Crowne Plaza Los Angeles - Commerce Casino Hotel

Found this Essay I wrote from a while back

Had to write a descriptive essay back when I was in school and just came across it again. Disclaimer: the featured hand is the cliche climax where the villian gets there on the river but the essay is mainly for descriptive purposes-not high level poker content lol. If you read it, hope you enjoy.
Commerce Casino
"All in", that moment in poker when you put your entire stack on the line. I'm sitting at an oval table resembling a horse track with nine other degenerates all trying to do the same thing: win big. Beads of sweat start to form on my forehead, my mouth gets dryer as the rate of my heartbeat increases to a rapid gallop. I can feel blood pulsing and beating in my temples like war drums, but why? With the first three cards shown, I have the best hand at the moment. The sucker at the end of the table called my all in bet but his hand needs to improve in order to beat mine. With two cards to come, the gentleman, if he's worthy of that title, given the fact that he's already had two warnings from the staff about patting a waitress' rear, seems confident that he'll get lucky and his card will come. He needs a diamond. Around me there is table banter: A couple of Asian men looking like they just got off of work, talking to one another about poker strategy, or something else, I couldn’t tell. Young online gambling prodigies crunching numbers and blabbing about odds and statistics. Apparently, the likelihood of my opponent catching the card he needs to best me is roughly thirty five percent. There's always a frail old man at the table who sits expressionless and is almost a bigger distraction than the actual loudmouthed players themselves. You almost feel guilty about taking his money but, in an environment like this, there’s no room for that. Around me people are ordering drinks, drunkenly spilling on themselves, the table, and other players. Overly confident Middle Eastern business men singing aloud to themselves as if they think no one is around. And that's just my table, one of fifty-four in a crowded side room of the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles.
The casino is built into a Crown Plaza Hotel located in the industrial area of Commerce, California. The décor does not have direction, there is a Greek-style fountain in the front of the building and you are greeted by Sphinxes in the lobby. The carpets attempt to be elegant with its green Renaissance era floral pattern but it only comes off as desperate; the same desperation that ninety percent of these gamblers experience on a day to day basis. There is a subtle smell of cigarette smoke baked into the walls that has almost dissipated from the days when it was still legal to smoke indoors. That doesn’t bother me because when I play poker, I smoke. In order to maintain this degenerate image I project, in order to sell the experienced poker player persona, I need to have another vice to compliment my gambling. I don’t drink when I play, so smoking will do. Along the path to my table, I walk through the casino hearing cheers of joy and cries of anguish as players gamble with their paychecks and rent money. The shuffling of chips in the players’ hands sounds like rain falling into an aluminum gutter, trickling down the drain over and over again. To my right at the bar, waitresses are serving drinks with fake smiles to entice greater tips from hopeful men.
The next card is a spade. There is a skip in the powerful beat in my heart as I feel that I’ve dodged a bullet, but the relief is short-lived since there’s another card to come. I sense my opponent at the other end of the table experience the same skip in his rhythm but for a different reason. His disappointment is followed by the distressed pleas to the Poker Gods, “One time! One time!”. As he prays for his card to come, I quietly pray that it doesn’t.
I pass a lone security guard sitting in his booth overlooking part of the room, he’s not paying attention, going through the motions of his mundane job. I’m just short of twenty one years old and have a baby face to boot but he doesn’t notice. I’ve been coming here for the past three years and the jolt of adrenaline of possibly getting caught when I step into this building has worn off. It used to be exciting, something new; my main distraction in my “game” was looking over my shoulder to see if someone was “radio-ing me in”, but that doesn’t cross my mind anymore and soon won’t be an issue at all. In order to get a table, I navigate my way through a sea of passing players to put my name on the waitlist, trying not to clip their shoulders with mine. The room has a subtle odor of an old cafeteria but is overpowered by the countless bodies sitting at tables.
Playing poker in a casino this size is a germophobe’s worst nightmare. Hundreds of players touching the same chips, same cards, coughing, sneezing, eating, wiping their hands across their nose; the Purell stations at each entrance are staring at you with a grin, mocking you because even they can’t sanitize what’s breeding in the room. This is my haven because this is where I hope to make it big and become a professional poker player. This is the lifestyle I desire, the big life, like you see on TV. I envy those guys, living in the Las Vegas suites, playing poker day in and day out, partying in the best clubs, traveling to other countries to increase the size of their bank roll. The filth, cheap décor, and childish thrills are just stepping stones along the path to poker stardom.
