Legal California Online Poker

Even though California does have some land-based venues for playing poker like Commerce, The Bicycle, & Hollywood Park, just to name a few, there are still plenty of reasons why someone would want to play online. Let's start with the traffic on the California highways + interstates... it can basically be a parking lot, and not burning fossil fuels to travel to one of those casinos is much greener for the environment. Those in NoCal can definitely appreciate that because the scenery up there cannot be beat, and it's worth preserving.

In fact, there aren't too many things that SoCal + NoCal residents can agree on, but playing poker online is one of them. Without breaking down every single reason and boring you with the results, we're just going to focus on what matters most. Things like where to play online, which poker sites accept California residents, and more will be covered here on

But because you probably want to know if it's safe, and that you won't get into trouble, we give you this:

Is Online Poker Legal In California?

As of now, it is not illegal to play online poker in California. Furthermore, there are no shortage of online poker rooms that accept California residents. As a general rule of thumb, if you find a poker site that welcomes players from CA, you will not run into any trouble when it comes to dealing with the law.

The reason... most poker sites for California residents are not located in California, or in the U.S. for that matter, which means they are not subject to US anti-online gaming laws, nor are they regulated by California's laws about poker. For example, operating a gambling site that takes money, like an online poker room, anywhere in the U.S. would be considered illegal.

Recent changes have seen online poker rooms go live in neighboring states like Nevada (due to new online gambling legislation), but until California gets on board with regulation, sites like the ones listed below, the ones located offshore, are going to be the best option.

Legal Online Poker Sites For California Residents

We just covered why these poker sites are legal for California players, and why we chose to stick to international poker rooms, but now let us tell you why these are the best of the best. Below are quick reviews / reports on three of the top poker rooms that accept CA residents. These will help you get a better idea of the features that set these websites apart from their competitors.

Bovada Poker - $100,000 Tournaments On Sunday (Guaranteed), $150 Entry

The reasons to go with Bovada's online poker room as a resident in California are numerous. There are a great deal of things that this poker room is able to offer, which is enough to pique the interest of any type of online poker player. Bovada offers great online poker options, obviously including tables and tournaments. But there are additional things to check out as well, such as the $15,000 in monthly freerolls, or the Royal Flush bonus.

Outside of that, there is the World Series of Poker series that allows players at Bovada to qualify for WSOP events, including the Main Event, in which their $10,000 entry, plus more, is all covered! Even if California players are only interested in playing tables and small tournaments, the chance to play for real cash legally is here.

BetOnline Poker - 18 To Sign Up, Must Meet CA Gambling Age To Play For Money

The poker software at BetOnline is compatible for both a PC and a Mac, so prospective California players with either one will be able to get access. This opens the door to more potential players for BetOnline, while at the same time letting those who might not have a PC but want to play, in the picture as well.

So why go with BetOnline's poker room over some of these other sites? Well, it comes down to what you are looking for, and what you are able to deposit cash with. If a poker bonus is important to you, then BetOnline should be the top one to consider. They offer arguably the best bonus of any poker room. A bonus cap of $900 is offered for deposits made into BetOnline. And no, this isn't a one-time thing, this is a bonus for every deposit. And the funding options for your BetOnline account are numerous as well, with credit cards, wire transfers, and more available.

SportsBetting Poker - Bonuses Available On Every Deposit; Up To 25% / Up To $900

Whether you are a poker player with very little experience in the online world, or one that has played many tables and tournaments, will have something for you to get out of joining them. It's always good to try new things, and California poker players are more than welcome to try out If you do, you will probably end up staying with them, especially when you find out all of what they offer.

The bonuses are plentiful here, as are the ways that a player can deposit real money into an account in hopes of getting paid out big. When players do chose to withdraw some or all of their winnings, is more than happy to do that for you, by providing California players several choices, which include a check, wire transfer, or a bank wire.

More On The Legality Of Playing Online Poker In California

Help understanding California's gambling laws on poker can be found below. We break down the important parts of the statutes and tell you what you need to know. Plus, be sure to look at our section about the progression of regulating online poker in California. There are a lot of people in the state and a lot of those people play poker meaning there is a sizable chunk of revenue being left out there by not getting it in gear. Keep reading:

California Online Poker Laws

The legislation has yet to be updated to directly address poker games, and a bill is currently being discussed by the Senate. As of now, state laws ban all "percentage games", i.e. those where the "house" earns a percentage of all amounts wagered, whether or not clearly expressed. Roulette, for instance, is a good example of a game where the house has an edge, as the odds of winning "even money" bets (red/black) are less than 50%. Raked poker tables also fit this category, since the house gets a percentage of the winner's pot.

