Bicycle Poker Room Review: A Controversial Yet Colorful Poker Destination
The Bicycle Casino, found in Bell Gardens, is a staple of the Los Angeles poker scene. If you've ever consumed poker content on YouTube, you're bound to have come across the ‘Live at the Bike’ channel.
Texas Hold’em cash games you see on that channel take place at the Bicycle poker room.
The Bicycle, nicknamed The Bike, has seen some of the best cash game and tournament players walk through its doors.
However, it is a polarizing venue for poker players. They either adore spending time here or wouldn’t touch the poker room with a ten-foot barge pole.
When The Bike opened its doors all the way back in 1984, it was inferred that it had been financed by drug laundering money.
An investigation was opened by authorities in 1987 and concluded in 1990. The outcome of this was that some of the money used to fund The Bike did indeed come from drug smugglers – an interesting tidbit for sure!
Even in recent times, The Bike has found itself in the center of more unwanted attention.
In 2017, the casino was raided yet again for alleged money laundering, with individuals supposedly buying casino chips with dirty money to then be cashed in exchange for clean money.
The casino was back open again a mere 20 hours after having its doors bust down, and despite some restrictions being added to The Bike's gaming license, the business has operated normally since.
The Bicycle Poker Room Review
Putting the chequered history of The Bike to one side, the 100,000 square feet poker room holds a whopping 185 poker tables.
Despite this, fans of The Bicycle poker room compliment the venue on its spaciousness and comfortability, an important variable to consider if you ever plan on putting in the hours here.
As a brief overview, The Bike scores well in the structure of their tournaments and cash games, the variety of games offered, as well as the tableside dining service. Other amenities found at The Bike poker room include:
- Automatic card shufflers
- Check cashing
- Discounted hotel rates for casino players
- Non-smoking room
As one of the most recognized and renowned poker rooms on the planet, let alone Los Angeles, The Bike has hosted and continues to host a variety of high-profile poker tournament series.
World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPc) and World Poker Tour events are known to play, and the room is also the HQ for the Legends of Poker tournament.
One complaint from regulars is that the location of The Bike is an area that is not thought too highly of. However, with valet parking available, this is one way to bypass any safety concerns you may have.
The Bike Casino Poker Room Cash Games
If your knowledge of The Bike is limited to that of their YouTube channel, you've probably seen only the highest stakes games. But that's not all the room has to offer.
Poker players of all kinds can find a game that compliments their bankroll. Of the 185 tables at the Bike, 100 are dedicated to poker cash games, and with a solid choice of stakes and variations on offer, you are sure to find something that will scratch that poker itch.
No Limit Hold’em games you can find at the bike are:
- $1/$2 – with buy-ins between $40 – $60
- $1/$3 – with buy-ins between $80 – $120
- $2/$3 – with buy-ins between $100 – $300
- $5/$5 – with buy-ins between $300 – $1,000
- $5/$10 – with a minimum buy-in of $1,000
Higher stakes games are also available should the demand be there.
Other poker games that are available include:
- $5/$5 Pot Limit Omaha Hi – minimum buy-in of $500
- $1/$2 Stud 8 or Better – minimum buy-in of $10
- $2/$4 Limit Hold’em – minimum buy-in of $20
- $4/$8 Limit Omaha 8 or Better – minimum buy-in of $40
- $4/$8 Limit Hold’em – minimum buy-in of $40
- $6/$12 Limit Hold’em – minimum buy-in of $60
- $8/$16 Limit Hold’em – minimum buy-in of $80
- $12/$24 Limit Hold’em/Omaha – minimum buy-in of $120
- $20/$40 Limit Hold’em – minimum buy-in of $200
- $40/$80 Limit Hold’em – minimum buy-in of $400
- $2/$4 Seven Card Stud – minimum buy-in of $20
- $20/$40 Mixed Games – minimum buy-in of $200
The Bike also offers punters a chance to play Mexican Poker. If you are unfamiliar with this variant, you can get to know the game rules here.
As you can see in the No Limit Hold’em offering, some of the lower stakes restrict you to small buy-ins. This is due to L.A. gambling laws.
So, one recommendation I'll give you is that if you decide to play here, start with the $2/$3 NLHE game. If you are on a budget, short stacking in the smaller stakes games will still give you a thrill.
For those who are new to poker, there’s nothing wrong with testing waters in the smaller games before you jump onto a table where the game stakes cause your hands to tremble.
The Bike Poker Room Promotions
It pays to be a member of the Bike Player’s Club. The membership is free and has a host of benefits.
If you play for at least three hours in one sitting, you’ll be entitled to complimentary meals, which are often praised for quality.
Additionally, you’ll get access to the entirety of the tournaments held at The Bike.
Members can also earn $3 per hour in comps if playing plaza games ($8/$16 Limit Hold'em and higher).
Other promotional and jackpot information can be found at The Bike’s website and their social media channels as well.
The Bicycle Poker Room Tournaments
The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a massive spanner in the works for those who prefer to play poker tournaments. Heck, even I'm missing them myself, and they're my least favorite way to play poker.
But with vaccines now being rolled out and some chatter about tournaments being rolled out again, you’re going to want to find out what tournaments are on offer at The Bike for when things go back to normal.
