Posts Tagged ‘room’

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Poker Room – The Next Big Florida Poker Destination?

 Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Poker Room – The Next Big Florida Poker Destination?

Ever since the state legislature removed the limits imposed on its poker rooms, the poker industry in Florida has exploded. Those previous rules limited what stakes could be played for and limited how much could be on the table. In 2009, however, the legislature “uncapped” the poker rooms to allow them to play for pretty much any stakes they wanted. The result was a gold rush to the Sunshine State by poker players of all ilk.

Along with the major tournament circuits like the World Poker Tour (who now conducts their final three events in the state) and the World Series of Poker Circuit, expansion of poker rooms not only in tables but in ACTUAL number of rooms has been the norm. As of 2017, there are 24 poker rooms in the state, some associated with thoroughbred horse racing tracks, some in the Seminole Indian casinos and a couple (like bestbet Jacksonville) that stand alone while offering simulcast wagering on the ponies. In 2016, these rooms generated $ 147 million in revenues (a 231% increase over 2006 revenues); by comparison, the poker rooms in Nevada generated $ 117 million in revenues for the year.

If people are flocking to your business, it is only natural to want to update those surroundings. The Seminole Hard Rock Tampa isn’t as acclaimed as its brethren in Hollywood, FL, but it is making a name for itself as a poker destination. First came a massive renovation that saw the poker room move away from the casino floor into a special area of the casino. Those renovations were completed in January and they have made a great difference in the potential future success of the room.

Walking into the room on a Friday night around 7PM, I was expecting about half the 46 tables around the room to be in action. Imagine my surprise when every table – even the two tables in the “High Roller” lounge – was full of action. Sure, there was a tournament going on – a $ 200 buy-in event with a $ 10,000 prize pool guaranteed that eventually fielded around 70 entries – but there was no other explanation for the room to be as packed as it was. Walking to the board to pick a game, I saw why the tables were packed.

The Hard Rock Tampa spreads a list of games, with Texas Hold’em (limit and no limit) as the most prevalent game but Omaha has a strong presence. If there were to be a call for some Stud games, I got the impression that they would spread that, too, IF there were enough people calling for it. There was also a wide array of stakes, from the $ 1/$ 2 for No Limit Hold’em to $ 2/$ 2 Pot Limit Omaha, a $ 2/$ 5 spread game (Hold’em) all the way up to what looked like a $ 30/$ 60 game (this was going on in the separate “High Roller” room). Having a game for everyone’s bankroll is key to bringing in the players, a fact not missed by the Hard Rock Tampa poker room staff.

Everything about the Hard Rock Tampa poker room was top notch. From the chairs at the table (plush and comfortable) to the amenities around the room, you could certainly tell that the Seminole Indian tribe spared no cost in improving its offerings. And it isn’t like they’ve jammed a bunch of tables into a room and put everyone elbow to elbow. The Hard Rock Tampa poker room has a full-service bar, a snack bar (burgers, sandwiches, and other offerings) and 40 HDTVs arranged around the room. Waitress service is quick and there’s even massage service for the players grinding away on the felt.

The Seminole Hard Rock Tampa has hosted some WPT DeepStacks events in the past, but they are deserving of a higher profile tournament schedule. Perhaps a WSOP Circuit roster of tournaments or maybe even a full-fledged WPT Main Tour stop (and where the hell are the smaller tours like the Heartland Poker Tour and the CardPlayer Poker Tour?) would be well-served to come to the poker room for a spell. The Seminole Hard Rock Tampa poker room is a must-play stop for players who come to Florida; with the wide array of games and stakes, the plush surroundings, and its ease of access (Tampa International Airport is nearby), the poker world is really missing something special.

The post Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Poker Room – The Next Big Florida Poker Destination? appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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Bovada Re-Opens Online Poker Room

 Bovada Re Opens Online Poker Room

A little more than a year after closing its online poker room, Bovada has decided to re-open it, initially accepting players from nine countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, and yes, the United States of America. So is this what making America great again was all about?

Bovada took full advantage of Black Friday, continuing to offer online poker to poker players in the United States after the likes of PokerStars no longer did, becoming, along with sister site Bodog, one of the largest poker networks on the internet and the largest U.S.-facing network.

In August of last year, Bovada surprisingly shut down its poker room, transferring its business and player base over to Ignition Casino. Ignition essentially became Bovada, using the same software, keeping the same players, but using a different name. The sale was a bit of a mystery, though, as almost nothing is publicly known about its owner, Lynton Limited. Ignition continued to serve U.S. customers.

