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LA Poker Trip Report - Canadian Perspective

qbert80qbert80 Posts: 52Subscriber
Recently returned from 4 session trip in late Dec. Played almost exclusively $5/5, with a bit of $5/5/10 and straight $5/$10 sprinkled in.

-Bicycle Casino Dec. 28th 1:30 AM to 9 AM. bought in $500, cashed out $4,481
Very pleasant atmosphere, floor was responsive to table change requests Only a couple of pros, none at my table. Saw some LATB folks including Wayne Chiang who was at my table briefly. Game was incredibly soft, tons of action. Made most of my stack by limping 7-7 utg, tight bad young asian recreational player raises utg+1...3 callers. flop is 7,6,5 two . BB check, i check utg1 bets pot, utg2 calls, I cr to $335, pfr calls as does utg2. Turn is offsuit 10, I jam for ~ $900 PFR snaps with KK, utg2 tank folds 9,7 offsuit. Game was that good.

Hawaiian Gardens Dec 29 10:30 AM to 7:30 PM in for $2,100; cash $1,642
Really nice room, very helpful floor. Games were tighter and more solid than rest of my trip, tho could've been due to daytime shift. David Chan was there, as well as one other known pro (don't recall name). Play-wise, I played 3 very large pots (min 1K) with combo draws and bricked all 3. Rest was relatively uneventful / standard.

Hollywood Park Dec 31 2:45 AM to 10:00 AM in for $600; cash $2,610
Secluded room, really liked the $10 valet to have car right out front, game was excellent. Two pros kept playing $5/10 heads up rather than coming to $5/5 which was eye-opening and probably good for my winrate at 5/5. Speaking of which, the $5/5 was awesome - very recreational. Apparently I missed @Bart by one day as he played there on the 30th. Play was almost as bad as the bike overall. eg Had QJ off cold 4-bet jam from SB vs my utg open and omc 3-bet.

Commerce Jan 1 2:15 AM to 10:00 AM in for $1600; cash $764

Yikes. I had to try it, and I guess I'm happy I did but what an unpleasant place to play. The chairs! I think they are the same chairs the poor church down the street here in Ontario uses to host community forum meetings. It's loud, gross, unnecessarily cramped...poor table layout. Overall, I understand why people play here. play was atrocious. played two large pots where I was 2 outed after money went in vs whales, but no complaints - I think the avg relatively solid player could print money here.

Overall Takeaways
-Play seems way softer than Vegas, DC, and certainly Montreal. I'm down about $12K at Playground (PG) this past year and a half for reference
-The only English at the table rule is completely flaunted, not that I care or would ever speak up
-Players bet then agree to check down, which is weird, as it's strictly prohibited here
-The 2 room thing (one smaller, better room for the higher stakes players) is a nice feature as the threshold is so much lower to get into the nice room than it is in some other places
-at all 4 casinos, the chips are really nice.
-Food was cheap and quick at all 4 casinos. Small sample size, but for the price, food seemed decent
-Drop / Rake considerations - at PG, food is free but rake is capped at $15 +2, so you give up $17 every time you drag in a big pot. So LA drop is nothing compared to that. Rake is obv cheaper in Vegas, but games seem sufficiently softer in LA to overcome this difference.

TLDR - can't imagine how playing in LA isn't the best. The volume of players and overall softness / rec feel to the games can't be matched. But driving around LA certainly sucks. Overall a great place to go play poker for a week or so.
Thanked by 1hustlin


  • Bart HansonBart Hanson Posts: 6,115Administrator, LeadPro
    Nice trip report! Pro tip — at the Bike and at Hollywood Park it you play 5-5 and above you can get your vallet ticket stamped and it’s free. Just a tip for the vallet guys. Bart
    Thanked by 2hustlin qbert80
  • hustlinhustlin Posts: 362Subscriber
    Nice report I’m heading down there next week !
  • the_dude_abidesthe_dude_abides Posts: 331Subscriber
    wow @ that PG rake
  • qbert80qbert80 Posts: 52Subscriber
    Thanks for the tip Bart - will remember for next time!

    GL hustlin. And yeah, even after all the free food + hot waitresses, $17 rake still sucks
    Thanked by 1hustlin
  • MrOMrO Posts: 159Subscriber
    And yeah, even after all the free food + hot waitresses, $17 rake still sucks

    Yeah nice waitresses and table games right next to the upper tables.

  • SuperflySuperfly Posts: 591Subscriber
    I also played in LA over the holidays, mostly at HAwaiian Gardens, but also once at Hollywood Park. Most sessions were 5-10, one session of 10-20, and one session of 2-5 (nothing bigger running).

    I stayed in Long Beach to be close to Hawaiian Gardens and Hollywood Park, while staying out of the bad areas. Downtown Long Beach has a fun, touristy oceanside vibe with lots of hotels and restaurants.

