As a professional gambler, I’d be better off bagging groceries at Publix, but as a guy looking for a little entertainment, I can say 2015 was a profitable one.
As those who have followed me over the years know, I keep a gambling journal. It tells me where I’m succeeding, and where I’m leaking cash. And it also could come in handy for tax purposes that day I make a really huge score, because gamblers can use any losses to balance out their wins.
For 2015, I finished in the black, clearing a whole $273.50 after playing poker, slots, blackjack or video poker on 68 outings, a number that I expect to increase this year because I am no longer a full-time employee beholden to any office.
Those 68 outings included nine $100 losses — getting “felted” in $1-$2 no-limit poker (why is it every time I have Kings somebody has Aces?) — but they were overwritten by winning a $250 high hand at Magic City Casino and a $200 on at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
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So, back to that “professional gambler” thing: Let’s say I averaged 90 minutes per gambling outing. That means my 102 hours at “work” garnered me $273.50 — a blistering $2.68 per hour.
Yes, I’m keeping my day job.
All winnings are supposed to be reported to the IRS as income. But do I do that? Well, that’s between my tax preparer and me.
$353K slot score
Magic City Casino announced its biggest slot payout ever earlier this month, a $353,545 score on Cleopatra II, a popular machine with Egyptian symbols.
Most six-figure payouts come on progressive slots, which pull a penny or two from each spin to form a large jackpot. But not in this case: The unnamed patron hit while playing $100 per spin.
The first poker event in a four-week “Escalator Series” at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino begins Wednesday. Buy-in is $150 for the $100,000 guarantee event. Players can enter at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. or 7 p.m. starting Wednesday through Feb. 5. The following week is a $200,000 guarantee event, followed by a $300,000 tournament, and a $400,000 climax Feb. 25-28. Those who make the final table on any of the first three events will receive an entry into the following week’s tournament. The final two players in each event will receive an entry into the next big tournament at the Hollywood poker room: The $3,500 buy-in WPT Showdown championship in April.
▪ Lots of music this weekend at Hialeah Park: The Spam Allstars play at 9 p.m. Friday at the Fountain Terrace, followed by DJ El Russo at the Flamingo Lounge at 10. On Saturday, DJ Larry Lopez spins salsa from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Meanwhile, Friday and Saturday are the last two days to enter the $75,000 guaranteed poker tournament. Buy-in is $100. Go to HialeahPark.com.
▪ Casino Miami gives away a Chevy Trax truck at 11 p.m. Sunday. The casino also gives away $2,500 cash at 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
▪ It’s the last Friday of the month, which means a mandatory Bingo jackpot payout at Calder Casino. Games are at 7, 9 and 11 p.m. for those who earn at least 50 slot points.
▪ Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood brings back its popular “Hard Rockin’ Sevens” promotion from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. One slot player will be selected every seven minutes to win $777 free play.
Nick Sortal’s gaming column appears every Friday in The Miami Herald and online at MiamiHerald.com and Miami.com. Get daily gambling news at SouthFloridaGambling.com