The Bicycle Casino
7301 Eastern Avenue
Bell Gardens, CA 90201
Jan 14th-20th; daily satellites at 7p
The deeper, the better
In the last year or so, we’ve seen the introduction of deep stack tournaments as rooms try to get a competitive edge by offering players more play for their money. The Venetian
was one of the first to offer deep stack events—Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza
—and they’ve proven popular with guys who are looking for more from a tournament than two rounds of posting and folding followed by a desperate short stack push with A6o.
This January, a couple of LA casinos have followed suit. The Hustler reworked Larry Flynt’s Challenge cup series (Jan 3rd-Jan 20th) link to include several deep stack events and the Bicycle Casino
is introducing a new tournament series, Mo’s Deepstack. Mo’s series starts Jan 14th and runs through Jan 20th. The final event is a 2-day $1600 buy-in with 10,000 start chips. I like the Hustler’s tournament room (trip report
) and respect everything Flynt has done to protect my right to satire, but I think the Bike events look pretty interesting.
Let’s take a closer look at Mo’s Deepstack series. First, it’s a manageable, week-long series that finishes up a couple of days before the LAPC
kicks off. Second, I haven’t seen the structure but it looks like the preliminary events have the same buy-in as a couple early LAPC events but with 2x the chips. Ok, that can’t be too bad. Third, the events start at 4:15p so there’s a good shot you can final table an event and still get home at a decent hour. Finally, the whole series isn’t a bankroll buster—the buy-ins are $335, $545 and $1,600 (final event) and the satellites $40-160.
You can see the schedule of events on the Bike site below.
Mo's Deepstack schedule
Or you can download a copy of the flier (note the stacks).
Mo's Deepstack flier
Again, I haven't seen the blind structures, but I'm told it will look something like this:
$335 buy-in; 5000 chips; 40 min rounds; 25/50 etc.
$545 buy-in; 7000 chips; 50 min rounds; 25/50 etc.
$1,600 buy-in; 10000 chips; 60 min rounds; 25/50 etc.
I'll post the actual structures when I get them, so check back or post me, if you're interested.
If you haven’t played there, the Bike’s a great place for tournament and cash game action. The casino is the second largest card room in Southern California with 160+ tables (ergo: the 2nd largest on the planet) and its Legends of Poker event is one of the original World Poker Tour events. Past winners of the LoP include Brunson and Harrington and all the top pros have played the Bike at some point. In fact, when Stu Ungar
was alive, he considered the Bike his home away from Vegas. If the penultimate NL poker player/degenerate liked the Bike, that’s a solid endorsement, right?
The Bike’s easy to get to from pretty much anywhere in Southern California. It’s located a couple of blocks or so from the 710 freeway, Florence exit, as seen in the Google image below.
The folks at the Bike keep their property competitive with anything you’d find in Las Vegas—it’s modern, well-lit and spotless. As you come up on the property, you’re greeted by palm trees and neon signage…
I usually pay the two bucks to valet park, but if you’re cheap, there’s plenty of self-parking as you can see from the Google image above. As you enter the casino from the valet entrance, you face a reception desk where there’s always 1-2 staffers that will help you find what you’re looking for. Note: the reception staff are great; ask for tournament info, game info, whatever. If they know the answer, they’ll tell you; if they don’t they’ll point you to someone who does.
The main poker area is to the left of the reception area with a large automated brush desk…
The Bike spreads over 120 tables of poker, so there’s plenty of action...
If you’re curious about the games spread, check out our listing here
. Game info is listed on the right of the page and is updated frequently.
As for the style of play, I find the NL action at the Bike somewhat nittier than that of other local rooms. The 5/10 NL game is uncapped and tends to draw some better players. That said there’s a lot of weak tight players set mining and with an adjustment toward a looser, more aggressive style of play, the games are beatable. Three bet and raise more, and if you get resistance, fold. Simple stuff.
Need more validation? Here’s a quote from Mr. Ungar…circa 1990…BEFORE the poker boom…
"There are a lot more people to take money from here than there are in Las Vegas," Stu Ungar said last week between poker games at the Bicycle Club. "The city is becoming a nice place to gamble because there's a constant flow of people and money. There's more money to take out of here than there is in Las Vegas."
The daily tournaments (Nooners, Nooner Nites
) are held on the main poker floor to the LEFT of the reception area. But larger, special events are held in the tournament/ballroom down a corridor to the RIGHT of the reception desk as you enter the casino. The Bike’s tournament room is smaller and more intimate than other local rooms, but I like it. It’s kind of like playing in your rich friend’s den—bigger and nicer than your own apartment but small enough where you can get a drink without sending up a flare.
Here’s a look at the special events/tournament room...
And with some players even…
Service on 1!
Food at the Bike deserves special mention. I think their tableside food is tops in Los Angeles with the exception of Ocean’s 11, 90 miles to the south. If you play in the higher stakes area behind the reception desk, you eat for free and you don’t regret it at all. The other night, I played the 5/5 $300-500 max NL game. (Note: the table was one of the tightest I’ve played in a while—still beatable but as lakong
found out, when a guy plays back at you at the Bike on a 3876 board, your pocket queens are no good. See above.) I had a great salad and grilled salmon and lakong
had a steak; both entrees were comparable in quality to that from a decent restaurant.
I also think the Bike deli is AWESOME. Whenever I’m meeting someone at the Bike, I almost always eat there and I’m not really a deli kind-of-guy. Great sandwiches, good coffee, polite staff, fast and cheap. The deli’s directly to your left as you enter the property.
You girls know each other, right?
Any discussion of the Southern California poker usually spins into a Bike vs. Commerce debate. Like all great rivalries—Ali/Frazier, Sox/Yankees, UCLA/USC, Biggie/Tupac, Tommy Lee/Kid Rock—you’ve got rabid proponents of each. Me? I’m an Ali/Sox/Stanford/Tupac/Tommy Lee kind of guy. But, of course, everyone’s different. To me, the Commerce and the Bike are like Ginger and Mary Ann or, more fundamentally, blondes and brunettes. You can make a great case for either, but if you can enjoy both, you should!
If you’re interested, you can see a comparison of all the So Cal rooms below.
Comparison of LA card rooms
Anyway, that’s a quick look at the Bike. I’m probably going to head down and play a couple of the Deepstack events. If anyone’s heading down, holler!