Naples-Ft. Myers Holiday Series ends in a chop in Florida


Ante Up Magazine Southern Poker

The Holiday Series at the Naples-Ft. Myers Greyhound Track’s poker room wrapped in December, with $110K-plus in prize pools.

The $80K guarantee, which cost $300, pulled in 445 players for a prize pool of $115K. The top five did an ICM chop: Brette DeJesus, $17,095; Scott Finch, $16,997; Michael McCray, $14,044, Jack Dunn, $11,364 and Jason Klass, $10,500. 

TAMPA BAY DOWNS: Here’s a look at tournaments at the Silks Poker Room: Sunday has a Super Stack for $55 at 1 and a Cheap Stack for $20 at 7; Monday (Feb. 3 and 24) is a $150 event with a $10K guarantee at 6 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays feature a Mini Stack for $45 and a $1K guarantee at 1; Wednesdays and Fridays are $55 at 1 and 7 p.m., and Saturday costs $90 at 1 and $70 at 7. 

HARD ROCK TAMPA: The December Deepstack Challenge ran Dec. 24-29. This $250 event, which had a $150K guarantee, drew 1,032 players and a prize pool of $211,560.

Tammy Leonard of New Port Richey came out the winner after a three-way deal for $37,506. Jessie Vizcaino of Jacksonville and Thomas Mercier of Winter Gardens split $21K each. 

Hard Rock also hosted its Winter  Open in December, featuring seven trophy events. 

Here are the winners: Thomas Clements (Event 1, $10,237); Tony March (Event 2, $48,851); David DiBernardi (Event 3, $12,379); Jacob Nauman (Event 4, $14,505); Justin Harrell (Event 5, $16K), and Shadrach Tercy (Event 7, $21K).

The Seminole property hosts the WSOPC for the first time Feb. 6-17, including a $1M guarantee for the main event.  The series kicks off with a $600 tourney that sports a whopping $500K guarantee Feb. 6. Visit for the schedule. 

OXFORD DOWNS: There’s a healthy daily tournament schedule here, including a $30 senior event on Mondays at 11:15 a.m., a $55 deepstack turbo on Tuesdays at 12:15 and a $230 deepstack on Sundays at 12:15. See our Where to Play listings for the schedule. 

TGT POKER: There’s a $125 event with a $5K guarantee the first Sunday of the month at 1 p.m. in Tampa. Blinds last 25 minutes and players get 25K chips.  

Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 7 is the $20 Night Quickie. Players get 8K chips and 10-minute blinds. You can win $10 Quickie tickets all month in cash games and tournaments. 

MELBOURNE GREYHOUND TRACK: Club 52 will host another $300 event with a $100K guarantee March 3-8. There will be $60 satellites at 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and every Saturday (excluding the first Saturday of the month). Satellites will run until the day of the tournament.  

The first Saturday of the month is the $130 tourney with a $10K guarantee at noon. See the ad on Page 24 for information on this and visit for promotions and schedules. 

DERBY LANE: Every day in St. Petersburg at 10 is Morning Madness for $10 (with coupon). Sundays at 1 is a $55 deepstack. See our Where to Play listings for the tournament schedule.

North Florida

The biannual $75K guarantee at Daytona Beach Racing and Card Club is Feb. 9 at noon as the final event of the GAPT Championship Weekend. 

Players get 30K units and 30-minute blinds for $500. Qualifiers run each day (Feb. 5-8) leading up to the final. Event 5 is a $100 buy-in with a $10K guarantee Feb. 8 at noon. Other tourneys cost $100-$200 and there’s a $150 senior event. All events except the opener use the big-blind ante.

In December, David Kelly won $8K-plus and a GAPT Championship seat after capturing the $25K guarantee. There were 263 entries for a prize pool of $35K. Joleen McIntyre and Brian Harris finished second and third, respectively. 

Late December found Jason Shinbaum of St. Augustine as champ of the $20K Premier. Shinbaum, Ramon Ruiz, Sergey Glagolev, Yuriy Kim and Pete Tinnesz agreed to take $4K apiece.

EBRO GREYHOUND PARK: This facility, just north of Panama City Beach, continues with high hands on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14), Presidents Day (Feb. 17) and Leap Day (Feb. 29).

