Yes, Nevada and its abundance of legal gambling opportunities are just a state line away, but the Sacramento metropolitan area offers quite a few choices for gamblers who want to play blackjack, poker or slots without having to drive for several hours. Many casinos owned by Native American tribes call the Sacremento area home, as well as smaller legal gambling establishments throughout the region. So grab your cash, put on your poker face, and get ready for a good time at these top five Sacramento-area gambling spots.
Thunder Valley Casino Resort is in Lincoln, California, about 30 miles from Sacramento. But the drive is worth it. The resort has a hotel, four restaurants plus a food court, a spa and live entertainment at three venues—the intimate Pano Hall, an outdoor amphitheater for the biggest acts and the main stage—and that's besides its world-class gambling. You can play the slots, poker, blackjack or bingo or indulge in high-limit games. You can even play another kind of sport: golf. This is a full-on fun weekend destination.
Capitol Casino, in downtown Sacramento, is the place to go for poker and other card games. Bring your friends and have your own poker night in this smoke-free environment that offers Omaha Hi-Lo, Texas Hold 'Em, Blackjack, EZ Baccarat and Pai Gow Poker. It's the biggest poker house in Sacramento and says it offers the most no-limit and limit games. Poker tournaments are also played here. If you need a break, stop into the Capitol Cafe and Restaurant.
The Limelight calls itself "your neighborhood card room," and just about no matter when you want to play, you can -- the card room is open from 9 a.m. to 4 a.m. every day. The bar is open from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m., and the cafe opens at 9 in the a.m. if you're a morning player and need a cup of joe during play. The Limelight is the oldest privately owned card room still operating in Sacramento, and it offers 3-Card Poker, Blackjack, Hold 'Em and Lo Ball.
Parkwest Casino Lotus is all about upscale gambling, and it proves it's serious with its on-site restaurant specializing in great Asian cuisine and exemplary service. The restaurant also has a full bar that serves cocktails, beer and wine and is open until 2 a.m. This modern casino offers EZ Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, Blackjack X, 3-Card Poker and Pai Gow Tiles.
Red Hawk Casino is about 45 miles from Sacramento in Placerville. It has what you're looking for: slots, blackjack with low limits to start, 3-Card Poker, Let It Ride, Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em, 4-Card Poker, Fortune Pai Gow Poker and DJ Wild Stud, all of which have progressive jackpots. Between games get refreshed at the High Limit or Mahogany bars and see live entertainment or watch sports at the Stage Bar every weekend. Choose from five restaurants if you want more than an adult beverage between hands. If you want to play at all hours of the night, the coffee bar is open 24 hours and also serves sandwiches, salads and sweets. Red Hawk Casino does not have a hotel on-site but several are located nearby; they include a Best Western, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Hampton Inn, Courtyard by Marriott, Holiday Inn and Historic Cary House Hotel.