The Lowdown on the Bike

by , Apr 29, 2007 | 3:43 am

LOS ANGELES–So the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, Ca., really was an interesting place … and according to my research, I have concluded that, indeed, poker rooms would be good in Texas. (So there you have it, Texas legislators … you can now feel comfortable supporting legal poker in our state.)

The first joy was running into two people I know at the tables — one was a guy named “Paradox” … who had dyed his hair purple since I last played with him in Lake Tahoe. The other was Kaelaine (from PokerPages). Seriously, very cool how poker can bring people together from all over. Can’t wait ’til Texas becomes such a place. Beyond that, here is some of the other stuff that might interest you about The Bike:

  • Strangest buy-ins ever. As mentioned before, the max buy-in to the $2/$3 game was $100 (w/$150 rebuys). The max for $1/$2 was … get this … $40! For the $5/$10 it was $300-$500, which is at least tenable to start, but really, not sure on the rationale here for limiting the amount of money put on the table.
  • Amazing food. It’s all free of course, and it seemed a reason a lot of people went there. We’re not talking burgers and dogs … we’re talking Sushi, Italian, Teriyaki noodle stuff, quarter watermelons … fancy set-ups, and every table had at least one player chowing down.
  • Holy juice. The tournament I played cost $335. Of that, $291 went to the prize pool. $35 was the “entry fee” and $9 was a “service charge,” whatever that meant. In total, it comes out to a greater than 13 percent vig.
  • Mexican Poker. They had a whole little section — with four active tables — of something called Mexican poker. There was soccer being shown on the TVs near these tables (Go Chivas!), and most of the players, interestingly enough, were Hispanic. A few black guys and whiteys to boot, but they were clearly the donkeys in this game … which consisted of each player having three exposed cards in his/her hand. Lots of cowboy hats at these tables, too.
  • Not-so-great tourney blind structures. Half-hour levels were cool. But an average stack should never be a short stack! Especially halfway through the event. Just my $.02, though I kinda understand — West Coast offense required — when the tournament starts at 7:15 pm and finishes around 4:30 in the morning.

Oh, the other interesting observation — and this would be important for any on-the-fence Texas legislator to see — though The Bike was clearly hopping, it does so without changing the landscape of the surrounding community. It’s like just another building — albeit a big one — that happens to be nearby. But the super-super majority of citizens seem like they could care less about what’s going on inside. And really, that’s kinda a good thing, I would think.

Go California poker!

2 Comments to “The Lowdown on the Bike”

  1. Pokerati | Texas hold’em blog » Blog Archive » Re: The Lowdown on the Bike

    […] clock on yourself? This happened in both the cash game and tournament … whenever players would find themselves facing difficult decisions and steeping into the […]

  2. Tim B.

    “Various forms of roll your own five-card stud, often with a stripped deck and wild cards, are called Mexican stud, Mexican poker, or Stud loco. One such variant played by the Casino San Pablo in northern California has these rules: 8s, 9s, and 10s are stripped from the deck, and a single joker is added (the deck therefore contains 41 cards). The 7-spot and the J become consecutive, so that 5-6-7-J-Q is a straight. A flush beats a full house (with fewer cards of each suit, they are harder to get). The joker plays as a bug if it is face up, and fully wild if it is face down. The game is played as five-card stud choose-before roll your own. It is usually played with a very high ante, and the high card on the first round pays the bring-in.

    The game of Shifting sands is Mexican stud in which each player’s hole card (and all others of that rank) are wild for that player only.”