HIDDEN GEM--A lot of people who visit or even live in Los Angeles don’t realize that there’s an active casino just outside of downtown, in Inglewood.
In terms of attractions, Inglewood is typically better known for local and spectator sports (the city is home to The Forum after all), its casual dining scene, and a handful of local boutiques — such as Keyks, with their artisan cakes, and Nena's Organics, with their balms. But Inglewood is also home to Hollywood Park Casino, which is a legitimate LA-area poker room that many don’t realize exists. Reports on LATimes.com in recent years have suggested potential crackdowns on establishments like this one, but for now (and for the foreseeable future), the Hollywood Park Casino is fully legal and fully functioning.
It’s really a bit of a hidden gem in LA County — just far enough from downtown LA to go largely unnoticed, and existing despite the fact that most would probably assume casino activity of all kinds is prohibited in California. There’s a reason, after all, that most in LA who like casinos simply load up their cars and drive a few hours northeast to Vegas! For those who are interested in card tables rather than slots, entertainment, and general attractions though, the Hollywood Park Casino gets the job done.
Furthermore, we have some specific tips on how you can prepare for a visit and ultimately enjoy yourself as much as possible.
Practice in Advance
Most important of all is to practice your card games before you go. You don’t need to take things too seriously, but finding some free poker and blackjack games for a bit of casual play will help you to get used to things before you confront the slightly more intimidating scenario of sitting at a card table with real chips in play. ExpressDigest.com mentions that it’s easy enough to find free casino card games online, particularly popular ones such as slots, baccarats, and craps, or through your app store. Even a few games will help to refresh you and prepare you for the real thing.
Learn Texas Hold'Em
While you’re practicing, you’d also do well to refresh yourself on a few varieties of poker that you’ll find at the Hollywood Park Casino — especially Texas Hold'em. This is the most popular kind of poker, and under that are even more varieties, one of the most common being the No-Limit. Poker.org explains that No-Limit has the same rules as all other forms of Texas Hold'em. However, the difference is that No-Limit requires you to have more patience and persistence, alongside a sizeable bankroll. One bad hand can cause you to lose all your chips in this type of high-variance game. But this is what makes No-Limit so exciting to players. After all, you have the chance to double-up in one hand even if you have a big stack, which is impossible to do in Hold'em games with limited betting.
Learn Pai Gow Poker
Pai Gow is another variety of poker that can be played either with cards or — similarly — with tiles. In the poker-style variety it's a game in which players are dealt seven cards and charged with dividing them into two hands: one of five cards and one of two. Once this is done, the hands are placed face down, and the dealer arranges his or her own hands out of seven cards. Then, cards are revealed; players whose five- and two-card hands both defeat their respective counterparts from the dealer win what they’ve bet. Another wrinkle to this game is that Joker cards are in the deck, and can be used to complete straights or straight flushes, as well as stand in as Aces.
Form a Blackjack Strategy
If you’re less of a poker player, or you just want to try a handful of different games, you may well find yourself at a blackjack table while you’re at Hollywood Park Casino as well. And it’s actually an ideal game for beginners. Per a very interesting article posted on Medium.com, novices will make correct decisions “most of the time” — up to about 80-90% of it, in fact. There’s a common-sense logic to blackjack that kicks in and helps even total newcomers to play quite intelligently. Nevertheless, there are still probabilities and strategies you can learn that can fairly quickly take you to an even higher percentage of correct decisions. That doesn’t mean you’ll always win, because chance plays a role. But this is one card game in which you can just about ensure you’re doing all the right things to win.
Save Your Appetite
Finally, card strategies aside, make sure to visit with an appetite! Part of the fun of playing a real, live casino is being able to step away from the tables to indulge in a good bite to eat and have a drink or two, and the Hollywood Park Casino’s Century Bar & Grill accommodates. It’s not the high-end fine-dining spot you’ll find at your average Vegas casino resort, but it’s a classy, appealing venue with a menu full of terrific comfort food. Whether you visit in between games or to cap off the evening, it’s worth a stop.
We hope this will help you to get the most out of a visit to Hollywood Park Casino! It’s a lesser-known attraction that deserves a bit more attention, and gives you one more option for a fun night out in LA County. For more news and tips do visit our LA Watchdog page.