Since its opening in 1975, the California Hotel & Casino has been forced to contend fiercely for guests. Even though it is situated in a prime downtown location, its location at the intersection of Ogden Avenue and Main Street places it a block away from the foot traffic of Fremont Street, preventing it from becoming a Las Vegas landmark. To adapt, “the Cal” has developed a highly targeted marketing strategy and a comprehensive selection of amenities that satisfy the needs of visiting gamblers. The gaming floor, which encompasses 35,848 square feet and features 28 table games, including 18 blackjack-specific tables, is the epicenter of casino action.
California Tables & Games
The Cal’s pit area is most famous for its four-table craps pit, where shooter Stanley Fujita once held the dice for three hours and six minutes, setting a world record. This legendary performance gave birth to the casino’s “Golden Arm” club, which is exclusive to those who have rolled the dice continuously for one hour. However, blackjack players need not fear being regarded as second-rate customers. This casino upholds all types of gaming customs, including payouts of 3:2 for natural blackjacks and low-stakes tables where novices are welcome.
The primary game here is $3 six-deck shoe-dealt blackjack with a soft 17 dealer strike. The terms are quite restrictive, as there is no doubling down after splitting (DAS), no re-splitting of Aces (RSA), and no surrender, which results in a 0.78 percent house edge. Due to the reduced number of decks in play, the $5 and $25 double-deck games are somewhat more enticing, employing the same set of rules but with a House edge of only 0.60 percent. The utmost bet allowed at each of these blackjack tables is $1,000.
The $5-$200 single-deck contests that pay only 6:5 for a natural blackjack should be avoided. Those seeking variety may wish to attempt the $10-to-$1,000 tables with the “Bet Set 21” side bet option. Note that although the casino’s slot floor extends to the mezzanine where the sports book is located, all table games are located only in the pit area on the casino’s ground level.
Sam Boyd, the originator of The California, devised a novel concept to distinguish this hotel from all others. Instead of imitating an exotic foreign locale or a mythical motif, he decided to provide a comfortable “home away from home” for Hawaii-based visitors. He knew from his time in the fifty-first state that Hawaiians enjoy wagering despite the lack of legal venues. He was also aware that many Hawaiians consider Las Vegas to be “the ninth island” due to the city’s large kama’aina population. In addition to branding his hotel-casino as the “headquarters” for Hawaiians traveling to Las Vegas, he established charter flights and low-cost tour packages to attract traffic directly to his door from Honolulu. If casino dealers are wearing aloha shirts, there is a clear purpose for this.
B Linked for Regular Blackjack Players
As part of the Boyd Gaming Group, the California Hotel & Casino shares its “B Connected” player’s club with sister properties such as Sam’s Town, the Gold Coast, the Orleans, and the Suncoast, as well as Boyd’s casinos outside of Nevada . The loyalty program has three membership levels, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, each with its “own unique set of rewards and benefits.” In addition to cash back, dining discounts, and special pricing on merchandise, benefits also include accommodation upgrades, priority services, and event invitations. Blackjack participants receive points based on their average wager and playing time. Every participant is provided with an online account for tracking play and identifying new promotions [also].
The Inside Perspective
The “Aloha Spirit” exhibited by blackjack players and staff reflects the laid-back and hospitable lifestyle prevalent in the tropics. However, it can also appear somewhat insular, similar to visiting a country where everyone speaks a different language. In fact, you shouldn’t be astonished if you hear pidgin at the tables. On the mezzanine level of the California is the entrance to a sky bridge that connects this hotel-casino to another Boyd Gaming property, Main Street Station, located directly across the street. Those unfamiliar with Hawaiian culture will feel much more at home in this environment, while the baccarat games are virtually identical.