How poker differs in California and Nevada

How poker differs in California and Nevada

April 14, 2015 3:01 AM


Rewards in CaliforniaPlaying poker in California and Nevada differs in many ways with pluses for both markets. Two benefits of playing in Nevada are the cost of living is much cheaper and collections are half that of California.

However, California has all the action you could ever want and making money is easier. California seems to be the favorite among pros.

A new policy instituted in Southern California will see card rooms put reward money on player cards based on play. Look for players to receive up to $6 an hour to play.

Commerce Casino, the largest card room in the world located just minutes from downtown Los Angeles, features more than 200 tables offering non-stop poker action for all skill levels.

Jeff Harris, VP casino manager, outlines the benefits of the new poker rewards program: “While we made changes to our Top Section comp program, we now offer our customers $2 an hour in rewards points. We also offer double points for nine hours throughout the day.”

Jeff continues, “With the industry now offering programs that reward loyalty rather than open comps, we are constantly tweaking and adjusting our program to make it as attractive to the SoCal poker player as possible.”

Mo Fathipour, tournament director, explains the new rewards program at the Bicycle Casino: “In the top section we are paying the first 25 scans $50 and after that $2.50 per scan.”

Hollywood Park Casino, located 10 minutes from LAX, has one of the most lucrative cashback programs, paying $2 per hour in Omaha games and up to $6 an hour in select games.

Pechanga Resort & Casino, the largest casino in California located in Temecula’s wine country, has some offers worth driving out for.

Richie Lopez, Pechanga’s poker room manager, explains some of the deals in its 43 table room, such as free meals after three hours of play on Wednesdays, pot sweeteners and free roll tournaments.

Richie adds, “Last year, we gave away more than $1.3 million in just promotional winnings, including cars, trucks, Vespa scooters, cash and other value-added giveaways. Players also like us because at $4, we have the lowest rake in the entire region. This puts more money back in your pocket.”

Las Vegas offers a great weekend getaway for California players to take advantage of the discounted room rates for hours played and the great tourist action.

When I am looking for places to play, I look for casinos that spread Omaha. Three of my favorite poker rooms in Las Vegas offer some of the best Omaha action anywhere.

The Orleans Hotel and Casino poker room, home to some of the best Omaha games in the country, has been a favorite among locals and visitors for many years due to their outstanding Hold’em and Omaha action.

The Orleans hosts the Omaha “Play Your Way In” tourney where the top 80 hour earners in April will qualify to play in an Omaha Hi-Lo tournament with over $20,000 being awarded.

According to Poker Room Manager Garrett Okahara, “Orleans poker players earn 750 TG points every hour. This equates to $1.25 per hour when used in all Orleans restaurants/food outlets.”

Boulder Station features one of the few limit high Omaha games around. According to Steve Deuel, director of poker room operations, there are “pots so big that small dogs can’t jump over them.”

Boulder Station also offers $1 an hour in comps, 24 hours a day, and $500 Omaha High Hands Sunday, Monday and Thursday.

The largest poker room in Las Vegas, the Sands at the Venetian, offers $2 per hour in comps for any game, which players can use for food, table side massages or as entries into a tournament.

According to Tommy LaRosa, the V’s tournament director, they offer some of the best discounted rates for their suites when you play six hours of cash game play per day or play in a $300 buy-in or above tournament.

From the players’ point of view, it is getting very competitive out there, and it is up them to decide what comps are most valuable and how they contribute to their power to earn.

If you are an everyday poker player, some of these perks can be worth up to $1,500 a month. As I said in Part 1, it’s all about earning.

I have traveled all over the world playing poker and what sets poker rooms apart from one another is customer service and the action in that room.

I would love to hear from you about what brings you back to a particular room. Email me at I may use your suggestions in a future article.

Robert Turner is a legendary poker player and billiard marketing expert, best known for inventing the game of Omaha poker and introducing it to Nevada in 1982 and to California in 1986. In the year 2000, he created World Team Poker, the first professional league for poker. He has over 30 years experience in the gaming industry and is co-founder of Crown Digital Games. Twitter @thechipburner Robert can be reached at

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