Much success for WSOPC at Palm Beach

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Palm Beach Kennel Club director of poker Noah Carbone hoped for a World Series of Poker Circuit record for his opening event, even adding a fourth opening session, but it wasn’t to be. Still, the 2,539 entries was the second largest tournament in Florida history, falling just short of last year’s mark of 2,607 and is now third in WSOPC history behind the 3,001-player turnout at the Hammond event outside Chicago in 2011.

Carbone said the obvious culprit was the WSOP itself, which scheduled an overlapping event at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas with its main event being played on the same days as the Palm Beach series got under way. Carbone said he expressed his displeasure with the scheduling.

“They understood my feelings completely and said we would work it out for next year, even offering me some alternative choices for dates, although I’m not sure we want to move.”

Despite numbers being down slightly (main event had 670 entries, 778 last year), Carbone said there was plenty to be pleased about this year: “Everything went much smoother than last year, and we had two events with over million-dollar prize pools for the second year in a row. The most encouraging fact was that we had over 1,000 new signups for player cards, which means although many players from last year stayed in Vegas, we had a lot of new faces.”

Lou Cheffy, a financial planner from Naples, Fla., won Event 1. Three of the 12 ring-winners made the two-hour drive from the Naples-Ft. Myers area to collect their hardware. Just one South Florida player, Zach Milchman of Hollywood, earned a title. Ari Engel of Toronto won his fifth gold ring in a $580 no-limit event, and Jonathan Tamayo pocketed $206K for winning the main event. Sam Panzica, 20, finished 21st in the main, which combined with earlier second- and fourth-place finishes earned him honors as Casino Champion for the event and an invitation to the national championship in May at Harrah’s New Orleans. Results from the WSOPC are below.

WPT HARD ROCK: The other huge South Florida event of the year begins at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood on April 1 with an ambitious schedule of 47 events over 16 days. Event 1 of the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown has the smallest buy-in ($125) but will feature nine opening sessions over the course of three days (that’s right, nine, no foolin’), which will make for a large field for the $150K-guarantee. Start times are 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Scattered throughout the 16 days will be nearly every type of tournament: bounties, turbos, deepstacks, double stacks, stud, Omaha/8, pot-limit Omaha, H.O.R.S.E. and a seniors event. But unlike last year, no heads-up. Another highlight will be a $500K-guarantee with a $350 buy-in, played with four opening sessions April 5-6.
But the grandaddy is the championship event, which will be televised later in the year during WPT Season XI beginning Aug. 11 on Fox Sports Net. Defending champion Tommy Vedes of Ft. Worth, Texas, will try to reach the final table for a third straight year. The event will be hosted by Mike Sexton, Vince Van Patten and Kimberly Lansing, along with the Royal Flush Girls.

DANIA JAI-ALAI SOLD: Boyd Gaming, owners of gaming entertainment facilities in nine states, announced the sale of Dania Jai-Alai for $65.5 million to Dania Entertainment Center LLC in late February. Boyd purchased the property for $152 million in 2006, and had decided against opening a slots casino, thanks to excessive South Florida competition and a stifling tax rate.

Boyd had reached an agreement to sell the property to the same company in 2011, but Dania Entertainment failed to come up with the necessary financing and forfeited a $7 million deposit. In the new agreement, which the parties hope to close by May 24, that earlier deposit will be applied to the purchase price.

Earlier plans for the facility, which has hosted the Basque sport of jai-alai since 1953, included transforming the fronton into an $80 million casino with a hotel, restaurants, bars, lounges, shops and a marina, though the prospective buyers haven’t confirmed these plans are still in place.

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

30 cruises in 30 days at Palm Beach Kennel Club

Palm Beach Kennel Club is sending 30 winners on the May 20 Ante Up Poker Cruise out of Miami. Every day in April, the high hand between 4-6 p.m. wins a cruise package for two. Also, between the hours of 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and 6-10 p.m., the room is awarding $250-$500 to the high hand every 15 minutes.

WSOP Circuit, Palm Beach Kennel Club, Feb. 13-25

Event 1 • $580 NLHE
Entries: 2,539 • Pool: $1.2M
Louis Cheffy, $183,983
Event 2 • $365 PLO/8
Entries: 188 • Pool: $56,400
Zach Milchman, $14,661
Event 3 • $365 H.O.R.S.E.
Entries: 174 • Pool: $52,200
Clifton Ward, $14,094
Event 4 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 389 • Pool: $119,400
Michael Palumbo, $26,265
Event 5 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 234 • Pool: $70,200
Brian Reinert, $17,551
Event 6 • $365 6-Max
Entries: 274 • Pool: $82,200
Luke Brereton, $21,378
Event 7 • $580 NLHE
Entries: 212 • Pool: $106K
Ari Engel, $26,501
Event 8 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 194 • Pool: $58,200
Jacob “J.D.” Mast, $15,132
Event 9 • $1,120 NLHE
Entries: 161 • Pool: $161K
Zohair Karim, $43,471
Event 10 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 247 • Pool: $74,100
Chris Sheffield, $18,165
$1,675 Main Event
Entries: 670 • Pool: $1M
Jonathan Tamayo, $206,020
Event 12 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 166 • Pool: $49,800
Andrew Rothfolk, $13,444