Playing at home is also illegal, as per the California Criminal Code. You are not allowed to host or operate any controlled games, and poker is regarded as one. However, when it comes to enforcement, chances are no one will care if you play a few hands with your friends at a party. When it comes to playing in somebody else's house, you are on the safe side, as long as you aren't helping the host with setting up and running the game. The same goes when playing online: you may not set up a poker room, but you are allowed to play.

Online Poker Regulation In California

A bill proposed to legalize and regulate online poker in the state of California was brought forth at the onset of 2013. After several months of revisions, spring of 2013 presented the newest draft of the bill. This piece of legislation seeks to regulate online poker, and online poker only, with the rest of the Internet gaming sections such as casinos and sports betting left off of this list.

Known as the Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act of 2013, the purpose of this is to create regulated and licensed Internet poker sites for California residents. Like we've seen with other online poker bills such as the case of Nevada, there is a 'bad actor' clause in this which stipulates that any online poker site allowing California players prior to the passing of this potential bill would not be able to legally accept players.

This is not the first time that California has tried to pass some legislation for legal poker in the state. But with Nevada recently passing Internet poker in their state, the state might feel pressed for time to do the same thing to keep up with them and prevent residents in the state from going over to Nevada to play. California appears to be trying to regulate and tax online poker to keep the revenue generated in house. Whether this law gets passed in 2013 or at all we do not yet know. Even if it does not, don't expect this to be the last attempt.


Is it Legal to Play Land-Based Poker in California?

From the foggy shores of San Francisco to the sun drenched beaches of San Diego, Poker players have long recognized California as America’s greatest poker buddy, always eager to host a legal live game. Residents of California enjoy some of the most relaxed poker laws in the entire United States and players flock to the Golden State for a chance at serious card playing action. The State did put in place measures to regulate card rooms requiring them to obtain licenses to remain lawful in facilitating games for players but Poker has been largely unregulated for over 100 years in the Bear Republic. So long as residents adhere to the law of not operating an un-sanctioned card room or casino and are of legal age, locals may place bets or wagers however they wish without incident on any variation of the game. Since 1987, it has been established that there was no form of poker banned by California law, including flop games. Home games are permissible as well, as they lie within the legal realm as defined by California gambling laws, “Illegal forms of Gambling” in California include Slot machines and percentage games, Poker on the other hand is left alone.

Where Can One Play Land-Based Poker in California?

The answer to where one can play legal, live poker in California is a loaded question without a simple answer. The Golden State harbors well over 100 state-sanctioned card rooms and casinos which operate within its borders as well as over 30 tribal and Native American operated casinos which too, include live poker rooms.  All forms of poker remain legal in the state and all forms and variations of the game are present throughout the entirety of the State’s sanctioned chip hording hubs. Picking the right one for the right player is as simple or difficult as picking a point of light out of a clear California night’s sky. Poker stars abound from the northern regions all the way to California’s southern border. Wherever one is located in the State, there is sure to be a card room featuring Texas Hold ’Em tournaments or casual sit-and-play tables nearby, no matter how much or how little money you’re willing to risk. As the state motto recites, “Eureka! I have found it!” referring to the gold rush of the 1800’s, one may apply it to chip rush and wash of cards happily being dealt to all. Legal land-based poker is alive and well in California and always ready to host.

