Vacation's over: Back to work

Vacation's over: Back to work

 Hey there, just want to let everyone know that I'm back in town after about 12 days off. I flew to Boston to check out a couple of colleges for my son, then saw my girl in New York City, then the lovely Mrs. Sortal and I flew to San Francisco for a week, staying with a cousin for a couple of...

Seminole Classic's Do It Yourself bingo promo tonight

Seminole Classic's Do It Yourself bingo promo tonight

Seminole Classic Casino is giving players a shot at a $86,950 jackpot during its popular Do It Yourself bingo tonight at 7 p.m.

World Series final 9 from six countries

World Series final 9 from six countries

The World Series of Poker winnowed down to its final nine players Monday night, and they represent six countries: Brazil, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United States. The players will return to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino on Nov. 10 to vie for the $10 million first prize.  

Casino Miami Jai-Alai July promotions

Casino Miami Jai-Alai July promotions

Casino Miami announces cash prizes, including a chance to win $100,000 in cash, all month long.

$1,500 high hand mornings at Magic City

$1,500 high hand mornings at Magic City

The Magic City poker room offers $1,500 high-hand payouts from 10 a.m. to noon Mondays through Fridays in July.

Calder to lay off up to 246 after reductions, closings

Calder to lay off up to 246 after reductions, closings

Calder Casino and Race Course has slashed its horse racing dates and eliminated its poker room, and with that comes a reduction in employees.

Gulfstream regular leads WSOP Main Event

Gulfstream regular leads WSOP Main Event

 Andrew Liporace, a regular at Gulfstream's card room, sits on a much larger stage today. He's the leader after three days of the main event at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

Compulsive gambling conference in Orlando

Compulsive gambling conference in Orlando

The National Council on Problem Gambling is Friday and Saturday in Orlando, where experts in the treatment of problem gambling will gather from around the country and abroad.

$20 vouchers on SuperFast

$20 vouchers on SuperFast

The Bimini SuperFast is making it easy for World Cup fans. Everyone on board for the third-place game on Saturday and the championship game on Sunday receives a $20 betting voucher for the sports book. The ship will be airing the games on its 50 TVs and a 30-foot by 15-foot LED screen on...

Still time to play Event 1 at Isle Florida State Open

Still time to play Event 1 at Isle Florida State Open

Mike Smith began the Florida State Poker Championships at the Isle Casino and Racing in 2008, and his replacement as director of poker, Stan Strickland, has continued the summer event.

Casting call for "The Bachelor" at Seminole Casino

Casting call for "The Bachelor" at Seminole Casino

ABC-TV's reality series "The Bachelor" - um, let's make that "unscripted" television show - will have a casting call for single women Saturday, July 12 at ...

Seminole Classic installing food court

Seminole Classic installing food court

 Seminole Classic Casino had a huge upgrade last year and now comes another major piece: A food court.

Lottery sales reach $5.4 billion in Florida

Lottery sales reach $5.4 billion in Florida

Floridians sure have developed an itch for scratch-offs, spending more than $3.4 billion last fiscal year, according to figures released Monday by the Florida Lottery.

Sphinx machine solves 3D riddle

Sphinx machine solves 3D riddle

Gold coins and treasures appear to jump off the screen and into your lap with the new Sphinx 3D slot machine that hit South Florida casinos last week.

Hialeah announces $60M expansion

Hialeah announces $60M expansion

 Hialeah Park Racing and Casino officials announced an “immediate and ongoing expansion” this week that will cost $60 million and be completed by the end of 2015.

Seminole Coconut Creek honors 100-year-old patron

Seminole Coconut Creek honors 100-year-old patron

  Seminole Casino Coconut Creek honored what surely is their oldest slot player, 100-year-old Arthur Malin.

Patriotic? Play slots

Patriotic? Play slots

Seminole Classic Casino (4150 N. State Road 7, 954-961-3220, SeminoleClassicCasino.com) has a patriotic promotion: free slot play. Players began earning entries on Tuesday. Every 20 minutes from noon to midnight Friday, one person will win $1,000 in free slot play.

High hands every 15 minutes at Mardi Gras

High hands every 15 minutes at Mardi Gras

 The Big Easy Poker Room at Mardi Gras Casino is known for its easy-to-figure-out promotions.

