Hialeah poker room has huge September

The Hialeah Park poker room was flush with customers in its first full month, with pretty much a full house.

The new poker room outearned its south Broward and Miami-Dade competitors, with $692,417 in September revenue. That’s well ahead of nearby Magic City Casino ($491,097) and Casino Miami Jai-Alai ($251,923) and swamps nearby Calder Casino and Race Course in Miami Gardens ($221,375) and Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino ($392,346) and Mardi Gras Casino ($364,082) in Hallandale Beach.

“We’re trying to provide good service and a good experience for the customers,” said Hialeah General Manager Steve Calabro, who hired the former Miami Jai-Alai poker director, Nelson Costa, to run the room.

Hialeah Park, which opened, Aug. 14, is getting a late start because it was not among the three Miami-Dade pari-mutuels that voters approved in 2008 for slots. But the Florida Legislature approved them in 2010 and Hialeah survived Florida Supreme Court challenges by rivals.

Photos: Spot your friends at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival

With less competition in north Broward, the poker room at Isle Casino and Racing in Pompano Beach earned $868,565 in September and the Palm Beach Kennel Club earned $854,155.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida isn’t required to release revenue figures.

Hialeah’s first full month of slot revenues were more in line with projections, with the casino pulling about $1 million each from its two nearest competitors. Magic City collected $5.8 million via slots, Hialeah $4.7 million and Casino Miami Jai-Alai $4.3 million.

Calabro also had pledged that Hialeah would have the best payback percentage of any casino. It tied with Magic City, with both returning 93.75 percent of each slot dollar played.

I know Hialeah had hot poker giveaways/high hands, but so did most other card rooms. So, I'm trying to figure out, why did they have such a huge month.

Reader thoughts? Email me at NSortal@Sun-Sentinel.com if you don't want to bother with our registration process.