Isle Open in South Florida goes to Rosenthal


Ante Up Magazine Southern Poker

Aaron Rosenthal of Surfside, Fla., was declared champion of the $1,500 Isle Open Main Event in Pompano Beach, Fla., after a three-way chop with Alan Schein of Lighthouse Point and Jason Wandling of Boynton Beach. Each player took home  $50K-plus. There were 192 entries for the $300K guarantee, which caused a small overlay.

HARD ROCK HOLLYWOOD: In conjunction with the unveiling of its $1.5B expansion on Oct. 24, the property opened its
45-table poker room with some celebrities, including Jeff Conine, and hosted a cash-game table with Jason Mercier and his wife, Natasha, Jeff Gross, SHR Player of the Year Jason Young and rapper Pouya. Later in the weekend, the room offered $5K high hands and other giveaways.

Before the grand opening, the poker room hosted the Seminole Turnpike Series and regular David Moreno took home the trophy and $30K-plus in a seven-way chop. The tourney, held with the Seminole Coconut Creek poker room, had 1,218 entries and beat the $250K guarantee.

December kicks off with the conclusion of the $3,500 main event of the Rock ‘N’ Roll Open and its $2M guarantee, which had two opening sessions Nov. 29-30. The World Poker Tour event will crown a champion Dec. 5 at a live-streamed final table. 

There will be several late-series events the first week of December, including a $150 re-entry tournament with six opening sessions Dec. 2-3 and a $100K guarantee, plus a $25K high roller Dec. 2 and a $400 seniors tourney Dec. 3.


L’AUBERGE CASINO BATON ROUGE: The bad-beat jackpot (quads) was $171K-plus at press time. Also, players can earn $3 comps per hour of play in a live game (hours doubled 2 a.m.-10 a.m.). Ask about progressive splash pots.

HARRAH’S NEW ORLEANS: The bad-beat jackpot (quad fives) was $205K at press time. 

BOOMTOWN CASINO NEW ORLEANS: The bad-beat qualification has decreased to aces full of jacks.

COUSHATTA CASINO: There are plenty of promotions at the Kinder poker room, including splash pots, Sets Cracked, Aces Cracked, Kings Cracked, quads and football squares. 

ISLE CASINO LAKE CHARLES: The bad-beat jackpot was approaching $130K at press time. The poker room also pays high hands, Aces Cracked and Kings Cracked. The Saturday tourney ($230, 3 p.m.) has a $10K guarantee. 

L’AUBERGE CASINO RESORT LAKE CHARLES: Ask about progressive quads, which pays $200-$2K.

Football squares are each Sunday and Monday night games as each quarter pays $200 and the final score wins $400. Players must be seated prior to kickoff to receive square selections.

GOLDEN NUGGET LAKE CHARLES: Aces Full House Mystery Cash Giveaway lets you earn your share of $4K by pulling a prize from the drum ($100-$1K) each day.

HORSESHOE CASINO BOSSIER CITY: Promotions include mini-bad-beat (aces full of 10s) for $5K and Aces and Kings Cracked.

North Florida

Josh Adkins won the WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble main event in Jacksonville, Fla., in late October for $331K and a seat into the Tournament of Champions. The $5K tourney was the culmination of the 21-event series and featured a $1M guarantee as Tan Nguyen ($211K), Josh Kay ($155K), Jason Lee ($115K) and Jonathan Cronin ($87K) rounded out the top five.

Event 5 ($200) was a $50K guarantee that drew 376 players for a $65K prize pool. Edward Mroczkowski of Jacksonville won the title, $12K and a main-event entry. Benjamin Scrogins of Jacksonville won Event 7, beating 400-plus entries for $40K. 

Other winners included John Holmes, Marcellus Lane, Kyle Scribner, Carlos Guerrero, Kelly Salgado, Michael Robilotto, Trenton Pippin, Turkan Martin, Jose Reyes, Alex Foxen, Juan Orduna, Mark Manesh, Kelly Minkin, Richard Grant, Matthew Silva and Jack Sumner.

December incentives at the cash tables include mini-bad beat with table share Dec. 2-3, a $6K Monster High Hand on Dec. 28 and the annual Holiday High Hands with amounts increasing daily (Dec. 12-23).

DAYTONA BEACH RACING AND CARD CLUB: The HPT main event finished in late October as Eric Salazar prevailed in a spirited heads-up match with Michael Rosenberg, winning $102K and the title.

Other event winners were John McConnell, Eric Schmidt, Saied Zamiri, Wilmer Chavira and John Mantouvalos.

In early October, Rick Porter won the $20K ($4,448) and a GAPT championship seat. Richard Hill won a GAPT seat in the $10K that was chopped 11 ways ($846).

