Action Gambling in South Florida with Nick Sortal
Poker at 18: Our trip to the Isle

"What's he doing sitting down here?" a man asks as my son seats himself at the poker table. I flinch for a second, but I realize the man is joking when he adds, "Doesn't he know you have to be old to play in this game?"

It's my first time taking my son, Aaron, to a South Florida card room. I chose to take him to the Isle Casino in Pompano Beach to play in a game where the maximum bet is $2. We're starting slow. We each have $60 in chips.

The original plan had been to take Aaron on his 18th birthday, last Aug. 22. But he had school-related activities that day. Then, came college applications, then a class trip and, the next thing you know, it's seven months before we get a few hours together. Go ahead, hum, "Cat's in the Cradle" or Joni Mitchell's "The Circle Game" if the mood suits you.

So we finally get a Friday morning free, and find ourselves with eight older men, several of them over 70. Florida is one of the rare states where 18 is the legal age for poker, although it's still 21 for...

Read more
Cars at Isle, Casino Miami

Someone will win the big prize for the month 10 p.m. Saturday at the Isle Casino and Racing (777 Isle of Capri Circle, Pompano Beach, 954-972-2000, It’s a BMW X3, and slot players have been earning entries into the drawing all month. Meanwhile, consolation prizes, consisting of free slot play, will be doled out from 6 to 11 p.m.

Casino Miami (3500 NW 37th Ave., Miami, 305-633-6400, has a three-car giveaway, all Lincoln MKZs. The drawing times are 2 a.m. Saturday (the casino has a late Friday-night crowd), 2 a.m. Sunday and 10 p.m. Sunday.

Seminole Classic Casino (4150 N. State Road 7, 954-961-3220, plays off the idea of April showers on the final day of the month. The Make It Rain giveaway consists of five winners every hour from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday. Prizes include up to $2,000 in cash or free play. Patrons have been earning drawing entries since April 1. They can continue to do so right up to the drawing.


Read more
Palm Beach County poker players cash in at Hard Rock tournament

There are nine poker rooms in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, and only one in Palm Beach County.

But two regulars from Palm Beach Kennel Club made the biggest impression Wednesday night at the World Poker Tour Hard Rock Poker Showdown. Andre Crooks, of Lake Worth, finished third, earning $383,000. Shawn Nguyen, of West Palm Beach, came in fourth in the field of 1,476 players. He won $323,500.

Equally as important was that they did it in style. Nguyen, whom friends call "Q" because it's his middle initial, drew the most cheers, as Kennel Club regulars filled about 75 percent of the 100 or so seats available for the final table at Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood.

"He's only been playing at the Kennel Club for about 18 months, yet all these people came to cheer for him," said Brannon Sawyer, of Jupiter. "That says something about what people think of him."

Nguyen lived and played in the Northeast before moving to South Florida to play poker full-time. He...

Read more
Hotel opens at Resorts World Bimini

 Resorts World Bimini announced that Phase One of the new Hilton at Resorts World Bimini is open and available for booking at

 The introductory rate is $139 per night, which includes a round-trip cruise transfer from Port Miami on the Bimini SuperFast.

“We are proudly welcoming guests to the new Hilton at Resorts World Bimini, in advance of our busy summer season,” Resorts World Bimini president Ed Farrell said in a news release.  “Bimini is a popular destination for families and individuals alike – the proximity to Miami and convenient travel by Bimini SuperFast makes for a convenient and quick getaway for a weekend or even a longer vacation experience.”

 Resorts World Bimini includes  multiple restaurants and bars,  boutiques, water sports and a casino and sports book with water and marina views.

 There also are two marinas: Fisherman’s Village Marina (136 slips) and the Mega Yacht Marina (94 slips).

 Phase Two of Hilton at Resorts World Bimini is scheduled to open in the...

Read more
7 million views on "American Casino Guide"

 You know, a few hundred views are nice for some YouTube videos. But consider this number, announced earlier this month by the publishers of the American Casino Guide: 7 million views.

 OK, that's a family of 75 videos on a variety of casino gambling topics, with American Casino Guide author Steve Bourie explaining  how the games are played, giving details on the casino's mathematical advantage on each bet and insights into the best strategies for playing each game. But that's an average of 100,000 views each.

  Bourie has been writing about casino gambling for more than 20 years -- and enjoys gambling himself. He says that the goal of the videos is to teach casino-goers how to be smarter gamblers.

 “Most people who walk into a casino are rather clueless about how to properly play the games," says Bourie. "Additionally, they don't realize that each bet has its own particular mathematical advantage in favor of the house and some bets are much better because they have a lower casino advantage."


Read more
Updated: $777 every 7 minutes at Hard Rock

A lot of money will be given away very quickly Friday at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, 800-937-0010, The casino’s Hard Rockin’ Sevens promotion will dish out $777 in free play every seven minutes from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. (Earlier versions of this article had different times.)

Mardi Gras Casino (831 N. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach, 954-924-3200, marks Earth Day Wednesday by helping you be more environmentally sensitive. Beginning at noon, slot players who earn at least 25 points will receive a Mardi Gras bag. And if you earn 50 points, you will receive a Mardi Gras water bottle.

Seminole Casino Coconut Creek (5550 NW 40th St., will give away a Mustang GT and $25,000 from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday. Ten patrons every hour will be picked, and eight will receive $250 in free play. Two will become finalists to return following the 11 p.m. drawing. Immediately following the...

Read more