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Trabue takes over Dania poker room

 Chris Trabue, who has management experience at two other South Florida poker rooms, is the new poker manager at Dania Casino and Jai-Alai.

 Trabue worked 11 years for Isle casinos, including the Isle Pompano Park, then became poker manager at Calder Casino and Race Course when Studz Poker Club opened in 2009. When that position was eliminated, he was available when Dania's job opened up.

 He started April 11. Dania opened Feb. 20.

 It won't be an easy job.The recent stats for March came out (the month before Trabue arrived), and Dania's poker room was 23rd of 24th in the state in revenue, earning less than $40,000 and sneaking past Hamilton County by less than $400.

 Dania had a (small) regular crowd back before the poker room closed from September until the opening as the new owners cleaned up about one-fourth of the building to open up for slots. (The really big upgrade is about a year away.) Keeping those regulars happy -- while also attracting new players in a hyper-competitive market full of promotions -- will be a challenge.

"We want those regulars to be happy," says Trabue, nothing that he's "all about listening to the players."

 Trabue says he will emphasize tournaments, partially because Dania had the reputation as a tournament venue before the new ownership.

 Meanwhile, there are some interesting promos running, including "Build a Poker Hand." In April, each time a player hit a straight or better, he or she spun a wheel that had all 52 cards on it. The 20 who built the best hands over the month got a share of $20,000 cash and free play.

 Well, straights were easier to hit and play was a little steadier than expected, so at least five players have built royal flushes. They'll try the promotion again in May, this time with a full house as the qualifier.

 There's also a May 1 tournament at 7 p.m. with a $5,000 guarantee on a $100 buy-in. Buy-in and re-entries are until 8:20 p.m. and players start with 8,000 units and a $10 add-on for 2,000 more. High hands hit during a tournament pay half.

 Note the card room doesn't open until 11 a.m. Most pari-mutuel rooms in South Florida open at 10 a.m. But they close an hour later, at 3 a.m.



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