My name is called and I once again find my way through a multitude of players to my table. I empty my wallet by taking out five crisp one hundred dollar bills and give it to the chip runner who confirms “five hundred on seat three”, as he’s been trained to do. Hands come and go as I get into my groove and zone out on the dark green felt table. After playing for a few hours, I notice that same dark green felt under all of my finger nails from the excessive shuffling of chips and mindless activity that my hands perform on the table. It’s all part of the charm. The hand of the night is dealt and I’m all in, with only one card left to come, I’m in great position to take down a very large pot. Both my opponent and I are staring intensely down at the table where the previous cards have been laid out, waiting for the last one to drop. The dealer with robotic discipline taps the felt twice with his hand signifying that he is about to place the final card on the table. The casino is empty. All noise and background chatter ceases and it’s just me, the “gentleman” at the end of the table, and a hand turning the last card over. I am off my seat leaning over the table in hopes to be the first to see the card come.
Nausea tickles my stomach as a bright red seven of diamonds is exposed. I drop back into my seat, disgusted about what has unfolded. My mind is racing with confusion, disbelief, and denial as I stare at the seven that has always been my lucky number. Celebrations at the end of the table erupt as I sit to think about what has been stolen from me. This entire rollercoaster of emotions has happened in less than twenty seconds and I am left exhausted. I get up to go relieve myself with a cigarette so I can torture myself by reliving the moment and trying to determine what I could have done differently. With each drag, my mouth fills with a foul yellow smoke that is thick and bitter. I’m still shaking from the abrupt anti-climax and the cigarette is only a temporary fix. I could go back inside, make one last withdrawal and win it back, easy, but my better judgment kicks in and I call it a night. The ride home empty handed is lonely and seems longer than the time it took to arrive. There’s always tomorrow.
Walking into the casino today, five years later, recalling the major wins and crippling losses, is very enlightening. I think about how young I am today at twenty five and it’s comical how much younger I was back then. Going with my best friend is for pure enjoyment, I am not trying to be the professional degenerate poker player I once sought out to be. But, being there now has a dullness to it that it never had five years ago. The inside continues to be renovated, eliminating that shoddy charm it used to have. With updated electronics and a new kitchen, it can almost pass for a place that people would want to go even if they didn’t gamble. Just as a bitter-sweet sense of nostalgia settles over me, I sit down at a table and hear the sound of all the chips around me and begin to shuffle them myself.
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The Crowne Plaza Los Angeles is attached to "the World's Largest Poker" Casino- The Commerce Casino. Conveniently situated between Disneyland® and Universal Studio®, this hotel is less than 30 minutes from Los Angeles (LAX) International Airport, Hollywood Burbank (BUR) and Long Beach (LGB) airports. Crowne Plaza® Los Angeles Commerce Casino is located within minutes of downtown LA, featuring 5-star Meridian Day Spa at affordable prices. Book today. Hotel Crowne Plaza LOS ANGELES-COMMERCE CASINO – Jetzt einfach, schell & sicher buchen bei HOTEL DE! Günstige Preise Exklusive Businessrabatte bis zu 30 % NEU: Miles & More Prämienmeilen bei jeder Buchung! Now $145 (Was $̶1̶9̶1̶) on Tripadvisor: Crowne Plaza Los Angeles - Commerce Casino, Commerce. See 315 traveler reviews, 167 candid photos, and great deals for Crowne Plaza Los Angeles - Commerce Casino, ranked #2 of 7 hotels in Commerce and rated 3.5 of 5 at Tripadvisor. Crowne Plaza Los Angeles - Commerce Casino features an outdoor pool and 24-hour gym. Guests can use the hotel's free Wi-Fi or relax with a massage in the full-service spa. This hotel is located off Interstate 5 which offers easy access to Disneyland, a 25 minute drive away. Universal Studios is 16.7 miles away. Das Crowne Plaza® Hotel at Los Angeles - Commerce, CA Casino ist nicht ohne Grund das beste Hotel in der Gegend um L.A.: Wir bieten exzellente kostenlose Ausstattungsmerkmale wie Parkplätze und das im gesamten Hotel verfügbare WLAN. Nach der Arbeit im Business-Center oder einer Auszeit im Außenpool oder Fitnesscenter finden Sie dank Crowne Plaza Sleep Advantage® eine angenehme Nachtruhe.

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Crowne Plaza Los Angeles-Commerce Casino, Commerce Hotels - California

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