|The Bicycle Hotel & Casino
||888 Bicycle Casino Drive
Bell Gardens, California 90201
||November 30, 1984
||The Bicycle Casino
||2015 (Hotel Addition)
The Bicycle Hotel & Casino (commonly, “The Bike“) is a poker cardroom in California.
Founded by George Hardie Sr. in 1984, located in Bell Gardens, California, The Bicycle Casino offers a selection of poker games and Asian games, with a wide range of limits. The casino features games including: Blackjack, Texas Hold ‘Em, Seven Card Stud, Omaha hold ’em, Mexican Poker, Pai Gow Poker, Three Card Poker and Baccarat (card game).
Financing to build the original Bicycle Club casino was provided by Sam Gilbert, who allegedly used money partially obtained from laundering drug money.
The casino is home to the Legends of Poker, a tournament series established in 1995 that now includes a stop on the World Poker Tour. Prior to the Legends, the casino’s main tournament series was called the Diamond Jim Brady.
Seizure and indictment
In 1987, Sam Gilbert was the subject of a federal investigation into money laundering and racketeering charges. According to the investigation, a scheme to launder the money received from smuggling marijuana was put together to finance the construction of the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, California. According to one criminal complaint,
“[Sam Gilbert] a wealthy Los Angeles businessman, was the first Gilbert to establish ties with the Kramer family when he befriended Benjamin Kramer’s father, Jack Kramer, in 1978. At that time, Jack Kramer and Sam Gilbert came up with the idea of building a legal card club for the purposes of laundering Benjamin Kramer’s dirty money. By 1983, Sam Gilbert was in contact with David Pierson, who was himself thinking of building a card club and was looking for legitimate investors. Pierson gave Sam Gilbert a prospectus, Sam liked what he saw, and Sam agreed to arrange the financing for the project in return for a sixty percent share of Pierson’s ownership interest in the Club.”
Gilbert was indicted in Miami 4 days after his death. His son Michael also was indicted.
The U.S. Government seized the casino in April, 1990, after a jury found that $12 million of the $22 million used in its construction came from Florida drug smugglers. The club’s profits were frozen and placed in a special U.S. Marshals account until the court held a civil hearing to determine which partners knew that the club was built with drug money.
George Hardie and The Park Place Associates ownership were exonerated in 1990, and they regained their 35% stake.
In July 1991 a Florida federal judge ruled that at least one of the partners, former Los Angeles Westside banker M. Dale Lyon, knew about the club’s financing. Eight other partners in the LCP Associates, the partnership named for Lyon, Coyne and Pierson, agreed to forfeit portions of their interest
The World Series of Poker Circuit is heading back to the Bicycle Hotel & Casino from Feb. 29 through March 31, with thirteen gold ring events included. The centerpiece of the whole affair is the 2020 WSOP Circuit Bicycle Casino $1,700 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event which kicks off with the first of two starting flights beginning on Sunday, March 15 at noon local time.
Players will begin with 30,000 in chips with initial blinds of 100-100 in the event. Blind levels will be 40 minutes long throughout the starting days but will increase to 60 minutes in length on day 2. Players can re-enter the event once per starting day.
Those that survive day 2 will return at noon on Wednesday, March 18 to play down to a champion. The final table will be streamed on Live At The Bike.
The March 2019 running of this WSOP Circuit main event drew a total of 678 entries to create a $1,027,170 final prize pool. Sean Yu emerged victorious, defeating Andrew Moreno heads-up to secure the ring and the top prize of $210,585.
Other past champions of WSOPC main event at the Bike include the likes of Dylan Wilkerson ($216,790), Antonio Esfandiari ($226,785), Jared Jaffee ($211,220), and Freddy Deeb ($171,810), who won the first-ever WSOP Circuit main event held at the Casino.
In addition to the WSOP Circuit events, the series will also play host to two massive $1,000,000 guaranteed events: The Quantum Millions (running Feb. 29 – March 9) and the Quantum Mega Millions XXII (running March 20 – Apr. 2).
Players interested in staying at The Bicycle Hotel and Casino during this series can take advantage of a WSOP Circuit player discounted room rate of $159 per night for a deluxe room with the promo code “WSOP” when selecting their stay. Click the banner image below to reserve your room today!
In late 2015 the Bicycle Hotel and Casino unveiled a $50 million hotel expansion to the property. The 117,907-square-foot addition boasts 99 rooms, including 29 suites, as well as a multitude of amenities including the Bike Brewery, full spa and elevated outdoor pool deck with private cabanas. The poker room is an expansive 100,000 square feet, with 185 tables available.
For more information you can visit the WSOP Circuit or the Bicycle Hotel and Casino websites.
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