And now Bovada has returned, open for business in the eight Latin American countries listed above plus the U.S. While there has been no indication one way or the other (aside from it not being included in the country list), some think there is a possibility that Bovada may enter the Australian market. Online poker rooms, including partypoker and PokerStars, are fleeing Australia because of new online gambling laws that will take effect in September that make it illegal to operate there without a license. There is no online poker licensing available, so companies are getting out lest they be in violation of the law.

Though Bovada will accept U.S. customers, it will not allow people in New Jersey, Nevada, or Delaware to play on its site, as those are the ones with specific licensing regulations for online poker. It will also stay away from Maryland, likely because much of the legal trouble that the U.S. government has given online poker operators and related companies has stemmed from the state.

Bovada will be on the PaiWangLuo Poker Network along with Ignition and Bodog. PaiWangLuo, a Hong Kong investment group, purchased the Bodog Poker Network in February and renamed it.

The initial reaction many have had to this news is that Bovada must be re-opening its online poker room and accepting customers in the U.S. because Bodog founder Calvin Ayre is out of hot water with the U.S. Department of Justice. But that’s probably not the case, as Bovada’s sports book and online casino have still been up and running since the poker room closed.

The company probably just decided that it wasn’t a fantastic decision to transfer its players to Ignition (or maybe it was – maybe Ignition paid Bovada a lot of money) and now wants to start the room up again to increase brand awareness and get sports bettors to spend some of their winnings at the tables.

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Patrik Antonius Wants to Open Poker Room in Monaco

 Patrik Antonius Wants to Open Poker Room in Monaco

Patrik Antonius was one of the kings of poker before Black Friday. He was a successful player before poker exploded, but it was the poker boom that really helped him rise to fame, as it did with many poker players. One of the most prolific online players of all time, his success at nose bleed stakes plus stunning good looks (and I mean that when judging on a regular attractiveness scale, not just a poker player attractiveness scale) propelled him to superstar status.

His former online poker home, Full Tilt, gone and online games tougher than ever, Patrik Antonius isn’t as active in poker as he used to be, but he is still playing and having a good time. Now living in Monaco, he is currently competing in the PokerStars Championship sponsored by Monte-Carlo Casino. It is there that PokerNews found him and asked him how things were going.

“I’ve been very good,” Antonius told PokerNews. “I’m very happy with my life situation, I can’t complain. You know, I haven’t been traveling for the events. Life changes a little bit and my lifestyle has changed as well.”

“I’ve been here in Monaco with my family, my kids are growing and I don’t really want to be months and months away from home anymore,” he added. “I wished we would have more, bigger and regular games in Europe.”

Hey, makes sense. While there are certainly places to play poker in Europe, Antonius prefers cash games and the best ones are in Las Vegas and Macau, neither of which is ever arguably convenient to Monaco. And while there are a bunch of major tourneys every year in Europe, the United States is still where it’s at.

“I can’t say that I’m a very experienced tournament player anymore,” Antonius told PokerNews. “I was playing a lot of tournaments in 2005 and 2006, but for the last eight years or so, I’ve played fewer than 10 tournaments a year.”

So, since finding a good game locally is a problem and Antonius isn’t very keen on traveling to hell and gone for one, he is doing something about it. Antonius is working on creating his own land-based poker room right there in Monaco.

“I can’t share any details yet but if we could get a nice poker room in Europe, that would be good for a lot of people,” he said.

Oh, but he did share some details. Antonius believes that Monaco could support a poker room because he knows of enough poker players who are interested in playing “decently high stakes” cash games and who would also be happy to make a short trip to Monaco, rather than, say, Las Vegas or Macau.

“People would fly here from all over the world. It would be very easy to organize good games here. We just have to get proper rake so it’s reasonable.”

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Tampa’s Derby Lane Poker Room: Future Home of Baseball?

 Tampa’s Derby Lane Poker Room: Future Home of Baseball?

One of the most popular destinations for poker in the state of Florida is the Derby Lane Greyhound Track, located in St. Petersburg. The fifth largest live poker rooms in the state (generating over $ 8.8 million in gross revenues for fiscal year 2015-16), the poker has been somewhat overshadowing what was supposed to be the draw of people, the greyhound racing schedule and horse racing simulcasts offered by the track. But could there be a new reason to head to the poker room soon?

The Tampa Bay TimesJohn Romano is thinking outside of the box, at the minimum, in a column he penned earlier this month. Romano looks at the situation that the local Major League Baseball franchise, the Tampa Bay Rays, finds themselves in as to building a new home in West Central Florida. “There is one important factor (for the Rays) that cannot be overlooked (as to a new site),” Romano writes. “The perfect site does not exist.”

