There is no shortage of card rooms in California, and especially not in the Los Angeles area. Whether you are looking for big games, small games, or something in between, you will find it in Los Angeles. Hawaiian Gardens Casino, now known as The Gardens Casino, is one of the top rooms in this major metropolitan area. While it used to actually be hosted inside of an actual tent, the room now boasts a luxurious interior with a never ending sea of brand new, high class tables. Among the competition in the Los Angeles poker scene, or anywhere else in the country for that matter, The Gardens Poker Room is right at the top.
As is the case with all of the casinos in the Los Angeles region, you will not find any machines or other similar games in this casino. The only non poker, table games that run are along the lines of blackjack, baccarat, and pai gow poker. World Casino Index does not encourage playing these games as you will be subjected to substantial fees simply to play the game. We do not blame The Gardens for this, however, as it is California gaming laws that make this situation as messy and unfortunate as it is.
The Gardens has a geographical advantage, or disadvantage, when compared to the rest of the “local” poker room competition, depending on how you look at it. This casino is located much further south than its main competitors, like Commerce or The Bike. Given the nature of commute and incredibly heavy traffic around Los Angeles at virtually every hour of the day, unless you are more towards the southern LA area, you are going to have a difficult time reaching The Gardens without hitting heavy traffic (unless you are driving in the dead of night). If you are closer to the Anaheim area, however, The Gardens will be the perfect place to play.
The casino at The Gardens is very, very large. Upon walking through the tall, security guarded doors, you will find a virtually unending stream of tables. In addition to this, the room has gone out of its way to ensure that there is an extremely large number of TVs spread throughout the gaming floor. You will be hard pressed to be in any section of the room where you won’t also be able to locate a TV.
The room is new, and as such, the tables themselves are very modern as well. The poker tables include USB charging outlets which make it convenient for players to keep their phones powered even while playing and inevitably draining their battery. Beyond this, the front desks of each section also have a power charging station where you can drop off your phone for free, receive a ticket, and then pick up the phone later while it charges at the desk. This is a very convenient feature that a surprising number of poker rooms still do not offer.
The rake for poker games at The Gardens casino is actually better than most other places in the area. The base rates themselves are about the same, but they do not rake additional money for seeing the turn card in poker, while other poker rooms do. Needless to say, if you are putting in a lot of volume, $1 saved over and over again will really begin to add up in the long run.
In terms of game types and limits, you will find all of the standard LA staples, including Texas Hold’em and Omaha, with a bit of Stud games mixed in as well, generally at lower limits. Both limit and no limit games run. There is a main outer floor, and then there is what the casino calls a “VIP” area where the higher limit games run. In here you will generally find a combination of 5/5 and 5/10+ games. 5/10 is usually the highest stake game running, but there are often times larger games going as well, and these too will be found in the VIP room. All of the lower limit games will be located on the outside main floor.
The biggest detractor from The Gardens operation is found in its comps and player program. Instead of using the Bravo system like most major rooms do now, they have their own system. This means that you cannot see what games and limits are running without calling, and it also means that they are forced to implement an archaic method of tracking hours played. While playing at a table, poker players must keep their players cards out. Every hour, an employee walks around the whole room and scans these cards, one by one, to track your play and credit comps. While the comp rates are very competitive, the system used is very outdated and leaves room for improvement.
The Gardens is not known as a tournament poke room. Its proximity away from other competing rooms is likely a big factor in this. With that said, they do run a few different daily tournaments with buy ins under $100, as well as a few special events throughout the year. If you are primarily a tournament player, this is likely not the best poker room for you. We do encourage you to check out their current schedule to see if any large series or events are running.
The Gardens does have a comprehensive food menu available. Players can order from this menu tableside and have their food brought right to the game. Comps and/or cash can be used to pay for any food or drinks ordered from the menu. Alcoholic drinks are also available, but due to California rules, all of these items are charged and comps cannot be used to pay for them.
Unfortunately there is not currently an on site hotel at The Gardens Casino. We are unfamiliar with any plans to add a hotel in the near future. Given that this casino only recently upgraded from a tent to an actual, impressive building, it is likely that a hotel addition would not be in the near term plans. Note that the area is very highly populated and very active, so you will be able to choose from any number of hotels in the area. For reference, as it used to actually be called, the casino is located in the city of Hawaiian Gardens, California.