A lot of money was staked at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, and poker players say that they have never seen anything like this before.
Jason Mercier, a professional poker player based in Fort Lauderdale, said: “Easily the biggest week in the history of Florida poker, and really exciting to see.”
Bill Mason, director (poker) for Seminole Hard Rock Casino, says that the action began on Aug 8 with a $350 buy-in tournament, the first of the event’s 33 tournaments. Players were allowed to re-enter as many times as possible. Another Seminole Hard Rock event, held a few days later, attracted as many as 3000 entries.
The event has boosted the casino’s popularity and the number of visitors has increased. The highlight of the event is the $10 million guaranteed tournament, which promises a first place prize of $1.7 million.
Justin Bonomo, a pro hailing from Toronto, tweeted that he is one of the finalists of the $10 million guaranteed. Even if Bonomo busts during the finals, he will become richer by $378,138 million.
Jon Marks, a poker player from Weston noticed two players re-entering the tournament five times, and said: “I was just amazed at how much money some of these guys have. Another had a suitcase that he said he’d use for 20 buy-ins if he needed to. Poker reality is much different from my reality.”
In the meantime, the World Poker Tour (WPT) held its Super High Roller event on Monday and as many as 18 high-stakes players registered for the event. The buy-in for this tournament was $100,000 and the event is to be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 next year. Ivey, one of the most widely acclaimed professional poker players in the world, paid $200,000 to the casino with the intention of re-entering in case he bust. But he said that he had family issues and never turned up.
It was interesting to note that players who busted out of this Super High Roller event went on to take part in other high-roller tournaments that had nothing to do with the WPT.
Florida is seeing such high action poker for the first time. Florida state regulations prohibited the placing of bets above $2 and allowed only three raises till 2007; and till 2010, Florida poker players were allowed buy-ins of $100 only. But the past three weeks have hardly had any room for low-stakes players.