Live Dealer Poker Rooms In California

  • Casino (Petaluma, CA)
  • 19th Hole Casino (Antioch, CA)
  • 500 Club Casino (Clovis, CA)
  • Agua Caliente Casino (Rancho Mirage, CA)
  • Artichoke Joe's Casino (San Bruno, CA)
  • Aviator Casino (Delano, CA)
  • Bankers Casino (Salinas, CA)
  • Barona Resort & Casino (Lakeside, CA)
  • Bay 101 Casino (San Jose, CA)
  • Bear River Casino (Loleta, CA)
  • Bicycle Casino (Bell Gardens, CA)
  • Black Oak Casino (Tuolumne, CA)
  • Blue Lake Casino (Blue Lake, CA)
  • Bruce's Bar & Casino (Blythe, CA)
  • Cache Creek Casino (Brooks, CA)
  • California Grand Casino (Martinez, CA)
  • Cameo Club Casino (Stockton, CA)
  • Capitol Casino (Sacramento, CA)
  • Casino 99 (Chico, CA) Casino Club (Redding, CA)
  • Casino M8trix (San Jose, CA)
  • Casino Marysville (Marysville, CA)
  • Casino Monterey - The Marina Club (Marina, CA)
  • Casino Pauma (Pauma Valley, CA)
  • Casino Real (Manteca, CA)
  • Central Coast Casino Grover Beach (Grover Beach, CA)
  • Chumash Casino (Santa Ynez, CA)
  • Club One Casino (Fresno, CA)
  • Colusa Casino (Colusa, CA)
  • Commerce Casino (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Cordova Casino (Rancho Cordova, CA)
  • Coyote Valley Casino (Redwood Valley, CA)
  • Crystal Casino (Compton, CA)
  • Delta Casino (Stockton, CA)
  • Diamond Jim's Casino (Rosamond, CA)
  • Diamond Mountain Casino (Susanville, CA)
  • Eagle Mountain Casino (Porterville, CA)
  • Elk Valley Casino (Crescent City, CA)
  • Empire Sportsmen's Association (Modesto, CA)
  • Feather Falls Casino (Oroville, CA)
  • FLB Entertainment Center (Folsom, CA)
  • Garlic City Casino (Gilroy, CA)
  • Gold Country Casino (Oroville, CA)
  • Golden West Casino (Bakersfield, CA)
  • Graton Resort & Casino (Rohnert Park, CA)
  • Harrah's Resort Southern California (Valley Center, CA)
  • Hawaiian Gardens Casino (Hawaiian Gardens, CA)
  • Hollywood Park Casino (Inglewood, CA)
  • Hustler Casino (Gardena, CA)
  • Jackson Rancheria Casino (Jackson, CA)
  • Lake Elsinore Casino (Lake Elsinore, CA)
  • Limelight Card Room (Sacramento, CA)
  • Livermore Casino (Livermore, CA)
  • Lodi Casino (Lodi, CA)
  • Lucky 7 Casino (Smith River, CA)
  • Lucky Chances Casino (Colma, CA)
  • Lucky Lady Card Room (San Diego, CA)
  • Merced Poker Room (Merced, CA)
  • Mike's Card Casino (Oakdale, CA)
  • Morongo Casino (Cabazon, CA)
  • Mortimer's Card Room (Marina, CA)
  • Napa Valley Casino (American Canyon, CA)
  • Normandie Casino (Gardena, CA)
  • Oaks Card Club (Emeryville, CA)
  • Oceana Casino (Oceano, CA)
  • Ocean's 11 Casino (Oceanside, CA)
  • Ocean View Card Room (Santa Cruz, CA)
  • Old Cayucos Tavern Card Room (Cayucos, CA)
  • Outlaws Cardroom (Atascadero, CA)
  • Paiute Palace Casino (Bishop, CA)
  • Pala Casino (Pala, CA)
  • Palace Poker Casino (Hayward, CA)
  • Palomar Card Club (San Diego, CA)
  • Paso Robles Casino (Paso Robles, CA)
  • Pechanga Casino (Temecula, CA)
  • Pete's 881 Club (San Rafael, CA)
  • Players Casino (Ventura, CA)
  • Poker Flats Casino (Merced, CA)
  • Quechan Casino (Winterhaven, CA)
  • Rancho's Club Casino (Rancho Cordova, CA)
  • Red Hawk Casino (Placerville, CA)
  • Rogelio's Casino (Isleton, CA)
  • San Manuel Casino (Highland, CA)
  • San Pablo Lytton Casino (San Pablo, CA)
  • Stars Casino (Tracy, CA)
  • Stones Gambling Hall (Citrus Heights, CA)
  • Sundowner Card Room (Visalia, CA)
  • Sycuan Casino (El Cajon, CA)
  • Table Mountain Casino (Friant, CA)
  • Tachi Palace Casino (Lemoore, CA)
  • The Deuce Lounge & Casino (Visalia, CA)
  • Thunder Valley Casino (Lincoln, CA)
  • Tommy's Casino & Saloon (El Centro, CA)
  • Tortoise Rock Casino (Twentynine Palms, CA)
  • Towers Casino (Grass Valley, CA)
  • Turlock Poker Room (Turlock, CA)
  • Twin Pine Casino (Middletown, CA)
  • Village Club Card Room (Chula Vista, CA)
  • Win-River Casino (Redding, CA)


Note: As a final note, please remember that this site shouldn't be taken as legal advice. We are not legal counselors, but rather a group of enthusiast poker players who want to share some of our experience. If you need further information please contact an attorney.