Cardrooms in California – List, Map, and the Largest Cardrooms in the State

By Steve Beauregard

According to the most recent reports from the California Gaming Control Commission published in January 2018, there are 88 licensed card rooms in the state of California. However only 70 of these are active and currently open.

Unlike their Indian casino cousins, these cardrooms are privately owned, and do not have to be on Native American-owned land. They’re legal because under California law, they are considered “games of skill” rather than “games of luck.”

Among these 70 cardrooms, there are a variety of sizes, game offerings and styles.

The Commerce Casino is the largest cardroom in California
The Commerce Casino is the largest cardroom in California

They range from small pub-type places to sprawling, spacious, action-packed floors filled with over 200 tables and thousands of gamblers, (Commerce Casino in Los Angeles).

In addition to these 70 cardrooms there are 62 different casinos in the state, and they shouldn’t be confused.

Unlike the cardrooms, these casinos, (all of which are Indian casinos situated on tribal land), can have slot machines, craps and roulette.

Adding to the confusion are the fact that many (if not most) of the cardrooms, have “casino” in their name. For the purposes of this article however, we’re only talking about California’s card rooms.

California Cardroom Games Offered

California cardrooms are exactly as the name implies: rooms with card games them.

While you may think of a “cardroom” as being just another word for a poker room, California cardrooms spread a variety of table games.

The Bicycle Hotel & Casino is one of 70 card rooms in California
The Bicycle Hotel & Casino is one of 70 card rooms in California

In addition to the usual selection of Texas Hold’em, Omaha games, the bigger cardrooms offer games such as: Caribbean stud, Let it Ride, baccarat, pai gow poker, and the like. They also spread a version of blackjack called “California blackjack” in which there are 53 cards in the deck. The 53rd card is a joker, and it’s value, (along with other specific rules), can vary from casino to casino.

An even stranger quirk to these table games is the fact that you can be “the house.”

Due to California gaming regulations, players do not play against the house, but rather, against each other. As a result, each cardroom charges a player’s fee. That’s how they make their money, rather than the traditional Las Vegas casino style, in which the house doesn’t charge a fee, and relies instead on their mathematical edge in each game.

Before the start of each hand, one player is designated as the “dealer or banker” for that hand. He or she will have the option of being the designated banker for up to two hands, whereupon the deal will rotate to the next player.

The rules get complicated, and are not the focus of this article, however we’ll say that as banker, you decide how much you wish to risk. Any shortfall above that is made up by “The Corporation” which is a person at every table who works for a company associated with the house, but which is not the house, since California rules prohibit betting against the house. Confused yet?

Now you know why most people play poker.

Largest Cardroom in California

The biggest cardroom in California, as measured by the number of tables in play, is the Commerce Casino. It calls itself the “Largest poker casino in the world,” and they’re probably right.

Situated 7 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, the Commerce has 270 tables. It’s host to an annual stop on the nationally televised World Poker Tour.

The Commerce has a 200 room, nine-story hotel, spa, and restaurants.

The massive cardroom spreads Texas Hold’em of course, along with Omaha and poker variants you hardly find anywhere else these days, including 7-Card Stud, Razz, and even Low-Ball. You can also bet on the ponies in the Commerce’s Racebook.

Top 5 Biggest Cardrooms in California

Here are the state’s biggest cardrooms, (followed by their table count) as determined by table count figures from the California Gaming Control Commission:

Commerce Casino (Commerce, CA): 270 tables

Hawaiian Gardens Casino (Hawaiian Gardens, CA): 225 tables

The Bicycle Hotel & Casino, (Inglewood, CA.): 185 tables

Hollywood Park Casino (Inglewood): 120 tables

Hustler Casino (Gardena): 91 tables

California Cardroom Map

California Cardroom List

Here’s a list of all of California’s Cardrooms, along with their respective towns.

There are a few other cardrooms that have licenses to operate, but which aren’t opened. They are not included in the list below:

Artichoke Joe’s Casino – San Bruno

Bankers Casino – Salinas

Bay 101 – San Jose

California Grand Casino – Pacheco

Cameo Club – Stockton

Capitol Casino – Sacramento

Casino 99 – Chico

Casino Club – Redding

Casino M8trix – San Jose

Casino Marysville – Marysville

Casino Merced – Merced

Casino Real – Manteca

Central Coast Casino – Grover Beach

Clovis 500 Club – Clovis

Club One Casino, Inc. – Fresno

Club San Rafael – San Rafael

Commerce Casino – Commerce

Crystal Casino – Compton

Delta Casino – Stockton

Diamond Jim’s Casino – Rosamond

Empire Sportsmen’s Association – Modesto

Garlic City Club – Gilroy

Golden State Casino – Marysville

Golden West Casino- Bakersfield

Hawaiian Gardens Casino – Hawaiian Gardens

Hollywood Park Casino – Inglewood

Hustler Casino – Gardena

Kings Card Club – Stockton

La Fuerza – Woodlake

Lake Bowl Cardroom – Folsom

Lake Elsinore Hotel and Casino – Lake Elsinore

Larry Flynt’s Lucky Lady Casino – Gardena

Limelight Card Room – Sacramento

Livermore Casino – Livermore

Lucky Chances Casino – Colma

Lucky Lady Card Room – San Diego

Marina Club – Marina

Merced Poker Room – Merced

Mike’s Card Casino – Oakdale

Napa Valley Casino – American Canyon

Nineteenth Hole – Antioch

Oaks Card Club – Emeryville

Ocean’s Eleven Casino – Oceanside

Oceanview Casino – Santa Cruz

Old Cayucos Tavern – Cayucos

Outlaws Card Parlour – Atascadero

Palace Poker Casino – Hayward

Palomar Card Club – San Diego

Parkwest Casino 580 – Livermore

Parkwest Casino Cordova – Rancho Cordova

Parkwest Casino Lodi (aka Lodi Casino) – Lodi

Parkwest Casino Lotus – Sacramento

Parkwest Casino Sonoma – Petaluma

Paso Robles Central Coast Casino – Paso Robles

Pinnacle Casino (formerly known as Ven-A-Mexico) – Soledad

Player’s Casino – Ventura

Poker Flats Casino – Merced

Rancho’s Club – Rancho Cordova

Rogelio’s – Isleton

Seven Mile Casino – Chula Vista

Star’s Casino – Tracy

Sundowner Cardroom – Visalia

The Aviator Casino – Delano

The Bicycle Hotel & Casino – Bell Gardens

The Deuce Lounge & Casino – Visalia

The Saloon at Stones Gambling Hall – Citrus Heights

The Tavern at Stones – Citrus Heights

Tommy’s Casino & Saloon – El Centro

Towers Casino – Grass Valley

Turlock Poker Room – Turlock

California Card Rooms that have closed

Below are card rooms shown as “not operating” according to the California Gaming Commission. Some of these still have active licenses and may re-open.

BlackSheep Casino – Cameron Park

Bruce’s Bar and Casino – Blythe

Casino Royale – Sacramento

Club Caribe Casino – Cudahy

Hotel Del Rio & Casino – Isleton

Oasis Card Room – Ridgecrest

Oceana Cardroom – Oceano

The Mint – Porterville

Tres Lounge and Casino -Watsonville

(Top photo courtesy of By Justefrain – Own work, CC BY 3.0, Bicycle photo courtesy of their website press gallery).