Big Easy Poker Room

Big Easy Poker Room Review

The Big Easy poker room was a last minute lark for us. This was our seventh poker room on our ten day South Florida poker vacation. We visited the Big Easy to enter a “free” tournament and briefly check out the poker room. We came away pleasantly surprised with the casino, after only a short visit.

Casino Setting 

The Big Easy Casino, formerly known as the Mardi Gras Casino, in Hallandale Florida is located on Route 1, only a short drive from the Hollywood Beach shoreline. As with everywhere in South Florida, leave yourself plenty of time to get there, as it is in a congested, highly trafficked area. The casino exterior is fairly bland. It looks more like a freestanding department store than a casino. On the positive side, there is plenty of parking and a fun New Orleans theme.

There is a fabulous Peruvian restaurant a short walk across the parking lot on the east side of the casino called Dr. Limon Ceviche Bar. Dr. Limon has multiple locations in South Florida, and I expect all are equally great. We are not even ceviche fans, but everything we tasted off the tapas style menu was amazing.

 

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Coconut Creek Poker Room

Seminole Coconut Creek Poker Room Review

The Seminole Coconut Creek poker room, along with its larger sister casino Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood, are major players in the South Florida poker scene.  The Isle at Pompano Park is the other leg of the South Florida poker room tripod.  The Seminole Coconut Creek is more remote than the other two casinos and has some unique tournament offerings. We enjoyed the unique tournament offerings so much we partook twice during our extended South Florida poker vacation.

Casino Setting 

After battling the urban and beach traffic of Miami and its northern beaches, the Seminole Coconut Creek casino was a breath of fresh air. Located on route 441 near the juncture with 834, there is little in the immediate area. Standing in front of the casino, you only trees and lush greenery. The casino’s location feels a bit like the Florida version of Foxwoods.  In reality, it’s not far from the South Florida bustle.  The exterior is attractively landscaped with palm trees and flowers. Parking is plentiful with both a six level parking garage and exterior parking.

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Dania Beach Poker Room Review

Casino @ Dania Beach Poker Room Review

The Casino @ Dania Beach features one of the newest South Florida poker venues. The casino went through a complete renovation and reopened in its current incarnation in 2016. It has thus far retained the fresh and clean feel of a new casino. This fresh feel, along with a proximity to the Southeast Florida coast, provides an excellent start for the Dania Beach poker room.

Casino Setting 

The Dania Beach Poker Room is just a stone’s throw from the Fort Lauderdale airport. It sits at the northwest edge of the massive West Lake Park. Abutting the park and only a mile from the coast, Dania Beach offers great opportunities for strolling around before or after your poker game. Immediately south of the casino on the coast is Hollywood Beach. The town of Hollywood Beach features a long boardwalk with several casual dining options, and a lovely white sand beach. If you have time, explore the Dania and Hollywood Beach communities. If nothing else, the salt air will provide a great balance to sitting for hours in a poker room!

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Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood Poker Room Review

The Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood poker room is the lion of the South Florida poker scene. With the highest national profile, it provides the most Vegas-like experience among card rooms in the region. And the Hard Rock is not sitting still. When we visited in March 2019 they were in the midst of a massive renovation, including the addition of a large guitar-shaped hotel. The casino’s construction is scheduled to be mostly completed in 2019, so we expect an even larger, more spectacular venue to develop in the future. For now, the existing one is nothing to sneeze at either.

Casino Setting 

The Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood poker room is just a 10-15 minute drive from the Fort-Lauderdale Hollywood airport. It lies on Route 441 slightly north of the junction with 848. The casino sits a fair distance from the coast and is more isolated from other attractions than more coastal casinos like Isle Casino Pompano Park or Magic City. As with pretty much everywhere in South Florida, traffic can be fairly heavy around Seminole Hard Rock. However, it is a full-service casino, so once you are there, all of your eating, drinking, and entertainment needs can be met on site. Although a far different climate and topographical setting, the Hard Rock reminded us of Connecticut’s large Native American reservation casinos: Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.

 

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Gulfstream Park Poker Room Building

Gulfstream Park Poker Room Review

While Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood brings a bit of Vegas to South Florida, Gulfstream Park Casino imparts a very distinctive Florida feel. The Gulfstream Park poker room is housed alongside one of Florida’s famed thoroughbred horse tracks. The track complex offers a massive village of upscale restaurants and retail stores. The whole experience is quintessential South Florida. Unfortunately, the casino and poker room seem to be an afterthought to the more lucrative priorities.

Casino Setting 

Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach is about 15-20 minutes directly south of the Ft. Lauderdale airport and about a half an hour northeast of Miami International. Gulfstream Park hosts a massive complex of high end shopping, restaurants, live and simulcast thoroughbred racing, and a casino. The beige stucco architecture gives the place a distinctive Spanish Mediterranean flavor. Beautiful palm trees, shrubs, and other greenery grow everywhere.

Unfortunately, the casino, and particularly the poker room, are the redheaded stepchild to horse racing and dining/retail outlets.  The main casino (there are two) consists of a modest room of slot machines ringed by simulcast racing.  A number of people were placing bets and following races on the Friday evening of our visit. Wind your way to the back right corner of the casino and you’ll find the open poker area.

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