Online Poker California December 2022

California online poker is alive and well, even though real money can’t be used.

For those seeking legal online poker in California, there’s no better option — or, really, no other option — than Global Poker, a social casino poker site that is fully legal in California and 48 other US states. It offers legal social online poker for poker players across the country.

Scroll down to learn more about Global Poker, which is as close to real-money online poker in California as you can get. You’ll also learn more about the legality of California poker sites, top online poker games, the difference between social casino poker and real-money online poker, and much more.

Is Online Poker Legal in California?

If you’re talking about real-money online poker in California, then no, like sports betting in California, it is not currently legal. No form of online gambling with real money, other than horse betting and DFS, is legal in the state.

However, in California and beyond, social poker sites like Global Poker avoid those poker laws and operate legally by providing poker players with two digital coins to use:

  • Gold Coins, which you can buy and serve as the primary game token, do not have any real-world value.
  • Sweeps Coins, which are earned via rewards, mailing-in, or by purchasing Gold Coins, are the tokens for sweepstakes games. They can be redeemed for real cash prizes and gift cards.

Games are divided into two types: Gold Coins games and Sweeps Coins games. Because neither of these digital coin varieties is real money, players aren’t technically gambling. The rules for each game depend on the variation and number of players.

Online Poker California: Play at Global Poker

Of all the available social casino poker sites, Global Poker is without question, the best poker site in California. It provides poker players with a stable platform, a consistent user base, and the most popular game variations, including Texas hold’em and Omaha hold’em.

Essentially, it gives users of its online poker rooms all the same experiences of a real-money poker site.

Plus, using our bonus code FLUSH, Global Poker has a welcome bonus that new players will appreciate: 30 FREE Sweeps Coins and 150,000 Gold Coins for $10 — which is essentially the same as a purchase bonus in real-money gambling terms.

You can also get an extra purchase bonus of 40 FREE SC plus 200,000 GC for $20. That offer doesn’t require a code.

And the best part? You don’t have to put in any money to play, so Global Poker allows you to play free poker.

Get 150,000 Gold Coins for $10+ 30 FREE Sweeps Coinswith promo code FLUSH
Global Poker California

4.4

Best Online Poker in CA

Pros

  • No other legal CA online poker option even comes close to as good for playing poker
  • Redeem your winnings for real cash prizes and more
  • Wide selection of poker games to play
  • use promo code FLUSH

Cons

  • Customer service could improve
Legal in California
Payout Speed 1-3 Days
Bonus Offer 30 FREE SC
Banking Options

Games and Tournaments at Global Poker

It’s easy to sign up for Global Poker. Simply head to our Global Poker review, click on our exclusive bonus code link, and sign up for free. From there, you can immediately begin playing poker online in Global Poker’s online poker rooms.

You can either play free poker, using Gold Coins. Or you can play using Sweeps Coins, hoping to eventually amass enough to redeem for real cash prizes or gift cards.

Global Poker offers a wide range of free poker tournaments online and SC tournaments, including multi-table tournaments and Sit’N’Go tournaments. There are weekly and daily tournaments (Sunday Scrimmage, Golden Scrimmage, Gold Rush, Bonanza, Daily Hundo), as well as the Global Poker Championships (The Goat, The Eagle, Rattlesnake Open, Grizzly Games).

You can also play all the most popular poker game variations, including Texas hold’em and Omaha hold’em, as well as table casino-style games, such as Caribbean poker, blackjack, and casino hold’em. The game variety is just one reason it’s one of the top poker sites in the world.

Can You Win Real Money at Global Poker?

Yes, you can technically win real money through winnings that are redeemable for real cash prizes, even though it’s not a real-money online poker site. As mentioned, players can use their Sweeps Coins to play online poker for winnings that can be redeemed for real cash prizes.

Essentially, any SC winnings can be redeemed. However, most social casino poker sites require players to accumulate a minimum number of Sweeps Coins before redeeming them for cash or prizes. For Global Poker, that minimum is 50 SC.  Sweeps Coin redemption is a straightforward process performed through the poker site’s interface. After your identity has been verified, the money will typically be wired directly to your attached bank account.

How Do You Play Global Poker in California?

Global Poker is really the only legal online poker site in California. It does not have an app — just a desktop interface. But it’s also optimized for mobile browsers, so it feels exactly like playing on an app.