EBRO GREYHOUND PARK: Brandon Cornelius took down the Emerald Coast Poker Championship Main Event after a five-way chop. He pocketed for $14,519 and the championship bracelet, beating nearly 480 entries, which generated a $119,500 prize pool across five Day 1s.

Bracelet winners in the other events were Steve Raphael, Colby Huffman, Lou Sisak, Shea Quintin, Brad Skinner and Rob Pribbenow. All prize pools exceeded their guarantees.

The Emerald Coast Spring Classic will be April 15-26 with $180K in guarantees, including the $100K main event.

ORANGE CITY RACING AND CARD CLUB: GAPT events run Monday and Tuesday at 7 p.m. In other news, October tourney winners were Seth Bobet, Max Akkoyan, Jeffrey Peden, John Baptiste, Andrew Lenarcic, Ryan Mortensen, Gabriel Silva, Miguel Rivera and Clay Taul.

CREEK GRETNA: The October $10K went to Robert Orshal for $1,993. See the ad on Page 41 of our December issue for details to the December $10K.

PENSACOLA GREYHOUND TRACK: The top two finishers in the October $20K were Lynn Morris and Jamie Tran. See the ad on Page 41 for details to December’s events.

Central Florida

The Holiday Poker Series at Naples-Ft. Myers Greyhound Track runs Dec. 9-15 with $100K-plus in guarantees. 

Satellites for $30 run Dec. 9-12 at noon for entry into Dec. 13 main event. Event 1 (Dec. 9, 6 p.m., $200) has a $15K guarantee. Event 2 (Dec. 10, 6 p.m., $130) sports a $5K guarantee. Event 3 (Dec. 12, 6 p.m., $175) guarantees $10K.

The $300 main event has flights Dec. 13-14 and packs an $80K guarantee. Day 2 is Dec. 15.  

TAMPA BAY DOWNS: Daily tournaments include Sunday’s Super Stack ($55, 1 p.m.) and Cheap Stack ($20, 7 p.m.); Tuesday and Thursday Mini Stacks ($45, $1K guarantee, 1 p.m.), Wednesday and Friday ($55, 1 and 7 p.m.) and Saturday ($90, 1 p.m. and $70, 7 p.m.). 

HARD ROCK TAMPA: The Winter Poker Open is Dec. 4-15, offering $900K in guarantees. Dec. 4 at 11 a.m. is a $160 buy-in with a $50K guarantee. Event 2 is a $360 event with a $250K guarantee that has flights Dec. 4-7 and Day 2 on Dec. 8 at
11 a.m. Event 4 (Dec. 10 at 11 a.m.) costs $570 and has a $30K guarantee. 

The $1,650 main event has a $500K guarantee with flights Dec. 12-14 and Day 2 is Dec 15. 

Event 7 is Dec. 15 at 1 p.m. ($480 buy-in, $100K guarantee). Satellites begin Dec. 5 for $80-plus. For more information, go to

OXFORD DOWNS: The Winter Series of Poker is Dec. 5-15. Event 1 has flights Dec. 5-7 for $160 and a $50K guarantee and Day 2 on Dec. 8 at noon. Event 2 ($100 seniors) is Dec. 8 at 10 a.m. The same day is Event 3 at 6 p.m. ($65 deepstack turbo). Event 4 is Dec 9 at 11 a.m. ($60 super seniors). Event 5 is Omaha/8 on Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. ($140) and Event 6 is Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. ($150 with $50 bounties). 

The $360 main event has seven flights Dec .12-14 with its Day 2 on Dec. 15 at 1 p.m. 

All details can be found at 

MELBOURNE GREYHOUND TRACK: Every Friday in December at 7 p.m. is a $60 tourney with a $5K guarantee. Every Sunday at noon in the Club 52 Poker Room is a $130 event. Mondays at 7 is a $60 tourney and Wednesdays at 7 will be a $70 turbo. There will be high hands for all tournaments. 

DERBY LANE: Every Sunday at 1 is $55 deepstack with a $10 optional add-on for 10K chips (15K starting stack), 20-minute blinds. At 6 p.m., there’s a $30 deepstack micro turbo with a $10 optional add-on for 10K chips (15K starting stack) and 15-minute blinds.  

Every Tuesday at 1 is a $75 Ultra Stack Turbo with a $10 add-on for 10K chips (40K starting stack) and 15-minute blinds. 

Wednesdays at 1, there’s a $55 deepstack and 6 p.m. is the $75 Ultra Stack Turbo. 

