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 Playing poker in Los Angeles at the start of the year usually means grinding out tournaments that stretch from January in to March. Playing day in and day out against the same pool of players adds to the monotony of the tournament grind.

Contrary to some arguments, Los Angeles is rich in culture with plenty of concerts, events and even masked Mexican wrestlers performing a burlesque and comedy show. A night out on the town is a good downswing buster and you should a story or two if you get away to any of the following events.

Events

LA Beer & Food Festival, Saturday Jan 28
Some players swear up and down that LA poker rooms have the best food compared to anywhere in the country. That may be true, but the LA Beer and Food Festival has over 40 independently-owned craft brewers and nearly 20 restaurants ready to wow your palette at the Mack Sennett Studios.

Golden Dragon Parade & Chinese New Year Festival, Saturday Feb 4
The 118th Annual Gold Dragon Parade in Chinatown celebrates the “Year of the Rooster” along North Broadway. The parade has traditional Chinese dragon dancing, as well as, parade floats, marching bands and local officials.

Kodo, Tuesday Feb 7
World Series of Poker fans got a taste of Kodo drumming during the 2012 Big One for One Drop Cirque de Soleil performance. Tamasaburo Bando leads the band onstage and intends to move listeners on a “visceral level” while at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

LA Derby Dolls Roller Derby, Saturday Feb 11
Los Angeles supports one of the richest roller derby community in the country and the 2017 season kicked off in January. Catch a double header with the Sirens vs. Tough Cookies  and then Jr. Varsity Brawlers vs. Jr. Sirens at the Dollosseum – 4900 Alhabmra Ave, Los Angeles.

Air + Style Show by Shaun White, Feb 18 & 19
The Air + Style is a Big Air snowboard competition and music festival at Exposition Park, Downtown LA with some the world’s best riders competing on a 16-story jump. Major Lazer, Flume, Zhu and  Chromeo headline the music festival with 20 acts to perform.

Sports

NHL Fan Fair, Thursday Jan 26-28
The National Hockey League moves into the Los Angeles Convention Center’s West Hall as the official festival for the NHL All-Star Weekend. There’s a Virtual Reality “Clear the Ice Zamboni” experience, NHL mascots and all measures of hockey skill games. 

NHL All-Star Game, Sunday Jan 29
The format introduced in 2016 returns with the 3-on-3 All-Star Tournament. There are four teams – Pacific, Central, Atlantic and Metropolitan – and each team consists of 11 players from within each Division. The top four vote-getters will be named Captains and the NHL will fill out the rest of the rosters.

LA Clippers vs Golden State Warriors, Thursday Feb 2
‘Lob City’ might be without Chris Paul the next few weeks because of injury and trade speculation is following Blake Griffin around like a dark cloud but the Clippers are still one of the more exciting teams in the league. Couple that with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green coming to town and this early February match-up could be a high scoring, Western Conference playoff preview. 

LA Lakers vs San Antonio Spurs, Sunday Feb 26
Spoiler alert: The San Antonio Spurs are going to win this game and win it easily. The main draw here, aside from Nick ‘Swaggy P’ Young, is the coaching match-up. Greg Popovich is arguably one of the best in NBA history and first-year Laker coach, Luke Walton, has impressed early on in his career. It will be a battle of ‘New’ versus ‘Old’ and even if the game isn’t that competitive, you’ll still have a first hand view of two of the best basketball minds on the planet. 

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