    The environment and service in the high stakes room at Hawaiian Garden seemed luxurious and generous compared to Chicago poker rooms. (The variety and quality of the food stood out. I recommend the Korean lunch box.) If I remember correctly, I think they paid $3 per hour. Anyway, it was enough that I never paid for anything while there.

    I also appreciated how they tried to open whatever game people wanted to play, and how the dealers gently tried to enforce the straddle when the whole table had agreed.

    Hollywood Park is nice, too, but I prefer the bigger room and player pool at HG. Prefer HG over The Bike, too.

    5-10 games seemed like standard mix of casual recs and solid/tight rec regs, occasional whales, with a smattering of pros. Level of skill / action seemed comparable with what I experience at those stakes in Chicago.

    My one 10-20 session was at HG and started later at night. CLPs own Captain Ki was there so it was fun to meet and play with him. Game weighted more towards solid/tight rec regs and pros. We had one whale who was generating most of the table’s profits. Again level of skill and action seemed pretty comparable with same stake games in Chicago.

    Like Qbert, I saw a variety of recognizable faces from LATB, etc. There are also a number of players who moved out there from Chicago, so had a number of “oh, do you know so-and-so” conversations, which was fun.

    Especially important for me, the 10-20 game was a fun, friendly atmosphere with lots of casual conversation. I play at a place where the convo, jokes and good-natured taunts are over the top, leading us to jokingly call it “the best casino-based home game in the country.” So I appreciate a fun, lively atmosphere. I even felt comfortable enough to try out some of my standard lines like “Get yer purses out girls” when raising, and “Thanks for the chippies!” after winning a pot, and everyone laughed. I refrain from doing that in silent, surly games, since it can lead to unintended and unfavorable consequences.

    In short, i highly recommend LA as a poker destination and much prefer it over Vegas and Florida. I’ll be back.
  • hustlinhustlin Posts: 362Subscriber
    I’ll like to chime in to what Qbert started :D

    So I played all 3 sessions at the Commerce. I think the fact that I got stuck in there the first sessions. + the large room with lots of tables got me hooked to this place.

    First time at Commerce 2pm on a Saturday . sign up for a card. Takes 1 minute easy enough. $1 comps here I come!

    Look around to see where to play some 5/5 NL. Kept going to different parts of the room to see were the hell I put my name down lol. The room is so big and intimidating. There was probably like 50-70 tables. Holy hell its big, definitely lived up to its hype.

    Anyways find a 5/10 game ( which I thought was a 5/5 with a $1500 max buy lol) . And literally in the first 2 hands ever at the Worlds largest poker room. I dump $1500 to this guy on my left. FML!!!!
    I play couple more hours. Game is action action w some Persian and Koreans guys going crazy . End up -$1000

    Come back again Sunday 9pm 5/10
    End up being stuck 2k to start again. Mix of loose players jamming w flush draws + stupid hero calls by me.
    However end up getting lucky when the game gets good around 1am with a couple of drunk guys
    End up leaving 2am up +$300 . Boo yah.
    Decide to take it easy today on my last day and play some 5/5 $500 cap.
    Game seems solid. Not much to say. Enjoy the action.
    Up $500.

    Overall 3 sessions +11 dollars lol. Overall satisfied for a first time pokering in LA.

    I enjoyed the action in Commerce and game selection !
    Rake is fair. Comps are nice and food looks good. The washrooms were always nice and clean. That’s a big plus.
    Overall vibe of the place was solid.
    Pit bosses and everyone else are professional enough. Not polite but they get the job done.

    I did enjoy it more than my local casinos here in Vancouver Canada. The rake for 2/5 is $8+1 and no comps at all. And sometimes there’s only 1 2/5 running during the slower weekdays.

    I will be back to come check out the other casinos. Overall the action is great . I prefer the vibe in LA over Vegas. Love how big the poker community is here.
  • qbert80qbert80 Posts: 52Subscriber
    Oh yeah, the bathrooms at Commerce were shockingly spotless considering the poker room itself was like being in a giant poker warehouse.

    HG's bathroom was super clean too in the high stakes room, but that was likely bc there was always an attendant in there.

    I agree that w Superfly that HG had a fun, friendly vibe, more than most casinos I've been to. Also small sample size disclaimer, but the player pool at HG seemed, on avg, less degen-ish than the player pool elsewhere so that prob helps foster the friendly atmosphere.
    Thanked by 1hustlin
  • fishcakefishcake Posts: 1,002Subscriber
    HG is the nuts. That's all I'm gonna say, lol. If you found the food at Commerce good you either have very low standards, got extremely lucky and/or didn't try food at the other casinos. Commerce food is gross.
    Thanked by 1hustlin
  • unomaasunomaas Posts: 20Subscriber
    Awesome, I’ll be in LA in March. Hope to hit Hollywood Park, The Mecca, and Bike.
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