Every Thursday at 1 is a $75 deepstack and at 6 p.m. is the $125 deepstack. Friday at 1 features a $55 deepstack and a
6 p.m. $125 event (win $25 if you knock out Nicky Satty). Every Saturday at 1 is a $55 deepstack and 6 p.m. is the $75 Ultra Stack Turbo. Visit for promotions and special monthly tournaments.   

TGT POKER: The $125 Sunday Challenge has a $5K guarantee the last Sunday of the month (Dec. 29, 1 p.m.). Free buffet to all players. Tuesday and Thursday, look for a $50 Mega Stack with a $1.5K guarantee at 7 p.m. Sunday’s $60 bounty event has a $1K guarantee at 2 p.m. 

All tournaments (sans satellites) pay $250 for royals. 

SARASOTA KENNEL CLUB: High hands on Sunday earn $200; Monday and Wednesday high hands pay $599 (9 a.m.-noon) and $500 (noon-4 p.m.); Tuesday is the Grab Bag (9 a.m.-
4 p.m. and 7-11 p.m.); hit a high hand and grab a ball from the bag to determine how much you win ($300-$1K). 

On Thursday, the staff will Splash the Pot (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) at two tables every 30 minutes with $100 and high hands earn $300 (10 a.m.-3 p.m.). On Fridays and Saturdays, high hands earn $500 (9 a.m.-11 p.m.). 


The WSOPC returns to Biloxi Dec. 5 at the IP, continuing for 10 days with 13 ring events and two senior tourneys.

Event 1 is a one-day $400 doublestack. Event 2 has a $200K guarantee and four starting flights over four days. Other events feature a range of NLHE tournaments ($250-$400). For those seeking a little variety, Event 6 is a $400 PLO championship.

The $1,700 main event begins Dec. 13 at 11 a.m. with a $400K guarantee and two flights across two days.

This circuit stop historically draws smaller fields than some of the other more prolific events so it’s a fantastic opportunity to scoop up some jewelry and player points.

Visit for the tournament schedule and book your hotel room with the poker room rate by calling 228-436-3000.

ON THE HORIZON: The Million Dollar Heater returns Jan. 3-13 to the Beau Rivage in Biloxi and the WSOPC stop follows at Horseshoe Tunica (Jan. 16-27). The schedules for both events are available online. Find more details here next month.

North Carolina

HARRAH’S CHEROKEE: The World Series of Poker Circuit runs until Dec. 8. The $1,700 main event, which has a $1M guarantee, has two flights (Dec. 6-7). For more info, go to


AMERISTAR ST. CHARLES: You can find alternatives to no-limit hold’em cash games in the St. Louis area here. The venue spreads $20-$40 limit with a half-kill at noon on Wednesdays and Fridays. Players can drop by at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays (Saturdays at 1) for $1-$2 Big O. All cash-game players earn $1.66 per hour in food comps.

HOLLYWOOD ST. LOUIS: If stud is your game, Fridays at 11 a.m. is $2-$6 spread limit. Earn a $15 food voucher for every four hours of live play (limit two per day). Reserve a spot by calling after 9 a.m.

LUMIERE PLACE: Andrea Rose is poker room manager, replacing Jimmy Gorman, who departed in 2018. Lumiere Place is owned and operated by Eldorado Resorts, the company that bought Caesars Entertainment in June, leaving players to wonder if next year’s WSOPC will return.

Meet Valerie Smith

In 2011, Valerie Smith walked into her first poker room, Hard Rock Tampa, at age 50, hit a royal flush and was captivated by the game.
Immediately after that huge hand, Smith of Northwest Florida sought direction from two coaches, one for cash and one for tournaments. Now, the cheerful demeanor and shrewd analytical abilities she uses in her career are her defining qualities at the poker table.

As a selling manager, your work life is a busy one; how do you find time to play? I live near two poker venues and I travel quite a bit. On those business trips, I typically seek out nearby poker rooms. I’ve played in California, Las Vegas, Tampa, North Carolina, etc.

What’s your biggest enjoyment from the game? Definitely the social interaction. I prefer tournaments to cash because it seems the ability to get reads on players is enhanced by familiarity as the tournament journey rolls on.

What is your biggest asset as a player? As a woman in a male-dominated industry, I’m often underestimated. And, guess what … I’ve got game. Twice I’ve cashed in WSOPC tourneys and finished as high as ninth and frequently cash in the others I choose to play. I love the challenge of poker and my intention is to perpetually improve my game.

Any other poker thoughts? I’d love to see more women in the game. While there’s still some old guard attitude toward us, more and more the numbers of women playing is increasing. I’m proof that it’s never too late to follow a passion and achieve success at something one loves to do. — Crash Martin

Chris Cosenza

Chris Cosenza