Yesterday I went down to the Bike for the first time in over 6 months. There were a couple of reasons I went there instead of Player’s Casino. I had an appointment in the West L.A. area, which put me a lot closer to the Bike than Ventura. But the bigger reason was that they had just opened up the brand new hotel at the Bike on December 1. and I wanted to check it out. I did an interview with Bike head honcho for PokerAtlas recently, which you can see here. So I want to share my thoughts on the new and improved Bike.
Of course, I didn’t stay in a room there, or even look at the rooms, but I have to assume they are very nice. But I can talk about what the average player who won’t be staying there will see when they head down there.
The poker area and 99% of the casino area remains unchanged. Some of the casino area that was lost during the reconstruction has been enhanced. There’s now a high limit Baccarat where the old giftshop/newsstand used to be. But most everything else that involves gaming has not changed.
But the front part, where the hotel is, is all new and honestly, quite beautiful. Seriously, it is quite shocking to see how great it looks, especially if you’ve been going to the Bike for years.
The hotel lobby is super, super nice, very modern, although surprising small. The front entrance and the valet parking looks just fantastic. They even have a concierge!
They’ve added a spa, which I didn’t see, as well as a pool. I didn’t see any evidence of a pool, so it’s possible it’s not ready yet or maybe I just didn’t explore enough.
The gift shop is brand new, not much bigger than the old one, but much nicer (except for the fact that they didn’t have the new issue of Ante Up magazine out yet).
They’ve added a few restaurants, including a brewery. It looks very nice, but a quick glance at the menu made it look a little too frous-frous for my extremely pedestrian tastes. There’s also a coffee place (shocking, I know) that sells Starbucks apparently but doesn’t have a Starbucks sign anywhere that I could see. The website mentioned an “Asian fusion” restaurant, which I didn’t see (maybe not open yet?) but I wouldn’t go out of my way to look for since that is so not my thing.
On their website, they list a 24-hour snack bar. But I didn’t see that either. Do they mean the little hot dog stand they sometimes have in the tournament area? Until now, it’s always been hit-or-miss as to whether that is actually open any time I go. In addition to serving hot dogs (with mayonnaise) and all my favorite—Mexican fast food—they have pizza and chips, stuff like that. Is that what they mean? I would hope not, because when I got to the tournament area, there was an empty stand there that showed a hot dog cooker in the background and no one selling hot dogs or anything else. I would think if it was a 24-hour snack bar that they are advertising on their website, it would be more than what I saw, which, as I said wasn’t even open yesterday, even tho there was some big-time tournament action going in (WSOP circuit event there now). But I will cut them some slack and figure that the closed “snack bar” was the result of the remodel not being completely complete.
I’m curious to see how the hotel does, businesswise. They went with a rather high end, “boutique” style hotel. I wonder how the poker crowd will like that, as opposed to a more workman-like hotel they could have gone for. Since southern California is ridiculously spread out, the location is as centrally located as anywhere else for someone visiting as a tourist who wants to hit all the typical tourist things. Traffic will be horrible pretty much around the clock, but that’s L.A. for you, you can’t avoid it. Still, I can’t imagine anyone staying there unless they planned on playing a lot of poker.
Speaking of poker, I continued the pattern of having just rather unexciting, near break-even sessions since getting back from Vegas. It is the very opposite of “variance.” I swear I’m not trying to play it safe and avoiding high variance situations. It’s the cards that are just dictating it, honestly. Again, another card dead day. I had two small pocket pairs and then pocket 9’s, which I’ll get to in a second. Just two or three suited connectors. No Ace-King or Ace-Queen. If there’s anything to this “law of averages” thing, I should start getting monster hands pre-flop every other hand one of these next sessions.
Almost nothing to talk about, but I’ll mention a few hands. I know the first two times I raised (one with King-Queen suited in early position, don’t recall the other), I just took the blinds.
In late position, I raised to $15 with 6-5 of spades. Seriously, I did. The button made it $30, one of the blinds called….so I called too. Probably shouldn’t have but I was playing so few hands I thought I’d give it a shot. The flop had back-door flush and straight draws, no one bet. On the turn I picked up a gut-shot straight draw, and folded to a $50 bet. I dunno, maybe I should have bet the turn there with some fold equity, but I nitted up.
In early position I raised to $15 with Ace-10 of clubs. Four of us saw a flop of Queen-Queen-10. I made a c-bet of $30 and took it down. It was the first pot I won that was more than just the blinds.
Early position again, I got two 9’s. I almost fainted from seeing two cards in my hand that matched. There had been a straddle ($6, utg) so I made it $20. Three players called. The flop was 7-4-2, rainbow. Well, with an overpair, I bet out $65. The guy on my immediate left said, “Well, I gotta go play in a tournament anyway,” and shoved. He had only a little bit more than my $65. When it folded back to me, I didn’t even bother with a count, I could see that the extra I’d have to put in couldn’t possibly have been enough to make folding correct. So I called, we didn’t show. I didn’t like the Ace on the turn but I did like the 9 on the river. But I didn’t need it. Mr. “I gotta to play in a tournament” showed 6-4. Nice.
That put me up slightly for the day. A bunch of other players left, either done for the day or heading for the tournament, and the game broke. I would have had to have waited for a seat at another table, so I decided to call it a day, and booked a whopping $10 profit.
I’m unlikely to play in town again before heading to Vegas for my Xmas/New Year’s trip. So we shall see if my no-variance brand of poker continues up there.
Oh, and if any of my readers happen to stay in a room at the new Bike Hotel, please let me know what you think.