In recent years, the Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens has evolved from a dirty circus tent full of degenerate gamblers to a polished, Vegas-style casino full of “interesting” gamblers. From the remodeled casino floor to the upscale restaurant and clean tables and chairs (gotta appreciate the little things, too, folks), this 24-hour spot is a solid bet if you’re trying to gamble somewhere relatively close to home. Though the OC-adjacent city of Hawaiian Gardens may seem a bit out of the way, this is the place where savvy players and salty locals come to relax and enjoy decently priced drinks, a revamped menu of culinary fusion, or a kickass Sunday brunch (make sure to go for the lobster in any of its many forms). The tables are spaced out, so there’s no issue with having other players crowded on top of you, unless of course you’re on a roll and attracting a lot of attention. You’re in luck at this casino whether or not you’re a winner.
11871 E. Carson St., Hawaiian Gardens, (562) 860-5887; www.thegardenscasino.com.
Morongo Casino Resort & Spa