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Feeling lucky? Poker tournaments begin at Hard Rock and Isle, boxing returns to Hialeah Park


South Florida continues to solidify its reputation for big poker tournaments.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, 800-937-0010, will host the Lucky Hearts Poker Open Jan. 12-25. The 16-event tournament features two headliners: the Ultimate Re-Entry with a payout guaranteed at $500,000 and a $360 buy-in, and the main event with a $1 million guarantee and $1,100 buy-in. Both are presented in partnership with WPTDeepStacks as the yearlong tour launches its fourth season.

And Isle Casino Racing (777 Isle of Capri Circle, Pompano Beach, 954-972-2000, is running its Isle Classic Jan. 5-22. It has more than $400,000 in guarantees over 16 events.

Jai alai returns

After a short break, jai alai is resuming at the Casino at Dania Beach (301 E. Dania Beach Blvd., 954-920-1511, and Casino Miami (3500 NW 37th Ave., 305-633-6400,

Dania's championship season runs from Jan. 2 to April 15. As in previous seasons, there will be awards for most wins in singles and doubles competition for the players, according to players manager Benny Bueno.

For the spectators, there's excitement from watching the world's fastest ball game — the pelota ricochets off the wall at well over 100 mph — and wagering, since it's a pari-mutuel. Performances are six days a week in evenings and afternoons.

Miami's winter season runs Jan. 1 to June 30, with performances six days a week in afternoons. A typical performance has 12 games and lasts a few hours.

Minimum bets cost $1 per game, and the most popular bet is the trifecta, players manager Juan Arrasate says. If you're new to the sport, bet the minimum or just sit and watch. There's no charge for admission.

Fight night at Hialeah Park

Hialeah Park Racing and Casino (2200 E. Fourth Ave.,, 305-885-8000) will host the WBA Super Welterweight Championship ($20-$60) on Jan. 13. Cuban Erislandy Lara (23-2-2, 13 KOs) will defend his title against Yuri Foreman (34-2, 10 KOs), a Belorussian-Israeli rabbi living in Brooklyn.

Live TV coverage begins at 9 p.m. with an undercard bout between former super middleweight Anthony Dirrell (29-1-1, 23 KOs) and Hungarian Norbert Nemesapati (24-4, 17 KOs). The boxing will be broadcast on Spike TV's "Premier Boxing Champions."

The undercard starts at 6 p.m. Tickets for the night cost from $30 to $125, plus convenience fees, and are available at

You can't bet on boxing and other sports in Florida, but if you get the itch, you can play slots on the casino floor or visit the poker room.

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