If you’re traveling to the western part of the United States and ready to practice playing the game of Omaha in a live setting, here is a rundown of the action.
Many consider Los Angeles to be the center of the poker universe, and Commerce Casino, located about 30 minutes from LAX, features the largest card room in the world plus the best range of Omaha games and limits from which to choose.
Beginning with $4/$8 Omaha Hi/Lo (O8) games and Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) with a $100-$300 buy-in all the way up to a $2,500 buy-in PLO game that is spread every day in the high limit section, the non-stop action at Commerce makes it one of the top spots to play in the world.
Other Los Angeles-area casinos also spread Omaha daily. The Bicycle Casino located in Bell Gardens also features a $4/$8 Omaha Hi/Lo game and a mix game of Stud Hi/Lo and Omaha with a $20/$40 limit. A Pot Limit Omaha game is also offered on certain days. They also have a weekly Omaha tournament on Mondays.
The Garden Casino in Hawaiian Gardens offers a variety of games, including $4/$8, $6/$12 Limit Omaha and also a Pot Limit Omaha game with a $100 to $300 buy-in. They have also added a Seven-Card Stud 8-or-Better mix game and will join Hollywood Park Casino and Commerce Casino in offering a mix game at the $6/$12 limit.
My favorite place to play Omaha in Southern California is Hollywood Park Casino located just minutes from the L.A. airport. Their offerings include $4/$8 Omaha Hi/Lo, $40/$80 Omaha Hi/Lo and a $20/$40 mix Omaha and Stud Hi/Lo.
Hollywood Park also has added a high stakes PLO game and it hosts a $50 buy-in Omaha Hi/Lo tournament every Saturday.
There are Native American casinos in Southern California that offer limit Omaha, such as Pechanga Resort & Casino, the largest casino in California, which spreads 5-Card Omaha or Big O. Agua Caliente Casino near Palm Springs spreads a $6/$12 Omaha Hi/Lo game daily.
Just outside Los Angeles, The Players Club in Ventura offers small limit and pot limit Omaha games full of great action. Omaha on the West Coast is growing, and I predict the number of games will double in the near future.
Las Vegas is a great place to play Omaha and has some legendary spots like the Orleans Hotel & Casino, famous for its small-limit Omaha games and large jackpots.
If you need to build a bankroll, one of the best places to play is Boulder Station which, features a $4/$8 limit Omaha high only with some the best action in Las Vegas. It seems like there are always six people going to the river.
For bigger action, the most consistent place to find it is at the Venetian Las Vegas, which features $4/$8 Omaha and $8/$16 Omaha along with $15/$30 and Pot Limit Omaha. Aria spreads Pot Limit Omaha daily, and Bellagio has some middle limit Omaha if requested.
As far as tournaments go, the LA Poker Classic running now through March 5 at Commerce Casino is a great place to try your hand at playing mixed games in a tournament setting. Tournament Director Matt Savage and his staff, including coordinator Jeffrey King, have done a great job creating a new event schedule with less re-buy.
The LAPC has a great mix that appeals to both recreational and professional players. Several Pot Limit Omaha and No Limit H.O.R.S.E and other mixed games are featured. I was fortunate to play two mixed events and final table in both.
Matt explained his philosophy this way: “I have always believed that there is much more to poker than just No Limit Hold’em, and I think it’s important to keep mixed games available not only to play but to introduce to the next generation of poker players.”
He continues, “The last thing I want as a player that loves mixed games is to see Limit Hold’em, Omaha/8, Stud/8, and Razz go the way of Lowball and Draw. I feel really fortunate to be the tournament director for a series like the LA Poker Classic where I can be creative with the schedule and even try new variations and games like No Limit H.O.R.S.E., Crazy Pineapple, and Triple Stud.”
I really like when casinos do things that put customers first like Commerce does, such as the Player of the Series with $25,000 added money and food vouchers for all tournament players.
The bottom line is Omaha and mixed games are becoming more mainstream in the Southern California poker scene. If you want to become a professional poker player, it’s time to master these games.
Robert Turner is a legendary poker player and billiard marketing expert, best known for inventing the game of Omaha poker and introducing it to Nevada in 1982 and to California in 1986. In the year 2000, he created World Team Poker, the first professional league for poker. He has over 30 years experience in the gaming industry and is co-founder of Crown Digital Games. Twitter @thechipburnerRobert can be reached at [email protected].