|Address||7301 Eastern Ave, Bell Gardens, CA|
|Region||Los Angeles, California, USA|
The second-largest poker room in California, and one of the top ten in the world, the Bicycle Casino is one of the key hotspots for poker players in California. Famed for their many tournament series which generally feature excellent structures, the Bike (as it's affectionately called) is home to many of the famous and pro poker players who live in the area. The Bike has a famous live poker table stream that can bee seen at www.liveatthebike.com and contacted at 213-986-5483.
Wait Time: There's always a seat at some limit in some game; even in the middle of the night, there are dozens of full games running at all limits. Wait for any particular limit of a particular game might run as long as an hour for a rare variant, but typically a wait will be under 15 minutes. The only confusing thing is the multiple boards in the poker rooms; you must go to the proper brush to sign up for the game you'd like, and it's not always obvious where it is. But you can always stop at the board nearest you and ask that brush where you can go to sign up for your desired game.
Game Nature: Generally at the lowest limits the competition is pretty bad. Once you hit 6-12 and 8-16 in any of the games, the players tend to be tighter; you can see times when 30 percent of the hands will be folded around and chopped (no flop) or raise-and-take-it (no flop).
- For 4/8 limit and below, and for low-limit NL, the rake is $4 + $1 jackpot drop.
- For higher limits, the rake is $5 + $1 jackpot drop.
- If no flop, $1 drop is taken.
- Drop is taken immediately, as is usual for Los Angeles rooms (but in contrast to Vegas practice)
Posting: Players need to post or wait for the big blind. Also, if only the small blind is missed during play, the player is required to post both the small and big upon return.
Kills: Killer acts in turn
House Rules: Any player can ask for a new setup at any time. There is apparently no set schedule for replacing decks unless players request it. House permits players to keep chip racks on the tables.
Tournaments are a big deal at the Bike.
Jackpots and PromotionsEdit
All sorts of variety in their jackpots and promotions. See the Bicycle Casino website for current promotions. The basic idea is a multi-tier bad beat jackpot, and certain times of certain days have special "double jackpot" promotions where, if a jackpot is hit during those hours, the amoutn won is doubled. During the special double-jackpot periods, they have rotating bright "police lights" in the ceiling that spint to alert you that it's double-jackpot time.
The "easy" jackpot is Aces full of 10s beaten by four-of-a-kind or better, both holes must play.
The nicest "huge" poker room in California (the only larger room is at the Commerce, which is notably more pedestrian in decor and atmosphere). Mostly, all these tables are in one large room, though it's separated by little half-walls and separate floor levels to make it seem to have a bit more variety. At least 20 TV's adorn the walls, but if you want to watch TV while you play, you'll have to arrange yourself so you're near a wall and are facing it, neither of which is common.
Although huge, the Bicycle is very pleasant. They are clearly very efficient and practiced at spreading poker. A sign right on the table (most tables) brings a smile: "English Only. No Rabbit Hunting. No Pushing. No Abuse."
Tables and Chairs: Comfy wheeled-leg chairs, many with tall backs. Largish nine-seater tables with green felt and solid black vinyl armrests and clean commit line.
Parking: Quite a bit of parking, but also a very large valet parking lot, as the Bike tends to cater to the Hollywood crowd and other rich locals, who think nothing of dropping a twenty into a valet's hand. As you approach the Bicycle from the north (the typical way, since it's closest to the freeway exit), the first and most obvious parking lot is the valet lot only. So, if you're driving there and want to self-park, be sure to drive past the casino to the "back" and the huge self-parking lot, which must hold over 1000 cars. Parking is free and security patrolled.
Smoking: No smoking allowed in the building under California law.
Service and Comps Edit
Frequent service from three different groups of people who continuously wander the poker rooms looking for customers. If you want something, call for the right group, or you'll be embarrassed (like me) by calling for "Cocktails" if you want a Coke.
"Service" calls the waitresses who serve food. The menu at the Bike is reasonably large and fairly tasty, though nothing all that special. I'd classify the food about on a par with generic-Denny's-style-restaurant. The variety is quite large and appreciated, and the prices, while not extremely high, are not super-low either. You'll pay about 2-4 bucks less than a Denny's, I think, for food of about similar quality. Of course, if you play for a longish period, you can get free food (see Players Club below).
Players in the upper level of the room (which houses the higher limit games and all the NLHE games from 2/3 blinds and higher) get free food without a play time minimum.
"Cocktails" calls the very pretty waitresses who server alcoholic drinks (and serve only alcohol - no sodas or water). These waitresses are dressed sexily and are clearly intended to be pretty to look at, which is a definite plus as you order your Heineken. Alcoholic drinks are not free.
"Porter" calls the men who are dressed like waiters, who serve non-alcoholic drinks including soda and water. These drinks are free, though a tip to the porter is common.
- Players Club (Comps)
The Bike has a free-to-join Players Club, with two benefits:
- They offer free food for players who play at least three hours in a row
- You must sign up for the Players Club if you want to enter a tournament. They use this to track information and easily issue winnings certificates for large awards.
The first benefit is achieved by sitting in a cash game and having your Players Card out when the ladies in the avocado green shirts wander through the room every hour and scan the bar code on every players club card they find. They arrive at each table and ask for "Player's Cards, please!". They beam the cards with their hand-held scanners, then retreat to the main office where they upload the data. Once you have been beamed three times in a row (note: not just three times in a day!), you are eligible for a free meal. Give the them a chance to upload their data (so wait a few minutes), then walk to one of the standalone Meal Voucher kiosks in the poker room, slide your card, and the kiosk will print you out a free-meal voucher. Ask a server for the special "Voucher menu", and order one of the meals. The meals are pretty good quality and decently-sized, and include a drink, even a fancy normally-not-free drink (I don't know if the drink can be alcoholic). There isn't a huge variety of free meals, but the selection is nicely varied, including over a dozen basic choices.
There seems to be no other purpose for the Players Club at this time; despite what their web site says, your points do not get cashed into dollars. They merely accumulate unless you "spend" them on free food, but you can only get free food for three-hour consecutive chunks, which means extra points just sort of build up after a while.
(Edit) From the Bicycle Casino: We do use the Reward (Players) Card to pay you to play. Depending on the game and limit you play in. We pay all limits anywhere from $0.50 to $5.00 and hour. You have to get a base amount of hours to qualify, usually 30 hours which we pay you a base amount of money for - up to $30. Then every hour after that base (31+) earns you even more money up to $5.00 an hour.
Players Club cards have become very common at poker rooms in the Los Angeles area, though the benefits and rewards vary greatly from casino to casino. At the Crystal Casino, you can use players club hours for free or discounted rooms at their hotel. At the Hustler Casino, you earn comp dollars good on food, drink, or gift shop purchases. And so on.
Links and Notes Edit
- Visited by MarkT in 2006, 2007, and most recently in Nov 2008.
Generally the standard California ones
- $0.25: red
- $0.50: peach
- $1: light blue / white (used for $4/8 and below)
- $2: light green / pink (used for $6/12 through ...)
- $3: Darker aqua
- $4: I forget which ones these are... pink maybe?
- $5: Yellow / tan (used for most NL games)
- $10: Red (used for $30/60)
- $25: Purple
- $100: White (oversize except in high-stakes games)
|Poker rooms in the metropolitan Los Angeles area|
|Bicycle | Club Caribe | Commerce | Crystal | Hawaiian Gardens | Hollywood Park | Hustler | Normandie|