As We See It

Three things we love about the 40-year-old California Hotel & Casino


The island vibes. Downtown’s California Hotel & Casino is a big reason why Las Vegas is known as the Ninth Island. Sam Boyd created a travel company in the ’70s and ’80s offering affordable flight and hotel packages to bring Hawaiian tourists to his casino, and the rest is history. With its island-style amenities and events, the Cal remains Hawaiian headquarters, even for those now calling Vegas home.

The gambling lore. In 1989, Stanley Fujitake caught an unbelievable hot streak at the Cal’s craps tables, holding the dice for three hours and six minutes—118 rolls. They called him The Man With the Golden Arm, and his feat is the reason why any Cal gambler who rolls for an hour or more is admitted to the Golden Arm Club and commemorated with a plaque on the wall of fame, located on the walkway between the Cal and Main Street Station.

The food. The oxtail soup special is legendary, but you can also get stuck on Zippy’s chili at the snack bar, sweet treats at Lappert’s ice cream or the macadamia nut-crusted chicken and shrimp at the Redwood Bar & Grill.

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Brock Radke has been writing about Las Vegas for more than 15 years. He currently covers entertainment, music, nightlife, food ...

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