Action Gambling in South Florida with Nick Sortal
Big events at Hard Rock, Isle; Free-roll at Mardi Gras

The two largest poker rooms in South Florida will have 11 a.m. tournaments on Memorial Day and then there's a free event at Mardi Gras Casino.

The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino's Holiday Deep Stack event guarantees $30,000 in total prize money. Buy-in is $250, and players start with 20,000 in chips. That gives you enough to lose a hand or two without having to panic.

The Isle Casino and Racing in Pompano Beach's $100 buy-in tournament spreads some of the cash around. It's a $25 bounty tournament, meaning every player you knock out earns you $25 no matter how you fare in the tournament. There's also a $20,000 guarantee. Players start with 15,000 in chips.

Meanwhile, another $10,000 free-poker tournament is set for 7 p.m. Sunday at Mardi Gras Casino. The first such tourney, held April 18, drew 179 total players.

Those wishing to enter May 24 can pick up tickets starting at 10 a.m. the day of the tournament. They must have a player's club card.

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Five chances to drive away

Memorial Day weekend is a time to reflect, grill with friends and, apparently, give away cars, trucks and cash. Five South Florida casinos have car or truck promotions this weekend, while two others have big loot going out.

At 10 p.m. Saturday, the Isle Casino and Racing (777 Isle of Capri Circle, Pompano Beach, 954-972-2000, gives away a Chevrolet Traverse. At 6:30 p.m. Sunday, the casino will hold a Memorial Day salute at the track. The U.S. Marine Corps will present the colors, followed by a big band concert at 7 p.m. and fireworks at 8:30 p.m. Call 954-383-2285.

Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino (901 S. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach, also has a car giveaway, but that has been pretty standard on Sundays this year. This time, the car is a Honda Civic at 10 p.m.

Casino Miami (3500 NW 37th Ave., Miami, 305-633-6400, gives away a Chrysler 200 Limited at 10 p.m. Sunday as part of a big weekend. Carlos Manual plays at...

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Fitch forecaster: Young people gamble, just differently

 Younger people are visiting casinos, but their focus is less on slots. And that's going to require some adjustment for the industry, notes Alex Bumazhny, director of gambling, lodging and leisure at Fitch Ratings.

 Fitch is a nationally recognized statistical rating organization, like Moody's and Standard and Poor's.

 Bumazhny wrote an almost must-read on the industry, and it's posted at their site, called The Why Forum.

 His point is that as millennials become a more important piece of the picture, we'll see some changes.

 One that isn't moving as quickly as one might think, though, is online gambling, which Fitch predicted would have modest interest, but the actual action has fallen even below their forecasts. Daily fantasy sports, though is an exception, and matches the millennials' tastes.

 Bumazhny also wrote that while millennials like casinos, more of the money is spent on entertainment and food and beverage, rather than slots (where casinos really make their money), and prefer...

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My moment on TV: Some slot reminders

 For those of you who were either asleep or out on the town Friday night and missed it, here's my big moment on TV: WPLG-Ch. 10 did a piece entitled "Slot Secrets." Todd Tongen interviewed Mardi Gras slot director Mike DeLuca Jr. and I for ideas on how to help inexperienced gamblers. It also aired Saturday morning.

Their piece got me to thinking that I should do a quick review for new slot players:

1.) Get a player's club card. It puts you on the casino's e-mail list for promotions, high-volume play will net you bonus cash and by swiping your card each time you enter, you might be eligible for a giveaway drawing that day.

2.) Max bet on the machines when you can. I know this sounds like fast-food restaurants always suggesting super-sizing, but in this case it's in your financial best interest. DeLuca correctly suggested to even play a lower-denomination game (a 25-cent machine instead of a dollar one, for example) and use the maximum bet button. That's the only way to get the biggest jackpot...

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Car buildup at Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras Casino (831 N. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach, 954-924-3200, will give away a Mustang on Memorial Day, but you need to qualify for the drawing by being selected in a preliminary drawing either Tuesday or May 25. It takes 50 slot points to be placed in the preliminary drawings, which run every two hours from noon to 8 p.m. The casino picked five people each on May 5 and May 12, and by adding five more each on Tuesday and May 25 will create a pool of 20 candidates to win the Mustang.

Seminole Casino Coconut Creek (5550 NW 40th St., will give away cash and free play from 5 to 11 p.m. Saturday. Ten people every hour will win up to $5,000 in cash, with a minimum award of $250 in free slot play.

Seminole Classic Casino (4150 N. State Road 7, 954-961-3220, runs a Flower Power promotion from 5-8 p.m. on Wednesdays in May. One person every 30 minutes can win up to $2,000 in free slot play. Players earn...

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Beef month at Isle

It's Roundin' Up the Beef month at the Isle Casino in Pompano Beach, with meaty dining deals and a Facebook promotion that yields free buffet dinners to people selected via a drawing.

May is National Beef Month, so the casino's Farmer's Pick Buffet this month has such items as corned beef brisket, grilled flank steak, Mongolian beef, steak fajitas, fried beef ravioli, cheeseburger pizza and burgers.

Also in May only: Myron's Delicatessen has a grilled New York strip dinner with baked potato, side salad and roll for $9.95 from 2 to 5 p.m. and $13.95 from 5 to 11 p.m. Bexpress, the quick-service spot near the poker room, has a Chicago-style beef sandwich for $7.95.

Meanwhile, the casino is holding a Guess the Dish contest at Five winners — randomly selected, whether they correctly answer or not — will receive two free dinner buffets. Entries will close at 9 a.m. Monday, with the drawing set for noon.

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