The Oldest Poker Room in the World

June 30, 2023

Poker has existed for centuries. It is thought to have originated back in the 10th century when the Chinese played a domino card game. It was only in the 20th century that it eventually grew in popularity and into the game it is today in the USA. It's no surprise that it is in the US that the oldest gaming room exists. Located in Pacheco, California, California Grand Casino is steeped in history and is said to be the longest running poker room since it opened in the 1850s. So let's look back at the history of the historic casino.

Woodford Hotel and Saloon

When the poker room opened in the 1850s, it was called the Woodford Hotel and Saloon. This was at a time when the gambling landscape of the country was much different. Gamblers didn't have the choice they do today. For example, gamblers have the choice of sites nowadays that offer live casino games giving them the chance to play poker, roulette, or slot games online. With these options, gamblers can replicate the live casino experience from their phone or tablet, which is a world apart from California in the 1850s.

Instead, over 150 years ago, the hotel and saloon acted as a place where gamblers could come to play and socialise. The playing experience was a lot different to the current offering as since then the poker room has grown into a full casino offering. With no online options at the time, its location on the Wells Fargo Pony Express was key to its growth.

Stepping into the 21st Century

Rather than relying on its history as a point of attraction, the Woodford Hotel and Saloon updated and attempted to remain as a place where gamblers wanted to come during the 20th century. It was eventually renamed in the late 70s, becoming the California Grand Casino. This was after it was bought by Lamar Wilkinson, a famous poker player. In 2009 further changes occurred when it changed address. It didn't go far though, as it moved just across the road.

Competition in San Francisco

In order to compete with online offerings, the casino is open 24/7 365 days a year and contains a restaurant and dining area for all guests. While they also try to attract new customers with promotions to first time players.

It has some competition from other casinos in San Francisco too. The Lucky Chances Casino, Graton Resort & Casino, and Red Hawk Casino are just some that offer gamblers similar facilities. For example, The Graton Casino has twenty tables on which to play live poker as well as 3,000 slot machines. According to Forbes, the gambling industry is worth over $50 billion per year, it is certain there will be more competition in years to come.

Initially undergoing huge growth when it became a stop on the Pony Express, the California Grand Casino has managed to stay relevant despite the changes in the gambling industry. Although it remains famous for its history, it continues to be a place where gamblers these days can enjoy themselves.

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