See the Where to Play listings for the tournament schedule, but Feb. 7’s event boasts a $5K guarantee so call the poker room for details.

BESTBET ORANGE PARK: The December Deepstack had 243 entries that pushed the prize pool past the $30K guarantee. Fremio Gomez of Orange Park prevailed over Ricardo Gonzalez and cashed for $9,837. The runner-up took $5,832 as 30 spots were paid.

The weekly Sunday and Tuesday tournaments cost $50.

PENSACOLA POKER ROOM: Feb. 27-March 1 is a $30K guarantee for $180. Three Day 1s lead to the Day 2 final. All tourneys begin at 1 p.m. and $60 satellites run multiple times each week. Each Wednesday at 7 p.m., the room hosts a $2.5K guarantee; Fridays and Saturdays are $2K. A $60 Omaha/8 event runs Feb. 1 at 1 p.m.

The year wrapped with Michael Worthington as the $20K winner. Worthington, Robert Warner, Daniel Davis, and Scott Wood each pocketed $3K-plus.

GRETNA POKER ROOM: The December $15K title went to David Burns, who earned $4,463 in a tourney that paid 12 spots. Kendall Howard was runner-up. The monthly big tourney at Tallahassee’s closest venue holds satellites into the monthly main each week. See the ad on Page 39.

BESTBET JACKSONVILLE: Northeast Florida’s renowned poker room hosts twice-daily tournaments and various cash games. Look for bestbet Winter Open results in the next issue and see the ad on Page 21 for info on the $300K guarantee in March.

ORANGE CITY RACING AND CARD CLUB: The revamped GAPT tournament on Mondays features a 15K stack and 20-minute levels for $155. Dates for the popular WSOP main-event qualifiers will be announced soon. These “no-rake” events cost $620.


HOLLYWOOD CASINO ST. LOUIS: Heartland Poker Tour returns Feb. 13-24. Keeping in step with the past two HPT stops at Hollywood St. Louis, Event 1 is a $350 tournament with three starting flights and a $200K guarantee. The final prize pool in the November stop exceeded $273K and the one in July smashed the guarantee, paying $338K-plus.

The newest addition is a $300 heads-up tournament (with a 64-player cap) that kicks off at 4 p.m. on opening day, but the remainder of the 15-event schedule is fairly consistent with previous visits to the property, including a $300 senior event, a $400 tag-team switch ($200 per player), $300 pot-limit Omaha-Big O (Event 9), and a $200 seven-game mix (HORSE plus NLHE and PLO).

The $1,650 main event features three starting flights, with a single re-entry per flight. Flights A and B are at 2 p.m. Feb. 20-21 with cards in the air for Flight C at noon Feb. 22.

TURNER FINISHES FOURTH: Joshua Turner final-tabled the RunGood Poker Series $575 main event at Harrah’s North Kansas City in December, taking home $17,350 for fourth.

South Florida

Devond Marshall took home the trophy as chipleader when a seven-way deal was reached at the end of the $570 main event of the Seminole Hard Rock Fun in the Sun series, which concluded Dec. 30. The 286 entries generated a $143K prize pool, beating the $100K guarantee.  

Marshall, who lives in Miami, plays many of the Hard Rock tournaments and collected $18K.

Earlier in the month, Scott Baumstein won a coveted PSPC Platinum Pass worth $30K, along with an additional $22,311 when he captured the title at Chris Moneymaker’s Road to the PSPC main event, which drew an impressive 464 entries for the $360 tourney. Moneymaker played in the event, finishing 32nd before sticking around to hand out the top prize.

In other news, the Escalator Series runs Feb. 19-March 15.

CASINO AT DANIA BEACH: Mahendran Ramanathan earned the Player of the Month trophy and $4.2K. For details on this promotion, call the poker room. 

ISLE CASINO: On days without bigger tourneys on the schedule, usually Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, customers can put their names on a list, and when 10 names are counted, an $80 sit-n-go runs with $350 paid out to each of the final two players.

Interim poker manager Vinnie Gatto brought back these  events in November. SNGs were all the rage in Florida before multitable tournaments were made legal. Some properties would run 40-50 a day.  

