People have been playing poker in California for nearly as long as the game has been around.
Over the years the relationship between poker and the Golden State has even been showcased in major Hollywood films including 1974’s California Split with George Segal and Elliott Gould.
That tradition has continued with various celebrities taking up poker as a hobby (sometimes an extremely high-stakes hobby!).
Thanks to the state’s close proximity to Las Vegas some of the best poker players in the world come from California including Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari and JC Tran.
Online poker in California is a brave new world, however, and with a plethora of new offerings to choose from it’s important to get the most bang for your buck.
Fortunately PokerListings has over a decade of experience in reviewing poker rooms and has created a toplist of the best online poker sites in California.
Can You Play Online Poker in California?
You can! Or at least you will be able to soon. While traditional card rooms have a rich history in California it’s only recently that legal online poker has finally been introduced to the state.
At the end of the day the legal climate for online poker in California is a moving target so it’s best to keep up to date by following our California poker news updates.
But Didn’t Lawmakers Outlaw Online Poker?
It’s never been illegal to play online poker in the U.S. but the DOJ did clamp down on the operators running online poker sites.
You’re probably thinking about UIGEA in 2006 and Black Friday in 2011.
To summarize: The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act forced publicly traded online poker sites out of the U.S. market by making it illegal to process transactions – not to play.
Five years later the DOJ indicted a couple of privately run sites to get them out of the market as well. Those sites have since settled with the U.S. market and are set on returning.
Over the last few years online poker has slowly been legalized in a few states but California is the biggest market yet to jump on board.
Are the California Poker Sites Good?
Yes. Fortunately the poker industry has matured considerably over the last 5-10 years and the current software has weeded out a lot of the problems with early versions.
More game variety than ever before is being offered and most of the California poker sites are just versions of poker software that’s been tried and tested throughout the rest of the world.
That’s a good thing because they can provide superior experiences compared to starting from scratch.
Will There Be Anyone to Play Against?
Although legal online poker in California is still new, it didn’t take long for people to get on board.
Thanks to the massive population in California online poker sites are hopeful it could single-handedly reboot the industry in the United States.
While the state doesn’t have access to the truly massive worldwide pools of the major sites it still offers a ton of tournaments, cash games and Sit & Go’s to play.
Can I Play Against Players in Other States?
Not yet but that is something that’s believed to be in the works. There is a great deal of government red tape involving intra-state poker.
A unified poker network would be better for everyone as online poker players would have access to bigger fields and bigger prize pools while fledgling U.S. poker sites would finally be able to grow in earnest.
How Do I Get Money on California Poker Sites?
Fortunately this part is really easy since online poker is completely legal in California now.
If you’ve ever purchased anything you should be able to deposit money on a poker site. Just pull out your credit card or debit card and you should be able to get money on a site.
Keep in mind there are a variety of age and location verification steps so you’ll have to prove you aren’t underage/out-of-state before your start playing.
What Are Deposit Bonuses? Will I Get One?
New players are the lifeblood for online poker sites so they have no problem providing a little extra incentive for signing up.
That usually comes in the form of a sign-up bonus where the site will match a certain percentage of whatever amount you deposit. These are a great way for new players to build a bankroll and you should definitely looking into getting a bonus code.
As one of the oldest poker guides PokerListings has always prided itself on getting exclusive bonus deals for players who sign up using one of our codes or links.