One-Eyed Jacks Poker Room Review

The trip to One-Eyed Jacks poker room (housed in the Sarasota Kennel Club) took a bit of commitment on our Tampa trip. The room was about an hour outside the city, and like everything in Florida, getting there involved dodging aggressive drivers on the highway and impatiently sitting through traffic lights once off the highway. But that’s Florida. Nonetheless, the volume of cash games and diversity of tournaments intrigued us. So we took the second Saturday of our vacation to drive down to Sarasota for lunch, a beach view, and some poker.
NOTE: This visit to the One-Eyed Jacks 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.

Casino Setting 

One-Eyed Jacks is located about an hour south of Tampa, on the north side of Sarasota.  The room is right beside the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport.  It is accessible from major roads, but sits in a very congested area.

We drove down early from Tampa so we could check out the Sarasota beaches and grab a quick lunch. We ate lunch at The Dry Dock Grill in the Lido Beach area. The food was pretty good, and sitting outside on their patio was very pleasant. We walked along Lido Beach after lunch, which had some of the finest white sand we have ever seen.

If you visit Lido Beach, leave yourself plenty of time to get over to One-Eyed Jacks. Although only about 10 miles away, it took us over half an hour.  There was some construction that made parts challenging, but mostly, the Florida traffic and never ending traffic lights were our main nemeses once again.

Parking is free at One-Eyed Jacks. Read More

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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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