Palm Beach looks to make WSOPC bigger, better

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The third time is the charm, so goes the saying. Not that there was much wrong with the first two years of hosting the World Series of Poker Circuit, but Noah Carbone is always looking to make things better at his Palm Beach Kennel Club poker room and feels he needs to correct a couple of minor glitches.

Two starting days and a Florida-record (at the time) of 877 players marked the inaugural event in 2011, but the field for Event 1 in 2102 exploded to 2,607 players over the three starting days, and still many people were unhappy as hundreds waited until the last second to enter and were turned away.

This year, Event 1 will have four opening sessions for the $580 buy-in tournament, each starting at 11 a.m. Feb. 13-16 and with 75 tables plus alternates, this PBKC event could surpass the record 3,001 entrants at Horseshoe Hammond in 2011. Some ticket-selling glitches will be avoided by selling entries right up until the start of the event, with no seats held back. Players can go to the PBKC website and purchase tickets. 

“As always, we implore players not to wait until the last second,” said Carbone, PBKC’s director of poker.

A numbered ID bracelet system will be in place to avoid the long lines and pushing/shoving fiasco that emerged on the final opening day last time. Twice as many poker chips have been ordered for this event to correct some confusion that occurred with different-colored chips. 

“We’ve been taking many phone calls asking how we are getting prepared, and when people hear about the steps we are taking, they are pretty happy,” said Carbone, looking forward to the 12 WSOPC events in 12 days.

The series’ $1,675 main event will have two opening sessions, at noon and 7 p.m. on Feb. 23. 

POKER EXPANSION AT GULFSTREAM: Recent announcements about a multimillion dollar redevelopment at Gulfstream Park have had poker players wondering how the improvements will affect them. Expect exciting changes, said Scott Poole, director of poker. 

“I’ve always wanted to have a bigger poker room, one that could potentially host big tournaments, maybe even on a national scale,” Poole said. “While the main focus of this expansion will be on the racing side because the goal is to attract another Breeders’ Cup, there will definitely be expanded floor space for both poker and slots.” 
Poole expects the poker room to “at least triple in size, with 60 or more tables.”

Poole also said the room, which he expects to be on the second floor possibly above a new casino room, will have a European-style look that will be designed according to the tastes of Gulfstream chairman Frank Stronach. 

“Mr. Stronach is completely dedicated to this build-out, regardless of any destination casinos coming to South Florida in the future. He has an extreme passion for both racing and poker,” Poole said.  

Two hotels, one at each end of the track, are planned, along with parking garages and grandstand seating for more than 50,000 patrons. The expansion begins after the 2013 racing season ends in April. Racing dates are being filed, but Stronach hopes that year-round racing is just around the corner, another probability that has Poole excited.
“Our poker room revenues were up 12 percent from the previous December, which was the first time in recent memory that we had live racing during the holiday season,” Poole said. “With live racing going on, we always see a huge bump in revenues and the number of players in the cardroom, so that will be great for us when new dates are in place.”

Look for future tie-ins with local sporting events such as NASCAR and the Super Bowl, along with possible tour stops from some of the major poker tours, something that was previously impossible because of the size of the current 20-table room.

PERMAPLATE CHARITY: The second annual PermaPlate Charity tournament at the Isle on Jan. 6 attracted 93 players to equal the field of the inaugural 2012 event and raise another $35,000 for Women in Distress and the Sun-Sentinel Children’s Fund. 

Cathyne Rankin of Plantation may have sacrificed some value, but definitely picked the prize she wanted after a three-way chop agreed upon with David Shaw and Dr. Richard Blanchar. Rankin, who had a massive chip lead, split the top prize of $7,000 with Shaw and Blancher, but in addition chose to claim the third-place prize, a four-day/three-night stay at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. 

Tournament organizers, Bryan Oulton and Sandy Swartzbaugh of All-In Free Poker, were pleased with the turnout, which included ex-Miami Dolphin Jason Taylor and former WPT final-tabler Abbey Daniels.

— Big Dave Lemmon is Ante Up’s South Florida Ambassador. Email him at bigdave@pokeractionline.com.