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Gardena, That '70s Poker Capital

by James McManus |  Published: Jul 23, 2008


By the mid-1970s, poker had two distinct capitals. The Texas road gamblers' no-limit hold'em sanctuary in Downtown Las Vegas was active mainly during the World Series in April, while Gardena, a working-class suburb of Los Angeles, had hundreds of five-card draw players in action every day except Christmas. While poker remained for the most part an underground national pastime, its legal status in these far-western towns was a double blast of oxygen for high-stakes professionals and recreational players alike.

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