When it comes to poker tournaments, the L.A. Poker Classic in Los Angeles is widely considered to be one of the top five annual events on the international poker calendar. The volume of big-money cash games that take place during the massive poker gathering at Commerce Casino in January and February, however, are known to be unmatched anywhere in the world for one location!
For several years now, the LAPC has been one of the most well-attended poker events, drawing both top players globally and local enthusiasts. And while the hugely popular L.A. Poker Classic Championship and WPT Celebrity Invitational are obviously big draws, thanks to their million-dollar payouts and broadcast on the World Poker Tour®, the cash games surrounding the 43-day event are equally enticing to many players.
“Any poker player that has ever been to Commerce Casino during the LAPC knows it’s a Mecca for cash games,” says poker pro Maria Ho. “Cash games during the LAPC are notorious for running through the night, and some of the highest limits in the world are played during the LAPC.”
LAPC Tournament Director Matt Savage, who has overseen World Series of Poker events in the past, agrees with Ho. “Without a doubt, even considering the WSOP, the best live cash games of the year take place around the LAPC. A lot of that has to do with the fact that the cash games are all concentrated in one location, the Commerce Casino. During the WSOP, cash games are spread out all across Las Vegas.”
According to Savage, there can be more than 200 cash games going on at Commerce Casino at any given time during the L.A. Poker Classic, with evenings being the busiest time for such games. Limits vary, but the most popular games are Limit Hold’em, No Limit Hold’em, H.O.R.S.E, Badugi,Baduci, Omaha and Stud.
For professionals like Ho, the number of tables and varied games combine to make Commerce Casino a popular destination. Ho said a casual player who might feel overwhelmed by the competition at a specific table, which could easily include any number of poker superstars, can simply find another table suited to his or her skill level or bankroll.
“Cash games are really where most poker pros make their money,” Ho said. “If a pro really invests time heavily into the cash game action during the LAPC, you can really make a substantial amount. When I’m not in a LAPC event, I try to play in a cash game. I’ll play almost 40 hours a week.”
As the largest poker room in the world, Commerce Casino is proud to have such a well-respected reputation for top-notch cash games. This fact, however, can cause some grief to a tournament director.
“I know a lot of players wait all year for our cash games, but in the past I’ve lost players for some LAPC events because the live action was too good,” Savage joked. “Do you know how that makes me feel when I’ve worked so hard to design a great LAPC tournament schedule?”
Savage and Commerce Casino have outdone themselves this year by constructing a L.A. Poker Classic schedule featuring a total of 51 events, some new to the LAPC and Commerce Casino, to be conducted in 43 days from Jan. 21 to March 4 — up from 35 offerings in 2009. Anchored by two major World Poker Tour® (WPT) events, the LAPC will feature an estimated $20 million total prize pool, with $3.3 million in guarantees — the largest amount ever put forth by Commerce Casino