Tuesday May 19, 2020 at 2:58 pm

Poker returns to the sunshine state this week. A trio of poker rooms in Florida are set to open this week. Derby Lane in Tampa Bay, Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, and Bestbet Jacksonville in Jacksonville will all reopen under strict post-pandemic guidelines. Last week, casinos reopened in Deadwood, South Dakota. And now more states will slowly return to action, including tribal casinos in California.

FLApokertable
South Florida casino testing out new poker tables with plexiglass (Pic by @AndySlater)

A lot of curious and cautious folks will be paying close attention to what happens in Florida the next few days. Will Florida man fall ill playing cards? Will Florida man become a superspreader? Will Florida man play cards for two weeks without any sickness but get eaten by an alligator in the parking lot of Publix? Will the naked Florida man jacked up on bath salts eat the face off an unsuspecting Amazon delivery driver? I guess you'll have to tune into the great state of Florida and find out what happens when the entire state rolls the collective dice to reopen casinos and poker rooms across the glorious sunshine state.

Derby Lane in Tampa Bay, FL reopens on Wednesday. Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, FL will reopen on Thursday, May 21. Bestbet Jacksonville in Jax. FL will reopen on Friday, May 22.

Derby Lane will operate 10am to 10pm hours. Poker will be limited to 6-max and everyone must wear a mask.

The oldest dog track in Florida, Derby Lane, reopened for racing purposes (sans spectators) on May 8. This is supposedly the final year for greyhound racing in Florida, so it is the last chance to gamble it up on greyhounds. Derby Lane initially sought to reopen the poker room, but postponed the reopening until now.

Casinos and card rooms will not operate more than 50% but it is up to the discretion of each card room on how many tables to open up. Bestbet Jax is one of the largest card rooms in Florida with 70 poker tables. Those were pre-pandemic numbers. SHR has 46 poker tables.

Meanwhile, in California Governor Gavin Newsom asked tribal casinos to reconsider reopening. Win-River Resort & Casino in Northern California reopened over the weekend. Several SoCal casinos near San Diego will also reopen. Viejas Casino in San Diego reopened on Monday. Jamul Casino, Sycuan Casino Resort, and Valley View will also reopen this week.

"I understand that some tribal governments are planning on reopening casinos on their lands," said Gov. Newsom. "This deeply concerns me, and I urge tribal governments to reconsider and instead make those determinations based on how they align with the current local public health conditions and the statewide stage of reopening."

California was one of the first states to shut down during the earliest days of the outbreak. San Francisco had become an epicenter in California, but the city went to stay at home orders quickly to reduce the spread. The remainder of the state followed suit.

Las Vegas casinos plan to reopen at the end of the month, including the Venetian and Palazzo.

Arizona casinos are open for business and have been so for over a week.

Florida has 46,420 reported COVID-19 cases and 2,000 coronavirus-related deaths according to the CDC. Projections indicate nearly 3,000 fatalities by June 1 and 4,000 fatalities by July 4th... and that's with social distancing and lockdowns.

Of course, the data is not 100% trustworthy. There have been numerous reports that Florida health officials are under-reporting the number of actual deaths, including nursing homes, per some arm-twisting from the stooge of a governor. "Stooge" is an old-timey pejorative, but in this instance it's somewhat complimentary because much harsher words could be used to describe the governing occurring in one of most crooked states in the union. Florida is the punchline to so many jokes, that's it sort of absurd to see a rush to reopen when a significant number of the population are retired senior citizens. Ah, but the growing sentiment has been "who cares about old people anyway?", while others are hellbent on sacrificing grandma to save their 401Ks.

Hey, I know what's it like to be locked down for over two months while losing your mind. But whatever you do during these reopening at casinos... proceed with caution. And if you play poker, for Ivey's sake... bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands!

Latest news
Tuesday January 19, 2021 at 10:20 pm
World Poker Tour sold for $78 million to Element Partners

The World Poker Tour will have a new owner and news of the WPT sale broke today. Allied eSports Entertainment sold the World Poker Tour to a private group called Element Partners, LLC for $78,250,000. The deal will finalize in the upcoming weeks. Lyle Berman and Steve Lipscomb started the WPT 2002 and it's amazing to see the company grow into a multi-million dollar and global entity.

Monday January 18, 2021 at 6:32 pm
Paulius Plausinaitis wins 2020 WSOP Winter Online Circuit Main Event for $1.2 million

The 2020 WSOP Winter Online Circuit at GGPoker featured 18 ring events that began in mid-December and concluded this weekend with the Main Event championship. The Main Event attracted 6,395 runners to the $1,700 buy-in championships affair and the pool topped over $10.3 million. American pro Joe Cheong finished in third place, while Lithuania's Paulius Plausinaitis defeated 'turkey1' heads-up for the WSOP Circuit ring and a first-place prize worth over $1.2 million.

