Poker in California
The Golden State has more people than any other US state. Both business and fun revolve around this central location. Even in the realms of gambling and poker, it is a major factor. And Poker in California is not entirely frowned upon.
There are a lot of big casinos spread out across the state. The Commerce Casino, the Cache Creek Casino Resort, and the California Grand Casino are just a few examples. Poker players all over the world flock to watch the popular cash game show Live at the Bike from the Bicycle Casino in Bell Garden, California.
In addition to California being home to Stones Gambling Hall. After the Mike Postle cheating scandal broke, they stopped streaming their live cash games. In the annals of poker’s recent past, this scandal ranks near the top.
Veronica Brill, a worker in the poker room, tweeted about some suspicious plays by Mike Postle. Members of the 2+2 Forum, led by poker YouTuber Joey Ingram, sifted through hours of footage of Postle making absurd performances as well as winning at an unthinkable rate. Coupled with the incessant checking of his phone in his lap, this led many to believe he was receiving real-time information from the control booth about his opponents’ hole cards. Since Stones used RFID readers to create the visuals for their live streams, a number of employees, many of whom were acquainted with Postle, were aware of the exact cards that each player was holding.
Regrettably, all that came out of this case was the exposure of a shocking gap in California’s anti-gambling legislation. Despite the fact that Postle and Stones were sued, the case was dismissed due to a law that has been in effect since 1851 (!) and states that claims related to gambling debts cannot be arbitrated in court, even if there is alleged cheating involved.
As for the state’s modern gambling laws, the casinos were first established by the state’s indigenous population. Local governments have no authority to prohibit such businesses, as the Supreme Court ruled in 1987. In 1997, after a decade of debate, the Gambling Control Act was enacted, outlining the steps necessary for non-Native Americans to run betting businesses in the state legally.
- 3,957,000 people live here.
- The city of Oklahoma City serves as the capital.
- Money in US Dollars ($)
- Shorthand for “Oklahoma” is OK.
- They have UTC-6 time zone.
Where You Can Play Poker in Casinos:
- Palace Poker Casino
- Ocean’s Eleven Casino
- Commerce Casino
- The Bicycle Hotel & Casino
- The Gardens Casino
- Palace Poker Casino
- Oaks Card Club
Californian Poker Stars Who Made It Big
Doug Polk, a major force in the online poker community, hails from Pasadena. He has won three gold bracelets at the WSOP. To the tune of $3.687 million, he won the $111,000 buy-in High Roller for One Drop event at the 2017 World Series of Poker. Once upon a time, he reigned supreme as the world’s best player of high-stakes heads-up cash games. He returned to the format in 2020 for a much-anticipated challenge against Daniel Negreanu, which he ultimately won.
Los Angeles native Chris “Jesus” Ferguson won $1.5 million at the WSOP Main Event in 2000. He used to be a huge name in poker, having appeared on Poker After Dark on NBC and High Stakes Poker on GSN.
Later on, however, he earned a reputation as one of poker’s most despised players. As it turned out, he and his business partners had been unlawfully mishandling funds while operating the defunct online poker room Full Tilt. Even though he avoided prison time, his virtual casino was closed down, and player finances were frozen. Many years passed before PokerStars finally stepped in to help, and even then, it took time to reimburse the players.
Cali has a “spare” Main Event champion who hasn’t completely ruined his or her name. Santa Clara, California native Huck Seed paid $1 million to win in 1996.
Phil Ivey, one of the highest-rated players of all time, was born in the city of Riverside, California. His ten World Series of Poker bracelets put him in a tie for second all-time with Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan and far behind Phil Hellmuth’s record of fifteen. As the all-time leader in online cash game winnings, Ivey has raked in over $19.2 million from the highest-stakes games on Full Tilt.
The Legality of Playing Live Poker in California
Live Poker Legislation in California
The Gambling Control Act was enacted in 1997, as we mentioned upfront. That statute is still in force today. The law mandates that operators of gambling establishments in California must register with the California Gambling Control Commission for a permit (CGCC). $500 is required for the application and is non-refundable.
Two separate agencies are responsible for the regulation in California: the aforementioned CGCC as a stand-alone organization and the Bureau of Gambling Control under the California Department of Justice.
California Casinos with Live Poker
The Oceanside poker room at the Ocean’s Eleven Casino is named for the famous cast of the 1960 film about a group of thieves who pull off a heist. Among the cash games available are No Limit Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, and Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8-or-Better. From $1/$2 to $10/$25 can be wagered in NLHE, $2/$3 to $5/5 in PLO, and $4/$8 to $8/$16 in PLO8.
They host one or two tournaments each day, with buy-ins ranging from $55 to $230.
The Bicycle Hotel & Casino in Bell Gardens is the site of “Live at the Bike,” a popular online cash game stream. Mid-stakes ($5/$5 or $5/$10) NLHE shows are the norm for LATB, though high-stakes ($100/$200/$400) and Omaha episodes are occasionally featured. For unknown reasons, they were the target of a federal raid in April 2017.
Many prestigious poker tournaments, including the World Poker Tour LA Poker Classic, the LA Poker Open, the Los Angeles Poker Classic, and the California State Poker Championships, have been held at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles.
Major poker rooms can also be found at the Palace Poker Casino in Hayward, the Oaks Card Club in Emeryville, and the Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens (which additionally has uncommon 7-Card Stud cash tables).
Gambling in California
Land-Based Casinos and Card Rooms Online Poker
There is no mention of, or definition of, online gambling in the applicable California statutes. Therefore, while this may not constitute an overtly illegal act, neither does it establish that it is within the bounds of the law.
To begin, online gambling licenses are not available from the Gambling Commission. In this way, it is impossible for a California resident to use a legitimate online casino. Second, federal laws such as the Wire Act of 1961 and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 prohibit online gambling unless the state authority permits online gambling for its residents.
Because of this, most of the best online poker sites (like PokerStars, GG, and PokerBros) won’t accept players from California. In fact, this has always been the case ever since the disastrous Black Friday sales of 2011.
If you’re a California resident and you want to try your hand at online poker, you’ll need a virtual private network (VPN) or an unregulated app.