Derby Lane Poker Room Review

The Derby Lane poker room is the primary St. Petersburg poker facility in the Tampa-St. Pete metro area.  Our final stop on our poker sojourn through West Florida, Derby Lane was a pleasant surprise. We had heard a couple of disparaging comments from a player at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Bay about Derby Lane. We, however, found Derby Lane much more appealing than the dingy, scary venue described to us. And it had nothing to do with the fact that I chopped the final 5 spots. Promise!
NOTE: This visit to the Debry Lane poker room occurred at the end of February 2020. While now open again, the room has changed in the interim, for obvious reasons. Thus, your experience may vary, as they say.

Casino Setting 

The Derby Lane poker room is located in St. Petersburg near Route 62 coming from Tampa Bay.  The surroundings are not the most scenic, but they are fairly convenient from both St. Petersburg and Tampa. According to advertisements, Derby Lane was established in 1925 and is the oldest dog racing track in the United States.

Parking is free at Derby Lane.

Derby Lane Poker Room

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Players with Masks Play Live Poker

Is It Time to Play Live Poker Again?

Perhaps the decision whether to return to play live poker seems frivolous given everything else happening right now. But with most states decreasing restrictions, we are faced with myriad decisions around leisure activities. Do we go back and eat at our favorite restaurant that just re-opened? Does the advent of summer draw us back to busy oceans and lakes? Do we golf, bowl, play pick-up basketball, or walk and bike on crowded rail trails?

For some people, the answers are simple.  At one end of the spectrum are people who want everything back to normal and see minimal risk. Others will continue to avoid any environment outside their home that is not critically life-sustaining. Most people, however, fall somewhere in the middle. The question whether to play live poker, or resume any activity, is dependent on the answers to a series of questions regarding conditions and risk factors.

As we approach the end of June 2020, most poker rooms in the United States remain closed. However, there are several rooms that have opened in the last couple of weeks. The areas with the greatest activity so far are Florida, Las Vegas, New Hampshire, and scattered sites around California. If you have been missing poker, and live in an area with open rooms: should you venture out?

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Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Poker Room

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Poker Room Review

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa is a large full-service casinos that sit on Native American land. The Hard Rock is the premiere gambling venue of Florida’s west coast. While Tampa has several other poker rooms, the Seminole Hard Rock is the only full casino serving the area. Having visited its east coast sister, Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood, last year, we were eager to see how Tampa measured up.

NOTE: This visit to the Seminole Hard Rock poker room occurred at the end of February 2020. While now open again, the room has changed in the interim, for obvious reasons. Thus, your experience may vary, as they say.

Casino Setting 

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa lies on the east side of Tampa near the interchange of Routes 4, 92, and 301.  The setting is pretty urban, not much in the way of scenic surroundings, but very convenient to the city. One location drawback for the casino is that it is nowhere near the beaches, thus limiting beach-goer spillover.

Parking is free and there are several large garages to choose from. Read More

Oxford Downs Poker Room

Oxford Downs Poker Room Review

Oxford Downs poker room sits in a fairly remote area of central Florida, away from immediate competitors. However, on our visit to the Tampa area, we decided to venture north following dual draws of meeting up with a poker-playing friend from Gainseville and a Saturday evening Crazy Pineapple tournament. We love ourselves some Crazy Pineapple!

Casino Setting 

Oxford Downs lies in Summerfield FL, about an hour and a half north of Tampa, an hour northwest of Orlando, and an hour south of Gainesville. It is at once not near much, but a relatively easy drive from several major Florida cities. The drive up from Tampa was mostly on Route 75, followed by some very rural roads complete with cow pastures. In general, the ride was easy and pleasant.

When you initially turn into the main entrance, you will think “I must have done something wrong.” Have faith and follow the road to the end and Oxford Downs will appear. While the card room consists of a modest-sized building, it fronts an attractive horse track that hosts infrequent special events. From what we understand, horse racing allows the room to exist, but unlike Tampa venues such as Silks, the track exists to check that box rather than be a revenue/entertainment stream.

Parking is free at Oxford Downs. Note that Oxford Downs is open nearly 24 hours (10am to 4am) Friday and Saturday, with slightly restricted hours Sunday through Thursday (10am to 2am).

 

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Silks Poker Room Review

Silks Poker Room Review

Silks Poker Room @ Tampa Bay Downs competes in a rather busy Tampa poker scene, with immediate rivals Seminole Hard Rock Tampa, Derby Lane, and TGT Poker. Silks is an active horse racing venue and is a short drive from some beautiful Gulf beaches, downtown Tampa, and St. Petersburg. Well, as short as any drive is on the hectic “Waze says: 4 miles 26 minutes” Florida roadways. Silks poker room is in a great spot with a lot of inherent advantages for the vacationing poker player looking for other leisure activities.

Casino Setting 

Tampa Bay Downs is in the northeast section of Tampa, about a half an hour from downtown. It is about the same distance from the beautiful Clearwater Beach. After winding through the busy Florida intersections, you drift down the long, sparse road on which TB Downs resides. The venue’s surrounding area is very attractive, as is its main attraction: the active horse racing track. The grounds are very well-maintained, serving as a respectable opposite coast bookend to the also beautiful north-of-Miami Gulfstream Park.

Parking is free at Silks. On race days, as we discovered, it’s a bit of a challenge to find a space anywhere near the front door. Read More