PokerStars has announced plans for a new poker tour in California, featuring a host of its sponsored celebrity poker players, to create awareness for online poker and support for legislation to legalise the game across the state.

A number of PokerStars-sponsored celebrity poker players, such as Daniel Negreanu, Chris Moneymaker, Vanessa Selbst, Jason Somerville and Liv Boeree, will tour around California this summer meeting with fans, playing in tournaments and games, and raising money for charity as part of a campaign to create awareness and support for legislation to authorize and regulate online poker in California.

PokerStars said that the Let California Play! PokerStars Pro Tour is an effort to demonstrate to poker players and cardrooms that if online poker is authorized and regulated in California, both customers and land-based casinos, like cardrooms, will benefit.

The online poker giant has partnered with select California cardrooms for a series of special Texas Hold’em poker tournaments and games, in which members of Team PokerStars Pro will play against local poker players.

“It’s really important for poker players to make their voices heard among the decision makers in California and tell them ‘Let California Play’,” said Negreanu, who was recently named Global Poker Index ‘Player of the Decade’.

The Let California Play! PokerStars Pro Tour will begin on July 17th and will continue through the summer, with further dates to be announced in the coming weeks.

“Poker players can play an important role in shaping the debate around iPoker in California so we’re looking to spark conversations in poker rooms up and down the state,” said Eric Hollreiser, head of corporate communications for PokerStars parent Amaya. “We have a simple message: Let California Play!”

Nick Salem, general manager of the Palomar Card Club in San Diego, which hosts the first event, added: “We are thrilled to be the first stop of the PokerStars Pro Tour. We anticipate a packed cardroom and we’ve heard from our players who are excited to test their skills against Jason Somerville and Liv Boeree.

“Long term we want to see online poker authorized in California to raise the profile of poker and build a new generation of poker players that will help land based poker rooms thrive.”

The Pro Tour dates and cardrooms announced so far include:

· Friday July 17: Palomar Card Club, San Diego
· Saturday July 18: Lake Elsinore Casino, Lake Elsinore
· Sunday, July 19: Seven Mile Casino, Chula Vista
· Saturday, July 25: Napa Valley Casino, American Canyon
· Sunday, Aug 2: Stones Gambling Hall, Citrus Heights
· Thursday, Aug 6: The Aviator Casino, Delano
· Friday, Aug 7: Diamond Jim's Casino, Rosamond
· Sunday, Aug 9: Turlock Poker Room, Turlock