If you ventured out of your house and into a poker room last Friday, happy for an unexpected day off after Hurricane Matthew swerved wide right, you found plenty of company.
South Florida poker rooms were packed on the surprise holiday, with waiting lists above 50 people at some venues Friday afternoon.
“People had a mixture of cabin fever and relief and couldn't wait to play poker,” said David Litvin, director of poker operations at Mardi Gras Casino in Hallandale Beach.
Like most card rooms, Mardi Gras had planned to be closed on Friday because of the storm. They moved the reopening time to 4 p.m., then again up to noon.
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“We were scrambling all day to reach employees to come in,” Litvin said, adding that he himself filled in a few hours as a dealer. “I still got it!”
According to the poker room application Bravo.com, waiting lists included a total of 71 at Mardi Gras, 62 at the Isle Casino and Racing in Pompano Beach and 38 at Hialeah Park. Most rooms were at about two-thirds of their table capacity.
But the good news for poker players this weekend is there are a variety of events:
▪ The Casino @ Dania Beach has the Dania Poker Cup at 6 p.m. Friday and will continue the event each Friday in October. The $150 buy-in event carries a $10,000 guarantee, with $5K and a trophy going to the winner.
▪ Hialeah Park has qualifying for the final day (Oct. 30) of a tournament that guarantees $201,000. Players may play at 11 a.m. or 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays or at 1 p.m. Sundays this month. Entry is $155.
▪ Gulfstream Park has food and beverage specials starting at 7 p.m. weekdays. It’s free wings, sliders and potato skins and $1 drafts on Mondays, 50 percent off tacos and Margaritas on Tuesdays, women drink free on Wednesdays, free pizza on Thursdays and free drinks after midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. From 1-6 p.m. Sundays, it’s $2 house win, domestic drafts and pizza slices.
▪ “Deep Stack Saturdays” are at The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino at 11 a.m. the next three Saturdays. Buy-in is $150 and the guarantee is $15,000, except for Oct. 22, when it is $20,000. The Hard Rock also has $500 high hands every 15 minutes from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and Monday.
A Pompano Beach-based company is suggesting a new method for updating slot machines — meaning those games you are playing can be flipped into something else much quicker.
Banyan Gaming is promoting “distributed gaming,” which consists of a central computer server communicating with casino slot machines. The central server can switch out unpopular titles on machines not being played, in favor of those getting more action on the slot floor.
Banyan’s system can link up slots well beyond just one casino, thus creating higher jackpots. Banyan has more than 120 slot titles available, though casinos are using only about 25, including three recent Asian-themed games, “Asian Pearls,” “Serenity” and “Warriors of Fortune.”
▪ Players can start earning entries on Monday for Casino Miami’s “Truck or Treat Chevy Silverado Giveaway,” which climaxes with a drawing at midnight Oct. 30.
▪ Calder Casino’s “The Walking Rich” promotion yields up to $1,000. Two patrons are selected every 20 minutes from 6-9 p.m. Saturdays in October. Slot players must earn 10 points for the names to be placed into the drawing. Thursdays, infrequent players (the ones with Green player’s club cards) receive two drawing entries for every 10 points; those with the Red Card (the most prolific players) receive eight.
▪ Miccosukee Resort and Casino gives away $1,500 at 5 and 10 p.m. each Friday, Saturday and Sunday in October. Slot players must have earned at least 350 points to qualify for the drawing
▪ The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino gives away $2,000 to five patrons every 30 minutes from 4-7:30 p.m. Sunday. Slot and table games players can begin earning entries into the drawing starting at 7 a.m. Sunday. From 7-9 p.m. Monday, the casino hosts a party for anyone who won a jackpot of $1,200 or more in September. Party prizes start at $500 free play for 10 people at 7 p.m. and escalates to $10,000 cash at 9 p.m.
▪ Mardi Gras Casino offers “Shut the Box Halloween” hourly from 6-10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Five players each hour flip tiles to spell out “Halloween,” with prizes for the month totaling more than $200,000 cash.
▪ Seminole Casino Coconut Creek will select three players every 15 minutes from noon to midnight Saturday to win $555 in free play. On Sunday,
Get daily gambling news at SouthFloridaGambling.com.