Located in Gardena, California, the Hustler Casino was the brainchild of Hustler Magazine founder and poker aficionado Larry Flynt.
Don’t let the name fool you, the Hustler Casino isn’t some raunchy den of debauchery, Flynt’s Hustler Casino is high end and classy all the way.
History of the Hustler Casino
The Hustler Casino got its start when Larry Flynt purchased the El Dorado club in Gardena, California back in 1998. Flynt shuttered the El Dorado, razed it to the ground, and by the year 2000 the Hustler Casino opened its doors for business, and was an immediate hit in the area.
When the casino opened, Flynt, a longtime poker player, moved his much talked about, private, ultra-high-stakes home game to the Hustler Casino, which quickly created a buzz around the casino and throughout the poker world, and drew immediate attention to the new casino.
In 2007 the Hustler Casino underwent a major expansion, adding the Crystal Room, which is used for multiple purposes nowadays, from hosting conferences, to hosting poker tournaments, to a spillover area on busy days.
Flynt’s game of choice is Seven Card Stud and the Hustler offered the highest stake Stud game in the world, a $2,000/$4,000 with a $1,000 ante game that revolved around Flynt himself. With a minimum buy-in of $200,000 and a mediocre player in Flynt, the big game at Hustler Casino attracted a veritable who’s-who list of poker pros, from stud specialists like Ted Forrest to poker legends Phil Ivey and Chip Reese.
As mentioned in the opening, the Hustler is something of a boutique casino (a swanky but smallish property), and is perhaps the most upscale card-room in California.
The Hustler Casino today
The Hustler Casino is non-smoking establishment, with tableside food and beverage service. Another nice feature at Hustler is their “phone-in” list, which allows poker players to get their name on the waitlist before arriving at the casino.
The Hustler Casino has roughly 50 tables on premises with extra space available for tournaments.
Where They Stand Now in the Poker World
Without the big stud game that brought the Hustler Casino to prominence (Flynt just isn’t up to it these days), and the regular sightings of the pros who participated in the game, the Hustler Casino lost a little of its panache in the poker world, but is still a quality room with a lot to offer.
The Hustler Casino isn’t on the same level as The Bike or Commerce Casino when it comes to tournaments, but they do offer a strong weekly assortment of daily tournaments, as well as several annual events:
- Liz Flynt Spring Classic
- Liz Flynt Fall Poker Classic
- Larry Flynt Holiday Classic
- Larry Flynt’s Grand Slam of Poker
Hustler Casino offers players one of the better comp programs around with their Player Rewards Cards. Just how good is it? Players at the lowest level capable of earning from $.40 to $2 in comp dollars (called Hustler Bucks) at the Hustler Casino tables depending on the stakes they play.
A typical $3/$6 player will earn about $.60/hour while a $6/$12 player will earn a very respectable $1.20 in comps every hour—as I said, one of the best in the industry.
Here is a look at the three levels of the program:
- Silver = 0 to 50 hours per month
- Gold = 51 to 110 hours per month: Earn 1.5x Hustler Bucks
- Onyx = over 111 hours per month: Earn 2.25x Hustler Bucks
Rake at the Hustler Casino
The rake at Hustler Casino is comparable to most other card-rooms in California with a $4 max plus a $1 jackpot drop in the lower stakes games, while the highest stakes games feature a $5 max rake with a $1 jackpot drop.
Handicapping Their Chances for Online Poker
Chances are that the Hustler Casino will be among the first online poker rooms launched in California if and when legislation is passed, considering Hustler already offers a number internal online gambling options (a free play site of course), which the casino launched on April 15, 2011 of all days!
With the infrastructure (from Zen Entertainment) already in place, it would be a simple transition to real-money online gambling.
Hustler has not publicly backed any of the online legislation that has been introduced in California, but considering Flynt’s reputation it’s unlikely he’ll be having any Sheldon Adelson-esque moral concerns over online gambling.