South Florida to host WSOPC twice this season

June 29, 2017, Dave Lemmon, Sara Malowitz, Crash Martin, Jennifer Gay, Ron Hope  

The World Series of Poker Circuit announced its 2017-18 schedule and Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood will host Sept. 21-Oct. 2 and Seminole Casino Coconut Creek hosts Feb. 8-19.

For the first time in seven years, Palm Beach Kennel Club isn’t on the docket. The greyhound track in West Palm Beach hosted the WSOPC every year since 2011.

Seth Palansky, communications VP with the WSOP, said they parted on good terms with PBKC and wouldn’t rule out a return to the facility in the future.

Several advantages to joining forces with Seminole Gaming are obvious for the Circuit, as there are seven Tribe-owned facilities in Florida, including one in the emerging Tampa Bay market. Palansky told SouthFloridaGambling.com’s Nick Sortal that after surveying the landscape of the state, the Seminoles appeared to be the best fit.

“The Seminole group has been very committed to their poker offerings and with the chance to add more events in the future, we can spread the WSOP brand more broadly throughout the Sunshine State,” he said.

The familiar 12 Rings in 12 Days format will be used at both venues, as every stop on the domestic schedule will offer a dozen ring events starting at the $365 buy-in level and will include a $1,675 main event.

In other SHRH news, the demolition of the Seminole Paradise area has nearly completed in preparation for the construction of a hotel and shopping area, with the closing of the poker room the final step. The last day was May 30, with action shifting to the ballrooms for the next 18 months or so. The temporary poker area, which has 37 tables, opened June 1, and players should park in the Seminole Way garage and enter the building next to Kuro.

ISLE CASINO: The Florida State Poker Championships will run July 5-31 at Pompano Park. Also, Andrew Blake of Delray Beach won the June $50K guarantee ($9,613) after an eight-way chop.

MAGIC CITY CASINO: When pari-mutuel facilities in Florida opened poker rooms in July 1997, Ileana Zamora was at the helm at the Flagler Dog Track in Miami. So, as the 20th anniversary of that milestone arrives this month, Zamora will celebrate with patrons at the facility, now known as the Magic City Casino.

On July 1, the room will offer high hands of $2K each hour, paid out in $1K increments every 30 minutes. All royals this month (both hole cards must play) receive a bonus hand payout and entry (one per person) into a $25K freeroll, which is open only to the royal winners. There also will be a special leaderboard for all who get quads or better. The five players with the most big hands during the month will receive the following payouts: $10K (first), $8K (second), $6K (third), $4K (fourth) and $2K (fifth).

MARDI GRAS: The Big Easy Poker Room has $500 high hands every 30 minutes, but will pay $1,200 for if it’s won in $10-$20 limit games or higher, daily from noon to 10 p.m. It will pay $1K in $6-$12 limit or $2-$5 NLHE and $599 will be paid if won in $3-$6 limit.

The regular $500 payout will continue in other qualified games. There will be rollovers and winners may use one or two cards in their hand, but must have at least aces full of deuces to qualify.

PBKC: In late April, Special Olympics Florida held Aces for Athletes at the dog track for the eighth straight year. Former dealer Joan Applebaum, the parent of a Special Olympics athlete, won the trophy after a four-way chop for the prize money.

North Florida

DAYTONA BEACH RACING AND CARD CLUB: The popular Howard Frank Memorial Deep Stack Charity Classic had a whopping 609 entries on May 21 as Dr. Lane Phillips won the title and earned a Venetian Las Vegas package worth $11K and a designer watch. Norman Chad, Mike Sexton, Jan Fisher and Linda Johnson played in the ninth annual event.

In other news, the poker room hosts the $150 Great American Poker Tournament, which has a $50K guarantee, July 15-22. Day 2 is July 23. Also, the $220 premier deepstack event is July 30, featuring a 25K stack, 30-minute blinds and a $20K guarantee. See daytonagreyhound.com for details.

BEST BET JACKSONVILLE: A 12-day, 13-event series ended May 8, culminating with Jared Reinstein of Tallahassee winning the $1,100 main event. The 378 entries generated $360K prize pool, easily surpassing the $200K guarantee.
Reinstein outlasted 81 Day 2 survivors to win $75,714 prize.

As for promotions, it’s Christmas in July. The 12 days of Christmas in July runs July 12-23. Hourly high hands are $1,200 on the 12th, $1,300 on the 13th, etc. See bestbetjax.com for more info.