Jeep Liberty, Can Am Spyder, jet skis at Casino Miami Jai-Alai this week

Jeep Liberty, Can Am Spyder, jet skis at Casino Miami Jai-Alai this week

  Casino Miami Jai-Alai has big promotions this week, with a Jeep Liberty, a Can Am Spyder and two jet skis up for grabs.

Isle $50K for $75 buy-in results in 7-person chop

Isle $50K for $75 buy-in results in 7-person chop

 Nobody walked out with the advertised first prize of $50,000, but at least seven poker players walked away happy Sunday at Isle Casino and Racing.

Calder poker room to close Monday

Calder poker room to close Monday

The word "fold" is heard often in poker, but on Monday night, it will apply to the entire room at Calder Race Course.

Lottery: Lotto hits for $12M in Miami

Lottery: Lotto hits for $12M in Miami

The Florida Lotto yielded one single jackpot winner Saturday night, with a payout of $12 million.

Casino patriotic celebrations: Starting Tuesday...

Casino patriotic celebrations: Starting Tuesday...

Four casinos have patriotic celebrations this week, although two of them will take place before July 4. I guess the idea is that July 4 is a family night for many people, so launch those fireworks early.

Casino Miami Jai-Alai: A business update

Casino Miami Jai-Alai: A business update

Casino Miami Jai-Alai announced Friday that it has completed the sale of its operations to Fronton Holdings LLC.

Four car giveaways coming up

Four car giveaways coming up

Five casinos mark the end of the month with big giveaways, four of them of cars:

Fiat winner at Mardi Gras

The climax of the June promotion at Mardi Gras Casino came Tuesday night, with the awarding of the Fiat 500L in their "Ticket to Ride" promotion.

Seminole Hard Rock poker prizes: Seats at $10M guarantee tournament

The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is in the midst of its Full House Giveaway this month.

Calder Studz shootout Saturday has $10K guarantee

 "Beat 18 players and win the $10,000 guarantee first-place prize!" proclaims the flyer for Saturday's Studz Summer Shootout, and that's a true statement.

Lottery eliminates Mega Money, announces replacement game

Mega Money is disappearing, with a new game in its place.

11-way chop at Seminole Hard Rock

 Apparently, everybody wanted to go home during the Friday night $350 buy-in tournament at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino: 11 players agreed to an even chop.

Robert Mizrachi wins second WSOP bracelet

Bimini SuperFast has special Friday for teachers

 The Bimini SuperFast ship is hosting what it's calling the "ultimate teacher’s appreciation party" Friday. That means no meetings, sunshine, gambling and the opportunity to knock back a drink or two.

Dinner theater Sunday at Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras Casino is offering "Murder at Mardi Gras," a dinner theater comedy, at 3 p.m. Sundays on the second floor.

Winning cash for kicks

Two casinos are offering nice payouts for people adept at predicting World Cup winners.

Cars, Jet Skis and comedy

A Fiat, a Porsche, and a Jet Ski are within reach this week, as are a concert by a noted rocker and a night of laughs.

Condo proposal at Gulfstream Park

 So the Hallandale Beach City Commission votes Wednesday on whether to approve a condo project at Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino. I don't really see any reason why...

Lottery: Fort Lauderdale man beats expiration deadline, claims $277K

 Just 18 days before his quarter-million-dollar payday would have evaporated, Ruben Curbelo took his winning Fantasy 5 ticket to Tallahassee and claimed $277,401.33.

Former Styx' DeYoung at Casino Miami Jai-Alai

Dennis DeYoung will be bringing the Music of Styx to Casino Miami Jai Alai at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Casino Miami Jai-Alai

Casino Miami Jai Alai offers giveaways, concerts and cash prizes in June.

Lottery: Sign your ticket for security

 In the heat of chasing that lottery dream, there's one move that a player should make in case lightning strikes, lottery officials say.

Girls in bikinis, World Cup and poker: My day at Seminole Hard Rock

 Talk about a whirlwind day: That would be my Thursday at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Hard Rock Cafe tribute bands at birthday party

Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood, located inside the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, has tribute bands to celebrate its 43rd birhday.

