And I was thinking to myself, this could be heaven…
After my cash at the Bike, I went back to sleep and woke up in the early afternoon. I went back to Hollywood to finish up some sightseeing (the Capitol Records building and the Hollywood sign) and then headed over to Commerce Casino to finish up my poker rooms.
The Commerce is the best poker room I’ve ever seen. Bar none. End of discussion.
I walked in at 7PM and the place was crawling with players. I looked around the room and there were about 45 tables, each of them completely full. It was odd, though, because while it was a big room, I’d heard the Commerce was the biggest room in the world and this was only half the size of Borgata. Then I looked at the call boards. 100-200 Stud, 300-600 Omaha, 1500-3000 Hold’em! Oh crap. This was the high limit area! 45 full tables! I scanned the crowd anxiously to see a familiar face, but I didn’t see anyone I recognized. I walked through the area to a small hallway when the room opened up into a gargantuan area-like hall filled with over 160 tables! Think of a football field, filled with poker players. It was somewhat chaotic, but the staff was very professional and seats could be had easily. I found a 3-5 NLHE table that was opening up and sat down with $200 to see what could happen. I got felted early on when my QQ got outflopped by 44. The table is $200 max buyin, so you can quickly get pot committed, especially if there is another player involved like there was in my hand. But I bought back in and managed to walk away with a $140 profit a few hours later when all was said and done. In the course of this, I made the greatest laydown of my life.
I have AQo in the SB (natch) and I elect to limp instead of raising out of the SB. Flop is AQJ, rainbow. A monster flop for me. I bet out $25, get one caller from 5th seat, who I know to be a good player and he’s deep stacked. It folds around to 7th seat, who is a truly atrocious young Greek guy who is already in for 6 buyins (I shit you not). He raises to $75 and has about $150 more behind him. I am salivating at the prospect of stacking this moron, but I hesitate. The good player flat called my $25 on the flop and I’m worried about him. He could stack me completely if I make the wrong move here and I have $500 behind at this point. I start to think about what he could have that he’d:
a. Limp preflop with.
b. Flat call a large-ish bet on the flop with such a dangerous board.
A few possibilities came to mind. KT, for the flopped Broadway straight. JJ for the flopped set. QJ, for the flopped two pair. I discounted QJ, because I felt he would have raised me on my flop bet with such a strong hand. After all, AQ seems unlikely because no one raised pre flop! The only other two possibilities I thought of beat me. So I mucked. It hurt to do so, but I mucked. Good thing, too, because when I did, the good player shoved all in for 700+! The awful player thought about it out loud, not making any sense, and then finally folded what he said was a set! Yeah, right. I asked the good player to show me his cards, and told him I’d mucked AQ. He offered to show for $5 and I got my chip to him as soon as possible. It was worth the information. He flipped over KT. Best read of my life and I saved myself at least $100 or more by making it.
Commerce was lots of fun and there is really good food service at the tables, with carts and everything. The place was just *made* for poker players and if you’re out in L.A., you can’t miss it.
I left at about 3:40a, donking off my profits to the siren song of 4-8 O/8. I passed back through the high limit area again on the way back to my car and I finally saw a poker celebrity playing. It was Cindy Violette, playing 100-200 Stud. She was a bit fatter than I ‘d expected (not a knock, just an observation) but her hair was long and blond and beautiful. I didn’t want to get to close but I wanted to see the action. She had about 15,000 or so in front of her, similar to the other players. I was about 8 feet behind her when she noticed someone look at me and she turned around and stared me right in the eye. I gave her a knowing nod and she turned back around, I guess convinced I wasn’t a threat or something. I definitely wasn’t close enough to be signaling cards because I couldn’t even see what was on the board. I left after a few minutes, happy to accomplish something I’d wanted to do, see a poker pro in action.
As I traveled back to Marina Del Rey, I made a late night stop at the La Brea Tar Pits. The gate was closed and I couldn’t see much, but there is a single tar pit right off the road that was visible. I’d like to have seen more, but I have a compressed schedule and this is what it is. Even at night, though, the moonlight cast an eerie silence over 40,000 year old pits, conveniently located on Wilshire Boulevard, right down the street from Beverly Hills!
I fell asleep, sad in the knowledge that the next day would be my last in California.