Poker Tournament Packing List

Poker Tournament Packing List

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Do you have a poker tournament packing list? Sure, when you go on a trip, you think about what you’re going to pack. You may even refer to a standard list so you don’t forget your toothbrush, phone charger, or razor (my most likely to be forgotten item). If you do, good for you!  Similarly, you should have a poker tournament packing list for any event lasting more than a couple of hours.

In order to play your best poker, you’ll want to be well fed, hydrated, and focused. You also want to make sure that you’re comfortable. This may mean extra layers of clothes and sunglasses or a hat to cut any glare from the lights. And if you play with a partner, you’ll want to bring along some reading, viewing, or poker training to amuse yourself if you go out first. Unless you have a poker go bag (also not a bad idea), you’ll want a poker tournament packing list to assure that you don’t forget any crucial items for your longer tournaments.

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Vizcaya Museum Miami Weekend

An Intense Weekend in Miami

Miami is intense. The people are intense. The traffic is intense. The personal injury lawyers are (if the ever-present billboards are any indication) very intense. So it is not surprising that the segment of our recent trip spent in south Florida amounted to a very intense weekend in Miami. Intensity, of course has both its pluses and minuses. While the three days we spent in Miami were not, perhaps, very relaxing, they were filled with new experiences.

Home Base in South Beach

As we learned when planning this vacation (and frankly, kind of already knew), South Beach is not cheap. Especially in February. There are any number of small hotels and accommodations that will welcome you for a mere $400 a night. When researching our trip, we tried all of our tricks for finding a great hotel at a reasonable price. In the end we counted ourselves lucky to find a nice place for “only” a bit over $200 a night (plus $30 a day for parking). Only because this trip was in honor of my 50th birthday did we grit our teeth and pay such a high rate.

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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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Isle Casino Pompano Park Poker Room

Isle Casino Pompano Park Poker Room Review

The Isle Casino Pompano Park poker room is a key part of the busy South Florida poker scene. With 38 tables and a fairly active cash and tournament poker scene, Pompano forms a big three with Seminole Coconut Creek and Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood. Seminole Coconut Creek is the closest competitor to Pompano Park, lying about 6 miles to the northwest. There are also a slew of other smaller rooms around Miami.  Pompano Park certainly has natural advantages, being only a few miles inland from the Atlantic coastline and near Ft. Lauderdale. However, as it is further from Miami than many rooms and in a very competitive poker scene, Pompano faces a challenge in distinguishing itself.

Casino Setting

The Isle Casino Pompano Park poker room is about 20 minutes north of the Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood airport. It sits about five miles inland from the Pompano Beach coastal area. Pompano Park is off of Route 845, just south of where it intersects with Route 814. Route 814 East toward to the coast will take you to downtown Pompano Beach  and its restaurant row.  For golf aficionados, Pompano Park is directly across from the Palm Aire Country Club. This area, like most of South Florida, is pretty congested, so if you’re heading in for a tournament, leave yourself plenty of time.

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Magic City poker room

Magic City Poker Room Review

The Magic City poker room is one of the smallest card rooms in South Florida. Magic City carves out a specific niche in the southwest corner of Miami away from the larger rooms to the north like Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood and Isle Casino Pompano Park.  Its closest rival is the larger Hialeah Park (which we were unable to fit in on this trip). Magic City’s poker room has a diverse clientele (except in terms of gender).  The room’s proximity to Downtown Miami and Little Havana presents nice opportunities for a day of sightseeing, cultural immersion, dining, and poker.

Casino Setting 

The Magic City Casino lies on the west side of Miami, right outside the northwest edge of  Little Havana. It can be accessed via the Dolphin Expressway (route 836) to the north, route 968 to the south, and route 953 to the west. In other words, it’s conveniently accessed  from any direction – at least as convenient as possible considering South Florida traffic and stop lights!

If you have the time, walk around and definitely eat in Little Havana.  The Calle Ocho is a great area to stroll around and grab lunch or dinner. Ice cream fans might enjoy Azucar.  They had some creative flavors like Burn in Hell Fidel, a chocolate spiced with cayenne, Guava, and Mango. Poker players will enjoy checking out the intensive domino action at Maximo Gomez Park. The day we visited, there were some heated chess matches going on as well.  If you head west down 8th Street toward Magic City, you’ll come across Versailles Cuban Bakery, offering a range of goodies from pastries and cakes to sandwiches and meals.

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