Damaged by Hurricane Irma, Mardi Gras Casino reopening in Hallandale Beach

Correspondent

“Yes, it’s true!” Cathy Reside says.

Mardi Gras Casino (831 N. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach, 954-924-3200, MGFLA.com) is reopening this week, after being damaged by Hurricane Irma in September.

At least, the casino is partially reopening, meaning the poker room, greyhound track, an eatery and a bar.

Reside, Mardi Gras’ chief operating executive, expects the Big Easy Poker Room to reopen at 9 a.m. Friday, with simulcast wagering resuming at 11 a.m.

She adds, “We have had pre-opening schooling [greyhound] races and are scheduled to begin live racing on Friday at 5:30 p.m., with a regular nine-race matinee followed by the evening program of another nine races.”

The kitchen attached to the Big Easy will be cooking up favorites like burgers and seafood. And Louie’s Lounge will be serving drinks. The reopenings are located on the north end of the first floor.

“We do not have any other area open as we are still in the process of renovations,” Reside says.

The casino floor may reopen after Jan. 1, she says. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”

Carpeting, Sheetrock, some slot machines, wood bases encasing slot machines and other equipment were damaged by the hurricane.

AND THEY’RE OFF ...

Horseracing season starts Saturday, Dec. 2, at Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino (901 S. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach, 954-454-7000, GulfstreamPark.com). The 2017-2018 Championship Meet opens with nine races in the $1.11 million Claiming Crown program.

Claiming horses are typically midlevel racers that don’t become the higher-profile stakes horses but compete well with each other.

The Claiming Crown’s biggest race is the $200,000 Jewel, which organizers describe as “1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds and up which have started for a claiming price of $35,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2016.”

JACKPOT!

Last Friday, on a max bet of $10, a slots player at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, 800-937-0010, SeminoleHardRockHollywood.com) won a $472,795.77 jackpot on a Wheel of Fortune machine. It was a wide-area progressive jackpot, meaning it was connected to the same game in other Indian casinos. The winner requested anonymity, PR manager Teresa Shum says. But she acknowledges that the winner was visiting from North Carolina.

ROCK ON

The Rock ’N’ Roll Poker Open entered its final week at the Hard Rock. In recent action, Ken Ray was declared the winner in a three-way chop of the $1,650 Purple Chip Bounty No-Limit Hold’em (Re-entry). He took home the trophy and, like the second- and third-place winners, $20,859.

The six-day $3,500 Championship No-Limit Hold’em — with $2 million guaranteed to be paid out — started on Friday and was still being played at presstime.

NO LIMIT AT ISLE CLASSIC

The 2017 Isle Classic poker tournament runs from Dec. 1-20 at Isle Casino Pompano Park (777 Isle of Capri Circle, Pompano Beach, 954-972-2000, TheIslePompanoPark.com). It features 20 events, opening with a three-day no-limit hold ’em (NLH) that has a $1,500 buy-in and purse guaranteed at $300,000.

Most of the events are NLH. The lowest buy-in is $60.

RECORD SET

Ibon Aldazabal has made jai alai, nicknamed “the fastest ball game in the world,” even faster.

Last Friday at the Casino at Dania Beach (301 E. Dania Beach Blvd., 954-920-1511, CasinoDaniaBeach.com), the Basque native broke the world record by throwing the pelota 190 mph.

The previous record of 188 mph was set in 1979 in Newport, R.I.

Aldazabal has played professionally at the Dania Beach fronton since 2009. He and other players were competing in the semifinals of a speed challenge during the evening performance.

The final round was the next night. Ibon won it.

“His max throw in the finals was 186 mph,” players manager Benny Bueno SAYS. “Ubilla, a young, early-game backcourter, got second place with 184. And Tevin, a late-game veteran, threw 180 mph for third place.”

david@davidraterman.com

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