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Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown has big final week


After 31 primary events over three weeks, the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown ended on Sunday, April 9, at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, 800-937-0010, In the final week, there were four big winners.

Jason Mercier, of Davie, pocketed $794,600 in the High-Roller No-Limit Hold ’Em, which had a buy-in of $25,500 and a $2.9 million prize pool. There were 116 entries.

Tony Sinishtaj, of New York, beat 1,206 entries in the WPT Showdown Championship, which had a $3,500 buy-in and a prize pool worth more than $3.8 million. He won $661,283.

Ryan Riess, of Michigan, won the WPT Showdown Finale, which had a $10,000 buy-in. The prize pool topped $3.3 million after 349 entries. Riess’ winnings totaled $716,088.

And Daniel Weinman, of Maryland, won the most prestigious final event, the $15,000 WPT Tournament of Champions, in which players had to be members of the World Poker Tour Champions Club. Weinman walked with $381,500 after beating 65 other former champs.


The season-ending jai alai awards at the Casino at Dania Beach (301 E. Dania Beach Blvd., 954-920-1511, will be presented on Saturday, April 15, after Game 4 of the evening performance (around 8:30 p.m.). Plaques will be given for first, second and third places in three categories.

“Erik [Mendizabal] has won another triple crown, winning the singles, doubles and overall wins championships,” players manager Benny Bueno says. “He has won all categories by at least five games.”

And that’s with taking a week-long break earlier this month when his wife gave birth.

Mendizabal, 30, is a native of Spain’s Basque country, where the sport originated. He’ll be back for the summer season, which starts May 2. The fronton will be closed from April 16 until then.

After the summer season ends on June 30, Jokin Arbe, Aimar Aldazabal, Manex Urtasun and Garita-Iñaki Garcia will retire.

“Those four players will be replaced by new players that will be debuting their professional career at Dania Jai-Alai in September,” Bueno says. “The new players are coming from Spain, France and one player from the Philippines.”

If you go, consider wagering with the Jai 5 promotion. It’s a pick-5 bet in Games 5 to 9 of each performance. With a bet as low as 50 cents, you have a chance of winning more than $1,000 in cash.


On Friday, April 14, from 6 to 9 p.m., kids can meet the Easter bunny at Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino (901 S. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach, 954-454-7000, Its Spring Extravaganza also includes face painting, “balloon artists,” games, dancing and sing-alongs. Admission is free.


KC and the Sunshine Band (“Get Down Tonight,” “Shake Your Booty”) will perform May 12 at Hard Rock Live. Tickets cost from $50 to $70. Lead singer Harry Wayne Casey is a native of Hialeah, and grew up in South Florida.

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