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Poker in Florida

Introduction

Population: 21,480,000

Capital: Tallahesse 

Currency: US Dollar ($)

State Name Abbreviation: FL

Time Zone: UTC-5

Casinos with Poker

  • Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
  • Seminole Hard Rock Tampa
  • Bestbet Jacksonville

Florida is a very popular vacation destination in the United States – no wonder it’s nicknamed “the Sunshine State”. And a large chunk of those tourists, along with the locals, are looking to gamble.

They have plenty of choices, as there are 82 casinos currently operating in the state, according to worldcasinodirectory.com. That is the 6th most gambling hubs among the 50 US states.

This evidently means that land based gambling is completely legal and regulated. However, games of chance laws there aren’t without any controversy. A 2013 law prohibits people from hosting recreational casino nights at their home. And it’s no “small stakes” either, violating this statute is a 3rd degree felony with up to 5 years in prison as punishment.

It’s also important to note that – unlike in most places – you don’t have to collect rake for your home game to break the law. You just have to be the one in charge. 2010 WSOP Main Event runner-up finisher John Racener has run into legal trouble for that very reason, for example.

However, Florida is still an important location in the world of poker. The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, held at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino & Hotel in Hollywood, FL is a widely covered annual poker series with huge buy-in events and big-name players. 

Also, many of the world’s most successful players have come from Florida. You can read about them in the chapter below.

 

Famous Poker Players from Florida

Jason Mercier tops currently Florida’s all time money list on Hendon. He has cashed for $19.750 million in live tournaments during his career. He’s a 5-time WSOP gold bracelet winner. He’s among the just 26 players in poker history to have won at least as many, and among the 10 to have won exactly 5.

In April 2014, he finished 2nd in a $100K Super High Roller for $1.622 million at the Bellagio. That is his biggest single live tournament cash to date.

Mercier is also a very successful online player. He amassed over $2.2 million in online MTT cashes, mostly playing on PokerStars under the screen name “JasonMercier”. He’s won two WCOOP (World Championship of Online Poker) and five SCOOP (Spring Championship of Online Poker) titles.

Michael Mizrachi is best known for being the only player who won the biggest mixed game tournament, the $50K WSOP Poker Players Championship, three times. He too has won a total of 5 bracelets. His career earnings is currently at $17.15 million.

The Poker Masters is a high roller series that gives out the Purple Jacket award for the player who cashed for the most across all of its events each year. In 2019, Florida man Sam Soverel won that prize after cashing in 5 out of 10 events, while winning an additional 2.

 

– Playing Live Poker in Florida –

   Live Poker Legislation in Florida

We wrote about the controversial home game law in our intro. Gambling has been legal in Florida since the passing of the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act which allowed Native American tribes to open up their gambling hubs. The biggest casino chain in the state bears the name of the Seminole tribe.

Licencing and regulation is done by the Seminole Tribal Gaming Commission.

 

  Live Poker Venues in Florida

The most famous casino in the state is the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Located in Hollywood, FL it’s a true landmark with its gigantic guitar-shaped building.

They have around 40 poker tables in the joint – both tournaments and cash. Their cash tables are No Limit Hold’em on $1/$2 and $2/$5 stakes. They often have high hand and bad beat jackpot promotions in their cash rooms. For example, in February 2020, they gave out $1,000 every 30 minutes in their high hand jackpot.

However, they’re better known for their robust tournament schedule. They usually put on two events each day, with buy-ins ranging from $100 up to $1,100.

Their annual tournament series, the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, is attended by elite pros and is often covered in poker media. It’s held in August of each year. 

They have events in a variety of games – unsurprisingly, the most common one is No Limit Hold’em. The biggest one of them is the $50,000 Super High Roller. In 2019, it was won by 5-time WSOP champion and local poker hero Jason Mercier, who got $715,860 for his victory.

Seminole Hard Rock has another hotel & casino venue in Tampa. They too have daily tournaments (although smaller buy-ins than in Hollywood) and a 24/7 cash room. Another famous poker room in  Florida is bestbet Jacksonville in the city of Jacksonville.

 

– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Florida –

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Riga Casino

View Room

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa

Bestbet Jacksonville

  Online Poker Legislation in Florida

Unfortunately, home games aren’t the only form of gambling banned in Florida – online gambling isn’t allowed either. 

Online gaming is not specifically mentioned in the criminal statute pertaining to gambling, nor is it explicitly stated that they can’t be hosted under the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. However, in practice, the online gambling ban is very much enforced. Floridians can’t enjoy sports betting, casino games, or poker from their homes through the internet – they can only hope the prohibition will end sooner than later.


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