The new Pechanga Hotel/Casino, located in Temecula (60 mi north of San Diego on Interstate 15) opened about a week ago.

The old casino was a sprawling ramshackle collection of dumpy temporary buildings that featured mediocre six deck shoes and some CSM's.

The new casino, coupled with a 522 room hotel, is a pleasant comfortable place that features mediocre six deck shoes and lots of CSM's.

Sadly, the blackjack isn't any better than the old place. Worse, actually, as there are fewer non-CSM tables.

There are now 49 blackjack tables, about 2/3 of which sport CSM's.

There are $5, $10, and $25 min tables, with $10 being most common on the non-CSM tables. There are no $5 min tables available most of the time on weekends.

There is a tiny high limit room with three tables - two CSM and one shoe, all $100 - $5000.

There are seven restaurants, a showroom, and four lounges (liquor is now available).

The 16 shoe tables are all 6 deck, H17, DAS okay, no RSA, no surrender. A sign at each table states that bets may not be jumped more than 5X. Penetration is poor, with 1.5 - 2.0 decks being cut off. It varies considerably by dealer, so shop around.

The new casino seems to be a big hit. It was quite crowded on both of my visits, and all 49 blackjack tables were open.

With 49 tables and the legal limit of 2000 slot machines, it may be the largest casino in southern CA.

Bottom line: Shiny new casino, same old crappy game.

A shame - I had hopes for much more.

Coming Attractions: Harrah's Rincon opens August 8.