SoFla’s Stax Poker Room: star-studded opening

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By Dave Lemmon

With comedian Jimmy “JJ” Walker bringing his “Dyn-O-Mite” personality to the proceedings as a hilarious emcee, the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek held a grand opening Dec. 27 to celebrate the new Stax Poker Lounge.

In the second-floor room, fans enjoyed meeting several special guests, including perennial Global Poker Index No. 1 player Jason Mercier and former world champ Huck Seed. Also on hand were 2010 Playboy Playmate of the Year Hope Dworaczyk (recently featured on Celebrity Apprentice) and Hosea Rosenberg, Season 5 winner of the reality food show Top Chef. Invited guests joined the celebrities in a 63-player charity NLHE tournament.

The cardroom features 30 tables, seven in a special elevated high-limit area. There’s a glassed-in championship table that features miniature hole-card cameras and might be used for a televised final table, considering the World Poker Tour’s association with the Seminoles.

The spacious non-smoking room has been nearly full on most nights according to manager Pablo Perez, who said tournaments are scheduled three days a week and there are two bad-beat jackpots and several high-hand promotions.

The Stax opening is one of the first public revelations of a $150-million expansion at Sem CoCo, which will include the doubling of the casino floor to 86,000 square feet, the construction of a seven-floor parking garage with 2,400 parking spaces with nearly 6,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and three new restaurants. All are planned to be open this month.

Seminole Casino Coconut Creek is just east of State Road 7 (U.S. 441) and just north of Sample Road in north BrowardCounty. The facility employed nearly 1,000 construction workers during the on-going expansion and is completing the hiring of 800 full-time casino employees, many of whom applied for positions at a November job fair that attracted more than 4,000 job hopefuls. When completed, the casino floor will boast 2,300 slot machines and 69 table games, including blackjack, baccarat and pai gow.