Will new year mean new poker limits in Florida

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Most magazines in their January issues include the obligatory resolutions, wish lists and/or predictions for the upcoming year. We’ve decided to spare you the long-winded articles that focus on pie-in-the-sky thinking and ridiculous clairvoyant ramblings. Instead, we’ll take these three facets and package them neatly into one thought.
If we could have one wish granted for Florida poker in 2009 it would be for legislators (chock full of new blood) to allow betting limits for all of our poker rooms to be more in line with Las Vegas, California and Atlantic City. To a man, all poker room managers we’ve asked have echoed these same feelings. Here’s what Mark Hayes of Daytona Beach Kennel Club and Poker Room had to say when asked what he’d like to see happen with Florida poker.

“I’m hoping pretty soon the limits would be upped a little bit from what the buy-ins are because the $100 buy-in is not really helping the players. If you could get maybe a $300 buy-in or a $500 buy-in it would be a better game.”

A better game indeed. And of course bigger buy-ins for cash games go hand-in-hand with bigger tournament buy-ins. This is a must. One of the biggest raps against Florida poker: Even if you play in a large buy-in tournament, what do you do when you get knocked out? Larger cash games would attract players from all over the country and may entice the World Poker Tour to bring its events here. What could be more inviting to a serious poker player in Bitter Cold City, USA, than a WPT winter event in balmy Florida where the family can go to the beach or theme park?

A keen eye would notice Florida legislators tend to work in cycles, loosening up one year and then tightening up the next year (or so). In 2007 we finally got no-limit hold’em cash games and slightly larger buy-ins, but last session Florida poker was essentially ignored. So it’s time for another landmark law to be passed, right? We know the economy is on everyone’s mind and gambling legislation takes a backseat to more pressing issues, but we predict something positive and significant regarding Florida poker’s limits will emerge in 2009. Call it a hunch.

If you’d like to help the cause, be sure to visit
www.pokerplayersalliance.org. There you’ll find links to your representatives and senators, plus you’ll learn their stances on poker and get help in crafting an effective letter to these politicians. You’ll be able to contact them via the PPA Web site and let your leaders know exactly what’s on your mind. And we resolve to do everything we can to support legislation that would increase limits and make Florida poker the best it can be.

Speaking of the best Florida poker has to offer, in this issue we take a look at what makes each of our Florida poker rooms unique and worthy of a visit anywhere in the state. We also spend some time with poker pro Gavin Smith, the former WPT Player of the Year who recently hosted a no-limit hold’em series at One-Eyed Jacks in Sarasota, and we review a book that teaches you the signs of poker cheating so you can catch those mechanics and colluders.

We’ll see you at the tables.

Christopher Cosenza and Scott Long