The San Manuel Casino is located roughly 60 to 75 minutes east of Los Angeles, CA in San Bernardino County. The casino is owned and operated by The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, a federally recognized tribe of the Serrano people.
San Manuel is the nearest Las Vegas style casino to the majority of the Los Angeles area. This casino is very similar to other Indian run casinos in Southern California, including Harrah’s SoCal and Pechanga, and also northern CA casinos, like Cache Creek. The differences between San Manuel and a casino you would find in Atlantic City or Las Vegas are very minor, and when they exist, are due to state laws. For the most part, San Manuel is the most complete real casino experience achievable in California.
If you are an avid gambler in Southern California, in particular, the Los Angeles area, one main difference you will notice is that San Manuel is an actual casino. Unlike cardrooms in California tribal casinos, such as San Manuel, contain table games, bingo, slot and gaming machines, and more. Additionally, there are no fees to play table games and the rules are generally more favorable at San Manuel and other tribal casinos compared to California cardrooms.
When you arrive at San Manuel you’ll notice the sheer size of the property. Relative to competitors in the area the casino is rather large and contains ample parking. However, if you choose to attend on busy nights (typically weekends), parking in the garage is sparse, so you’ll definitely want to consider what time you arrive or valeting your car. Another thing to also consider is that there is no hotel on-site, but you there are many hotel options in the area.
Inside the first-floor, casino level area plenty of gaming options. You’ll notice a circular bar in the middle of the floor where you can grab a drink, game, and/or watch one of the many TVs. Around the floor are several slots, table games, and a few more bars. Drink prices are around $7-$10, which is pretty reasonable and the floor is filled with cocktail waitresses to serve you. If you are used to receiving comp drinks, you’ll be disappointed to know that San Manuel does not offer comp drinks even if you are playing.
As indicated above, there are several gaming options to choose from at San Manuel. Table games include blackjack, EZ Baccarat, let it ride, three card poker, four card poker, craps, fortune pai gow, roulette, and ultimate Texas hold’em. Their poker room has around 35 tables with games ranging from Texas hold’em, Omaha hi-lo, or seven card stud.
San Manuel offers free bet blackjack, buster blackjack, house money, double-deck and high limit blackjack. The majority of the tables are 6-deck games with automatic shuffling. On weekends, you should expect the tables to require a minimum bet of $25 to play, however, on non-peak days minimums may decrease to as low as $5. The max bet is $2,000. All the shoe games pay 3 to 2, require the dealer to hit on soft 17s, allow doubling on any two cards after splitting, allow re-splitting of aces, and allow you to surrender.
In the high limit area, the minimum bet for blackjack is either $50 or $100 depending on which table you choose. Otherwise, the rules are the same including dealers hitting on all soft 17s. The rest of the area is nicer relative to the floor simply due to the fact that fewer people play in the high limit area. You’ll enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere with your own cocktail waitresses, video poker bar, and slot and table games.
San Manuel has over 4,000 gaming machines ranging from mechanical reel slots, video reels, video keno, in-house progressive jackpots, and over 115 video poker machines. There is also a dedicated non-smoking area if you are looking to play without being exposed to cigarette smoke as it is allowed throughout the casino.
Below is a breakdown of the poker games you’ll find inside the poker room at San Manuel.
Limit Hold’em: 2/4 (2/2 blinds); 3/6 (1/3 blinds); 4/8 with a kill; 8/16 with a half kill or a full kill; 20/40 with a kill
No Limit Hold’em: 2/5 blinds (100-300 buy-in); 5/5 blinds (300-500 buy-in)
Omaha/8: 3/6 full kill
Seven Card Stud: 2/4 ($0.50 ante and bring-in); 3/6 ($1 ante and bring-in)
It is best to check with the casino to see what games are running the particular day you are interested in going. Often times the 20/40 with a kill limit hold’em and the seven card stud games are very rare or limited.
Typically, the poker room attracts low-limit action and inexperienced players. As with most poker rooms the higher the stakes generally the more experienced the players are. However, one positive is that the wait times have been known to be small or completely non-existent. It’s likely you’ll find a game going during any time of the day.
The rake at San Manuel is 3 + 1 jackpot on all the limit games up to 8/16, 4 + 1 jackpot on all limit games from 20/40 up to and on all no-limit games.
The majority of the tables use machine shufflers, and they typically reserve hand-shuffles for tournament games or out of necessity. As a new player, you do not need to post to enter a game and killer acts last. There is absolutely no smoking inside the poker room at San Manuel.
The casino also runs several poker tournaments and jackpot promotion throughout the year depending on the month and day of the week. Overall, the poker room will suffice if you are an inexperienced player or not quite an expert. However, it could be argued that there are better poker rooms in the Los Angeles, CA area with higher limits and more experienced players.
There is no shortage of food options in San Manuel. The easiest and most convenient options are the quick eating options located on the first-floor. The area resembles a food court setup and you can choose from burgers, Thai food, pizza, and other quick bites.
Additionally, there are casual options such as George Lopez’s Chingon Kitchen, Just Barbecue, Rock & Brews, and the Serrano Buffett. If you are looking for upscale options you can either try The Pines Modern Steakhouse and/or the Pines Sunday Brunch.
There are plenty of drink options as well, but the casino adheres to current state law which does not allow alcohol after 2am.
Located on the first-floor, The Tukut lounge offers free entertainment every night of the week. On weekdays, alcohol service begins at 5pm and ends at 1:15am and weekend service begins at 8am and ends at 1:15am. Every Tuesday is Salsa Night, with lessons starting at 8pm. Wednesdays is Country Night from 8pm to 1:30am, and every Friday is Latin Friday starting at 9pm.
Also on the first-floor is Bar Bar Bar, where you most likely be able to listen to local DJs just about every night of the week. Other bars inside the casino include the Tropical Storm Bar, Finish Line Bar, and Round Up Bar. As previously indicated above, drinks are reasonably priced around $7-$10. You can most likely find some sort of live music or entertainment every night of the week at San Manuel.
As eluded to above, the main features of San Manuel pertain to the Vegas-style of gaming it offers relative to competitors in the state of California and the surrounding Los Angeles, CA area.
If you are looking for an option to play slots, table games, poker, and bingo without fees and unfavorable rules San Manuel is most likely your best bet. The minimum age to play at San Manuel is 21, and the casino offers a rewards program that yields credits, discounts on food, and more.
In November 2017, San Manuel announced an expansion plan that would upgrade and improve the casino facility all-around. The main features include the addition of a 500-room resort style hotel, expanded casino floor space, a 4,000-seat performance venue, additional meeting and event space, new amenities including a spa and more shops, and a new 2,200-vehicle parking structure. The casino is expected to break ground by mid 2018 and conclude by the end of 2020. The plans not only improve the casino, but will also stimulate the local economy by adding more jobs.
San Manuel Casino is located at 777 San Manuel Blvd. Highland, CA 92346. It is about a 60 to 75-minute drive from Los Angeles depending on the time of day you leave and traffic. As traffic is a notorious issue in Los Angeles, it is best to allow enough time to travel there or to travel during off-peak hours (i.e. late at night or early in the morning).
The casino also offers charter bus options from various locations in Southern California. For more information visit their website here.