Poker Wiki

Ocean View Card Room, Santa Cruz CA.

Hours 3:30pm - late Mon-Fri, 11:30am - very late Sat-Sun
# Tables 4
Address 709 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz CA
Region Bay Area, California, USA
Phone 408-423-6257

Open at 3:30pm Mon-Fri, 11:30am Sat-Sun, close anywhere from midnight to 5am, depending on when enough players go home. Basically, once the last game breaks up, they close.

Located on a small side street near downtown Santa Cruz. Doesn't technically have a view of the ocean, but it is only about three blocks from the shore.


Spread-limit hold 'em: $3-$100 spread, $1/$ 3 blinds, $40-$100 buyin. Starts Monday @ 5, Wednesday & Friday @ 3:30, Saturday @ 1.

Dealer's Choice: 3/6 limit. The core game, running Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Choices are Hold'em, Crazy Pineapple and Omaha. Any game can be played straight high or high-low split, at dealers option. Typically, 7 out of 10 hands are Omaha/8. On Thursday nights only, this game is played with a half-kill to 4/8 (kill is triggered after a $50 scoop).

This is a small card club, with often only one game running on weeknights, two or three on spread limit nights. The dealer's choice game is made up almost entirely of a colorful cast of regulars who know each other well. Tourists and surfers wanting a break from the sea for a few hours show up in the game from night to night and serve as the source of funds.

Game Info

3/6 was fairly loose; just friends having fun and trying to bad beat each other.

In all games, the rake is $4 for 7-9 players, $3 for 6 players, and no flop no drop.

[As of Sept, Oct 2008, the ownership is trying to move to a $5 rake. Employees say this should happen "soon". They briefly moved to a $5 rake for a couple weeks in the summer but had to go back to $4 due to not having this change meeting approval by city/county(?) officials. When they do go to $5, this could have a huge affect on game play and even if there are going to be games to play. Players not confined to the locality may seek games at other rooms where the cost would seem to be more worth it (better atmosphere, shuffle machines, food service, etc) or to rooms where the rake is still $4 (e.g. 6-12 hold-em at Bay 101).]

Rake is taken pre-flop. For a full game, this means that the blinds post and then the dealer takes all the chips and slides them into her tray, and puts a $4 marker on top of the drop slot. A bit daunting to realize the pot is empty preflop! So much for the "poker begins as a struggle for the antes" concept. Luckily, the players aren't deterred from struggling for what isn't there. Also, since they have a no flop, no drop rule, you can raise and win the $4 in blinds. Limping into the pot preflop is rarely correct due to the rake structure (though common).

Posting: New players do not need to post, and can choose to wait until the button passes before entering the game.

Shuffling: Hand shuffled. No machines available.

A dollar chip from Ocean View. A $5 chip is also used here. Note that it's merely a standard chip with some engraving naming the casino. The chip looks really old.

Wait Time

Can take quite a while since there's only four tables, or can be instantaneous. They use a standard must move system to keep their main 3/6 or 3-100 game full. It is rare to see the fourth table in use when there is no tournament going on.


      • This schedule is OUT OF DATE; there are new tournaments in 2009. To be posted when I have the particulars in hand.


No jackpots.


An actual storefront in a downtown area, with big "store glass windows" in front so passersby can see everyone playing. Sort of weird like that, I guess, but not threatening, unless you don't like being watched. A big skylight in the center of the room lets in the sunlight (which in Santa Cruz is a lot!) during the day. They keep the doors open a lot so the cool ocean breezes can waft through the room, though not so much that your cards fly around or anything. Sometimes, seeing the community cards can be a pain, if the sun is reflecting off them into your eyes.

Very much a "neighborhood poker room", but open and friendly (and physically open as well). The original Ocean View was on Front Street, then moved to its current location in 2000 (story). Some of the regulars have been playing here for decades.

For a period during the late 1980's, Los Angeles and Santa Cruz were the only counties in the state where flop games could be spread legally. As a consequence, several now-defunct Santa Cruz cardrooms such as the Pleasure Point Casino were the only option for Northern California Hold'em and Omaha players. When flop games were legalized statewide, the large Bay Area clubs eventually drove Santa Cruz clubs out of business. The Ocean View is the sole living heir of a town with a once-thriving poker scene.

Neighborhood: The Ocean View is located at the southern end of Pacific Avenue, a block typically considered seedier than the rest of downtown, but there is no real threat. During the day, surfers and tourists wander by the front of the room, which is in a typical storefront. The bright sunlight and cool ocean breeze make for a very pleasant walk to the room. At night, expect a little craziness in front of the nearby bars. Ask for an escort to your vehicle if you are concerned about safety; the staff will be happy to walk you to your car. Some neighborhood atmosphere that you might encounter just outside of the Oceanview; Regular panhandlers, puddles of vomit, free contact high from the ganja smokers, being asked if you have crack for sale, being asked if you want to buy some questionably owned goods (DVDs, laptops, bicycles, etc.), fights between drunks from the bars or even between salesmen/women and dealers arguing over turf, and you also may find yourself being propositioned by the some of the ugliest hookers this side of the Mississippi.

Parking: Right on a city street with no parking lot. You can park on the street (not too hard except at peak shopping times), or park in a city lot. Street parking is metered until 8pm at $.25/hour, don't forget because tickets do happen and when someone brings it up, usually more people make made dashes to their cars to make sure they are paid up. Sometimes this can kill the game for a few minutes.

Tables and Chairs: Typical 9 player tables. The cheesy folding chairs this cardroom was infamous for, have recently been replaced by a roomfull of brand new nicely padded regular casino type chairs.

Service and Comps

No service or real comps. They've got a free water cooler and coffee machine in the back; help yourself. They also have soda, juices, and other beverages, as well as fruit, crackers, cookies, yogurt, and other snacks available for free to players. Just ask.

Links and Notes

  • Visited by MarkT in Feb 2006.