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SYFY WIRE Poker Face

Where was Rian Johnson's 'Poker Face' filmed - including Frost Casino?

Charlie's road trip had fewer stops than you might think.

By Cassidy Ward
Pictured: (l-r) Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale, Benjamin Bratt as Cliff Legrand in POKER FACE Season 1 Episode 10

Rian Johnson’s mystery series Poker Face has become an instant classic, placing Natasha Lyonne’s Charlie Cale firmly within the pantheon of beloved detectives, alongside the likes of Columbo, Magnum P.I., and Johnson’s own Benoit Blanc.

RELATED: The science behind ‘Poker Face’s lucky (or unlucky) Charlie Cale

The series, which you can watch in full on Peacock for Season 1 (a second season is also on the way), begins in the fictional Frost Casino in Nevada. By the time the credits roll, however, Charlie is on the run, taking her on a journey across the contiguous United States. While each episode places Charlie in a new place, much of the show was filmed across just a few key locations. If you’re planning your post-binge Poker Face road trip, these are the places you’ll need to go.


Natasha Lyonne in POKER FACE

As the series opens, Charlie has a job at the Frost Casino, located in the fictional Frost County, all of which is named for Ron Perlman’s Sterling Frost. You’re going to want to remember him. The residents and locations of Frost Country are, of course, inventions of Rian Johnson, but they were inspired by the very real Laughlin, Nevada, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Laughlin’s Riverside Resort served as the foundation for any exteriors of the Frost Casino, with the rooftop sign replaced digitally in post-production. If you were to visit, you aren’t going to find the Frost Casino inside. For that, you’ll have to travel about as far from Nevada as you can, without a passport, more on that in a minute.


Pictured: (l-r) Jack Alcott as Randy, Charles Melton as Davis, Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale in POKER FACE Season 1 Episode 7

Like any good inciting incident, the events of the first episode upend Charlie’s life entirely. By the time we open onto Episode 2, she’s put a couple of borders behind her and arrived in New Mexico. There are few places in the world which can convincingly recreate the sprawling desert landscape of New Mexico, so the production didn’t try.

RELATED: Rian Johnson and Natasha Lyonne banter banjos and barracudas in ‘Poker Face’ episode 2

Instead, they spent a short time in New Mexico, shooting key scenes for the season’s second episode. While production time spent in Albuquerque was brief, the episode employed an estimated 20 principal actors, 260 background actors, and 300 crew members, all from New Mexico, according to the Mexico State Film Office.


Pictured: (l-r) Chloë Sevigny as Ruby Ruin, G.K Umeh as Eskie in POKER FACE Season 1 Episode 4

The rest of Charlie’s flight across the United States was filmed almost entirely in and around The Hudson Valley. Eight of the first season's 10 episodes were shot in the area, according to the Times Union.

The Castle Fun Center, a very real family entertainment venue in Chester, New York, stands in for Episode 7's Kamelot Karts. Other scenes for the same episode were filmed at the Happy Valley Arcade Bar in Beacon, New York.

In Episode 4, Charlie goes on tour with the aging metal band Doxxxology. The band is haunted by their single hit and hopeful that their prospects might improve in the wake of their former drummer’s death — a death Charlie is determined to get to the bottom of. Along the way, they play a show (the way bands are known to do) at New York’s historic The Chance Theater.

Nearly every episode of the series features exteriors, interiors, or both from New York’s Hudson Valley, thanks to the wide array of buildings and landscapes available. Lilla Johnson, who along with her sister Nora were showrunners for Poker Face, said of the Hudson Valley, “It was its diversity. It doubled for Texas Hill Country. It doubled for everywhere through the Midwest. The Yacht Club doubled for Atlantic City. We were really able to find a little bit of the heartland of America in the Hudson Valley, all over the place,” according to Times Union.

We end our journey in the Hudson Valley, 2,500 miles from where we started in Laughlin, and in exactly the same place: the Frost Casino. A restaurant setting inside the casino was filmed at the North Plank Road Tavern, in Newburgh, NY. The rest of the casino interiors were shot on sets built in upstate New York. If you want to see the whole of the Frost Casino, bear in mind there’s a long walk between the front door and the lobby.

Following Charlie vicariously, however, doesn’t require you to lift a finger. Watch Poker Face, streaming now on Peacock!