Just got home from a week on the road. While it’s not like the old days of the road gamblers, as a professional sometimes you need to venture out and find profitable opportunities. The first part of my trip was spent at the Lake Elsinor Casino (LERC), between Riverside and San Diego. (The second was in LA at Ralph Rudd’s golf event, which I’ll cover in another blog.) The LERC is a 28-table operation with an attached hotel. While it will never be confused with the Ritz, the rooms are being renovated, and you can usually score a $25/night room rate if you ask in the card room.
I went there primarily to check out the PLO game, which they spread on Friday nights. (There’s a PLO 8-or-better game on Wednesdays night, but I missed that.) The PLO has $2-3 blinds, but you must come in for $5, so it’s essentially $5-5. The game was fairly lively and the stacks were pretty deep, but I didn’t play late as I made a little score and had a golf game in the morning. I heard the game got really good late at night.
After golf on Saturday I got in one of the numerous small no-limit games. The primary game is $2-3, of which there were five table going strong at 8pm. The “big game” is $3-5, and although I’ve heard it gets really good at times, it broke shortly after I got in. There was one memorable hand where two players limped for $5, the button made it $275 and got four callers!
I moved back to one of the $2-3 games, and it was truly nuts. There were several players drinking pretty good, and it was unusual to see a flop for less than $13, or with less than three players. This is the kind of game you need to be able to overcome the rake, which is $4+$1 for the jackpot on any flop. While pretty standard for Ca. card rooms, it’s very hard to beat this kind of rake in a semi-tight game. A big part of my normal strategy is built around picking up small pots, but with this kind of rake it doesn’t make sense, as the rake eats up too much of the pot. The basic strategy is to win fewer, but bigger pots, and that is what crazy games are tailor made for. While it was obviously a game that played bigger than normal, with wild fluctuations, it was an opportunity to make a really big score. I played as long as I could stay awake, booked a small loss, and got some sleep before heading to Industry Hills for Ralph’s tournament on Sunday.
I enjoyed my stay at the LERC, and will make the trip again, next time catching the PLO-8 game. The people are interesting (there’s a 100-year-old lady who lives in the hotel and plays every day), it’s a pretty area and there’s lots of good golf nearby.