Romano points out that the Rays would love to move to a downtown Tampa ballpark (the “downtown ballpark” fad hasn’t yet faded in baseball, where the new construction can have all the amenities of a new stadium but can include enough idiosyncrasies – such as non-symmetrical outfield grounds, smaller foul areas, etc. – to make them unique). The problem with that, as noted by Romano, is that there is nowhere downtown to build such a stadium. St. Petersburg would like to build a new stadium in their downtown area, but Romano cites the horrendous attendance record for the current stadium, Tropicana Field, as the reason that cannot go forward.

Romano puts forth a surprise – Romano calls it a “wild card” – choice in the lands of the Derby Lane Greyhound Track and, by connection, the Derby Lane Poker Room. Romano notes that it is close to Hillsborough County, the major population center for the area, and was looked at as a previous site to build. “So, would Derby Lane’s owners sell?” Romano asks. “In the right situation, yes.”

While the greyhound track might be in danger, Romano thinks that the poker room would survive the cut. Due to the decline in greyhound racing in the Sunshine State, the Florida Legislature has considered several bills that would “decouple” the racetracks from the poker rooms that operate on their grounds (under current Florida law, a poker room can operate only at a racetrack that offers an active racing schedule or simulcast operations). If the laws were changed, then the land around the Derby Lane Poker Room could be sold and the land used for the baseball facilities.

This isn’t out of the realm of thought. The current football stadium being built in Los Angeles for the recently-returned Los Angeles Rams (and potentially the San Diego Chargers should they be unable to negotiate a new stadium with San Diego politicians) is being built on the grounds of the old Hollywood Park horse racing track in Inglewood, CA, which was closed and destroyed in 2013-14. The Hollywood Park Casino and Poker Room wasn’t a part of the destruction, however, and earlier this year was reopened. It is planned to be an integral part of the new “Los Angeles Entertainment Complex” (which will include the football stadium) when it opens for business in 2019.

Romano figures the likelihood of the Rays moving to the Derby Lane Poker Room anytime soon as highly unlikely but not out of the question. “How enthusiastic are the Rays going to be about recommitting themselves to downtown St. Petersburg when it has become obvious that Hillsborough fans are not driving that far?” Romano asks. “Will Rays owner Stu Sternberg be willing to spend a boatload of his own money if there is little political clout to fund a stadium in downtown Tampa? Derby Lane is still a long shot and it is far from being a perfect site…but which site is?”

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Andrew “luckychewy” Lichtenberger Launches Online Poker Room

 Andrew “luckychewy” Lichtenberger Launches Online Poker Room

Poker pro Andrew “luckychewy” Lichtenberger has launched his own online poker site,, which went live earlier this month. It is currently only available for play money games, but Lichtenberger has said that real money licensing is in the works.

In a series of tweets, Lichtenberger made the announcement:

Greetings everyone, I am pleased to announce that is live with play money gaming for you to enjoy at this point in time. Our team will continually be updating artwork, user interface and various system functionalities as we move forward. If anyone has any ideas or input they would like to share please do not hesitate to do so. Our vision is simple – a poker site by the players for the players with low rake and great rewards. We have been sharing our platform with the international gaming community and intend to create as large a player pool as international law’s allow for. We will have more updates and exciting news to share with regards to real money licensing and legislation in the times to come as well. We are excited to continue to promote and share the game we all love.

The site aims to be more than just a place for people to participate in cash games and tournaments. Included will be a poker community, which will consist of a message forum for discussion, player blogs, photos, videos, and articles. Lichtenberger also hopes that visitors will form tighter, more personal bonds and use the group and events features to coordinate discussions and get-togethers with friends on the site. Additionally, the site will host a poker school; Lichtenberger has provided training videos for Ivey League in the past.

According to the site, has already been vetted by the UK Gambling Commission, which has approved its software for internet gambling. The random number generator and card shuffling algorithms have been thoroughly tested, as one would hope.

For years, members of the poker community have wanted some known poker figure to step up and create his or her own online poker room with poker players in mind. Whether Lichtenberger will ultimately be that person remains to be seen, but “low rake and great rewards” is a start.

What may be interesting to watch is if LuckyChewyPoker does launch real money games and actually builds some sort of player base, if its business can sustain itself. It is all well and good to promise to be a site “for the players,” but that could mean catering to professional grinders and serious amateurs. The problem with that is as much as those players say they want a site that caters to them, they might not like it once they get it. Now, I’m not saying this will definitely happen – I am rooting for Lichtenberger – but a poker room that is designed for the players may very well be populated mostly by pros and other strong players. Those same players don’t typically love playing against their own kinds, as that doesn’t make for easy to beat, profitable games.

Another poker pro, Phil Galfond, announced in September that he was going to start his own poker room, Run It Once Poker, but it has not launched yet. Someone on Twitter asked Lichtenberger if he would consider partnering with Galfond, to which Lichtenberger replied that he is “certainly open minded to collaborating with him.”

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