These California social casinos usually require a few bits of identifying information for you to sign up for an account. This will include your name, email address, and perhaps your Social Security number to verify your age. You only need to provide a form of ID and proof of address when you go to redeem your Sweeps Coins. This requirement further proves the safety and legitimacy of online poker sites such as Global Poker.

After creating an account, you’ll be able to access the poker site. Virtually all promotional sweepstakes poker sites provide free Gold Coins upon account creation, so you can start playing immediately.

Sweeps Coin Poker vs. Real-Money Online Poker in California

The primary difference between real-money online poker in California and SC sites is that the former allows players to play with real money while the latter only allows playing with digital tokens. No real cash is ever on the table, so California residents won’t violate state anti-gambling legislation by playing poker at a social casino.

However, these poker sites still allow players to redeem their Sweeps Coins (that they receive for free as part of promotions or via winnings) for real cash prizes and more. This is not the same as playing for real money, as neither Sweeps Coins nor Gold Coins have any real-world value.

Additionally, real-money poker sites may offer a wider variety of poker games or higher-stakes tournaments. While social casino poker sites also offer tournaments, the ultimate winnings may not be as high as their real-money online poker counterparts.

Still, both types of sites usually offer a few different varieties of poker. Many real-money online poker sites also include casino-style games as extra options. Global Poker does, as well.

How to Play Popular Online Poker Games

You’ll find the many of same types of popular games on Global Poker as you will on real-money sites or at California Indian casinos and card rooms. They include:

  • No-limit Texas hold’em
  • Pot-limit Omaha hold’em
  • Fixed-limit hold’em
  • Seven-card stud

No-Limit Texas Hold’Em

This is arguably the most popular type of poker game in the industry. Beginning with two hole cards, players can bet or raise any amount they desire over the minimum raise, allowing for more exciting stakes and hands.

Limit Hold’Em

This variation allows for bets and raises equal to the big blind during the first two rounds of betting. Players can place bets or raises equal to twice the big blind during the second two rounds of betting.

Pot-Limit Omaha Hold’Em

This is another popular variation of poker. As opposed to Texas hold’em, Omaha poker players get four hole cards each.

Seven-Card Stud

In seven-card stud, players build their best five-card poker hand out of seven cards. Each player is dealt two cards face down to start, and then one card face up each time through a rotation.

Crazy Pineapple, Caribbean Poker, Surge Poker

Global Poker offers several other varieties of online poker games.

  • Crazy Pineapple — like Texas hold’em, but with three hole cards instead of two.
  • Caribbean poker — like five-card stud poker, but played against the house instead of other players.
  • Surge poker — a “fast-fold” version of poker where you can play more games per hour.

Is It Safe to Play Online Poker in California?

Absolutely. Promotional sweepstakes sites like Global Poker, Chumba Casino, and LuckyLand Slots operate according to a promotional sweepstakes model, meaning that their business models are designed from the ground up to avoid playing with real-world money. It’s a fully legal online poker option in the state.

These sites are regulated by different authorities but all must be careful to avoid letting players put real money on the table. Otherwise, they would no longer be allowed to operate in California.

Should I Use Offshore Online Poker Sites?

No.

Sites like Global Poker not only use high-tech security software to ensure the protection of the financial and identifying information of its players, but are also regulated by an independent company called Malta Gaming Authority. This organization oversees sweepstakes promotions and prizes and ensures that such websites don’t accidentally or intentionally give out the information of their players.

A site like Global Poker is much safer to use than any offshore poker site. Although they are technically not legal or illegal, these are unregulated and often lack digital security to keep your personal and financial information secure.

However, remember that no form of digital security is 100% safe. You have to be comfortable giving your information to social casino sites in order to enjoy their activities. Still, most highly rated social casino sites are known for their security and diligence.

When Will Online Poker Be Legal in California?

Not any time soon.

Legalization in California would require passage of a ballot measure in a statewide election. Initiatives can be put on the ballot either via legislative action or if interest groups gather enough signatures. There’s no indication of either option happening in the near future.

The state just emphatically rejected California sports betting in the 2022 election. Most online poker industry experts believe online sports betting will likely need to become legal first before online casinos or poker.

Where Is Online Poker Legal?

As of December 2022, real money online poker is legal in six states: Nevada, Michigan, Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.

