Pictured Left to Right: Palm Beach Kennel Club Poker Room Director Noah Carbone, WSOP Circuit Tournament Director Jimmy Sommerfeld, WSOP Publicist Nolan Dalla, President and CEO Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau Jorge Pesquera and Executive Director Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beaches Dennis Grady. (Photo courtesy of IMPDI Worldwide 2011)
World Series of Poker action officially landed in Florida for the first time as the WSOP Circuit raced quickly out of the gate at the Palm Beach Kennel Club (PBKC).
The PBKC is owned by the famous Rooney Family, who also own and manage the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers. The legendary dog track first opened in 1932 and is located in the heart of world-famous West Palm Beach, the home and playground resort to many of the world's wealthiest and most famous people. The racetrack has featured greyhound racing for nearly 80 years. However, PBKC recently expanded its 60-table poker room to accommodate the world's richest and most prestigious poker competition.
This marks the first time ever that a WSOP-related tournament has ever been held at a non-casino. In fact, this is the first time any dog track has hosted a major poker tournament of any kind. West Palm Beach is the ninth of 15 stops during this 2010-2011 WSOP Circuit season.
Over the next two weeks, West Palm Beach will be hosting ten WSOP Circuit gold ring tournaments. The first day of competition for Event #1 -- a $345 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tournament -- began today with 341 entries. A second day of competition will be played on Friday, Feb. 18th. Both days' survivors will combine into the second session of play, to be held on Saturday, Feb. 19th.
The inaugural WSOP Circuit stop in the state of Florida was a major media sensation. Pat Rooney, Jr. (PBKC President) began the day by welcoming players and visitors to the tournament. He thanked everyone on the racetrack and poker staff for working hard to make this tour stop a big success.
Next, Jorge Pesquera (President and CEO of the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau) touted the numerous attractions in the area and encouraged players to enjoy their time in Palm Beach. He was followed by Dennis Grady (President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches) who discussed the excitement of the WSOP coming to South Florida for the first time.
The tournament began with the familiar words, "Shuffle Up and Deal," announced by WSOP Circuit Tournament Director Jimmy Sommerfeld.
The next 12 days will be packed with multiple tournaments and around-the-clock cash-game action. Second-Chance No-Limit Hold’em tournaments costing $235 to enter begin nightly at 6 pm. Palm Beach also hosts a Ladies Championship ($125 entry fee) which will starts at 6 pm on February 28th. Satellites for all gold ring tournaments will be going regularly inside the poker room. Several mega-satellites for the Main Event Championship will also be offered. The poker festival concludes on March 1st with the final table of the $1,600 buy-in Main Event Championship.
Record turnouts are expected for several events. In fact, a number of WSOP Circuit events are predicted to shatter previous attendance and prize pool records as the largest single-venue poker tournament ever held in Florida history. For this reason, players are encouraged to come and register early. Players may register now at the Palm Beach Kennel Club main cage inside the poker room. Tournament players fortunate enough to make it to a final table will compete for big prize money and a gold ring on a special stage set up near the racetrack grandstand. This will enable everyone close to the poker action to cheer for their favorite poker player and their prefered greyhound, as well. Betting windows are close by for those who want to mix in some racing action with poker playing. Dog races take place most days starting at 1 pm. There are also dog races nightly on weekends.
The Palm Beach Kennel Club is conveniently located just steps away from the West Palm Beach international Airport, which offers direct flights from all over the country. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is also close by. Several hotels are situated near the dog track and poker facility, to accommodate all budgets. The cardroom offers regular shuttle service to and from at least three nearby hotels. Special hotel rate packages for poker players are available HERE.
Florida has a proud poker tradition. The state has produced several notable names and faces familiar to everyone who follows the game. Among them is Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi, from Miramar, FL who is expected to attend West Palm Beach. Mizrachi made the WSOP Main Event final table last year, finishing fifth. He also won the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship, earning his first WSOP gold bracelet. Mizrachi is likely to be joined by his three brothers, including Robert who won a WSOP gold bracelet of his own back in 2007. In an unprecedented feat, all four Mizrachi brothers cashed in the 2010 WSOP Main Event, something unlikely ever to be equaled.
Other famous Floridians expected to attend include John Racener, from the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. He finished second in last year’s Main Event Championship, earning more than $5 million for being the runner-up.