North Carolina

HARRAH’S CHEROKEE: The WSOPC returns April 8-20. In the meantime, check out the $250 deepstack that runs Sundays at 2 p.m. As for promotions, look for $100 hourly high hands Monday-Thursday (4-7 p.m.) and $500 high hands Wednesdays (10 p.m.-1 a.m.) and Fridays (4-7 p.m.). 


The World Series of Poker Circuit visited IP Biloxi in mid December and gave out 13 rings, including one to $1,700 main-event champ Boris Kasabov, who earned $98,044 and his first ring. The main had 281 entries for a $425,715 prize pool. 

Other winners included bracelet-winner Corey Harrison, Yousef Saleh, Charles Brady and Russell Boyette, all first-time winners. Bracelet-winner Robert Cheung also achieved success in his first visit to Biloxi, adding a third ring to his resumé. 

B.J. McBrayer grabbed the Casino Champion title after six cashes, including four final tables.

BEAU RIVAGE: Every Friday at noon, enjoy a one-day $130 event with a $5K guarantee. Do the same thing on Saturday for $150. Every third Saturday of the month at 11 a.m. is a $10K guarantee. The $200 Little Monster plays down in one day and uses a hybrid big-blind-ante format.

Monday’s 6 p.m. $100 tournament is when the Beau says thank you to military and first-responders. For every military or first responder ID shown, $20 will be added to the prize pool.

Wednesdays are senior-appreciation day. 

For every player 50 or older who plays in the $75 noon tournament, $10 will be added to the prize pool. In the $100,
6 p.m. event on the same day, $20 is added for each senior who enters.


L’AUBERGE CASINO BATON ROUGE: The bad-beat jackpot (quads) was $215K at press time. Also, splash pots pay $50 around the clock Monday-Thursday.

L’AUBERGE CASINO RESORT LAKE CHARLES: The bad-beat jackpot (quad fives) was $105K at press time. Straight flushes earn $100 and royals get $200.

HARRAH’S CASINO NEW ORLEANS: The $200 Saturday tourney gives players 12K stacks and unlimited re-entry. You can earn 1,500 bonus chips for three hours of cash play before tournament start time. Call for details. 

COUSHATTA CASINO: There are so many promotions at the Kinder property, including a $2,500 mini-bad-beat jackpot with any aces full of kings beaten, Sets Cracked, Aces Cracked. splash pots and high hands. 

Looking ahead, the Spring Classic is March 12-14. Registration begins Feb. 2. Event 1 (March 12) is a $350 senior event, Event 2 (March 13) is $350 and the main event is $750 (March 14). All tourneys start at 11 a.m.

ISLE CASINO LAKE CHARLES: High hands pay $50 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Also, Aces Cracked pays $50 on Thursdays, but if the aces are black, you get $150. 

GOLDEN NUGGET LAKE CHARLES: Royals and straight flushes will be paid $200 and $100, respectively.

HORSESHOE CASINO BOSSIER CITY: The Saturday tourney has a $10K guarantee with 30 runners as players start with 15K chips and unlimited re-entry. The mini-bad-beat jackpot (aces full of 10) pays $5K. Call for details.

Meet Tonia Williams

Tonia Williams of Tampa, Fla., has been playing poker since 2004. After watching poker on TV for a couple of years, she decided to walk into a poker room while on vacation in Las Vegas. She’s been hooked since and has been successful over the years with a pair of victories and about a dozen final tables. She enjoys playing at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg and Hard Rock Tampa.   

What other hobbies do you have? I learned how to play mahjong about a year ago and now I’m hooked. I play it once a week with a group of friends. I also enjoy playing golf.  

What is your biggest poker achievement? I guess making it through a huge field at one of the Florida Million tournaments, ending up in 12th place. Also, I recently won the Hard Rock’s Pinktober women’s event in October 2019.  

Why do you love poker? It’s always a new adventure. I’ve been able to travel, meet so many wonderful people and come home with some extra cash once in a while. I have some great friends that I have met at the poker tables over the years. We know how to have a good time. — Sharon Fekete

Chris Cosenza

Chris Cosenza