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Last week I profiled stud specialist Mike Rocco, but he had so many fascinating stories about playing poker in Los Angeles, I had to write another article.

Mike was playing $20/$40 stud at Commerce Casino when Yosh Nakano, a long-time regular in high-stakes games in Los Angeles, comes up to him and says, “Mike, we need a player. Follow me to Larry’s house.”

Of course, Yosh was talking about the big game at Larry Flynt’s home. As the story goes, Flynt developed a passion for poker while serving in the army and opened the Hustler Casino in Gardena, California in 2000.

But on this particular night in Larry’s game, Mike won $80,000. Mike got Ted Forrest into Larry’s game and would get a 10% freeroll from Ted up to $100,000.

As Mike puts it, he made $5,000 to $6,000 every time Ted played. When Ted started staking Mike in the game, he did so well Mike soon bought a new BMW convertible. Everything seemed to be going so well.

Mike met a masseuse in Larry’s game that would change his life in more than one way. He began losing $50,000 to $75,000 a day. He was soon stuck $770,000 in 6 to 8 weeks.

There is a bright side to this story – Mike had a son with the woman he met in Larry’s game. He likes to say his son was a million-dollar baby before he was even born!

But back to poker. Mike goes to Larry Flynt about starting a high-limit stud game. Though Mike is a hustler, even he realizes everyone wants to play Hold’em.

Though I hear players speak of the poker boom with nostalgia, Mike says the poker boom was the worst thing that could have happened to stud. TV and the Internet killed the game, and stud was taken off poker boards everywhere.

Today, you can find Mike Rocco hosting the $6/$12 stud at Hollywood Park Casino. He is committed to growing the stud section, and if anyone can do it, it is Mike.

The key, he says, is, “It takes time. It can’t happen overnight. But keep the players happy, and over a period of time you will build up the clientele.”

Mike continues, “People want to go where the game is. If people know there is a game here every day, they will come.”

With the support he gets from management and his friends in poker, Hollywood Park will soon be the home of stud poker.

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