Commerce Casino Review

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The Commerce Casino is the home of poker in LA, and houses what is probably the world’s biggest poker room. In fact, the poker room is split in two with the high limit games being housed away from the larger low limit area. The casino which opened in 1983 looks for all the world like it hasn’t been touched since opening day and has a very gaudy appearance which is backed up by terribly dated staff uniforms worn by workers who look fit for retirement for the most part; the exception being the rather attractive cocktail girls who look well despite their faux Moulin Rouge get-up. You should also expect dealers who struggle with the English language as commonplace.


Housed within the casino are a number of dining options including the Manhattan Deli, the Arena Sports Bar, and the Commerce Café, ensuring you’ll never be stuck for something to eat. The food however leaves a lot to be desired. The Turkey Club Sandwich for instance consists of nothing but dry bread, turkey and lettuce, with a small pot of off colour coleslaw on the side and was far from appetizing. You better order before you get hungry, because waits in excess of 45 minutes can be expected and don’t bank on getting what you ordered. The one good thing about the food is that it’s cheap.

Also on site are ATMs and the parking lot offers a valet service which can add a bit of peace of mind when walking out of the casino with large amounts of cash. There is also a convenient shoe shine station at the end of the room because lets face it, you can’t play poker with scuffed brogues.

Overview of the poker room in the Commerce Casino

Atmosphere and Noise Level

Both the high and low limit games at the Commerce are over-lit and far too bright. If anything, they should be aiming to dim down the gaudy appearance rather than drawing your attention to the faded carpet which has been trodden to within a nano-meter of the underfloor. The low limit room is huge and quite noisy, particularly due to the floor announcers constant twittering on the PA system. The chip-riffling sound is notably absent, probably due to the fact that the chips are old and rough making them impossible to riffle. The vast majority of the patrons are Asian and the English only rule is rarely enforced. In fact several traditional poker rules get broken unpunished at the low limits and its commonplace for players to show the hand they folded to one of their neighbors before mucking, and even announce what they have folded while the hand is still in play.


All new players at the Commerce are offered a player card, which entitles them to comps at the rate of $1 per hour, which they may use against table side food orders.

Games Offered

As well as the popular No Limit Holdem, Fixed Limit Holdem is a favorite at the Commerce as well as Stud games. You’ll occasionally find Omaha and Draw but Stud and Holdem get most of the action. The No Limit structures at the lower limits are bizarre and frustrating. Their $2/$3 blinds game has a fixed sit-down of $100 and the $3/$5 game has a fixed sit-down of $200, meaning these games mostly resemble the latter stages of a tournament in terms of post-flop play. Things pick up a bit at $5/$10 where there is a $500-$1500 buy-in game. At higher stakes all games have the option to buy in for 100 big blinds.

The standard of play is why a lot of people like the Commerce. In the $100 and $200 games you’ll struggle to find softer games anywhere. Usually a player will limp in early position and then 5 more will follow suit; the vast majority of pots will be at least 3 way and it’s not uncommon to have 7 players see a flop.

Commerce Poker Tournaments

The Casino has two daily tournaments at 12pm and 6pm. They usually have buy-ins around the $120 mark and the starting stacks and clock represent OK value for money. As well as the regular tournament schedule there are various series’ held through the year, like the Los Angeles Poker Classic in January and February, and the Commerce Holdem festival in September.

Close up of poker tournaments at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles


Waitlists aren’t too bad at the Commerce because it’s so busy. You’ll typically be waiting no more than few minutes for a seat in the $100 and $200 games, and maybe up to half an hour for a seat in the $500 game, particularly during daytime hours. The casino is always busy and you can expect to see 40+ tables running even on a weekday afternoon.

Rake and Jackpot Drop

The rake at the Commerce is nothing short of extortionate, and the lower stakes games are without question unbeatable. $2 is taken from every pot pre-flop even if there is no action, and this is increased to $5 is there is flop. Assuming 30 hands an hour, which means the table charge is in excess of $15 per person. Even at $5/$10 and above the rake will be very difficult to overcome. Each hand also sees $1 donated to the bat beat jackpot fund.


The Commerce is pretty conveniently located just off the 5 Freeway, 20 minutes south-east of downtown Los Angeles at the Washington Bl. exit. Traffic on the freeway can be extremely heavy and avoiding planning your arrival or departure between the hours of 4pm and 7pm is a good idea. The casino is right at the exit and you can’t miss it as you come off the freeway. There is very little else in the Commerce district apart from the casino, so if you’re planning a poker trip to LA, you might want to stay elsewhere in the city