Steve Ruddock CA online poker news PokerStars

All official business in the Golden State is officially on hold until August 17, as the California Legislature has left Sacramento for its summer recess.

For online poker it’s a much-needed break, as efforts at legalizing online poker seem to be crumbling. Perhaps the summer break will give iPoker supporters a chance to regroup and recharge their batteries.

One group who is still fighting for legalization is PokerStars, who along with its California partners Morongo, San Manuel, Commerce Casino, Bicycle Casino, and Hawaiian Gardens Casino, have launched the PokerStars Pro Tour.

And that’s where this installment of California Condensed will start.

PokerStars Pro Tour kicks off

In general, California’s online poker outlook is looking pretty bleak, but PokerStars and its California allies are pushing forward with their Californians for Responsible iPoker (C4RiP) lobbying efforts.

In addition to their web and social media presence, PokerStars and company have launched the PokerStars Pro Tour, a series of poker tournaments/outreach programs at various California card rooms. At these events average poker players (the tournaments feature buy-ins of just a couple hundred dollars) can rub shoulders with some of PokerStars’ big name sponsored pros.

The Team PokerStars representatives not only play in the tournaments, but are on hand to talk legislative efforts and are also available for pictures and photographs.

The tour kicked off its San Diego leg on Friday at the Palomar Card Club, where Team PokerStars pros Jason Somerville and Liv Boeree hosted and played in the event.

The event ended up being jam-packed and an exciting and fun experience for all involved.

On Saturday the tour moved on to Lake Elsinore Casino, where Somerville was joined by Daniel Negreanu – fresh off his disappointing but impressive 11th place finish in the WSOP Main Event.

On Sunday the Somerville/Negreanu duo headed to Seven Mile Casino. The turnout was impressive at both venues.

Next weekend, Negreanu, Somerville, and 2003 WSOP Champ Chris Moneymaker will be at the Lucky Chances Casino and Napa Valley Casino for the San Francisco leg of the tour.

Whether the PokerStars Pro Tour brings online poker to California or not, this is a great outreach effort by PokerStars and a lesson to all online poker site on how to use sponsored players.

AB 167 back from the dead

Prior to heading home for a month-long vacation (I really need to get a job as an elected politician), a new online poker hearing was tentatively scheduled for August and Reggie Jones-Sawyer announced he had rescheduled his online poker bill, AB 167, to be heard during the hearing.

You may remember Jones-Sawyer, along with AB 9 sponsor Mike Gatto, pulled their bills from a July 8 hearing in the GO Committee.

This newly-proposed but still unofficial hearing means online poker isn’t officially dead just yet, and will remain on life support for the time being.

Two Californians make the WSOP Main Event final table

Not one but two Californians found success in Las Vegas recently.

Oakland’s Max Steinberg and San Francisco’s Neil Blumenfield were among the nine players who outlasted over 6,400 other poker hopefuls to reach the World Series of Poker Main Event final table, guaranteeing themselves at least $1 million, and as much as $7.5 million and poker immortality if either goes on to win the 2015 WSOP Main Event.

Unlike recent cookie-cutter final tables at the WSOP Main Event, the two players – the whole table, in fact – couldn’t be any more different.

Steinberg is a well-known (former) poker pro with one WSOP gold bracelet already on his resume – the only remaining player who has won a WSOP event in the past. Interestingly, Steinberg has given up poker for the time being in order to concentrate on Daily Fantasy Sports. In fact, Steinberg won his entry to the WSOP Main Event through the DFS site DraftKings.

On the other hand, the 61 year-old Blumenfield represents the typical poker enthusiast. According to, Blumenfield is a veteran of the software industry and currently runs Elastic Intelligence Inc., and in his spare time he plays poker.

It will be interesting to see if, as Online Poker Report’s Robert DellaFave speculated, these two Californians can be deployed by pro-iPoker advocates to help push for regulation – particularly Steinberg, considering he had to abandon his poker career in part because of the current state of online poker in the U.S.

Good reads

Forget Stalled – Efforts To Legalize Online Poker In California Regressed In 2015

What Does 888’s Purchase Of Mean For The US Market?

The 2015 WSOP November Nine Could Be A Powerful Advocacy Tool For Regulated Online Poker

Should California Legalize Online Poker?

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Steve Ruddock
Steve Ruddock - Steve is one of the most recognizable names in the online poker media space. He brings his deep knowledge and equally deep well of opinions to his coverage at