From about the time I started looking into moving to Las Vegas for poker, I had heard that Los Angeles was another excellent location for a poker player. The Bike and The Commerce casinos have two of the biggest poker rooms in the world, and other poker rooms were supposedly scattered all through the city. I decided on Las Vegas because I already had some connections here, but I always figured Los Angeles would have worked just as well. Now that I'm moving there and looking into it a bit more, I'm not so sure. I've now been to both the Bike and Commerce, and both are located in rather depressing neighborhoods, almost completely devoid of culinary options. Drinks, which I have become accustomed to being served for free at poker tables, were being paid for by patrons at the Bike; I can only hope that this is not a city-wide policy. My most severe misgivings, however, concern my anticipated commute.
Westwood, the neighborhood I'm moving to in LA next month, doesn't seem to have any poker rooms within a half hour drive. Now, I realize expecting a commute of less than 30 minutes in Los Angeles was probably overly optimistic, but I really thought that was going to be the case. When a particular destination is about 10 miles away on the freeway, I used to expect that to mean it would take about 15 minutes to drive there. That was before I tried driving on the freeways in LA. The Commerce casino is 20 miles from Westwood, but this takes at least 40 minutes, probably nearly 2 hours during rush "hour." The Bike is just a bit further. Somehow, I had gotten the impression that the Hustler Casino was ten miles away, but really it's about twice that. My best bet now seems to be the Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood, east of the airport. Only 12 miles south of Westwood on the 405, this shows some promise; maybe I'll even be able to get there in under half an hour. Hollywood Park has the added advantage of being in the neighborhood where Aaron, one of my best college friends, will be moving this week for his new job with a video game company. It'd be nice to finally have a poker buddy to play with on a regular basis, but I expect Aaron will be pretty busy with his new job. I just hope the Hollywood Park poker room will be satisfactory. Going to their website doesn't really help give me much idea what to expect. I guess I'll have to go check it out on my next apartment hunting trip. Hopefully, I won't have to resort to the recently outlawed internet poker after I move.