Sunday January 17, 2021 at 12:16 am
Colorado casinos end $100 max bet rule, high-stakes poker coming to the Rocky Mountains

Casinos in Colorado no longer must adhere to a state law that imposed a maximum bet of $100 for all wagers thanks to Amendment 77, which included all table games and poker. The $100 max bet rule made poker cash games problematic, especially no-limit action, because you could never raise more than $100 at any given time. Under the new regulations starting May 1, all 33 Colorado casinos in Blackhak, Central City, and Cripple Creek now have the option to cap bets or allow unlimited action, which is expected to boost tourism with baccarat and high-stake poker.

Thursday January 14, 2021 at 10:35 pm
Las Vegas legend Siegfried Fischbacher from Siegfried and Roy passes away at 81

Las Vegas lost another entertainment legend when word broke that Siegfried Fischbacher from Siegfried and Roy fame from their long-time running show at the Mirage Casino passed away at ag 81 from complications of pancreatic cancer. Siegfried and Roy first performed in Las Vegas in 1967 initially as a magic and illusionist act with big cats. They started working at the Mirage in 1990 before an mauling accident ended their 14-year run.

Tuesday January 12, 2021 at 3:47 pm
Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson dead at 87

Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire who helped shaped modern-day Las Vegas, passed away at age 87 due to complications from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Adelson was the CEO of Las Vegas Sands corporation that operated the Venetian and Palazzo Casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, in addition to the Sands Convention Center. He also owned casinos in Macau including the Sands and Macau Venetian. Forbes estimated his fortune at $35 billion and they listed him as the #19 richest person in the world according to their 2020 ankings.

Friday January 8, 2021 at 7:01 pm
The Feud: Daniel Negreanu continues to chip away at Doug Polk

The High-Stakes Fued continues in 2021. Daniel Negreanu won nearly 100K during a 750-hand session against Doug Polk in their High Stakes Heads-Up Battle. Negreanu continues to chip away and grind out small wins to trim his deficit to approximately -$645K. Kid Poker was stuck in a hole nearly $1 million in December, but he stopped the bleeding at the end of the year after hitting the midway mark. The two agreed to complete the 25,000-hand challenge.

Wednesday January 6, 2021 at 1:40 am
1996 WSOP Main Event Champion Huck Seed inducted into Poker Hall of Fame

The Poker Hall of Fame will only be inducting one person this year and former WSOP Main Evet world champion Huckleberry Seed earned a nod into the HOF as the lone member of the class of 2020. Seed won the voting round with 76 votes to edge out tournament director Matt Savage, PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg, Eli Elezra, Antonio Esfandiari, Ted Forrest, Mike Matusow, Patrik Antonius, Jesus Ferguson, and broadcasters Lon McEachern and Norman Chad.

Monday January 4, 2021 at 1:59 pm
Argentina's Damian Salas wins 2020 WSOP Main Event

The 2020 World Series of Poker finally crowned its champion, albeit a few days into 2021. Damian Salas defeated Joseph Herbert heads-up at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas to win the 2020 WSOP Main Event Championship. The hybrid heads-up battle featured the winner of an international final table (starting on GG Poker and ending at the King's Casino in RozVegas) and a domestic final table (starting at WSOP.com and ending at the Rio Casino). Salas earns an additional $1 million in cash and the champion bracelet.

Tuesday December 29, 2020 at 3:05 pm
Joseph Herbert wins domestic 2020 WSOP Main Event for $1.5 million

The domestic version of the 2020 WSOP Main Event began on WSOP.com with 706 runners taking a shot at the title and bracelet. The final eight gathered to play the final table live at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas. Three-time bracelet winner Upeshka De Silva took a bad beat before the final table even began when he tested positive for COVID-19. He was awarded ninth place and the final eight slugged it out for the title. Joseph Herbert from Metairie, Louisiana was the last player standing and he banked $1.5 million during a 98-hand final table. Herbert now awaits a heads-up bout against Damian Salas on Sunday, January 3 to determine the 2020 Main Event bracelet winner.

Tuesday December 22, 2020 at 4:16 pm
2020 Poker Hall of Fame down to 10 nominations

In one week, we will learn who will earn induction into the Poker Hall of Fame for the Class of 2020. Ten total people, both players and industry leaders, were selected as nominees. Two of them -- PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg and Patrik Antonius -- earned first-time nods. The other nominees included broadcast team Lon McEachern and Norman Chad, Eli Elezra, Jesus Ferguson, Ted Forrest, Mike Matusow, Antonio Esfandiari, tournament director Matt Savage, and Huck Seed.

