Hollywood Park celebrates grand opening of poker room

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The “Best Place to Play in LA” just got better as Hollywood Park Casino unveiled its revamped poker room on Nov. 11.

Walking to the front entrance, you couldn’t help but notice the lights and cameras. People were dressed way above the normal level for playing cards. There was a red carpet, live entertainment and a Chinese dancing dragon.

In the past when you entered the casino, there were California, Asian and other non-poker games in front. The poker area used to be to the far right, past the Pink’s stand, the gift shop and arcade. Now, it’s poker, poker and more poker being spread in front of you.

The first impression is how bright and spacious it all feels. Even with a mass of wall-to-wall people (like for the reopening), you don’t feel crowded. Once you get used to the new atmosphere, you can’t help but notice the three giant TVs mounted on the far wall. The two on one wall in the lower stakes area are visible from nearly every table.

Another change is the high-limit area, which is partitioned from the casino by a semi-transparent floor-to-ceiling curtain. The third television screen is in this area, along with some smaller screens so there’s no shortage of entertainment.

As for the former poker area, that will be renovated in the next phase, which could produce additional gaming or an event center-tournament room.

WSOPC HITS L.A.: With so many places to play poker in Los Angeles, you’re almost never at a loss to find your particular game. If you’re a tournament player, there are tournaments every day for you to put your skills to the test.

The Bicycle Casino hosts the first World Series of Poker Circuit stop of 2012. It kicks off Jan. 1 with a $345 no-limit hold’em event. This historic WSOPC stop (the first in L.A.) is made up of 12 ring events, including the main event Jan. 10.

In addition to NLHE, the schedule includes pot-limit Omaha, triple-draw/badugi mix, limit hold’em and Omaha/8. If $345 is too steep for you, there are eight non-ring events with buy-ins from $150-$235.

LAPC: On the heels of the WSOPC, Commerce Casino’s Los Angeles Poker Classic begins Jan. 17. This six-week series continues through February and has buy-ins starting at $65. There are a wide variety of formats and games on the schedule, including H.O.R.S.E, deuce-to-seven triple draw and Chinese poker.

So, if you are stuck in a cold climate this winter and like to play tournament poker, get out of the cold and head to Los Angeles.

— Dave Palm is Ante Up’s Los Angeles Ambassador. You can email him at LA.AnteUp@gmail.com.