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.
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.
The Big Easy casino was active the night we were there. However, it was the quietest active casino we have ever seen. The slots don’t blare, and the piped in music was subtle. There was no one yelling in the slot area, and the customer base skewed even older than in an average slot room. Even the simulcast racing area was subdued. Best of all….the Big Easy is entirely smoke free! However, they do have a smoker friendly outdoor slots area for those who need it.
The Big Easy has a high limit slots room, but it was completely empty when we walked by. As it’s not a Native American reservation casino it is not allowed to have live roulette, blackjack, or other table games. However, they do have virtual versions of each.
On the downside, the casino is long and narrow with low ceilings, and is very dark. There are few dining options within the casino. It has a couple of bars (one in the poker room), and a snack bar for pizza, sandwiches, and appetizers. However, there are plenty of dining options within walking distance for those seeking more substantial meals.The Big Easy poker room had the most diverse player pool in terms of age, gender and ethnicity that we encountered in South Florida.Click To Tweet
The Big Easy Poker Room Comfort
The thirty table Big Easy poker room seems to have a very active atmosphere. While the casino itself was quiet, the poker room was teeming with people, and the chatter at the tables was active. The noise was not oppressively loud, however, and the room itself felt large and cool. The tables were decently spaced,with enough room to maneuver between them. The chairs were well-padded and comfortable, and the lighting was sufficient to see the flop in the middle of the table.
About half of the tables seemed to have shufflers, but these were mostly being used for cash games.
Note that you do need a players card to play in poker room.
Poker Room Staff
We did not experience enough hands to fully evaluate the staff, but the dealers at the Big Easy during our brief tournament experience appeared competent. The floors seemed to be dealing well with the chaos of 100 players descending quickly.
Players at the Big Easy Poker Room
The Big Easy poker room had the most diverse player pool in terms of age, gender, and ethnicity that we encountered in South Florida. In fact, this may be the most diverse room we have ever played in anywhere. The room had a very nice inclusive feel. As we played only a free tournament entry (and both survived only briefly with our micro-stacks), it’s hard to comment on the quality and style of players.
The Big Easy poker room has a very interesting tournament every night at 7pm. The blinds are 15 minutes long and you can enter free for 500 chips (first blind level is 50-100). You can buy an initial add on for $50 for 8,000 chips, or $100 for 16,000. You can also re-buy $30 for 4,000 chips. The tournament was mobbed on the Sunday night we were there with 96 players entered by the time cards were in the air.
Cash Game Activity
The Big Easy poker room’s bread and butter is cash poker. On the Sunday evening we were there, the Big Easy had 16 tables of cash games. On weekday evenings there are typically 5 to 6 $1/$2 tables, 1 to 2 $2/$5 tables, and a stunning 5 to 7 tables of other active games. Interestingly, on Friday and Saturday nights the $1/$2 and$2/$5 tables stay fairly steady with their weekday numbers, but there may be up to 10 to 12 tables of other games. The night we visited there were a number of active Omaha and Limit Hold’em tables.
Overall Assessment of the Big Easy Poker Room
The Big Easy Casino is located near several beach towns immediately north of Miami. Modestly sized, the casino itself had a fairly low key ambiance, busy but lacking the blaring noise of many casinos. The poker room clearly holds significant status in this moderately sized casino. And it earns that status with a very active cash game scene. The Big Easy not only offers several tables of $1/$2 NLH every night, but runs an array of other cash games as well. The range of cash poker options may be one reason the Big Easy poker room draws such a diverse crowd. The single nightly “free” tournament, with its various add-on and re-buy options is freewheeling fun, and clearly a big draw for the casino.
The Big Easy Casino has a fairly low key ambiance, busy but lacking the blaring noise of many casinos. The poker room clearly holds significant status in this moderately sized casino, and earns that status with a very active cash game scene. The range of cash poker options may be one reason the Big Easy poker room draws such a diverse crowd. The single nightly “free” tournament, with its various add-on and re-buy options is freewheeling fun, and clearly a big draw for the casino.