BEST BET ORANGE PARK: In addition to the regular $50 Sunday and Tuesday tournaments, there’s a $200 buy-in event with a $30K guarantee and two starting flights (July 7-8). Survivors return July 9 for Day 2. On July 15, the poker room hosts a $100 stud/8 tournament. See bestbetjax.com for details.

EBRO GREYHOUND PARK: The Panhandle property hosts a $110 event July 14 with a $5K guarantee. At the end of the month, Ebro hosts a $40K guarantee MegaStack with three starting flights. The $300 buy-in event has one flight July 28 and two flights July 29. Survivors return July 30 for Day 2.

CREEK GRETNA ENTERTAINMENT: Two guarantees highlight this month’s schedule. July 15 finds a $270 buy-in $10K guarantee July 22nd is a $120 buy-in $5K guarantee. On July 8, the cash tables feature $200 hourly high hands. See the ad on Page 49 of our current issue for more.

ORANGE CITY POKER: Daily high hands pay $200 every 20 minutes on Monday and Tuesday, $300 per half-hour Wednesday and $599 hourly Thursday. Friday, Saturday and Sunday pay $400, $500 and $300, respectively, every 30 minutes. But on July 4 it pays $1,200 per hour: $500 for the highest hand, $400 for second and $300 for third.
See orangecitypoker.com for specific hours.

PENSACOLA GREYHOUND TRACK: In addition to the regular tournament schedule, there’s a $270 at the end of the month. Days 1A-1D are July 26-29 with Day 2 on July 30. There will be $60 satellites available on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 1.

Central Florida

DERBY LANE: The Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge tournament is becoming a staple at the St. Petersburg property. Usually a one-day event, this year it was a weekend Accumulator event with a $40K guarantee. Also, first place came with a $5K Las Vegas prize package. The charity helps those returning from wounded in combat.

Last year, the event drew a little more than 100 players. This year, the number was 515 across four flights. Along with the cash and trip to Vegas, a bunch of prizes were given out, including a 50-inch TV, laptop and watch. The event went to Chris Perkins, who took home the cash, the Vegas trip and a $2,900 watch.

Congratulations to all the players and to the charity for a wonderful weekend for a great cause.

In other tourney news, the summer series runs July 21-30 and features the $150 Accumulator Main Event, which has a $100K guarantee. The schedule wasn’t completed at press time so call the poker room for details.

TAMPA BAY DOWNS: The Silks Poker Room hosted a $440 tag-team event and got 91 teams. The prize pool was $35K-plus and the event brought out some of the notable names in the Tampa Bay area, including Justin Zaki, Karl Manouchakian, R.J. Sullivan, Steve Diamantas, Danny Lobato and Derby Lane’s Pam Buzzetto. Local heavyweights Carlos Loving and Bret “Gator” McCown won the event in a chop.

HARD ROCK TAMPA: The Memorial Day $350 one-day event had a $50K guarantee, drawing 373 players for a prize pool of $111K. The top three players, Allauddn Khan, Fabian Foster and Mike Beattie did an ICM chop for $22K, $20K and $14K, respectively. The Summer Little Slick Series runs July 16-21.

Mississippi

BEAU RIVAGE: Almost all of the poker rooms offer great summer promotions, but some of the most attractive are at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Miss.

On Saturdays, opposite the $50K and $25K guarantee tournaments, players who qualify (by playing 50 hours or more in the month) will be eligible for cash drawings of $200 awarded every 20 minutes. You get one ticket for every 25 hours played and a minimum of 50 hours are required to qualify.

In any limit game, up to $6-$12, any time the flop is three suited cards, the next hand will have money added to the pot. From midnight to noon the amount will be $75 and noon to midnight will be $50. This will run until the end of the year.
On Fridays from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m., anyone playing in a jackpot-eligible NLHE game will be eligible for a random lucky-seat drawing of $100, awarded every 30 minutes.

All through July and August on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, the Beau has a fun promotion that is even open to tournament players. All you need to do to qualify is to be active in any live or tournament game.

Drawings begin at 2 p.m. and end at 2 a.m., with money awarded every two hours. Each player chooses a poker square at the podium (one square per player). Table cards and seat cards are used to select the winning square.

Prizes range from $200-$400 and any unclaimed money rolls over to the next drawing. In the event that two players share the same square, the money is also shared.

Of course, don’t forget the bimonthly guaranteed tournaments featuring prize pools of $25K and $50K.

For more info, visit beaurivage.com. The Beau isn’t just known for its outstanding hospitality, it’s constantly updating promos and finding new ways to give away money.

PEARL RIVER RESORT: The poker room hosts a $50K guarantee for $150 July 21-23. See the ad on Page 5 of our current issue for more info.

