|Address||11871 Carson St, Hawaiian Gardens, CA|
|Region||Los Angeles, California, USA|
Located on Carson Street, one block east of the 605 freeway, on the north side of the street. A massive structure of two Quonset huts connected together in a way that makes it look like a permanent circus is in town.
Limit hold 'em: 1/2, 2/4, 3/6, 4/8 half kill, 8/16 half kill, 15/30, 20/40, and possibly higher.
No-limit hold 'em: 1/1? 20 buyin, 1/2? 40 buyin, 2/3 100 buyin, 3/5 300 buyin, 5-10 1000 buyin, and sometimes a 10-20 game.
7-Stud: 1/2, 2/4, 3/6, and possibly higher
7-Stud Hi-lo: 3/6, and possibly higher
Omaha/8: 2/4, 3/6, 6/12
I only played for a few hours, but the LHE game I was in (3/6) was tight passive. I don't know if that's typical. The Omaha game was a bit looser.
Wait Time: With the vast array of tables available, the wait time is almost always negligible if you are flexible about the limits you are willing to play. If you insist on a particular game and limit, your wait can be anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes, depending on demand. The problem I had while there was usually the opposite; as people got up from the table, it was hard to keep the table full.
Rake: On 3/6 and 4/8 games (and possibly all the others, too, but I didn't have time to check), rake is $3 + $1 jackpot for 7-9 players, $2 + $1 for 6 players, $1.50 + $1 for 5 players, and $1 + $1 for 4 players.
As of March, 2008, the rake has been increase by $1 at least at the 4/8 level. It is now $4 + $1 jackpot for 7-9 players, $3 + $1 for 6 players, etc.
The 3-5 NL and 5-10 NL games drop $5 + $1.
Posting: New players need not post to enter a game except in the VIP section.
Shuffling: All tables have standard Shufflemaster shuffling machines.
Hawaiian Gardens has a varied tournament schedule; the best place for details is found at their web site.
Scheduled Tournaments: They say they have NLHE tournaments on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday at 12:45 pm, on Sunday mornings at 4:30 am, on Tuesday and Wednesday at 6:45 pm, and on Fridays at 4:00 pm. Mexican Poker tournaments on Saturdays at 6 pm, and Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7 pm. Limit Hold-Em tournaments on Wednesday at 12:45 pm. Omaha/8 tournament on Tuesdays at 12:45 pm. Buy-ins vary on different days and times; see their website.
Sit-N-Go: on Sun, Mon, Wed, and Thu, between 2pm and 8pm, they offer $110 buy-in sit-n-go single table NLHE tournaments that pay the top two places (first = $575, second = $325).
Jackpots and Promotions
Standard bad beat jackpots (often at $100k) are available, separate for most of the different bet levels and games. Bad beat jackpot is aces full beaten by quads or better. You must touch the hand to be eligible for the jackpot (just being dealt in isn't enough). See their website for current jackpot amounts.
They have some sort of promotion where the bad beat jackpots double between 5pm and 7pm on some days.
The casino is divided into two huge open rooms, each inside a giant quonset hut. The east half of the building is poker, with a separate high stakes area. The west half is California games and blackjack. More poker tables are set up in the small connecting room that connects the two giant rooms.
The main poker room (the east side) is a huge open room, about the size of a football field, with nothing but row after row of tables in it, covered by a permanent "temporary dome". The high stakes area is set off on the south side by a little half-wall, and is labelled the "VIP area" (and contains 14 tables in it).
Dozens of hanging televisions cover the walls, and are hung in separate dangling-down clusters in the middle of the room at large intervals so that everyone has a shot to see a TV no more than about three or four tables away. Fairly bright latticework lights, both fluorescent and incandescent, keep the tables well lit.
Tables and Chairs: Tables are OK but not great - clean but slightly worn felt (kind of a neat burgundy color, though), clean vinyl, still-visible commit line. Each table seats nine players. The chairs are somewhat uncomfortable with weak padding and fixed legs, and a number of them have broken backs that lean too far backward if you sit in them. The chips are somewhat worn and old. Good games but not a high-class establishment. Sound level is higher than a typical poker room due to close-packed tables and the brushes on loudspeakers constantly calling players to games (it's all one big room, after all, so there's always some open seat being filled). A number of nice big computerized boards are projected on walls and are easily seen from anywhere in the room.
Parking: Tons of parking available on the east side of the building, with Disneyland-style parking-area memory joggers (they use different face cards for different parking areas: "I parked in the Queen of Clubs"). Well over a thousand parking spaces.
Smoking: No smoking allowed in the building under California law.
Service and Comps
Fairly frequent and pleasant service from a cadre of wandering waiters and waitresses who thread their way between the tightly-packed tables. Sodas are free (and reasonably sized, though not large), but stronger drinks are not. A wide menu selection covers the gamut from snacks to full meals, which can be ordered and eaten at the table while you play. The quality of the food seemed good, if not spectacular. The prices were pretty good, and clearly included some kind of player discount: a full omelette was $4, and burger and fries $4.25, a mini pizza $4, a chocolate shake $2.25. Not dirt cheap, but clearly less expensive than a typical restaurant would charge.
If you play in the VIP section (as low as 15-30 limit or 3-5 NL), the food is free. Go nuts and order a steak with a shrimp cocktail and a banana split for dessert. You still pay for alcohol and candy.
Hawaiian Gardens does have a players club card, since an employee wanders around every hour or so to scan the cards of seated players with a bar code scanner, but I'm not sure what specials or deals it offers.
Edit: The hawaiian Gardens players club card is used to enter you into their various drawings for cash prizes. so far, there is not other benefit to it.