Social Experiment Being Conducted at Commerce Casino in CA

by Jim Hall

Commerce Casino, Los Angeles, CaliforniaThe Commerce Casino will be hosting a tournament, banning such items as hoods, sunglasses and mobile phones from the gaming table to see what happens.

When you go back to the very beginning of gambling, players were very social. Friends and strangers would gather around the craps table or blackjack table and enjoy a game or two, getting to know one another. Today, with the prevalent use of technology, it is not uncommon to see players listening to music and remaining anti-social. In poker gaming, it is quite common to see a player sitting at the poker table, with sunglasses on, a hoodie over their head and earbuds in. Without the social aspect, many casinos have found that casino gaming has become boring and the venues are looking for a way to make gaming more social once again.

Even in online game play, players have the ability to chat with other gamers and often time, make new friends as they play slots, blackjack or roulette. In California, one casino is trying to bring back the social aspects of the game by launching what they are calling #TheSocialExperiement.

A Unique Concept

#TheSocialExperiment is a project being launched by the Commerce Casino of Los Angeles, California later this month. The project will take place during Event #2 of the California State Poker Championships. The $350 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Triple Stack event will see clothing and accessories added to the contraband bin in order to improve the social aspects of the game.

Justin Hammer is the Tournament Coordinator for the Commerce Casino who stated that the experiment will provide the purest form of gaming and he feels the concept is bold and brave, something that people have been talking about for years but have never tried.

The list of banned items will include headphones, sunglasses, mobile phones and hoodies. Any player that breaks the rules will be given a three hand penalty. If players continue to break the contraband rule, then they will be moved to the sidelines. While the changes are meant to be light and fun, there is a level of serious involved to see if the experiment will work, not to mention the $100,000 in total guaranteed prize money on the line.

Player Reaction

Because the event is taking place during a major tournament series, there will be professionals as well as amateurs on hand. Pros at the game often use headphones as a means of avoiding distractions from other players or sunglasses to hide any tells. Daniel Negreanu, a top pro, has pointed out in the past that if players don’t like the rules then they shouldn’t play. Valentin Vornicu, a fellow poker pro, is in approval of the idea, thinking the concept is pretty cool.

On a side note, any devices needed for medical reasons, such as hearing aids, will not be banned, as well as guide dogs. Hats will be allowed and players can wear hoodies just not putting them over the face.

The event is being conducted as an experiment but other industry leaders are looking to the Commerce to see what happens during the poker event. If players were more social during game play, they might sit down at the table longer. If the experiment proves to be a success, we may see more casinos implementing rule changes during table games in order to keep players active.

It will be interesting to watch as the tournament unfolds and how players react to the changes. For most, it shouldn’t be a big deal, but many players may find it hard to let go of their mobile phones, even if just for a few hours!