Pechanga Casino Softens Previous Stance On Online Poker

Written By Steve Ruddock on February 26, 2014 - Last Updated on September 13, 2022
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Located on the Pechanga Indian Reservation in Temecula, California, (midway between San Diego and Riverside and about 90 minutes from Los Angeles) the Pechanga Resort and Casino is the largest and one of the most powerful tribal casinos in California.

History of Pechanga Resort and Casino

Pechanga Resort and Casino opened for business in 2002 with much fanfare and the property has not disappointed.

The casino was a massive project and the Pechanga Indians quickly cashed in on their investment, enough so that they added a 100,000 square foot expansion in 2004, more than doubling the original size of the property.

A 54 table poker room was added during the 2004 expansion, turning the casino into a prime destination for poker players. The poker room is on the second floor of the property and is fairly easy to find—which is not always the case in these mammoth resort casinos.

Pechanga Resort and Casino today

Pechanga is considered a 5-Star property and it lives up to that billing. This is not a local’s casino; this is a high-end property with a lot of upscale amenities.

Pechanga’s poker room is non-smoking and offers all the amenities players have come to expect from a top flight poker room, including tableside food and beverage options, separate cashier cages, a four-sided Jumbotron style TV setup in the center of the room, free wifi, and discounted hotel rooms for players.

As a complete resort destination, Pechanga offers gaming, live entertainment options in their 1,200-seat theater, shopping, nightlife, ten fine and casual dining options, a full spa, 18-hole golf course, over 500 hotel rooms with 64 suites, and more.

Where They Stand Now in the Poker World

Like most full resort casinos, Pechanga’s poker operations are certainly not their featured attraction, but Pechanga’s poker room is well run, it’s well lit with a great atmosphere, and is usually very lively at all hours of the day.

It’s certainly not The Commerce or The Bike, but Pechanga is a great place to play poker.

The poker room offers a good variety of games and limits up to the middle limits, as well as six separate jackpots just waiting to be hit.

Limit games at the casino go up to $20/$40 with a Kill, with No Limit action games spread up to $10/$20. Most of the action is low and mid-limit No Limit Holdem, although the property does regularly spread the intriguing five-card Omaha variant.

Because of their out of the way location, Pechanga doesn’t attract much in the way of major tournament series. Here is a look at the current daily and weekly tournaments offered at Pechanga.

Reward Program

The Pechanga Reward Program is called The Club. The Club, has four separate tiers players can reach based on the amount of play they give the casino.

The amount of comp dollars you will earn at the Pechanga poker tables varies based on the limits you are playing, but you can use $1/hour as a reference point.

Handicapping Their Chances for Online Poker

Pechanga’s Tribal Chairman, Mark Macarro, has publicly come out against online gambling and online poker in California. Speaking for the tribe, Macarro has been against all efforts to legalize online poker in the state up until very recently when their stance has softened and they have supported some smaller scale iGaming bills that are intrastate and online poker only.

However, these objections were likely coming from an economic standpoint, where Pechanga (as one of the wealthiest casinos in the state) didn’t see the need to add online gaming as they felt it would cannibalize their live gaming.  But with New Jersey and Nevada proving that online gambling does not impact live gaming in any meaningful way Pechanga seems to have changed their tune and is now supporting certain poker only bills.

The most recent bill supported by Pechanga, AB 2291, was introduced on Friday February 22, 2014.

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Steve Ruddock

Steve Ruddock is a longtime member of the online gambling industry. He covers the regulated US online casino and poker industries for variety of publications, including,,, and USA Today.

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