How They Play Blackjack in California

If you’re planning to play blackjack in California, there are a few things you need to know. While most blackjack games in California are basically the same as blackjack in other states, the laws about casino games are different in California than in other states.

You’re going to learn how the casino game laws are different in Californian than most other states, what these laws mean for blackjack players, how blackjack is played in tribal casinos in the state, and a little bit about your online blackjack options below.

And more importantly, you’re going to learn if you need to change the way you play blackjack when you’re playing in California.

California Blackjack Legalities

California has a set of gambling laws that are unique. For example, poker rooms are legal in California, but casinos, poker rooms, and other gambling businesses in the state aren’t allowed to offer casino table games and bank the games.

In relation to a casino table game, the term banking means the casino uses its money to run the game. In other words, in most casinos around the United States, when you play blackjack or other casino table games, you’re competing against the casino. The casino uses house money to back the game.

You might think that if a casino or gambling business isn’t allowed to bank a blackjack game, you wouldn’t find blackjack games in California. But California gambling businesses figured out that they can still offer blackjack without actively banking the game.

Indian tribes own the only gambling businesses that are mainly casinos in California. Other businesses are sometimes called casinos, but most of these businesses are actually card rooms that offer some casino type games. Most of these businesses started as poker rooms.

When a card room or other non-Indian-owned business offers blackjack games, the business uses a third party to bank the game. The third party is a business that places an employee at each poker table that banks the game for the casino.

The financial agreement between card rooms and third-party companies varies from business to business, but the basic agreement is that the casino gets paid a percentage of the money the third party makes from banking games.

The laws in California concerning gambling are different for casinos that are owned by Indian tribes. You’re going to learn more about tribal casinos and blackjack in the section about blackjack in California tribal casinos below.

Blackjack in California Poker Rooms

The rules for blackjack games in California vary from card room to card room or casino to casino. Most blackjack games in card rooms play like blackjack games available in other states for the players. In this section, you’re going to learn about most of the available variations. But it’s important to investigate exactly how each blackjack game you find in California works before you play.

The rules for blackjack are the same as you find everywhere else. Of course, the rules aren’t the same in every game, but the general rules are the same. I know this sounds a bit confusing, but I mean, the basic rules are the same, and the variations in blackjack rules that you find in Las Vegas and elsewhere are the same variations you find in California.

Your objective is to have a higher score than the dealer without going over 21. The basic game rules like doubling and splitting are still available, with doubling after split and split rules varying from game to game.

In many California card rooms, you have the opportunity to bank hands on a schedule set by the card room or casino. When it’s your turn to bank a hand, you act just like a regular dealer. You collect losses from other players and payout on winning hands.

The good news about banking hands is you have an advantage, and the bad news is that you have to risk your money as the banker. The rules vary from casino to casino, but there’s often a limit to how much you have to risk when you bank a hand. Once again, make sure you know what the rules are where you’re playing blackjack.

You used to find some blackjack games in California that used jokers and a set of rules that changed the basic way the game played. These games have pretty much been replaced with more traditional blackjack games, but if you find a game using jokers, take some time to make sure you understand all of the rules.

When you bank hands, you have to follow the house rules. The house rules can vary from casino to casino, but most use the following rules. When you bank the blackjack hand, you have t hit on any hand of 16 or lower, and you stand on any hand of 17 or higher.  In some places, you have to hit on a soft 17 or lower.

When you’re not banking a hand, the rules are set by the house, just like when you play blackjack in other states.

When you play blackjack, the best way to win is using strategy. You can use a blackjack chart or card that has the correct strategy listed for each hand. Basic blackjack strategy is what you should use when you play blackjack in California on every hand you don’t bank.

Blackjack in California Tribal Casinos

The California blackjack laws for casinos run by Indian tribes are different from the state’s laws for other gambling businesses.

I’m not a lawyer, so all of the details in this post are for informational purposes only. It’s your responsibility to research the laws if you’re planning to play blackjack in California. You can read the specific laws published by the state of California, or you can speak with an attorney located in the state to get more information.

Basically, tribal casinos in California operate more like traditional casinos you find in other states. California tribal casinos can bank casino table games, so the blackjack games found in these casinos are the same as the games found n Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and other states.

When you play blackjack in a tribal casino, do what you do when you play blackjack in Las Vegas or elsewhere. Go over the rules for the game and start playing.

You should use the same blackjack strategy in these games as you use in other blackjack games. If you don’t already own one, get a strategy card that has basic blackjack strategy listed, and follow the strategy on the card. A basic blackjack strategy card gives you the best chance to win when you play in a tribal casino in California.

Online Blackjack in California

If you don’t want to play in a tribal casino or deal with banking some hands when you play blackjack in a card room, online casinos offer blackjack games to people living in California.

The legality of online casinos in California is currently in a gray area, so you need to look into the laws. The facts are that some online casinos do offer blackjack to people in California, and people haven’t been charged with crimes for playing blackjack online in the state. If you live in California, you have to determine if it’s safe for you to play online blackjack.

You can find blackjack games with good rules in most online casinos. The rules in most online casinos are at least as good as the rules found in most land-based card rooms and casinos, and in many cases, the rules are better online.

Of course, when you bank hands in California card rooms, you have an advantage, and you’re not going to get the same advantage when you play online blackjack.

The other disadvantage to playing blackjack online is you can’t count cards. If you’re a card counter, you have to play blackjack in a land-based gambling business to get an edge. You also need to be careful if you count cards because the card room or casino will kick you out when they catch you counting.

In regular casinos in the United States, it’s legal to count cards. Bu the laws for tribal casinos are different than the laws for regular casinos. Keep this in mind if you plan to count cards in a tribal casino.


In most cases, when you play blackjack in California, it’s not going to be different than when you play blackjack in other states. Even though the laws for casino table games are different in California than in other states, the card rooms in the state have learned how to get around the law and offer blackjack that looks a lot like the game in other states.

If you want to play games exactly like the blackjack games found in other states, you can play online or in one of the tribal casinos in California. But if you just want to take a break from the poker games and play a few hands of blackjack, there’s no reason to avoid the blackjack tables available in the poker rooms.

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