Poker in Florida
No wonder it’s called “the Sunshine State” – Florida is a top pick for vacationers across the country. Both international visitors and locals make up a sizable portion of the casino industry. According to the website worldcasinodirectory.com, there are currently 82 casinos serving the state’s gamblers. That’s the sixth-highest total among the 50 states in terms of concentrations of casinos.
This clearly denotes the total legality and regulation of traditional brick-and-mortar casinos. However, laws governing games of chance aren’t entirely free of debate. Having a casino night at your house for fun is illegal as of 2013. And it’s not like the stakes are small; breaking this law is a felony of the third degree punishable by up to five years in prison. So, one might reconsider playing poker in Florida because they are serious about it.
Also, unlike in most places, taking rake at your own house game is not illegal on its own. The key is to take the reins and make decisions. For example, John Racener, who placed second at the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event, has been arrested.
Nonetheless, Florida maintains a significant role in the international poker scene. The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open is a high-stakes tournament series held annually at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
- 21.48 million people living in Florida
- Tallahassee (the capital)
- Dollars (USD) as the unit of currency.
- FL = Shortened Form of Florida
- Area Code: 5 (UTC)
Where You Can Play Poker in Florida Casinos:
- Seminole Hard Rock Tampa
- Bestbet Jacksonville
- Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Florida has produced some famous poker players
Jason Mercier has won the most money on Hendon Mob in Florida. His total live tournament earnings amount to $19.75 million. He has won five gold bracelets at the WSOP. He’s one of only 26 poker players in history to win at least that many and one of only 10 to win exactly 5.
He won $1.622 million for coming in second place at the Bellagio’s $100,000 Super High Roller tournament in April 2014. That is the most money he’s ever won in a single live tournament.
Mercier also enjoys great success in the virtual gaming world. He played mostly on PokerStars under the handle “JasonMercier,” and raked in over $2.2 million from online MTTs. He has taken home the gold in not one but two World Championship of Online Poker tournaments and five Spring Championship of Online Poker tournaments.
Michael Mizrachi is the most famous poker player in the world due to his unprecedented three-peat as a champion of the $50,000 WSOP Poker Players Championship, the biggest mixed game tournament in the world. He, too, has amassed five bracelet victories. So far, he’s made $17.15 million in his career.
During the Poker Masters high roller series, the player who accumulates the most cashes throughout the year is awarded the Purple Jacket. Sam Soverel, a Floridian, took home the top prize in this category in 2019. He qualified for the money in five of ten tournaments he entered and won two of them.
Florida’s Live Poker Scene
Existing Florida Statutes Regarding Live Poker
In our introductory piece, we discussed the debate surrounding the controversial home game law. Since the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, Native American tribes in Florida have been able to open up their own gambling hubs, making gambling legal in the state. The Seminole people are responsible for the state’s largest casino group.
The Seminole Tribal Gaming Commission is in charge of licensing and regulating the industry.
Casinos and Card Rooms with Live Poker in Florida
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood is the most well-known casino in Florida. It’s hard to miss this giant guitar-shaped structure in Hollywood, Florida.
There are about 40 cash and tournament poker tables available here. You can play No Limit Hold’em for $1/$2 or $2/$5 at their cash tables. The cash games frequently run promotions for high hands and bad-beat jackpots. In February 2020, for instance, the high hand jackpot paid out $1,000 every 30 minutes.
Nonetheless, they are more widely recognized for their extensive tournament schedule. They typically host two tournaments daily with entry fees between $100 and $1,100.
They host an annual tournament series called the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, which attracts a lot of the best players in the world and gets a lot of press. Every year in August, it takes place.
There are tournaments for many different games, the most popular of which is probably No Limit Hold ’em. One of the biggest is the $50,000 Super High Roller. Local poker hero and five-time WSOP champion Jason Mercier took home the $715,860 first-place prize in 2019.
Tampa is home to a second Seminole Hard Rock hotel and casino. They, too, offer a cash room open around the clock and daily tournaments (with slightly lower buy-ins than in Hollywood). BestBet Jacksonville, located in the Florida city of the same name, is another popular poker room in the state.
Florida Gambling Halls and Poker Casinos
Florida’s Online Poker Laws
Unfortunately, it’s not just home games that are illegal in Florida; online gambling is also prohibited throughout the state. Thus, poker enthusiasts are limited to resources and are not legally allowed to access or join sites like GG poker clubs.
Neither the criminal law prohibiting gambling nor the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 prohibits the hosting of online casinos. The prohibition on online gambling is, however, strictly enforced in reality. Floridians who would otherwise be able to participate in wagering, casino games, and poker from the comfort of their own homes can only wait in the vain hope that the ban will be lifted soon.