They Play Poker Here

hawaiian-gardens-poker-tableCard rooms are legal in parts of SoCal. They are mostly poker rooms. Other table games are played, but with lesser odds than ‘real’ casinos. Poker dominates.

The nearest rooms are in the south end of Los Angeles County, less than a half hour from here. I’ve been to Commerce Casino in… wait for it… The City of Commerce. The largest card room in the world. It’s like a bus terminal!

If you’ve been to beautiful casinos, like in Vegas or Connecticut, you’re in for a letdown. Commerce doesn’t seem to be the exception. I’m told none of the card rooms are showplaces.

This afternoon Helaine and I drove to Hawaiian Gardens Casino in… wait for it… Hawaiian Gardens, CA. There’s a little more room between tables than Commerce, but it too borders on bus terminal.

The casino occupies what looks to be two huge tents! Surfboards hang from the ceiling marking the different poker games dealt. It’s like a United Nations get-together.

wider-shot-poker-roomWe go to Hawaiian Gardens because of the food. Oh my God!

You order from a roving waitstaff with red shirts. Just like the deck of an aircraft carrier, everyone working at the Gardens wears a shirt colorcoded to describe their specific job.

The menu is wondrous. It’s a spiral bound, plastic encased affair with at least ten pages. Along with breakfasts and dinners are pages for Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean food.

The food comes hot. The portions are large. The taste is incredible.

Helaine had a shrimp and asparagus dinner. I had their Thursday night lamb chop special. We both had large Diet Cokes.

I gave the waiter a twenty for both of us, which included a nearly 25% tip. I’m not sure we can eat home for that price?

As for poker, one of us won twice what the other one lost. A fun adventure for us while Doppler kept guard at home.

2 Responses to “They Play Poker Here”

  1. Carole says:

    I think the first card room in LA County is Hawthorne. I went there years ago, but never played cards. I just wanted to check it out. I have driven by the one in the City of Commerce (Santa Ana Fwy) & Hawaiian Gardens Casino (Long Beach Fwy) a number of times over the years. Maybe I should try out their restaurants. Have you gone to any of the casinos in California that has numerous games, card, slots & etc yet?
    http://www.500nations.com/California_Casinos.asp

  2. Carole says:

    I made a mistake, it is Gardena where they opened up the first card room in LA County. That is the next town over from Hawthorne.

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