I spent the pre-Christmas holiday in California on business. Landed at LAX around 2 PM on Tuesday. After we landed, I convinced my better half to visit Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood. Wow, the traffic is horrible. The casino is not far from LAX, but the constant red lights at every intersection, combined with molasses-like traffic and a wrong turn, due to construction messing with the GPS, meant it took an hour to get the Hollywood Park Casino.

That’s L.A. traffic, although, it’s not as bad as New York traffic.

Christmas in California is not like the rest of the country. Even in late December, it’s ‘shorts and t-shirt’ weather.

Hmmm, where’s the Christmas morning snow?

Make no mistake, though. It was Christmas, and you could tell by the decorations in the casino.

Oh, so this is how you know it’s Christmas. The lobby of the Hollywood Park Casino.
The lobby of Hollywood Park Casino, in Inglewood, California
The entrance to the gaming floor.

Hollywood Park Casino is a California style player-banked casino. Buses bring in players from all over the Los Angeles area.

A bus bringing in players to Hollywood Park Casino.

The casino is very nice, with nice touches to draw in the affluent gambler.

Lounge area.
Bar located on the gaming floor.

The casino is not allowed to bank, rather, the casino earns its’ money by charging a fee every hand. The fee is $1 per hand per $100, and is paid as an ante. So if the player wants to bet $200, the ante is $2. This ante is paid per hand regardless of the outcome. If the player wins, loses, or pushes the fee is still paid. It’s a bit frustrating to score a 21 and then have the ‘dealer’ tie. Well, you didn’t lose the hand, but you lost the ante.

Table games are the usual casino games, but with twists, such as No Bust Blackjack and player banked baccarat and Pai Gow Poker.

There are no games that use dice or balls, such as craps or roulette. Hollywood Park did not have card craps.

No Bust Blackjack, where if the player and dealer both bust, the hand is a tie.
This is No Bust Blackjack, where the player plays against another player, usually the corporate player.
The ‘player’ at the end of the table is the corporate player in the pic directly above this pic. Notice a large amount of chips.

If the player chooses to bank, the banking player must also pay a flat $3 ante.

The player banking issue is quite interesting. Even though the game is player banked, the actual players rarely, if ever bank. At each table, there is a ‘player’ who is clearly marked as an employee of a ‘corporation’, who acts as the banker. This ‘player’ has a large amount of chips and is not playing with their own personal money, allegedly.

From my observation, the corporation was making money hand over fist. If the players would have followed optimal strategy, the players would have an advantage of .56% before the ante (citation from Wizard of Odds). Most players played horribly, thus giving an edge to the corporation player.

I’m not going to go into details of the ‘corporation’ or the rules of the game. That’s a report, in and of itself. If you want to know about the rules and how the corporation works, read this: https://wizardofodds.com/games/california-blackjack/

The ‘player’ in the right of this pic with the large amount of chips is a corporate-backed player. The corporate-backed player is not playing with their own money.

I sat down at a blackjack table and asked to bank. The ‘corporate’ player threw up a fit and started saying passive aggressive things to me.  I argued back and said that according to the rules, I have a right to bank. I found it strange that in a ‘player’ banked casino, no players were banking, while an alleged ‘non-profit’ corporation would pay a player to bank every hand, then when I asked to bank, I was given resistance.

Same thing happened at the baccarat table when I asked to bank. I was given push back and passive aggressive looks from the corporate player and dealer.

Player banked baccarat. The look of contempt from the corporate player seated at the end of the table, when I said I wanted to bank, was palpable. Notice the name and ID tag on the player. These are not regular players.

The California card rooms are currently facing a lawsuit from the Native American tribes who run their own casinos. From what I saw and experienced, the card rooms are effectively banking their own games by deploying a loophole and intimidating players from banking.

If you live near the area, and you insist on getting your gambling fix, it’s worth a trip. Just be sure that you know the rules of the game very well, or else you will be at a severe disadvantage. It’s not worth a flight across the country, or even from another city. There are better gaming options at the Native American casinos.




Posted in: Casino, Gambling

0 thoughts on “Hollywood Park Casino, Inglewood California

  • Hollywood Park has change so much over the years, It used to have a massive poker hall on one side and the table games on the other. I always go there when I am waiting for my flights back to New Zealand.
    I have been Banker a few times on Pai Gow tiles but the ‘corporation banker) does not like it. But it is close to LAX,
    I have been there many times when fights break out at the tables or when people have not paid there debt off to a few of the money lenders that prey that this place.

    Love the videos and your reports keep them coming

    • Thanks, my friend. I’ve heard of those fights, too. It can get interesting at these card rooms. You can sometimes see the money lenders nearby. You’re spot on. There’s a small economy of side businesses in the place.

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