Be a dad-- or not

Depending on which casino they hit this weekend, dads can win a brunch buffet, cash, a home theater system and even a vintage motorcycle. In most cases, you don't even have to be a dad to win. So don't bother loading your wallet or cell phone with photos of young ones you'll claim to be your...

Familiar faces score at WSOP

Two poker players with South Florida ties came close to winning World Series of Poker bracelets Tuesday. Still, they ended up with pretty nice scores.

Gulfstream Father's Day includes buffet, gifts

Gulfstream Park is offering several gifts and experiences for those looking for a Father's Day present.

Seminole Coconut Creek has Father's Day motorcycle giveaway

A motorcycle giveaway and a special brunch will be the featured attractions during Father’s Day weekend at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, June 14-15.

Mardi Gras promotions for June

This June, you can earn a ticket to ride and drive away with thousands in cash, prizes and bonus play at Mardi Gras Casino. And at 10:30 p.m. on June 24, the prize is a Ticket to Ride -- a 2014 Fiat 500L.

Charity poker tourney carries $1,000 first prize

 A charity poker tournament Saturday carries a nice first prize: $1,000.

Miami's other finals: Magic City Casino

The contest calls its winners the best. Whether or not that's true, $5,000 is involved.

Isle: $75 for a shot at $50K

The World Series of Poker this year promises a $10 million payout to the winner, who will pay a $10,000 entry fee. A tournament this month at the Isle Casino and Racing in Pompano Beach isn't quite on that scale, but someone is going to get a very good return on investment: A $75 buy-in to the...

Watch horses, soccer

Watch horses, soccer

Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino (901 S. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach, GulfstreamPark.com) will host a Belmont Stakes watch party Saturday, when California Chrome will attempt to become the first horse in 36 years to win the Triple Crown. Ten Palms Restaurant will offer a...

Music aboard Island Breeze

Music aboard Island Breeze

The Island Breeze Casino, sailing twice daily out of the Port of Palm Beach, offers weekly live entertainment.

Seminole Coconut Creek promotions for June

Seminole Coconut Creek promotions for June

Seminole Casino Coconut Creek has a free play giveaway, a World Cup promotion and a Porsche Boxster giveaway this month.

Murray wins big event at Seminole Hard Rock

Murray wins big event at Seminole Hard Rock

 Nigel Murray, a familiar face at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, emerged as the big winner at the May Deep Stack Poker Series.

Gulfstream plans events for Belmont Stakes Saturday

Gulfstream plans events for Belmont Stakes Saturday

 Gulfstream Park will play host to a Belmont Stakes Watch Party Saturday when California Chrome attempts to become the first horse in 36 years to win the Triple Crown.

Poker tourney supports Jason Taylor, SIDES Foundation

Poker tourney supports Jason Taylor, SIDES Foundation

  A poker tournament in Weston supports two charities on Saturday: the Jason Taylor Foundation and SIDES Charity.

This time, Isle car giveaway goes to employee

This time, Isle car giveaway goes to employee

 Casino staffers are usually the ones circling around the happy customer who has just won a new car, but this time at the Isle Casino and Racing, the ride went to one of their own.

Woman claims Broward record $47M Lotto ticket; Hollywood convenience store sold lone winning ticket

Woman claims Broward record $47M Lotto ticket; Hollywood convenience store sold lone winning ticket

A frequent lottery player who says she "had a dream about winning" cashed her $47 million ticket Friday.

From Calder to Vegas?

From Calder to Vegas?

Most casinos hold slot tournaments, but Calder Casino and Race Course has a tournament that could send you to a world series of slot tournaments.

4 casino car giveaways this weekend

4 casino car giveaways this weekend

They say to buy cars at the end of the month, when salesmen are trying to reach a quota. Whether that's true or not, it's certainly valid for casinos. That's the time reserved for people to drive off in new wheels, and three South Florida casinos will rev up their rides this weekend.

Magic City company wins another gambling license

Magic City company wins another gambling license

 The gist for gamblers: Odds are good you'll be playing poker in Florida City.

Mardi Gras 'Candy Machine' has $10K winner

Mardi Gras 'Candy Machine' has $10K winner

Charlotte Fraeman won $10,000 Tuesday at Mardi Gras Casino. That was the top prize in the May "Candy Machine of Cash" promotions.

