Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Hollywood Park Casino

Last post I explored the possible reasons why I didn't like playing at the Commerce. It's not really a horrible place but since I was focusing on the negatives I suppose I made it seem like I thought it was. In any case, I continued going there because I had heard bad things about the closer casino, Hollywood Park. Specifically, I had heard "it's a dump." I'd been there three or four times, but somehow I was still thinking of it in the context of what I had been told instead of forming my own opinion on it. Since I started thinking more critically about the Commerce and decided to look for alternatives, I thought I should give Hollywood Park another chance. I actually think it's quite similar to the Commerce. It has many of the same problems that I saw at the Commerce: gaming industry rather than tourist industry focus, anonymous feel, unclean restrooms, silly "jackpots," and some obnoxious patrons. Upon further review though, I couldn't see any other major drawbacks to Hollywood Park. There are several minor drawbacks that I'll elucidate here.

One minor problem is that Hollywood Park has no tables at very high limits, and it doesn't attract a high-profile crowd like the Commerce can. This eliminates any chance of my having a Nicky/Bijou type experience there. This would have been quite unlikely at the Commerce, too, because the high limits are in a completely separate room, so I would never get a chance to see them come in (lower limit room ends at 5-10 NL). The Commerce waiting lists are slightly more smoothly administered. (At Hollywood Park Brigid and I were once on the 4-8 limit list together and once we got to the top of the list they opened a new game. When we got there the table was completely full and we were shut out despite having been at the top of a rather lengthy list.) Hollywood Park lacks also lacks shuffling machines. I guess another problem with Hollywood Park is that to get inside you have to either walk a rather long distance from the parking lot or climb a steep hill, which is what I usually end up doing. I suppose the lack of an adequate entrance justifies the "dump" description to some extent. One night it also smelled like horse manure in the parking lot (Hollywood Park is a race track with a casino attached). Another reason it was called a "dump" may be due to some racist inclinations from players whom I'd asked about the place; there are far more black people at Hollywood Park than any other casino I've ever seen. To some, this may, unfortunately, give off a feeling of being lower class or something like that.

There are some advantages to Hollywood Park. For me, of course, it's closer. Most of the dealers and other employees are fluent in English. In general, the other players are not nearly as obnoxious as at the Commerce. This is especially true at the lowest limits, which is important because the situation in those games is so bad at the Commerce that Brigid could hardly stand playing there anymore. Hollywood Park seems to only take a $4 rake even at 3-5 NL and up, where the Commerce now takes $5. Hollywood Park also has a comp system that gives, I think, $1 credit every hour. I'm not sure if that's quite right since I've never tried to use it.

The most important factors to me are: driving distance, profitability of the games, and enjoyment factor. Since the profitability is about the same at both places, the Commerce would have to be much more enjoyable to make up for the driving time. Considering the obnoxiousness of the players there, the Commerce's enjoyment factor just doesn't cut it. I think I'm going to start playing at Hollywood Park most of the time.


RBZ said...


with this online poker ban, do you see increase number of players making trips to play live games?

Keith said...

It's hard to say because I moved to LA soon after the ban and I'm not sure what it was like here before. I don't think many of the players at the casinos used to be exclusively online players, though. Pretty much everyone seems reasonably accustomed to live play.