Gambling has always been controversial in the United States, and California is no exception. The state has a long-standing history of inclination towards various forms of gambling dating back to the Gold Rush era on the West Coast. As a result, California has become a popular destination for many types of games, second only to Las Vegas.
However, according to the California Penal Code, casinos and house-banked games are considered illegal, resulting in a limited number of legal gambling establishments in the state. Additionally, online poker regulations remain unregulated. This article will explore California’s online poker laws and a few sites you can visit to fulfill your desire to play poker.
List of Best Offshore Online Poker Sites for California Residents
True Poker, alongside Black Chip Poker and Americas Cardroom, is a member of the Winning Poker Network and is an ideal choice for those seeking a comprehensive rewards program to compensate them for their frequent play.
The Elite Benefits program provides cash bonuses and other perks to loyal customers, with an increasing rate of return based on the amount of play. However, to have a top-notch gaming experience at True Poker, it is advisable to download the Mac or Windows poker client. While a mobile poker room is available, the selection of games is limited. Furthermore, True Poker offers a 100% up to $2,000 bonus upon deposit for new customers.
BlackChip Poker, which operates on the same network as Americas Cardroom, offers various tables and tournaments frequently available on both platforms. These tournaments include several options, such as the weekly $215 Sunday Special with a guaranteed prize of $200,000, the periodic $5M+ Venom event, and a variety of MTT series with considerable prize pools.
Signing up through our referral links gives you a 27% rakeback when playing on BlackChip poker. Additionally, BCP features desktop software compatible with both Mac and Windows devices, while a mobile client is available for only a limited selection of games. Besides the rakeback offer, BCP presents new players with a 100% bonus of up to $2,000 on their initial deposit.
Coin Poker is a poker room focused on cryptocurrency and has introduced several innovative technologies that set them apart from other competing sites. Among these groundbreaking features is an in-house token, CHP, whose value fluctuates against well-known coins such as Bitcoin and the USD. In addition, the platform utilizes a decentralized shuffling algorithm and ID verification through Civic, along with several other modern elements.
CoinPoker is versatile and easily accessible, operating on PC, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. Moreover, users stand to benefit from an exceptional welcome bonus program that offers three bonuses worth up to $700 each, 100% of the initial deposit. Additionally, investors holding a balance of the platform’s proprietary crypto coin, CHP, can earn up to 30% weekly rakeback.
Despite lacking the bustling lobbies of its highly-visited competitors, Everygame sets itself apart with its exceptional promotional offerings. Players can count on a standard rakeback of 36% and additional opportunities to boost their earnings through various rewards, including weekly rake races, reload bonuses, VIP levels program, overlay tournaments, and others.
While Windows users can benefit from the easy-to-use Everygame Poker download client, those on other hardware can still access the game via their browsers’ Instant Play interface.
Moreover, new players can enjoy a generous welcome bonus that includes a 200% match up to $1,000 and 25 free casino spins. Further bonuses are available across three separate casinos and sportsbooks.
With numerous games running on average and stakes rising up to $10/$20, Ignition stands out as the Cali-friendly online poker room. The available formats include LHE, NL Hold’Em, PL Omaha, tournaments, fast-fold tables, and SNGs, among many others.
The poker room also features a $150K Gtd event every week, regular MTT series that pay out seven figures in prize money. The anonymity of players ensures recreational users are safeguarded from expert players for a carefree gaming environment. Ignition offers a diverse selection of poker software for download, including PC and Mac forms and web clients for your phone or tablet.
New Ignition members are eligible for a 100% poker bonus of up to $1,000 (or up to 150% up to $1,500 Bitcoin deposits) and an additional $1,000 for casino games.
Bovada, a partner of Ignition, shares the same players and poker games as its sister site. However, Bovada distinguishes itself by offering its users the opportunity to place bets on sports and horses through its sportsbook and racebook.
Additionally, users can also wager on non-traditional options such as esports, politics, and television programs in conjunction with more conventional selections such as NFL football, MLB baseball, NCAA college athletics, and more.
Bovada is compatible with Android and iOS devices as well as Mac and Windows. It offers attractive bonuses, including a 100% poker bonus of up to $500 and casino and sports deals worth up to $3,000 and $250, respectively. Moreover, BTC users can take advantage of even larger bonuses.
Online Poker Laws for California
The subject of online gambling is somewhat ambiguous in California, and this also extends to online poker. The legalization of online poker has been an ongoing conflict since 2008. Following the enactment of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006, most internet poker websites that were U.S-based ceased to accept American players.
Consequently, poker players in California are banned from online gambling with actual money. The only legal options are social games and sweepstakes poker sites. Presently, no online poker platforms are available in California. So, players should consider offshore poker sites as a replacement. Nevertheless, these platforms are also operating in a grey area. However, engaging in online poker on offshore sites will most likely not attract legal repercussions. Many legitimate offshore casinos offer an array of real money games. We urge you to explore some of the leading brands listed on this page since they are credible online poker rooms that offer multiple poker variations from some of the top providers in the industry.
Can I Play Online Poker in California with a VPN?
The legality of poker when using a VPN largely depends on various factors. If it is legal to gamble online in your jurisdiction and you are playing through a registered platform, then you are likely within legal boundaries.
However, it is important to note that using VPNs or proxies to bypass regional restrictions is generally not allowed in the casino’s terms of service. If the casino detects such activity, there may be consequences such as a ban or refusing to payout any winnings. We advise considering the potential risks and rewards before attempting to gamble while using a VPN.
Related article: Can You Use VPN To Bet?
Despite prolonged discussions surrounding online poker, the emphasis has now shifted toward legalizing sports betting. Consequently, residents of California who are avid poker players will more than likely be unable to engage in real-money poker games online within the state soon.
However, it is worth noting that player liquidity would not be an issue in California, given the state’s population is more than four times that of New Jersey and three times that of Pennsylvania, where online poker is already legalized.
That being said, the legalization of online gambling, including poker, will remain unlikely until California can successfully legalize sports betting, including online sports betting platforms.
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