From Jan. 12 to Jan. 25, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, 800-937-0010, SeminoleHardRockHollywood.com) is hosting its Lucky Hearts Poker Open, which has 16 events. The Ultimate Re-entry (Jan. 12-17) had a whopping 4,756 entrants who bought in at $360 and played for a prize pool that reached $1.4 million. Margate's Jerry Wong won $250,000. Runner-up Nancy Thomas of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea took home $104,113. Additional winnings ranged from $103,826 for third place down to $13,770 for ninth.
The main event, scheduled to start Thursday, Jan. 19, offers a $1 million guarantee with a $1,100 buy-in. Also scheduled for Thursday are one-day satellites with lower buy-ins and winnings that include seats at the main event.
Isle Casino Racing (777 Isle of Capri Circle, Pompano Beach, 954-972-2000, TheIslePompanoPark.com) is in the final days of its Isle Classic, which runs until Sunday. It has more than $400,000 in guarantees spread over 16 events.
On Tuesday, the Classic presented a no-limit hold 'em event with a prize pool of $13,688. Oakland Park's Vasile Schita won $1,752 and the trophy.
The main event, which began Wednesday, is a no-limit hold 'em (re-entry) with $100,000 guaranteed to be paid out. Buy-in is $150. Players who bag chips will return on Sunday for Day 2.
From Jan. 23 to Jan. 29 at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek (5550 NW 40th St., 954-977-6700, CasinoCoco.com) is the Coco Poker Showdown. The main event, which is a no-limit hold 'em, has a $100,000 guarantee with $1,100 buy-in. But there are a dozen other events, including deep-stack no-limit hold 'ems and "Omaha 8 or Better." Guaranteed purses for four of those range from $25,000 to $50,000. Buy-ins start at $100.
Pegasus lands at Gulfstream
On Saturday, Jan. 28, Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino (901 S. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach, 954-454-7000, GulfstreamPark.com) will host the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational, which it claims will be "the world's richest thoroughbred race," but there are plenty of races before and after that. It's horse season in South Florida.
If you want to watch them train, visit the track on a Saturday morning. Gulfstream lets you sit in the grandstand for free, and from 8 to 11 a.m. you can fill up at the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet ($10) on the apron (except Jan. 28).
If you get there early this Saturday, Gulfstream marketing director Michael Nyman told me, you'll likely see California Chrome's workout. It's scheduled for 7:30 a.m. In 2014, California Chrome won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, and he remains one of the world's fastest horses.
Last March, my wife and I took our twin daughters, who were 10, to "Breakfast at Gulfstream," and we loved it. We had cool weather and enjoyed the athletic, graceful horses galloping around the track. Our daughters even got to sit on a thoroughbred so we could take photos.
Then, we rode the tram to the barn area.
"That lets the public get a chance to get up close and see how well the horses are taken care of," Nyman says. "Very few horse tracks allow that."
For the free tram tour, sign up before 9:30 a.m.
Post time for the first race is noon.