The Santa Ysabel tribe recently launched, a new online poker room that offers poker for fun only at present, but plans to start offering real money poker games soon. The launch becomes significant as the Santa Ysabel tribe is the first to assert its rights to offer online poker games.
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In its press release, the tribe stated, “In offering online gaming through Santa Ysabel Interactive, the Tribe is exerting its sovereign right under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) to regulate and conduct Class II gaming from the tribe’s reservation.”
According to the IGRA, Class II gaming includes bingo and poker, but not games played against the house, such as blackjack, and slot machine games. These latter come under the category of Class III gaming. Tribes can offer Class III games only after signing a compact with the state. Although Santa Ysabel signed a similar compact in 2005, it does not plan to offer Class III games on its new gambling site.
Poker journalist Marco Valerio, who was the first to break this news, posted on Two Plus Two Forums, a popular online poker forum, explaining why he believes that could start offering real money poker as early as today. While Valerio has made it quite clear that he does not know for sure whether will start offering real money poker soon, he said that a reliable source made such a prediction although even the source is not very sure about it.
Stating that the press release indicates that has already been launched, Valerio pointed out that the language of the press release was too cautious, avoiding explicit statements while clearly indicating that real money poker games can be expected soon.
The launch of a new online poker room gives California online poker players a reliable place to play poker games online. It will also draw the attention of tribes in other parts of the US, especially those who are planning to launch online poker services of their own.
Santa Ysabel does not have anything to lose as their land-based casino had to be shut down in February. If their online poker service is declared illegal, they do not have any existing business that can be harmed. Second, Santa Ysabel is based in California, a thickly populated state where online poker has to become successful. is powered by the same software that powers skins on the Winning Poker Network (WPN).

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