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South Florida casinos host holiday toy drives, including Toys in the Sun Run


'Tis the season for toy drives.

Mardi Gras Casino (831 N. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach, 954-924-3200, is hosting the 29th annual South Florida President's Council Toys in the Sun Run. On Sunday, Dec. 4, 30,000 bikers are expected to rally in the casino's parking lot and then leave at 9:30 a.m. in a parade to Markham Park in Sunrise. That's where daylong festivities will take place with Dee Snider of Twister Sister, a classic bike and car show, and about 100 food and other vendors.

The cost to participate is $10 per rider plus one new, unwrapped toy or other gift (or just $20). The goodies will be donated to the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Foundation.

Seminole Classic Casino (4150 N. State Road 7, Hollywood, 954-961-3220, is accepting toys from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 1-3. Then, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, Santa Claus will deliver them to patients at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood. Helping him will be members of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, who will donate additional gifts.

Other recipients of this toy drive are Russell Reading Foundation, Kids in Distress, HOPE and EASE Foundation. Each casino visitor donating a toy will receive an entry to win a Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood prize basket or an iPad.

The annual Holiday Toy Drive at Calder Casino (21001 NW 27th Ave., Miami Gardens, 305-625-1311, runs until Dec. 18, with gifts going to the Center for Family and Child Enrichment. Guests who donate at least $5 worth get $5 in free play. According to spokesman Matt Harper, "This year is bigger than last year — only halfway through, and the back wall of the Players Club is packed."

Casino Miami (3500 NW 37th Ave., 305-633-6400, is collecting for Toys for Tots, which is run by the U.S. Marines. Donators won't receive anything in return. They'll be good for goodness' sake. Take toys to the Player's Club by Sunday, Dec. 11. Marketing manager Francesca Costa says the casino itself will make a $5,000 donation on Dec. 17.

Palm Beach Kennel Club (1111 N. Congress Ave., West Palm Beach, 561-683-2222, is collecting toys until Dec. 14 for WPTV NewsChannel 5's Holiday Toy Drive. Donations will be given away to kids in need through the United Way of Palm Beach County and its partners. Drop off toys in the poker room or at the information centers.

Poker Open rocked for big winners

The Rock 'N' Roll Poker Open at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, 800-937-0010, ends its two-week, 14-tournament run on Wednesday, Nov. 30. A highlight is the Nov. 22 win by Texan Ben Tollerene in the high roller that had a whopping $50,000 buy-in. With cameras from "Poker Night in America" live-streaming the event, he defeated 20 players to walk with $495,228. The prize purse was $1,043,700. The top four players cashed.

Another big purse was in the $3,500 championship, which had $2 million in guaranteed payouts. That five-day no-limit hold'em is scheduled to end Wednesday night.

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