Can I Play on PokerStars From California?

Written by:
Ace King
Published on:

PokerStars forbids those from California from playing for real money on their website.  Alternatives include Americas Cardroom, available to play for real money in all 50 states.


The world's largest real money online poker site opted to exit the U.S. market back in 2011 after it was caught up in a well-publicized investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.  At the time, the indictment filed by Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, charged Isai Scheinberg, the founder of PokerStars, as well as individuals tied to Full Tilt Poker, with operating illegal gambling businesses in the States.   The crackdown was almost immediately referred to as "Black Friday" being that the indictments were handed down on a Friday.  Gambling911.com had filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department one year earlier and awarded access to legal documents showing PokerStars and Full Tilt were indeed under investigation.

It was later revealed the Full Tilt Poker had engaged in a ponzi scheme.

PokerStars had attempted to join forces with California casinos to offer its poker platform, however, there was resistance from other Tribal casinos in the state.

Licensed cardrooms in California can offer card games in which players vie against each other (rather than against the house), and this includes poker.  As of 2011, there were 93 licensed cardrooms in the state  None of these poker rooms offer online poker sites.  Access to online poker is still only available to California residents courtesy of internationally-licensed online poker rooms.

Americas Cardroom is one of the few sites that has long served the U.S. market and is currently offering a $5 million guaranteed online tournament with a $1 million first place prize.  Americas Cardroom tends to rank as the 8th largest online poker site in the world.  It also offers a sportsbook and online casino.

- Nagesh Rath, Gambling911.com

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