Los Angeles -- Poker Palaces
If I were a tenth as lucky as you, I wouldn't have to use three-quarters of my brain.
-Seat 7 to Seat 9, $9/18 hold'em, Commerce Casino
Everytime I see someone with a lot of chips, they're like 'I'm down, I'm down.' I'm like, dude, how many chips did you end up blowing to be that far down?
-Seat 3, $8/16 hold'em, Hawaiian Gardens
LOS ANGELES -- What happens when poker is the main gambling game you can spread in your state?
The answer is you have ginormous palaces of poker, huge flagships of places to play that dwarf just about everything Las Vegas has to offer.
This trip has been a great one -- the weather has been consistently warm (as soon as I got to my rental car, I was like 'Do I want to wear shorts? HELL YEAH I want to wear shorts!' and I went to change clothes).
At Commerce right now they have the L.A. Poker Classic (which absinthe won the first event for a more than $100,000 payout). So the tables have been pretty busy. The first room you walk into is purely high limit - $100/200 hold'em and up. We saw Cyndy Violette there on Friday. She looks a lot prettier in person than she does on TV or in pictures.
Then you walk into a whole 'nother ginormous room and that's the poker room for lower limits. Right away Sham and I saw differences from what we're used to. For example, the $1 fee for the jackpot each hand is taken out right away from the small blind. So if you "chop" with the big blind, you're automatically out $1 if you're the sb.
The service is pretty decent. There are servers with menus who walk around and you can flag them down for food. The prices aren't too bad (for example, Commerce has this overnite All American breakfast for $2 that lasts until 9 a.m.). And generally, I like being able to eat at the table.
For games like $6/12, $8/16 and $9/18, they are played with $2 or $3 chips instead of $5s and $1s like in Las Vegas. So you order up whole racks of $2s and $3s.
Commerce seemed to have the best game selection of all and the play everywhere was donktastic, although the suckouts vastly nibbled away at my bankroll this weekend. I also liked the Bicycle Casino for its game selection and general niceness (although Sham and I didn't like the Jade Garden restaurant -- buffalo wings with no buffalo sauce and looking like they were burned beyond recognition and no sane person should order a Club sandwich in what pretty much looks like a Chinese restaurant).
Hustler's poker room reminded me of the nice modern poker rooms in Las Vegas. I love the fact that Larry Flynt loves poker and has his own casino. I liked the general atmosphere of Hawaiian Gardens. Normandie Casino had that Golden Nugget/downtown Las Vegas look. The games were okay there.
This evening we had dinner with Ryan (who in a strange 7 degrees of separation knows Giovanna) and some of the other bloggers. It was great to hang out with them and makes me really want to attend a blogger trip to Las Vegas, elsewhere in the future.