Florida Million poker event returns this month



Derby Lane’s director of poker room operations Jeff Gamber relishes a challenge. In 2008 he created the state’s largest tournament, the 500@$500 Poker Classic, which capped the field at 500 players. In 2009 he bumped it to 600@$600. But in 2010 a sinking economy necessitated a new approach to creating and sustaining a major tournament.

Gamber’s idea was so big he realized one poker room couldn’t handle all of the anticipated players, so he enlisted partner rooms, and the Florida Million was born. The initial event in March 2010 was a huge success, generating a prize pool of $1.2 million. Last November, even with a still struggling economy, Florida Million II approached nearly $900,000.

Florida Million is unique in that it allows a massive number of players to cycle through multiple Day 1s by playing in their local rooms. Players can continue registering in Day 1 events until they reach the top 10 percent, giving them multiple opportunities to compete – and for the prize pool to progressively grow.

“This is a local event for Florida players,” Gamber said, “and the $500+$50 price point gives you a shot to win a potential heavy six-figure payday. This is WSOP event-type money in that very few national events generate a million-dollar pool.”

Deborah Giardina, Jacksonville’s executive director of poker operations, likes the idea of the tournament rotating throughout the state. “The fact that players qualify in their local rooms then travel for Day 2 only when they know they are already in the money is appealing,” she said. “It’s also a plus that the finals will eventually take place in their own area. It’s a win-win partnership.”

Gamber believes a tournament’s success is based on the size of its prize pool, and if all seven rooms sell out their Day 1A it will generate a $525,000 pool for starters … and some rooms will run five Day 1s.

Day 1 events are being held throughout March at Daytona Beach Kennel Club, Derby Lane in St. Petersburg, Jacksonville’s Orange Park Kennel Club and St. Johns Greyhound Park, Mardi Gras Casino in Hallandale Beach, Naples-Ft. Myers Greyhound Track, Palm Beach Kennel Club and Pensacola Greyhound Track.

Jacksonville’s Orange Park poker room hosts Day 2 on April 9 -10. Check your local room’s website for satellite and Day 1 information.

Schedule for Day 1s

March 13, 1 p.m.
March 20, 1
March 27, 1

March 26, 1 p.m.
April 2, 1

March 20, noon
March 26, noon
April 2, noon

March 20, noon
March 27, noon
April 3, TBD

March 5, 1 p.m., Orange Park
March 12, 1, St. Johns
March 19, 1, Orange Park
Two more dates TBD

March 6, 11 a.m.
March 27, 11 a.m.

March 5, 1 p.m.
March 18, 1
March 19, 1
March 27, 1
April 3, 1

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine