Belly up to the world's largest poker room

Sep 22, 2009 5:09 PM
The Inside Straight by Joe Awada |

Want to play some poker?

If you ever get into Southern California, check out the Commerce Casino, which features literally the world’s largest poker room.

At last count there were about 240 tables at Commerce, making it four times larger than the largest Las Vegas poker rooms.

And those tables are usually filled – the poker casino attracts about 8,000 players a day.

It’s only fitting that last week the Commerce Casino set a record for conducting the largest live poker tournament, outside of the World Series of Poker.

A total of 3,967 players turned out for the Series Opener in Commerce Casino’s new Hold’em Series event, which had a modest buy-in of $220.

When all the chips settled, the top prize of $164,627 was claimed by a Los Angeles player, out of a total prize pool of over $750,000.

The tournament had a unique format, which included a three-day start which allowed players to buy back in on subsequent days if they busted out early; plus there was a $500,000 guarantee.

"Commerce was jam-packed this past weekend," said Tournament Director Matt Savage. "It shows that a little creativity and an opportunity for a second chance at hundreds of thousands of dollars can reinvigorate poker."

The Hold’em Series features 14 more events for Hold’em lovers through Sept. 27. Still to come are a Heads-Up Double Elimination event, an Iron Man event with no scheduled breaks, and the grand finale Main Event, which features a $500,000 guarantee to go along with a $2,580 buy-in.

There will also be a Knockout Bounty event, in which players get an extra $100 every time they knock someone out.

Obviously, the tournament people like to have fun with their events, and other poker rooms should take notice of how exciting things become when you "think outside the box."

"We are proud that Commerce Casino continues to demonstrate the vitality of the poker business with our record breaking tournaments," said John Griffo, Director of Marketing and Advertising. "With our relatively modest buy-ins, stimulating tournament formats and prize pool guarantees, Commerce remains a powerful draw for today’s poker enthusiast both locally and internationally."

Even without the tournament, there’s always something interesting happening at the Commerce Casino. There are poker games for all levels of players, beginning at $1-$2 games and proceeding to the sky’s the limit.

And the menu of games is the most varied of any poker room in the world. Games include limit and no limit hold’em, 7-Card Stud, Stud Hi-Lo, Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, Razz, Lowball, Draw Poker, Mexican Poker and Pineapple.

For those who love Asian games, there’s a complete mix, including Pai Gow Poker, Pai Gow tiles, Joker’s Wild Pai Gow, Super Pan and, of course, baccarat.

The Commerce Casino also features "California" games, such as No Bust Blackjack, 3-Card Poker and 13-Card Poker.

Overall, Commerce Casino is quite a poker palace and certainly worth a visit when in Southern California.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Joe Awada

You can try out your strategy by playing our free live online poker.