Grover Beach approves 'no-limits' poker at card rooms

The limit may no longer exist — at least not for Grover Beach poker players.

The Grover Beach City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Monday removing limits on how much can be bet at card tables in the city. Councilwoman Karen Bright was absent from the meeting.

The amended ordinance will come before the council for a second reading at its next meeting in November, and if approved, will go into effect within 30 days.

Grover Beach municipal code currently prohibits card players from making wagers in excess of $500 or of betting more than $1,000 in a single hand played in licensed card rooms.

David Stearns, owner of Central Coast Casino, the only card room in Grover Beach, asked the council on Monday to consider removing its limits on betting at card rooms in the city, to bring his establishment in line with other local card rooms.

I’m quickly losing market share to my competitors, and have 12 employees that are really struggling.

David Stearns, Central Coast Casino owner

The four other card rooms in the county — in Atascadero, Cayucos, Oceano and Paso Robles — offer “No-limit Texas Hold’em” as their most popular game, Stearns wrote in a letter to the city, and it “has become a major handicap to compete with the other area cardrooms without the ability to offer the game.”

“In short, all the SLO County cardrooms are offering a game that technically I’m not allowed to offer,” Stearns wrote. “I’m quickly losing market share to my competitors, and have 12 employees that are really struggling.”

Stearns did not speak at Monday’s meeting.

The proposed ordinance amendment would revoke the city’s existing limits, and replace them with the following:

“There are no waging limits on the amount wagered in any permitted games. However with respect to poker games, in any one hand of play, no player may wager or be required to wager a monetary amount in excess of the value of chips the player has in his or her possession.”

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie