Santa Ysabel Tribe Launch Online Poker Site in California

Santa Ysabel Tribe Launch Online Poker Site in CaliforniaThe Santa Ysabel tribe from San Diego has launched a real money online poker site in California – claiming it has the right to do so under its own sovereignty.

According to Marco Valerio – the respected Internet gaming “nerd” (his words, not ours) – the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel has launched “” – an online poker site that will allow residents of California to play online poker for real money.

Writing in his blog, Valerio refers to a press release sent to him by Sacramento-based attorney Martin Owens, in which the tribe´s spokesperson – Dave Vialpanda – claims that the Santa Ysabel tribe can offer online poker in California under its own sovereignty and regulatory commission.

Vialpanda states that the Santa Ysabel Gaming Commission has a more stringent regulatory structure than that provided in either of the proposed online poker bills in California, and that is the first legal alternative to the unregulated offshore sites currently providing a service for online poker players in the State.

Real Money Poker in California not yet a Reality

Although the attorney “privately” told Valerio that could be ready to provide games of real money poker as early as today (14th July), it would appear that an online facility has not yet been established for players to make deposits into an account.

Players can register for an account and compete in play money games and freeroll tournaments, but – according to the website – the only way in which they can fund their accounts is to visit the Smoke Shop located on Santa Ysabel´s tribal lands in San Diego.

Banners on the site indicate that online banking transactions will be supported in the near future by the Financial Payment Network (Finpay) – an online virtual wallet like Skrill or PayPal, which can be funded by multiple sources including BitCoin – which will also offer pre-paid debit cards as a withdrawal option. Offering Freeroll for Vouchers – but no Cash Games

As of 14th July, is currently hosting freeroll tournaments with prizes of $10.00 vouchers for Google Play and the iPhone Shop for the winners, but the proposed cash games of Texas Hold´em, Stud Poker or Omaha are yet to get off the ground.

Players who have already registered an account with report that the software is similar to that used by Black Chip Poker and Americas Cardroom – skins on the Winning Poker Network – with the same options available for customizing the playing experience and the same statistics feature which enables players to analyze their performance after a session at the tables.

The site promises that live events and online promotions are on their way in the near future as well as a Mac Poker download; but whether actually goes ahead and offers [geolink href=””]real money poker in California[/geolink] might be dependent on the legal challenges the tribe is likely to face from the Californian DOJ, California´s Gambling Control Commission and the other Californian tribes who have been involved with the preparation of legislation to provide “legal” online poker in California. Could Impact the Future of Online Poker in California

If fulfills its promise to be the first real money online poker site in California, it is likely to impact the success of the proposed i-gaming legislation in California, as other tribes will consider launching their own sites – or joining the Santa Ysabel Interactive Network – in order to protect their own interests.

Certainly there will be a great deal of interest in the progress of from entrepreneurs who will be aware of the benefits of being “first to launch” in a potentially huge market; and this is probably what the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel is hoping for – being a relatively small and impoverished tribe which recently closed its only brick and mortar casino.

Even if the launch of comes to nothing, the actions of the Santa Ysabel tribe could accelerate the progress of gaming legislation and the reality of online poker in California could be sooner rather than later.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett