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Raising the stakes
Turlock Poker Room & Casino expands gaming optionsBy KRISTINA HACKER

Card rooms are not what they used to be, just ask Turlock Poker Room co-owner Joe Fernandez.

“I’ve been working in this business for a long time,” said Fernandez. “Card rooms have been considered seedy, unprofessional or located in a slum. It had that reputation because it deserved that reputation.”

That was before the State of California began regulating gambling ordinances. Today, card rooms are legitimate places of entertainment where professionals, farmers, homemakers and anyone interested in testing their luck and skill at a game of poker go for a few hours of fun.

Visitors to the Turlock Poker Room will find a resort-like atmosphere where regulars come to play for fun and big action.

Since opening in 2004, the card room has moved locations — from a cozy downtown site to a spacious building in the Turlock Cinema Center — and expanded its gaming options.

The Turlock Poker Room started with the standard games of Texas Hold'em, Blackjack and Pai Gow Poker and now offers the biggest variety of Las Vegas style gaming and live action in the area, including 3 Card Poker, Spanish 21, Ultimate Texas Hold'em, Fortune Pai Gow Poker, limit and no-limit Texas Hold'em, Omaha and Mexican Poker.

The card room also offers tournament player enthusiasts the opportunity to play multiple tournaments daily. Starting in January, live game players have an opportunity to win a brand new Chevy Camaro and a Kawasaki Brute Force in the establishment's Win a Car promotion.

The variety of gaming is impressive, however, the Turlock Poker Room & Casino prides itself for having the friendliest and most professional staff in the industry.

“Over the past decade, the Turlock Poker Room & Casino has earned a reputation that compares to the top gaming destinations throughout California and Nevada. Partnering with elite brands in our industry like WPT/DeepStacks, successfully hosting $100,000 tournaments, employing 120 plus and a continuing commitment to community are some of the contributing factors to the poker room's success," said Mario Alvarez, director of casino relations.

In November, the poker room added another amenity for its customers with an adjoining bar. The Rail — named for its many connotations: it’s a poker term for those surrounding and watching a poker game; it’s a reference to rail drinks and the large rail that often surrounds a bar counter; and it harkens to the nearby train tracks. The bar is located next door to the casino, but has open doorway from the poker room.

The Rail has a laid back atmosphere with its rustic decor that may include live music in the future. There are also multiple televisions that will showcase games and specials.
The Rail is not the only amenity the Turlock Poker Room hopes to offer its patrons in the near future.

"Mr. Fernandez and I have long dreamed of operating our gaming facility in a setting that includes a great-quality restaurant, a bar and to be co-located with a fine hotel," said co-owner Phil Rheinschild.

Don't know how to play?

Turlock Poker Room & Casino has held some of the best poker training classes with top tier poker players in the world including Mike "The Mouth" Matusow, Tristan "Cre8tive" Wade and Tom McEvoy.
Classes are now are being offered upon request. Interested beginning to novice players may contact Director of Casino Relations Mario Alvarez at to schedule free classes.