In 2018, Heather and I visited Atlantic Beach (Jacksonville area) and Northeast Florida. We gave it a resounding, and slightly unexpected, big thumbs up. In 2019, we took a highly anticipated extended vacation to South Florida. We came away mildly disappointed with Miami and the Keys. The only logical next step was to see what the other poker rich section of Florida – Tampa – had to offer. So in the last week of February, we combined a work and fun (and poker!) excursion to the Tampa-St. Petersburg area for a Tampa Bay vacation. While there were things we really liked and others, not so much, most of all we are glad we didn’t decide to vacation in March this year.
My two favorite activities are traveling and playing poker. However, today I find myself unable to do (or even reliably plan for) either one. I feel fortunate that all of this craziness started pretty much the day that Paul and I were returning from our most recent poker trip to Tampa. I remember sitting in the Tampa airport on March 1st waiting for our flight when Paul turned to me and said “My mom says there are two cases in Tampa”. And that was the last time we have been farther than 30 minutes from our house. Our visit to Derby Lane the day before was the last time that either of us played live poker. Almost five months later it is pretty safe to say that I am an extremely frustrated traveler.
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
Over its brief history as a nationwide activity, online poker fell into a legal grey zone. While arguably not strictly legal, for years federal and state regulators left this very visible industry alone. But on April 15, 2011, poker’s Black Friday, The U.S. Department of Justice provided clarity. On that day, the DOJ shut down the operations of all US poker sites. While online poker has resumed legal status for residents in a few states – Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware – online poker remains banned in most of the country. I believe that the current pandemic has brought clarity to this long neglected issue: it is time for the federal government to legalize online poker across the United States.
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.