Marty Derbyshire la wpt

The Bicycle Hotel & Casino and the World Poker Tour set about proving poker is as popular as ever in Southern California over the past week and half.

The Bike in Bell Gardens played host to the WPT500 Los Angeles tournament beginning Aug. 18. The last chance to get in the $570 buy-in event was the final two starting flights on Saturday, Aug. 25.

All told, WPT500 Los Angeles drew a combined 2,509 entries. That helped create a whopping $1,254,500 prize pool. It paid out close to $200,000 to players, who ran deep in the starting flights. Plus, it left another $1,056,800 remaining for the 124 players that survived to the event’s Day 2 on Sunday, Aug. 26.

A first-place prize of $181,950 awaits the winner while all players earning a spot at the nine-handed final table will collect at least $17,790. The event will play down to a final nine on Aug. 26 and then down to a winner beginning at 1 p.m. local time on Aug. 27.

The first ever WPT500

The first ever WPT500 Event was held alongside the World Series of Poker in early July at the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The $565 buy-in event drew 3,599 entries over six starting flights.

Later that year, the Dusk Till Dawn Poker & Casino facility in Nottingham, United Kingdom played host to a WPT500 event that drew 2,133 entries.

The WPT500 made its California debut in May 2017 at the Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens. The event drew 3,266 entries over 14 starting flights, creating a $1,633,000 prize pool.

Dong Le captured what was the first-ever WPT500 Los Angeles title and its $224,500 first-place prize.

With more than 2,500 entries generating a prize pool of better than $1.25 million, the second WPT500 Los Angeles held last week continued to prove, at the very least, that the format works in Southern California. Plus, poker is alive and well in Greater Los Angeles.

Layne Flack goes deep

Six-time WSOP bracelet winner Layne Flack ran deep in the event, finishing 26th. Flack is considered a member of the WPT Champions Club because he won the 2003 pro-celebrity WPT Invitational at the nearby Commerce Hotel & Casino.

The 100-player $200,000 freeroll event drew top pros, including Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, and the legendary Amarillo Slim. Plus, poker enthusiasts from the entertainment industry, including Don CheadleMickey Rooney, Sarah Silverman, and Meatloaf. Now deceased Los Angeles Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss finished runner up to Flack in ’03.

The WPT’s long and rich history in California continued this summer. In fact, the Season XVII Main Tour began at the Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens in July.

The WPT in LA

The inaugural WPT Gardens Poker Festival drew 584 entries for its $5,000 Main Event, creating a $2,944,800 prize pool. Orange County ice cream shop owner Simon Lam won the event, its $565,055 first-place prize, and a new car, which had been added to the prize pool by the Gardens Casino.

The WPT continues to offer one of the only viable online poker options for California residents. Its legal subscription-based online poker site gives players the chance to play for over $100,000 in cash and prizes every month, including seats for WPT events.

Marty Derbyshire
Marty Derbyshire - Martin Derbyshire is a veteran of the world of poker and gambling, having worked as a reporter, producer, and editor in the industry for more than a decade. He has traveled the globe interviewing high-profile personalities and contributes to a number of publications, including,, and