Poker 101: Where is the Best Place to Play Poker in the World?
This article is part of my series 'Poker Culture, Strategy & Commentary'.
Ask a poker player where to go to play poker, and you might get a ton of different answers. Some enjoy playing locally, while others will recommend making a trip to a place like Las Vegas, Atlantic City or Niagara Falls because there are more tourists and the games are juicier. An increasing number of players are getting serious about poker and may recommend a spot based on how much action there is and how big the games are. It's a safe bet that if you ask any serious cash-game player what the single best cardroom in the world is, they will answer the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, California.
While you may find a soft game in some small corner of the world, you'll never find the shear magnitude of action that is present at the commerce every single day. They have $5-10 no-limit ($1500 max buy-in), $10-20 no-limit & $20-40 or higher no-limit holdem, as well as limit games of $20-40 holdem and stud, $30-60 stud, $40-80 holdem, $60-120 holdem, $100-200 or higher holdem & stud. When I say they have the game, I mean the game is going 24/7. Other, bigger games that go more occasionally include $5-10 pot-limit Omaha, Chinese poker, $40-80 mixed games and a plethora of higher-stakes games of all kinds. No other card room comes even close to matching this juggernaut of medium- and high-stakes action.
The lower stakes games at the Commerce club also beat any other casino. They have more tables than you can count, spreading Mexican poker, stud, limit holdem, Omaha hi-lo, and no-limit holdem from a $1-2 blind to $5-10 with a reduced max buy-in of $400. In addition to this endless sea of low-stakes cash game tables in the main cardroom, there are always tournaments and satellites going on upstairs in the convention area.
Poker action aside, another reason that the Commerce club is an attractive destination is its 4-star Crowne Plaza Hotel. The room rates are always reasonable for poker players, and the staff are known to be quite courteous. Staying in the very same hotel where you are playing is both an enjoyable luxury and a smart business decision. It's easier to play more poker in the right state of mind if you can simply quit the game at any time, go right up to the room and relax for awhile, and then come back down whenever you feel like it. You lose this perk if you stay somewhere else, even if it's only a few miles away.
Finally, there's one more thing that stands out at this club--the free food! Their menu is a wide array of Asian, Mexican, Middle Eastern & American specialties, and if you play medium stakes (at least $15-30 limit or $400 buy-in no-limit), it's all 100% free. That's a super way to cut costs for the travelling poker player. And if you prefer to stick to the low-stakes games, the prices are still quite reasonable, with many full-meal options for under $5.00. The food is all restaurant-quality and the menu always includes a few daily special options which keeps things even more varied.
So, if you're planning a poker trip, consider the Commerce Club. It's a favorite of the pros and it might become your favorite as well.