It’s already been mentioned that The Bicycle poker room hosts a variety of prestigious poker tournaments, but that's not all. There are also daily freezeout and rebuy tournaments as well as other major poker tournament series.
More casual and players will likely play in the daily tournaments. These are split across three categories, Quantum Reload Tournaments, Mexican Poker, and Late-Night Madness events. A usual daily tournament schedule looks something like this:
Quantum Reload Tournaments (Fri – Sun)
- 12pm: Buy-in $40 – 6,000 starting stack ($30 Add-on 8,000 chips) and $3,000 guarantee
- 2:10pm: Buy-in $50 – 8,000 starting stack ($40 Add-on 10,000 chips) and $3,000 guarantee
- 12pm: Buy in $50 – 6,000 starting stack ($40 Add-on 8,000 chips) and $15k guaranteed
- 2pm: Buy in $65 – 8,000 starting stack ($50 Add-on 10,000 chips) and $15k guarantee
- 4pm: Buy in $80 – 10,000 starting stack ($60 Add-on 12,000 chips) and $15k guarantee
- 12pm: Buy-in $50 – 6,000 starting stack ($40 Add-on 8,000 chips) and $10k guarantee
- 2pm: Buy-in $65 – 8,000 starting stack ($50 Add-on 10,000 chips) and $10k guarantee
- 4pm: Buy-in $80 – 10,000 starting stack ($60 Add-on 12,000 chips) and $10k guarantee
- 8pm: Buy-in $30 – 2,000 starting stack ($10 Multi Re-Buy / $10 Triple Add-on) and $1,500 guarantee
There’s also a special Mexican poker tournament every 3rd Thursday of the month, which looks like this:
- 8pm: Buy-in $60 – 4,000 starting stack ($60 Multi Re-Buy / $60 Triple Add-on) and $5k guarantee
Late Nite Poker Madness (Thurs – Sat)
Taking place every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, the Late Nite Poker Madness info you need to know is:
- 10pm: Buy-in $60 – 4,000 starting stack ($40 optional Single / Double Add-on) and $2,000 guarantee
And for those who prefer to take a shot at higher buy-in events, other major poker tournament series that take place at The Bike are:
- Mega Millions Series (January)
- Winnin’ O' The Green (March/April)
- CardPlayer Poker Tour (May-June)
- A. Poker Series (June)
- Stars & Stripes (July)
- Big Poker Oktober (September/October).
So, whatever your bankroll or skill level might be, you’ll find plenty of tournament action to enjoy at the Bicycle poker room.
Parking at The Bicycle Poker Room
There’s not much worse than paying for parking after dusting off a couple of bullets at the poker table. To be stung with those extra fees can really rub salt into the wounds.
Luckily for you, there's none of that at this venue. Self-parking at the Bike parking lot is complimentary, and valet parking is only five bucks. If you’re a hotel guest, valet services are included in your resort fees.
The Bicycle Casino Games
If you are someone who enjoys slots after a poker session to unwind, you’ll be disappointed to know that slot machines aren’t really a thing at The Bike.
Due to Californian gaming laws, casinos are limited to just offering table games, unless you are in a casino on a reservation, for example.
The table games on offer are also limited and not like what you would find in a usual Las Vegas casino, but at least there are still options for those who enjoy pit games.
- Variety of Baccarat games
- Ultimate Texas Hold’em
- Chinese Poker
- Fortune Pai Gow Poker
- Pai Gow Tiles
- Crazy 4 Poker
- Three Card Poker
- Super Pan 9
The Bicycle Casino – What to Expect and Things to Do
Besides having a world-famous poker room, in 2015, the Bike expanded its operation by building an adjoining seven-story hotel that hosts a fitness center, cocktail bar, expanded dining and drinking areas, as well as live entertainment venues.
The Bike’s hotel is highly regarded by those who have stayed there. Rooms are aesthetically pleasing and affordable.
Those on a budget can stay in the basic rooms, which are spacious and comfortable in their own right. But those who plan on spending a bit more cash won’t be disappointed at the hotel's range of suites.
Guests can pamper themselves in the world-class spa and soak up the sunshine and grab a drink at the outdoor pool & bar – the perfect way to prepare for an evening on casino entertainment.
Dining options are somewhat limited at The Bike, but what they do serve goes down well with punters.
Guests can enjoy bites to eat at The Brewery and the Asian-inspired Pheonix Café. Visitors can then enjoy a retreat to one of three bars that offer cozy and ambient settings.
The Bicycle Casino – Keeping You Safe Against Covid-19
The Bike has Covid-19 measures in place to look after team members, hotel guests, and casino visitors.
With a new outdoor gaming facility, players can experience better ventilation and have their anxieties eased. Further measures in place to keep everyone safe include:
- Frequent Sanitation
- PPE – masks are mandatory
- Non-invasive temperature checks through screening
- Team of security officers with enhanced COVID-19 training
- Physical Distancing measures in place
Final Thoughts on the Bicycle Poker Room
If you’re a poker player, The Bicycle poker room should definitely be on your bucket list of places to play live. Home to prestigious events and offering a variety of cash games, poker at The Bike is the gold standard in L.A.
Now with extra facilities thanks to the recent expansion, guests can enjoy amenities other than the poker room. With live entertainment, good food, and places to relax, there are few, if any, better places where you can play cards and soak up that Californian sun.