Weird times means weird gambling options. Whenever casinos run out of room, they find ingenious and not-so-subtle ways to cater to gamblers during major events like the WSOP, or other big-time tournaments. I've had to play poker in some version of a "poker tent" at Commerce Casino in LA and at Rio Casino in Las Vegas for the WSOP. But now, there's a tent-like setup in place during the Bicycle Casino's grand re-opening featuring outdoor table games.
The Great Pandemic of 2020 has forced people and businesses to do weird things in order to survive. In the brick and mortar casino world, operators have been trying to figure out how to maximize profits while trying to have a safe environment for their employees and gamblers. Some greedy casinos will do the bare minimum to minimize the risk of exposure to employees and gamblers, while other casino got the extra mile to add other safety precautions.
Of course, the pandemic hit the casino industry hard. Professionals had limited options to earn a living, while the service side of the casino industry got hit the hardest.
The Bicycle Casino closed its door in March when everything else shut down, inclding Las Vegas. When things looked like it was easing up, the Bike reopened in June. That reopening did not lastlong before the Governor of California shut down casinos... again.
Well, the day finally arrived for the fall re-opening of the Bike. On October 5, the Bike returned to 24/7 operations with a temporary outdoor casino. I know it sounds weird, but down at the Bike they're trying to have the best of both worlds. The outdoor space, with 52 gaming tables, is essentially a tent without any sides. Just the top is in place for lights and the eye in the sky to keep eye on the games and action.
Before you can even get close to the premises at the Bike, you must provide a temperature check. And all gamblers must wear masks and adhere to distancing guidelines in high-traffic areas.
The Bike said they would use, "Hospital-grade UV-C light machines and Thermal Imaging Cameras to Electrostatic sprayers with longer-lasting disinfection." In addition, the Bike claims, "We invested in the best state-of-the-art technology to enhance our safety measures. In addition, air handling has been increased with enhanced filters to filter out virus particulates."
The Bike clearly did not half-ass their effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, while trying to still make money running a casino.
Due to limited space, there's also a limited number of tables. It might get a little wonky at peak times. There's 52 gaming tables and 17 of them are specifically set aside for poker. That makes 35 other pit games for your to gamboool it up.
Of course, only in LA would there be an outdoor casino right up against a freeway. And in true degens are gonna degens fashion, you could build a casino in a highway median and degens would still show up.
The Bicycle Casino has been a well-known hotspot for gambling and poker in Southern California that has been around for almost 40 years. It's located in Bell Gardens, on the outskirts of Los Angeles in one of the many "incorporated areas" where weird, grey-area legal, and often nefarious things go down outside the jurisdiction of the City of Angels protectorate (e.g. see season 2 of True Detective). From the day it opened, the Bike came under investigation as a legal card room put in place to launder money for a local crime syndicate.
The Bike hosted plenty of live poker events and previous stops on the World Poker Tour. They were also the first casino to enter the live streaming era with Live at the Bike in which a high-stakes cash game would be broadcast with commentary and everything.
The Bike also had good mid-stakes action, especially in limit hold'em, which seemed to die off in recent years. They had a juicy $8/$16 LHE game back in the day that I enjoyed when I first began to frequent SoCal room a decade ago. Their $20/40 LHE is pretty fishy at times. There's also some crazy action at the $5/$5 NL tables right now, including $5/$10 NL and $10/$20 NL.