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Hours 24/7
# Tables 5 + 20 tournament
Address 123 E. Artesia Blvd., Compton CA
Region Los Angeles, California, USA
Phone 310-631-3838 (poker room: 310-661-4808)
Website www.thecrystalcasino.com
Crystal casino

Exterior of the Crystal Casino

One of only two hotel-cardroom combinations in the LA area, the Crystal Casino (formerly Crystal Park Casino) offers great deals for budget-conscious poker players looking for a cheap room for the night. Located directly off the Artesia Freeway (CA-91), at the exits for Alameda St, Santa Fe Ave, or Artesia Blvd, it's easy to get to from almost anywhere in the region.

From the outside, the hotel/casino is an imposing large building which towers over the adjacent freeway. It looks like a typical Vegas Strip casino/hotel, but seems a little out of place due to the lack of traffic or cars parked in its lots.

Games Edit

No-limit hold 'em:

  • 1/2 blinds, 40-100 buyin

Limit hold 'em:

  • 3/6 with a kill (only occasionally)

Omaha/8

  • 4/8 Limit (only occasionally)

Wait Time: Variable, but there is almost always a seat available. This casino hires prop players to fill their seats, so they can usually pull one out of a game and move them elsewhere if a paying customer comes along.

Game Nature: Trickier than you might expect. The low-stakes games combine with the paid prop players, the occasional tourist or hotel client, and the regulars and locals who range from rocks to maniacs, to make for a lively game. You have to pay attention here, but an observant player can make money fairly steadily and easily, and a fun-loving player should get a good amount of action for a low amount of money.

Rake: $3 + $1 jackpot for every pot

Posting: New players do not need to post to enter a game.

Shuffling: All tables have Shufflemaster machines installed.

Kills: Killer acts last.

Tournaments Edit

  • Fri 7:30 pm NLHE $20 + $10 + unlimited $10 rebuys + $10 addon. $10,000 guarantee
  • Sat 7:30 pm NLHE $20 + $10 + unlimited $10 rebuys + $10 addon. $10,000 guarantee

Jackpots and PromotionsEdit

You earn regular comp dollars by joining their free Crystal Club. Comp dollars are tracked as "half hours" rather than as money, and you can exchange certain time amounts for food from the special "comp menu" the waitress can bring from the kitchen. The food is only so-so, but it's free and cheap (a couple hours play is usually worth a whole lunch).

They occasionally have other promotions, like in Summer 2009 where during certain hours of the day, Aces Cracked wins $100.

Most notably, you can use comp hours to reduce or eliminate your hotel room bill if you stay at the Crystal. Even as little as one hour of play reduces the room rate to $49 for the night. Three hours makes it $29, and five hours makes it free! Hours of play must be on the day you stay in the hotel and must be before 2am that night. This is part of their "Play 5 and Stay Free" promotion, which has been running more or less continuously since Spring 2008. It's a shame their hotel rooms are as worn-out looking as the rest of the casino, but they're not dirty or dangerous -- just not fancy or frequently repaired. That is, you might see a missing piece of trim from the wall, or a dent on an elevator door, scuff marks on your room door from luggage getting wheeled out, but the room itself has been cleaned and is ready for you. Another few million in repair bills would make this place all shiny new again, but it's not bad now - it just looks worn down.

Atmosphere Edit

The Crystal Casino looks like it was built in an attempt to build a large Vegas-style casino/hotel/resort in southern Los Angeles, but the crowds never materialized. While the casino continues to operate, and contains not just two large poker rooms but also a large general-card-game room with Three Card Poker and other gambling games, it also looks somewhat lonely, like it was expecting a number of neighboring casinos to be built and join in the fun, and nobody ever came. In the meantime, the casino maintains nearly all the trappings of a Vegas casino: valets are waiting out front to take your car if you wish, prop players hang around the poker room waiting to join a game (or waiting for a game to join), bellhops are only too happy to cart your luggage up to your room. The large ballroom, intended for casino-wide major events, is now usually set up as a bingo hall, dark and abandoned except for the weekly bingo games. Unfortunately, if you come in from self-parking, you have to walk through the empty bingo hall to get to the casino or hotel, so you get to see all the empty, lonely space.

Although the casino management clearly tries to run a normal, professional establishment, the one thing they can't control is the overall budget. While the hotel and casino are kept reasonably clean, there doesn't appear to be tons of money left over for general upgrades (as in Vegas, where casinos undergo makeovers every few years) or even general non-emergency repair work. That means while the public bathrooms near the casino are roomy and trimmed with marble, one of the sink faucets might be broken for weeks without repair until one of their few repairmen can get to it.

The overall feel of the casino is that it's a bit "tired." But it's still a reasonable place to play low-stakes poker, and for out-of-towners looking for a cheap place to stay and not too picky on the shininess of the room, the play-and-stay deals at the Crystal really can't be beat.

The poker tables used for cash game shave now been moved to the rear of the main casino floor, five poker tables amongst the blackjack and Pai Gow Tiles tables. The tournament poker room is up front, near the hotel checkin counter, and has six large TVs on the wall for you to watch while playing. This room used to be the main cash game room with tournaments held in the back, but they've moved the cash game tables into the main casino to reduce the amount of floor space that has to be patrolled. There are usually only 2-3 tables going except at the height of Friday or Saturday night when there might be 5 or 6. Tournaments can be big deals here and can attract 120-150 players on any given day.

Tables and Chairs: 9-seat tables with worn and somewhat dirty felt. They have commit lines, but they are pretty far into the felt, which can be hard for those with shorter arms to reach. Yellow vinyl arm rests and rather nice rollup tables for drinking or eating meals while playing. Decent but worn highback fixed-leg chairs with decent padding.

Parking: Tons of parking in the adjacent parking lot. Valet parking is also available.

Smoking: No smoking in the poker room or elsewhere in the casino, under California law.

Service and Comps Edit

Somewhat slow, and fairly infrequent service. A regular kitchen provides OK-quality meals at cheap prices, sometimes free with hours played.

Links and Notes Edit

  • Visited by MarkT in 2008 and late 2009.
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