Nevada was first to legalize in 2013, and New Jersey quickly followed suit. Michigan is the latest state to legalize real money online poker, having done so in January 2021. Online poker is technically legal in Connecticut and West Virginia, but no licensed poker sites are currently live in those two states, so residents can’t play.

Play Real Money Online Poker in Nevada

The best legal option for California residents who want to play real money online poker is to cross the Nevada border.

There is one real money online poker site live in Nevada: WSOP.com. Run by the iconic World Series of Poker, WSOP Nevada has been around since 2013 and offers a variety of cash games and tournaments. You can even win a WSOP Bracelet, one of poker’s biggest honors, by playing WSOP Nevada online.

BetMGM Poker is also expected to eventually launch in Nevada.

Players 21 or older and within Nevada state lines can play WSOP Nevada. That literally means a Californian can park their car once they cross the border and start to play, if they really want to. You will not be able to play at WSOP.com in California, as the app and site use geolocation technology to make sure players aren’t playing illegally outside of Nevada.

Where Can I Play Live Poker in California?

There are still ways to play real-money poker in California, even if it’s not online.

California Card Rooms

There used to be well over 100, but as of December 2022 there are 59 California card rooms up and running. (More have licenses but aren’t operating.) Card rooms are legal in the state because players play against each other, not the house. The card rooms make a profit by charging for entry.

Card rooms typically feature no-limit Texas hold ’em, fixed-limit hold ’em, pot-limit Omaha hold ’em, seven-card stud, and more games. Card rooms have cash games and frequent tournaments, including World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour events.

Some of the state’s most notable card rooms are:

Card RoomLocationNumber of Tables
Commerce CasinoCommerce270
Hawaiian Gardens CasinoHawaiian Gardens110
Bay 101 CasinoSan Jose49
Casino M8trixSan Jose49
Hollywood Park CasinoInglewood75
Hustler CasinoGardena91
Bicycle Hotel & CasinoBell Gardens130
Artichoke Joe's CasinoSan Bruno51

Poker at Indian Casinos

As of December 2022, there are 66 Indian casinos in California, and many of them have poker rooms. You can reserve tables in these poker rooms ahead of time if you want to compete with your friends and family.

Here are some examples of casinos with large poker rooms:

CasinoLocationNumber of Poker Tables
Thunder Valley Casino ResortLincoln50
Morongo Casino Resort & SpaCabazon13
Chumash Casino ResortSanta Ynez14
Graton Resort & CasinoRohnert Park20

Online Poker California FAQs

Is online poker legal in California?

Technically, yes, as long as you play Global Poker, a social casino California online poker site. At Global Poker, players play with digital coins that can later be redeemed for real cash prizes or gift cards. There is currently no real-money online poker in California, so Global Poker is the only legal option.

Can I win real money at online poker sites in California?

Yes, you can technically win real money through winnings that are redeemable for real cash prizes. However, you can’t “win” real money unless you bet with real money in the first place. That type of betting is not legal for online poker in California. However, the poker site Global Poker is 100% legal because, even though players can redeem Sweeps Coins for real cash prizes, Sweeps Coins cant be purchased and have no real-world value. So players aren’t gambling with real money.

How old do I have to be to play online poker in California?

You need to be 18 years old to use most social casino sites in California. However, this is completely at the discretion of each site. But Global Poker is really the only legit social casino poker site out there, and its age requirement is 18.

What is the best time to play online poker in California?

Generally speaking, you’ll have more luck finding players during evening hours or on the weekend when playing Global Poker. In California, the ideal window would be from 3-6 p.m. PT. This is when the East Coast and western Europe are also off work.

How do I cash out if I win on Global Poker?

You redeem your Sweeps Coins, once you hit the minimum, for real cash prizes or gift cards. The cash prize amount will be detailed on each social casino site.

Can you play casino-style games at legal online poker sites in California?

Yes. Global Poker recently added 31 slot games and table games, including blackjack. So you can get your poker and casino fix at a fully legal site in California if you wish.

Is Global Poker available in California?

Yes. Global Poker is available in all US states except Washington. Idaho allows residents to play it with Gold Coins only.

About the Author

Amber Hoffman

Amber is the Managing Editor of California Casinos. She writes for a variety of websites in diverse industries, including gaming and travel and is a fan of international football (not "soccer") and Gaelic sports.