Sunday at the Bike

Last Sunday was the first time I played at the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, CA. Until then, my cardroom experience was limited to Hawaiian Gardens and Commerce, so it was a very interesting contrast. A friend of mine who I’ll refer to as “The Falcon” called me up early in the afternoon to socialize, and the first thing that popped into my head was “play poker.” The second thing that popped into my head was “play poker somewhere new.” Having never played at the Bike (”Haven’t been there since college,” chimed in The Falcon), our agenda was set.

The day didn’t start well, as every decision I made on getting to the Bike was wrong. To the tune of doubling my drive-time. Grrrrr. I rolled in around 2:15pm, and parked. It’s fairly centrally located off the 710 freeway, south of downtown Los Angeles; It’s actually just a few minutes away from Commerce. While parking I saw I wasn’t very far away from the entrance, which was very different from both HG and Commerce. The room itself was a bit smaller than HG and of course much smaller than Commerce. The board was huge, impossible to miss, with quite a bit of room for players waiting to be called. The Falcon had gotten to the room over 40 minutes before, and was already seated at a 3/6 game. The board showed four games going at the 1/2, 2/4, and 3/6 levels. One reason I had wanted to play at the Bike was to scout the games for this blog, so of course I completely neglected to make note of the other games at the other limits.

I was second on the board, but stayed second for five minutes or so. Impatient, I asked to be seated at the open 2/4 seat. After being seated at seat 1, I immediately went on a card rush starting with … T4o. I posted behind the button, got the four on the flop, which was checked around, and saw the ten fall on the turn. First position bet, got a caller, I raised, had the button cold-call, and had the first-two players call. With a river blank, I open-bet and got two callers. My had was good. The next 40 minutes saw me get AA and KK, which both held up. I jammed my AA hand only to get the Ah on river for a three-heart board. When I bet out, the lone opponent on the river looked torn, but folded. A heart-stopping 10 seconds.

I managed to chat up the table despite winning money early, and found out I had replaced a maniac, so they were happy to see me. Then, the maniac returned, sitting at seat five. At first, he was raising 50-60% of the time, but then went up to 100% of the time. Oddly enough, the table was very intolerant of the behavior, refusing to be bullied. The maniac had to rebuy multiple times. About 30 minutes into his play, The Falcon switched over to my table, sitting right behind me. We were both able to win giant pots against the maniac, with The Falcon winning the biggest pot of the night.

The Bike has a great room, less crowded than either HG or Commerce, but closer in quality and cleanliness to Commerce (much nicer than HG). Didn’t get to sample the food, but maybe next time.

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