.38 Special at Casino Miami Jai-Alai Saturday

.38 Special at Casino Miami Jai-Alai Saturday

I put these words here so my sentence wouldn't start with a decimal, but, anyway, .38 Special plays at Casino Miami Jai-Alai at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Updated: Winning $47M ticket a Broward record

Updated: Winning $47M ticket a Broward record

Someone is holding, likely with trembling hands, the most valuable lottery ticket ever sold in Broward County.

Miami PPC stop postponed

Miami PPC stop postponed

Updated: The PPC's Sandy Swartzbaugh announced Wednesday that because of an unforeseen casino schedule conflict, the PPC Casino Miami Poker Classic at Casino Miami Jai-Alai scheduled from May 27-June 1 will be tentatively rescheduled to August.

Florida Lotto jackpot at $47M after four-month drought

Florida Lotto jackpot at $47M after four-month drought

Florida Lotto players are experiencing their second slump in as many years, and it’s close to tying a record.

Rainbow 6, approaching $10M, guaranteed payout Monday at Gulfstream

Rainbow 6, approaching $10M, guaranteed payout Monday at Gulfstream

Someone could get very, very rich. More likely, a few people will go home with a nice payout.

Cigar cruise Thursday in West Palm

Cigar cruise Thursday in West Palm

 Island Breeze Casino along with Three J’s Cigars will host a Cigar Cruise Casino evening at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. The event will feature a Cuban style dinner, rum station, and raffles every 30 minutes.

Fort Lauderdale man hits $500K on scratch-off

Fort Lauderdale man hits $500K on scratch-off

Kevin McCants, 44, of Fort Lauderdale, claimed a $500,000 top prize in the 20X The Cash Scratch-Off game at Florida Lottery headquarters in Tallahassee. He purchased his winning ticket from USA Grocers-Dixie, located at 800 NE 15th St. in Fort Lauderdale.

Lottery suspends sales at  Florida stores

Lottery suspends sales at Florida stores

Eleven stores are being investigated for criminal activity regarding their lottery operations, and have temporarily lost their right to sell tickets, Florida Lottery officials said Thursday.

Isle: A year of free play

Isle: A year of free play

Talk about a promotion that will keep a person coming back: Isle Casino and Racing (1800 SW Third St., Pompano Beach, 954-972-2000, TheIslePompanoPark.com) awards free play for a year to four people every Saturday in May. Drawings are every hour from 6 to 9 p.m., and players receive...

West Palm woman wins $1M on scratch-off

West Palm woman wins $1M on scratch-off

Alberta Edge, 56, of West Palm Beach, claimed a $1 million top prize in the 50X The Cash 50X  scratch-off game at Florida Lottery headquarters in Tallahassee.

Lovin' Spoonful at Magic City Saturday

Lovin' Spoonful at Magic City Saturday

Magic City Casino will present a free concert by The Lovin’ Spoonful at 8 p.m. Saturday at the casino's  Secada’s Lounge.

Zaslow hosts poker tournament at Casino Miami Jai-Alai Thursday

Zaslow hosts poker tournament at Casino Miami Jai-Alai Thursday

 Those who know me know that I love basketball, so I'd think what I say on this carries some weight: That Zaslow guy is really damn good with his Miami Heat shows. There's stuff he says that I hadn't thought of, which makes for good radio.

Big poker month at Isle

Big poker month at Isle

The Isle Casino poker room has scheduled two days with $1,000 high hands, two inexpensive, high-payout tournaments and a $5,000 free-roll this month.

About the blog & author


Maybe you've made the right play, maybe you haven't. Your heart speeds up, your stomach rumbles. That's why it's called gambling. Action is a sure bet, offering a view of the numbers, the psychology and the flavor of gambling here in South Florida, through our lens.

Nick Sortal began playing 3-card "gut" and "Indian poker" on high school band trips, moved on to "night baseball" and "pass the trash" during a Dr Pepper-infused midnight game in the 1980s at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, and now play in a regular neighborhood hold 'em game in Plantation. He's been writing about gambling life in South Florida casinos since 2007, which means sitting around watching poker on TV counts as research.

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