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Underwater poker tournament to take place off Pompano Beach

At this poker tournament, chips will be thrown down in 80 feet of water.

On Sunday, July 23, South Florida Diving Headquarters will host the first Lady Luck Underwater Poker Tournament on a shipwreck 1 1/2 miles off the coast of Pompano Beach.

Scuba divers will ante up to play in the unusual event, which will celebrate the first anniversary of the sinking of the 324-foot tanker vessel, known as the Lady Luck (formerly the Newtown Creek).

Before the Lady Luck became part of Shipwreck Park along with 16 other ships, artist Dennis MacDonald installed a poker table to the ship’s upper deck and casino decorations to the main deck.

The Texas hold ’em tournament will begin Wednesday, July 19, with qualifying rounds taking place in online poker rooms. The six finalists will hide their poker faces behind diving masks to play the final game underwater on Sunday.

Players will use clay chips and plastic cards, made by Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park, which was one of the sponsors of the ship’s sinking last year.

The champion will receive a trophy and be the first diver on the sinking of the ship Okinawa, scheduled for Aug. 18.

For $60, scuba divers can sign up by calling the South Florida Diving Headquarters at 954-783-2299 to watch the underwater final.

“It’s going to be two boatloads of people going there. We’re supposed to have close to 60 divers in the water,” says Jeff Torode, owner of South Florida Diving Headquarters, a diving and snorkeling charter-boat service. “It’s gonna look like an underwater poker room with divers watching the game.”

The Lady Luck Underwater Poker Tournament will take place 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on the Lady Luck off the coast of Pompano Beach. Tickets to watch the tournament cost $60. For more information call 954-783-2299 or go to SouthFloridaDiving.com.

bduarte@sunsentinel.com, @babicorb

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