AMERISTAR VICKSBURG: The Heartland Poker Tour returns to the property July 27-Aug. 6.

Louisiana

L’AUBERGE CASINO BATON ROUGE: The $30K freeroll, which had 60 players, ran for about eight hours before a 10-player chop. The players were Ben Thomas, Aristead Clayton, Daryl Bankston, Ante Up’s Capt. Ron Hope, Norvel Shelby, Mike Thibadeaux, Brian Woodbury, Warren Leblanc, Chris Brinson and Jeff Quick. Also, this month kicks off the Ante Up Poker Cruise Giveaway. See the ad on Page 41 of the current issue for details. L’Auberge Casino Du Lac is participating in this giveaway, too. Call the poker room or see its website for more.

BOOMTOWN CASINO NEW ORLEANS: The bad-beat jackpot was at $145K at press time. The room also features Aces Cracked noon-9 p.m. with progressive hours being paid from $50-$100. Monday means Splash the Pot $50 every half-hour noon-8 p.m. Tuesdays are Faces Cracked and Wednesdays again are Splash the Pot $50 every 30 minutes 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursdays feature High Hand Rollover from noon-8 p.m. The promo starts at $50 and increases ever half-hour it isn’t hit. The high hand has to be at least aces full of 10s with both hole cards in play.

GOLDEN NUGGET LAKE CHARLES: The bad-beat jackpot was about $156K at press time.

HARRAH’S CASINO NEW ORLEANS: The WSOPC had a great turnout for all events as Jason Baldridge on San Antonio won the $1,675 main event for $227,412 and his first ring.

Baldridge said he’s primarily a cash-game player, but he sometimes tags along on tournament trips with his friend.
“I play cash games when I go to tournament spots, usually,” he said. “I travel with Jose (Anaya) and I’ll play some tournaments, but I never really took them seriously.”

Anaya’s run in the season-long points race grabbed Baldridge’s attention, however.

“Jose started getting points, and I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I want to do that,’” he said. “We’ve been coming to all these stops because Jose needs points.”

Baldridge followed Anaya to Choctaw in Durant, Okla., in January and failed to post a result himself, despite building a big stack on Day 1 of the main event. Then it was on to Baltimore this spring where he made the final table of the turbo event and finished sixth for $2,683. Two weeks later, Baldridge won this event and wasn’t nervous at all. “I’m a dork,” he said. “I like to joke around.”

Other winners of the ring events: Curtis Terry (Event 1, $365 NLHE, $19,803), Brian Greer (Event 2, $365 PLO/8, $8,161), Scott Adams (Event 3, $365 NLHE, $22,705), Caufman Talley (Event 4, $365 NLHE, $53,928), Marshall White (Event 5, $580 NLHE, $26,521), Stephen Dees (Event 6, $365 NLHE, $25,423), Brandon Fish (Event 7, $365 NLHE, $24,414), Brett Badder (Event 8, $365 Monster Stack, $45K), Michael Lech (Event 9, $2,200 High Roller, $106,377), Melvin Dukes (Event 11, $365 NLHE, $18,083) and Todd Elliot (Event 12, $365 NLHE, $21,995).

Donald Colletti win the $250 seniors for $11,751 and Jane Sheldon won the women’s $135 event for $2,821.

HORSESHOE BOSSIER CITY: The bad-beat jackpot was at $200K at press time. The Mini-Bad Beat pays $5K (aces full of 10s).

COUSHATTA CASINO AND RESORT: The Summer Classic was running at press time so look for results in a future issue.

North Carolina

HARRAH’S CHEROKEE: The poker room hosts the World Series of Poker’s Global Casino Championship and Circuit event Aug. 2-14.

Meet T.J. Shulman

T.J. Shulman of Deerfield Beach, Fla., has been a pro since retiring as CEO of a large auto dealership 11 years ago. Last year was big for him. The Miami Herald said he was one of four players who asked Florida’s Department of Business Regulation to investigate financial improprieties in a tournament at Hialeah Park. Then, he and friend John Gale played the WSOP tag-team event and reached the final table in Las Vegas, finishing fifth. Finally, he picked up his first WSOP Circuit ring by capturing the $580 double stack at Palm Beach Kennel Club in November.

Tell us about your feelings after the Circuit victory. My dad had given me complete support when I decided to retire from my business to play poker full time. He passed away during the series last summer and I dedicated the victory in Palm Beach to him, so it was very emotional.

If you could change one thing about poker in South Florida, what would it be? I wish everyone running tournaments here could just get along and avoid battling each other so the events don’t overlap.
— Dave Lemmon