By Donovan Livingston
This month we feature Rick O’Connell, poker room manager at Seminole Casino in Immokalee, Fla. He is married to his wife, Linda, and is father to two sons. His oldest hosts theNo. 1 morning radio show in Phoenix. O’Connell is good friends with 2013 Poker Hall of Fame inductee Scotty Nguyen. (See the ad on the previous page for information regarding the Scotty Nguyen Hall of Fame party.)
For fun, Rick does one thing the most: cruising! He’s been on 50 cruises since 1983, and in September he’s planning a trip to Ireland.
Rick has been in the casino business for 18 years, so how did he break into the industry?
“I started as a poker dealer at Harrah’s first Native American casino, Ak-Chin in Phoenix, 20 years ago,” he said. “I was the first director to open poker and table games in the state of Oklahoma for the Cherokee Nation. We also brought the first state championship of poker to the state.”
His poker room in Immokalee spreads games such as $2-$4 limit hold’em and $1-$2 and $2-$5 NLHE, “or any game you’d like,” he said.
As for tournaments, he hosts multitable tourneys every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. In addition, O’Connell will host qualifying tournaments for the upcoming Seminole Hard Rock main events this month and in August.
When it comes to poker promotions, Immokalee has daily progressive bonus hands for quads, straight flushes and royals, plus a $10K bad-beat jackpot. Players earn food and beverage comps for playing in the poker room.
With regards to casino-wide promotions, O’Connell said, “We run several promotions a month ranging from free play and cash giveaways to cars and trips. In fact, it’s our 20th anniversary this year and we gave away a Dodge Viper in March. We feature more than 1,200 slots and 34 table games. Our poker players earn entries into our casino-wide promotions.”
Outside the casino, there’s Lake Trafford in Immokalee, the local farmer’s market and the casino is surrounded by state and national parks, so if your cards start to cool off, you can get away for some extra-curricular activities.
For more information about this fun and exciting poker room, visit seminoleimmokaleecasino.com.