South Florida Gambling

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Statewide poker tour: Make a magazine cover

If you need a reason to check out Florida’s poker rooms, a new tour might be enough for you to reach for the keys and hop into your car.


Ante Up magazine, which covers Florida poker, has created a yearlong series of tournaments with a special incentive to the player who accumulates the most points: a spot on the magazine’s cover.

There are 30 poker rooms in the state, at horse tracks, dog tracks, jai-alai frontons, cruise ships and Indian casinos. About half of them have agreed to hold a tournament connected to the Ante Up tour in the first month. The tour began June 6 in Immokalee; the first South Florida event is Friday.

“The goal is to get people to travel around the state and see all the great poker rooms,” said Scott Long, co-publisher of Ante Up.

Long and co-publisher Chris Cosenza are former St. Petersburg Times editors who began a poker blog and podcast at the paper in June 2005. In July 2008, they left the paper to start the magazine.

The magazine is free in racks at 29 rooms, or sold by subscription for $25 at

Players accumulate points by finishing in the top 10 in a tournament. The person who earns the most points through May 31, 2010, will be on the magazine’s cover and receive a championship bracelet. Meanwhile, Long and Cosenza are lining up other tour prizes.

In South Florida in June:

6:30 p.m. Friday: Dania Jai-Alai, $100

9:30 a.m. Sunday: Palm Beach Princess Casino, $100

2:30 p.m. June 19: Isle Casino & Racing, $900

6:30 p.m. June 20: Gulfstream Park, $150

6:30 p.m. June 25: Mardi Gras Gaming & Racetrack, $100

1 p.m. June 27: Palm Beach Kennel Club, $200

More information is at

Categories: Poker (345)

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Maybe you've made the right play, maybe you haven't. Your heart speeds up, your stomach rumbles.

That's why it's called gambling.

ACTION is a view of the numbers, the psychology and the flavor of gambling here in South Florida, through our lens.

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NICK SORTAL began playing 3-card "gut" and "Indian poker" on high school band trips, moved on to "night baseball" and "pass the trash" during a Dr. Pepper-infused midnight game in the 1980s at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, and now play in a regular neighborhood Hold 'Em game in Plantation. I have been given the assignment of writing about the gambling life in South Florida casinos for the Sun-Sentinel...which means sitting around watching poker on TV now counts as research.
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