Chumash Casino: beautiful inside and out

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Tucked away in the heart of the Santa Ynez wine country is Chumash Casino. A beautiful drive up the 101 on the coast takes you to a great weekend getaway about 45 minutes north of Santa Barbara. Spend your day wine-tasting and visiting Solvang, a quaint Danish village. There are a lot of wonderful wineries within minutes of Chumash.

The poker room is spacious and the beautiful earth tones make for a pleasing, relaxed atmosphere. It has a pager system so you can get a bite to eat or play slots and not miss your seat. It also will be installing the Bravo system for a player-comp program. Everything in the room is geared to the poker player. All 14 tables are larger than the average table, which means you have elbow room. Cash games seat nine while tournaments use 10 seats. The high-backed chairs on rollers are the most comfortable seats ever.

There are 10 large flatscreen TVs easily viewable from any seat. It’s a non-smoking room, but there is an enclosed smokers lounge with a TV and comfortable chairs. Every aspect of the room is thought-out for player comfort.

Ian Adams, the poker room manager, has an extensive history in the hospitality field. He spent 13 years in the cruise industry and has been with Chumash for five years. He’s a firm believer in service and making sure players feel comfortable and valued. There is a zero-tolerance policy on any type of abuse toward players and staff. There’s definitely a buzz in the room from chips clicking and conversation, but no yelling or loud voices.

Adams has put together a nice range of cash games. Limit hold’em $2-$4 and $3-$6; no-limit hold’em $1-$2 ($40-$100), $2-$5 ($100-$700) and $5-$10 ($300-$1,500), Big O (five-card Omaha) $3-$6 and Omaha $3-$6.

There’s also a nice variety of tournaments. With $10-$150 buy-ins, there’s a tournament to fit any budget. They also add funds to some of the prize pools, which is a nice touch. Wednesday nights is the Battle of the Sexes. I played in this tournament as the ladies play against each other, as do the men, when each group gets down to five, they come together at the final table and battle it out. It was well-run and fun to play. The ladies won this round.

Other promotions include splash pots throughout the week and a Friday high-hand contest. Adams and his staff really work well together and make sure players have a good time.

— Email Kittie Aleman at anteupkittie@gmail.com.