a wide range of stake sizes for cash games. As there are plenty of recreational players on Ignition Casino, games tend to be pretty loose and enjoyable.

The payment methods are a bit limited, with the withdrawal options being check, Bitcoin or bank wire transfer. At any given time, there will be between 1,000 and 3,000 players online, so there is a lot of liquidity, so you won’t be waiting to get into games. There is truly something here for all types of poker players. For those people signing up for an account for the first time, there are welcome bonuses of up to $2,000 on offer.

Our Rating

  • Large player pool
  • Guaranteed daily tournaments
  • Good reputation
  • Welcome bonuses up to $2,000
  • Limited withdrawal options

3. Bovada Poker - One of the best around (100% first deposit bonus up to $500)

Bovada Poker is another platform that has a long history in the internet poker space. It caters mainly to a US player base, being based in Costa Rica. It has a simple, yet effective design. The player pool is currently the largest in the US today, thanks to it being part of a great network that is similar to what Pokerstars uses. As there are anonymous tables, all HUDs are eliminated, making the playing field a lot more even. Thanks to the large player base, most of your bases will be covered for cash games and sit and gos. Even some more niche poker variants will be open to you to try out.

Most of the tournaments at Bovada Poker are guaranteed and usually take place on a daily basis. While there is no app you can download for Bovada Poker, there will be some tournaments that cannot be accessed through mobile play. Thankfully, Bovada Poker has a great record for processing payouts in a quick manner, despite not holding a regulatory license. For new players, there is a 100% first deposit bonus up to $500 on offer.

Our Rating

  • Massive player base
  • Great variety of cash games and sit and gos
  • 100% first deposit bonus up to $500
  • Dedicated mobile app
  • Not all tournaments available on mobile

How we rate the best California online poker sites

There are a lot of different offshore online poker sites that cater to people living in the state of California. They vary in terms of their offerings and will have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages. We look at an online platform across a wide set of criteria, giving players a good overview of what they can expect for a given platform. Here are some of the important areas that are looked at:

  • Range of different poker variants
  • Player base and liquidity
  • Reputation of the platform
  • Promotions for players
  • Selection of tournaments
  • Cash game stakes variations
  • Customer support
  • Payment methods
  • Loyalty rewards program
  • Mobile offering

What to consider when choosing a poker site

As soon as you have come up with a shortlist of options to play online poker in California, you can then conduct some final narrowing down to a single platform that fits your needs. To do so, you need to be clear on what is most important to you when it comes to an online poker site. This could be having a strong mobile platform or simply supporting a certain payment method. Here are some of the most important aspects of an online poker site to consider:

Legal standing

While there is no online poker in California that is regulated, the offshore platforms you will be using will often be regulated in other jurisdictions. You want to ensure that a given site is safe and secure for you to use and not a bad actor.

Promotions

A lot of online poker sites will have some sort of welcome offer, as well as regular perks for players. These include the likes of tournament freerolls and cashback offers. Many sites also have a loyalty rewards program in place.

Payment methods

It is important that an online poker site has sufficient payment methods that you can use. This allows you to safely and securely add and withdraw funds. Check what the processing times are like, as well as any fees or limits that are attached.

Customer support

If you ever run into an issue with your account, you want to be sure that this can be resolved in a quick and effective manner. Have a look at what the support contact options are, as well as opening hours and quality of responses.

Player base

One of the most important aspects to look for in an online poker platform is that there are enough players using the platform to allow you to play your preferred games and for there to be sufficient liquidity.

Game selection

You want to have access to your preferred types of online poker. This could be tournaments, sit and gos or regular cash games. You want to make sure that your focus is well looked after in terms of availability of players and opportunities.

The future of online gambling in California

If you are based in the Golden State and hoping for legal online poker anytime soon, then you may be waiting for some time. You may have to rely on the likes of card games at card clubs rather than online poker rooms. While there have been a few attempts by lawmakers in recent times to legalize the activity, not much progress in legality has been made. It is still banned under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcment Act (UIGEA). The significant political influence of the California tribes will likely prevent any move to legalize online poker or online gaming. The likes of Pokerstars, WSOP, Bovada and Intertops will continue serving the Californian market until that day.

It may take a move to legalize online sports betting before there is any hope for online poker in California going down the same road and the likes of Pokerstars making a return. However, you should still keep an eye on all of the latest developments, as matters can change in the blink of an eye with changing opinions of stakeholders. Some people who might lead the way include Assemblyman Adam Gray, Mike Gatto and Isadore Hall as they are involved in other forms of gambling expansion in the state.

Where else is online gambling legal in the US?

Different forms of gambling online has been gradually expanding across the United States in recent years in what many liken to the gold rush. The main catalyst for this trend was the ending of the federal ban on sports betting in May 2018 following a Supreme Court vote. This paved the way for online sports betting, with this being the norm in many states, despite the Department of Justice changing its mind on the Wire Act.

The adoption of online sports betting has been a gateway to legalize online casinos also in some regions, with moves to push through an online poker bill also looking inevitable. State governments and legislators see the lucrative revenues they can get their hands on, as well as helping to stop real money going to offshore operators. New Jersey and Pennsylvania are prime examples of the great revenues that internet gambling can generate. Even small states like Delaware have real money poker sites available. Here is a look of the online gambling situaiton in different states:

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY DC

Best online casinos in California

If you are a fan of casino games also, such as blackjack, roulette and slots, then there are many different online casinos in California that you can also try out if you want a break from poker. Here are some of the best online casinos in California today that have been handpicked by our team of experts:

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Bottom line

As you can see, there are plenty of possibilities for you to play online poker for real money in California using offshore platforms. Once you do your research and choose safe and secure online poker sites with plenty of liquidity, you will have an enjoyable experience playing online poker.

FAQs

What age do you need to be to play online poker in California?

This will depend on what platform you are using to play online poker. There are some online poker sites that only require you to be 18 years old, while others will only allow players who are at least 21 years old.

Do the offshore online poker sites have mobile offerings?

Mobile online poker has become more and more popular in recent years. People want the option to play poker on the go in an enjoyable manner. This has led to many of the offshore platforms developing apps that you can download or browser sites that are optimized for mobile play.

How do the offshore poker sites make their money?

A lot of people wonder how it is that online poker sites make their money. This is mainly done in two ways. They will take a slice of the entry fee for tournaments and they will also take a rake from the pots during cash games. You should be aware of the rake rates before signing up for a platform.

Can you use most payment methods for online poker in California sites?

Most popular payment methods will be offered on these offshore platforms. The likes of credit cards, debit cards, bank transfers and e-wallets are often supported. Some banks in California may block transactions to online gambling platforms.

How many online poker accounts can you have?

You are only allowed to open a single account with every operator. However, this does not mean that you can't open accounts with different poker sites. This allows you to play your preferred tournaments, get access to all of the welcome offers and enjoy any other associated perks.

Andrew O'Malley

About Andrew O'Malley

Alex has been writing about the gambling industry for more than five years, covering everything from sports betting to casinos and poker. With the sector constantly evolving, he loves nothing better than staying up to date with the latest movers and shakers in the space.