Normandie Casino is L.A.’s hidden gem

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As the only “Original Six” casino that’s left in the Los Angeles area, Normandie Casino has a long and rich history. Ernest Primm, who later founded Primm, Nev., opened the Western Club in 1940.
Russ Miller started as a doorman, worked his way up, and eventually took ownership of the club in 1947, renaming it the Normandie Casino. It’s still in the Miller family, owned by his four sons. Miller’s granddaughter, Michelle Miller Wahler, is president and August will mark the 65th anniversary of the casino. It’s considered a historical site in Gardena.

Normandie Casino has completed some changes (with more planned). These changes range from remodeling projects to a new tournament schedule, comprehensive staff customer service training and new management.
Recently completed renovations include new carpet, chandeliers and a guest services desk, which is front and center when you enter the casino. Bookmakers, the diner, has been partially upgraded. It’s been redesigned to add multiple televisions so you can view your favorite sporting event. Next up is the final phase for Bookmakers, a transition to a full-fledged sports bar, as a big screen and a bar will be added.

Normandie Casino recently promoted Daniel Nguyen to casino manager and John Dao to tournament director. Both were internal promotions and each have worked at Normandie for more than 20 years. I recently had the pleasure of meeting with John and Susan Nguyen, Normandie’s promotions and advertising manager.

“We provide the best customer service,” John said. “It’s just a small casino. Everybody knows it. We’re like a big family here.”

Said Susan: “Even though we’ve been here the longest, we’re not the biggest. A great advantage to that is when you step through the door, we know you by name. You come here all the time, we’ll greet you; shake your hand; we’ll sit you down. We treat each other like family. There are customers who have been coming here for over 30 years. We know their names, their children’s names and their children’s children’s names. We just want customers to know that we know we are not the biggest casino. Yes, we’re the smallest, but at the same time we take that extra step of getting to know our customers.”

To emphasize that point, she told me more than 100 players logged more than 100 hours at the poker tables in December.

After not having any tournaments for a number of years, Normandie recently started about nine months ago with regular weekly events that run Wednesday to Sunday. This month the poker room hosts two special tournaments: a $10K on Feb. 19 and a similar event on Feb. 29.

“We do have a lot of promotions in February,” Susan said. “We’re giving $24,000 in cash giveaway raffles, for poker players only. They receive raffle tickets for specific high hands. Then we do a raffle for cash prizes. We also have an Aces Cracked promotion. For poker players, there’s the ‘It Pays to Play’ promotion, where if they play 100 hours during February, depending on the level of game they play, they get a rack of chips back. On top of that, we also have cash back in points, that actually stacks on top of their 100 hours of play.”

With these promotions, you could receive $500 for 100 hours of play.

One huge promotion planned during the Super Bowl involves gift cards given out for every score. Before the game, each table will be randomly assigned a team. After each score, one of the scoring team’s tables will be drawn and $200 will be added to that table’s next pot for a field goal, $300 for a touchdown.

For more information, go to normandiecasino.com or be sure to read our Where to Play pages in the back of the magazine.

— Dave Palm is Ante Up’s Los Angeles Ambassador. You can email him at LA.AnteUp@gmail.com.