Friday December 18, 2020 at 12:59 am
2020 Holiday and Christmas gift guide for poker players

Are you a last-minute shopper when it comes to holidays and Christmas? Did you have a sick score in a tournament and want to buy your family cool gifts, but fresh out of ideas? Do not fear, because we have several gift ideas and stocking stuffers for poker players ranging from dabblers and hardcore fans. Books are also ideal gifts, including 'The Biggest Bluff' by Maria Konnikova, plus other classic poker books by Michael Craig, Martin Harris, and Lou Krieger.

Wednesday December 16, 2020 at 4:48 am
Argentina's Damian Salas win 2020 WSOP Main Event International for $1.55 million

At the King's Casino in RozVegas, Damian Salas survived the final table of the 2020 WSOP Main Event International leg and won $1.55 million. Salas faded a field of 674 runners in the hybrid Main Event that began on GGPoker. He will now play the winner of the WSOP domestic final table at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas at the end of the month to determine the bracelet winner. Salas final tabled the 2017 WSOP Main Event with a seventh-place finish.

Tuesday December 15, 2020 at 3:15 am
Joseph 'kolebear' Herbert chip leader at 2020 WSOP Main Event Domestic final table

The 2020 WSOP Main Event Domestic leg at WSOP.com attracted 706 runners to the $10,000 buy-in championship event. Only the top 107 places paid out with $1.55 million set aside to the champion. The final table is set and Joseph 'kolebear' Herbert bagged up the chip lead with 13M.The final table also includes 3-time bracelet winner Upeshka De Silva, Ryan Hagerty, Ye Yuan, Michael Cannon, Gershon 'jets613' Distenfeld, Ron Jenkins, Shawn Stroke, and Harrison Dobin. The WSOP Main Event domestic final table resumes on December 28 in Las Vegas at the Rio Casino. The champion will play a heads-up match against the winner of the WSOP Main Event International final table.

Monday December 14, 2020 at 4:18 pm
PokerStars Blowout Series starts 27 December with 268 tournaments

Get ready for the Blowout Series on PokerStars, which will begin on December 27 and run for over three weeks into the start of the new year. There will be 88 events at the Blowout Series with three tiers of buy-ins for every event for a total of 268 tournaments. The overall guarantee for this series will be $60 million. Oh, and there's a special New Year's Eve Bash tournament with an $11 buy-in. Plus a Big Blowout every Sunday with over $5 million in guaranteed prize pools.

Thursday December 10, 2020 at 3:22 pm
Phil Galfond appears on The Ringer's Gamblers podcast

Phil Galfond turned $100 into millions, as least that's how the story goes on The Ringer's latest podcast Gamblers, which specializes in epic stories about gamblers. The pod tells the origin story about Galfond from an up-and-coming online poker player in college to a bona fide pro. He retired from the game, then came back to play in a heads-up challenge

Wednesday December 9, 2020 at 2:00 pm
WSOP Main Event International final table set, Bruno Botteon chipleader

The 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event (International) at GGPoker attracted 674 runners for the $10,000 buy-in championship. Only nine remain and those lucky nine will play down to a champion at the King's Casino in RozVegas, which will host the Final Table on December 15. First place pays out $1.55 million, plus a heads-up seat for the finale in Vegas at the end of the month. Damian Salas is still alive, while Bruno Botteon holds the chip lead.

Thursday December 3, 2020 at 2:49 pm
WSOP Poker Hall of Fame nominations now open

Here's your chance to try to get your favorite poker pro into the Poker Hall of Fame. The WSOP opened up nominations to the public and you have until December 11 to submit your pick(s) on which players should be inducted into the next Hall of Fame class. WSOP HOF panelists will vote on the top 10 nominees. The new class, the class of 2020, will be inducted on December 30 before the WSOP Main Event final table.

Monday November 30, 2020 at 4:11 am
High Stakes Feud: Polk banked $332K session, Negreanu down $596K

Doug Polk continued his winning streak with two more positive sessions in the High Stakes Feud against Daniel Negreanu. In Round 11, which lasted 416 hands of $200/$400 NL, Polk banked $120K. During Round 12 on Saturday, Polk had his biggest score to date with a $332K score over 684 hands. After 5,751 total hands, Daniel Negreanu is in the hole $596,197 after 12 sessions.

Wednesday November 25, 2020 at 4:01 am
High Stakes Feud: Polk wins Round 10, Negreanu Down $144K

After ten sessions, Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu completed 4,651 hands of their High Stakes Feud at $200/$400 NL. Polk won Round 10, arguably the most exciting session to date, and banked $117,624. Polk extended his lead, while Negreanu is now down $144K with more than 80% of their high-stakes grudge match remaining. They have approximately 45 more sessions remaining at the current rate.

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