California Poker

California has been a leader in the poker market, not only in the United States but around the world for decades. The fact that the state legally rates poker as a game of skill puts it head and shoulders ahead of other states, and yet when it comes to online poker, it continues to be stuck in the mud in a post-Black Friday world. This page will take a look at all things California – the love of land-based poker, the status of online poker and what Californians can do to get their poker fix.

Online Poker in California

Online poker was massive in California in the 2000s. With the rise of the offshore-based sites like PokerStars and Party Poker dominating the landscape, poker lovers in California were able to log on at any time of day and play in huge online tournaments. Many of these events were qualifiers for large land-based events being held in the state at places like Bay 101 and the Commerce, so online poker was, in fact, helping to grow the land-based game.

All that came crashing down in 2006 when the government passed a law making banking transactions for online gambling sites illegal. By 2011, real money online poker was dead in California. There have been multiple efforts to resurrect online poker via regulation, but in-fighting between all the tribal groups in the state left proposals without enough consensus to proceed. With sports betting getting a lot of news these days, online poker fans are hopeful that their favorite game may be included in some form of comprehensive gambling legislation.

Land Based Poker in California

Given that California considers poker to be a game of skill, you will not be shocked to know that there are dozens of poker rooms scattered around the state. Some of the largest are found in Los Angeles, but no matter where you are, it feels like you are close to a facility which has at least a handful of tables to provide cash games and small tournaments.

Here’s a complete list of the poker rooms in California:

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)
Cache Creek Casino (Brooks, CA)
California Grand Casino (Martinez, 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)
Chumash Casino (Santa Ynez, CA)
Club One Casino (Fresno, CA)
Colusa Casino (Colusa, CA)
Commerce Casino (Los Angeles, CA)
Coyote Valley Casino (Redwood Valley, 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)
Golden West Casino (Bakersfield, CA)
Graton Resort & Casino (Rohnert Park, CA)
Harrah’s Resort Southern California (Valley Center, CA)
Hollywood Park Casino (Inglewood, CA)
Hustler Casino (Gardena, CA)
Jackson Rancheria Casino (Jackson, CA)
Jamul Casino (Jamul, CA)
Kings Card Club (Stockton, CA)
Lake Elsinore Casino (Lake Elsinore, CA)
Larry Flynt’s Lucky Lady Casino (Gardena, CA)
Limelight Card Room (Sacramento, CA)
Livermore Casino (Livermore, CA)
Lucky 7 Casino (Smith River, CA)
Lucky Chances Casino (Colma, CA)
Lucky Lady Card Room (San Diego, CA)
Magnolia House Casino (Rancho Cordova, CA)
Merced Poker Room (Merced, CA)
Morongo Casino (Cabazon, CA)
Napa Valley Casino (American Canyon, CA)
Oaks Card Club (Emeryville, CA)
Ocean’s 11 Casino (Oceanside, CA)
Ocean View Card Room (Santa Cruz, CA)
Old Cayucos Tavern Card Room (Cayucos, CA)
Outlaws Card Parlour (Atascadero, CA)
Paiute Palace Casino (Bishop, CA)
Pala Casino (Pala, CA)
Palace Poker Casino (Hayward, CA)
Parkwest Casino Cordova (Rancho Cordova, CA)
Parkwest Casino Lodi (Lodi, CA)
Parkwest Casino Sonoma (Petaluma, CA)
Paso Robles Casino (Paso Robles, CA)
Pechanga Resort Casino (Temecula, CA)
Pete’s 881 Club (San Rafael, CA)
Players Casino (Ventura, CA)
Poker Flats Casino (Merced, CA)
Quechan Casino (Winterhaven, CA)
Rogelio’s Casino (Isleton, CA)
San Pablo Lytton Casino (San Pablo, CA)
Seven Mile Casino (Chula Vista, 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)
The Gardens Casino (Hawaiian Gardens, CA)
Thunder Valley Casino (Lincoln, CA)
Tortoise Rock Casino (Twentynine Palms, CA)
Towers Casino (Grass Valley, CA)
Turlock Poker Room (Turlock, CA)
Win-River Casino (Redding, CA)

Social Poker in California

Social Poker, online games where players play for free but win achievements and network recognition, really started in California when companies like Zynga realized the potential of the casual gaming market. Not long after launch, social poker games were boasting player numbers similar of those from the real money gaming world, and given the fact that players were willing to pay real money for stacks of play money chips, saying the online poker world was reinvented would be a gross understatement.

Today, poker players in California can still play one of the many social poker games available via mobile devices or directly through the social networks which launched their platforms over a decade ago.

Subscription Poker in California

Back in the late 2000s, a smart group of folks determined that as real money poker was being ripped out of the hands of American players, those who wanted to compete in online tournaments could do so via a loophole in sweepstakes law. With that knowledge, the subscription-=based poker platform was created. Today, a handful of those sites remain, where you can access tournaments to win prizes such as electronics and seats to land-based poker events all for one low monthly subscription fee.

Online Poker in California FAQ

If poker is so popular in California, why is so hard to get an online bill passed?

Poker is indeed incredibly popular in the state, as can be seen in the sheer number of card rooms we listed above. However, at the heart of the issue is trying to determine who would receive licenses in a regulated online poker environment. Many of the tribal groups believe that they should control the licensing at the casino level, while card room owners feel shut out of that discussion. Ultimately, the tribes are against online gambling as a whole as they believe it will infringe on their land-based gaming revenue. While this may be the case in the short term, poker has shown to be a driver of land-based activity (just ask Las Vegas how that is working out for them).

We see ads online for some poker sites that accept players from California. What gives?

You aren’t seeing things – these sites do exist. Even though the government cracked down on many of the poker sites, essentially shutting down the market, some smaller, more rogue operators managed to survive and continue to run games to this day. However, with so many great choices for land-based poker and online tools like social and subscription games, there is no reason to take on the risk of sending your money to another country just to play in some small online real money games.