Poker’s Going to the Dogs in Florida

:: snake


I love greyhounds.

I think everyone should race one.

Ok. So not everyone is a fan of greyhound racing, including these “Page Three” girls above from the UK who are showing off their long legs and other assets in support of their long-legged counterparts, ex-racing greyhounds (some call them ‘rescued’ or ‘saved’ but here in the South we reserve the use of words such as ‘saved’ for people who turn their lives over to giving a portion of their hardworking wages to a man who likes to have sex with hookers while espousing the virtues of being virtuous, or something like that).

What was the point of this post again?

Oh yeh, poker is going to the dogs in Florida, literally, as more and more dog tracks are becoming the place to make it three bets to go on the flop as much as they are for betting quinellas and trifectas.

As Tom Zucco of the St. Petersburg Times reported recently, the greyhound racing industry, which had been tanking since 1988, is being ‘saved’ (yes, the definition above kind of works here doesn’t it, sans the virtuous crap) by the addition of card rooms that are drawing in more and more new gamblers (side note: 1988 is about the time I departed the Sunshine State, and for me as well as a number of youngsters in Florida at the time, jai alai and dogs were our first introduction to gambling, as the venues rarely checked our IDs. It was a beautiful thing for any young budding gambler).

From 1995 to 2004, paid attendance at Florida’s 18 greyhound tracks fell from 10.2-million to 2.8-million, and as Zucco states, “As fewer people gambled, the amount of taxes and fees the state collected from those bets fell from $33.7-million in 1997 to $12.7-million last year.”

Enter a legislature that got it.

First Florida allowed small-stakes poker at jai alai frontons and the tracks, but a $10 max pot made it rather silly. So two years ago, the state relaxed its rules even more and increased the bets to $2, with a maximum of three raises per round. An improvement, modest perhaps, but an improvement nonetheless.

And even better, as of last year, parimutuel venues are allowed to host poker tournaments, with payouts comparable to the Thursday weekly tourney at the Commerce.

So things are looking rather nice for our poker playing brethren one state south. And for the government as well, as the state of Florida took in $1.67-million in tax revenues last year from dog track card rooms alone. In 1997, that number was just $336,000.

The Addict and I were in Florida last week on biz and we talked to someone who had rave reviews for the dog track card room in Jacksonville in particular, which I believe is the one at St. Johns Greyhound Park. From looking at their website, it look like the tracks are getting a hang of the poker biz. The last time I was down in Florida, I called up some tracks with card rooms and even the poker room managers had a hard time answering basic spread and tourney questions. We’ll be likely heading to Jax in November so we’ll give a full report when we hit the card room there.

Calendar_models_greyhounds_febFor those who oppose the use of greyhounds for racing, I can understand your disappointment that more and more people will be heading to the tracks thanks to poker, thus more dogs being forced to race and often treated very poorly. Perhaps start a campaign advocating poker over dogs or something. I’d support that. For those who could care less, perhaps you’ll be seeing more of the “Page Three” girls posing provocatively with greyhounds, as in the photo here, which somewhat crosses the taboo line doesn’t it?

By the way, The Addict and I will be in East Texas two weeks from now. If anyone has thoughts on the Shreveport poker scene, please drop us a comment or e-mail.


5 Responses

  1. snake

    October 4, 2005 2:18 pm, Reply

    and that one next to her kind of looks like the porn star that ran for governor in California.

  2. Chops

    October 4, 2005 2:22 pm, Reply

    And for what it’s worth, the greyhound on the far left looks like the porn star’s greyhound. Maybe they’re related or something.

  3. joe

    October 6, 2005 6:12 pm, Reply

    the poker scene here in florida has definetly improved since you left. the poker rooms at the dog tracks are hit-and-miss. but you should check out the hard rock casinos in tampa and hollywood. they spread some 1 table SNGs for buy-ins ranging from $130-$550 and tournaments every week with buyins up to $550.

  4. snake

    October 7, 2005 9:02 am, Reply

    thanks Joe, dig your blog btw. I was in Miami in Jan. and was trying to get a group to make the trip to Hollywood…to no avail. Heard about the SNGs. I called up some of the tracks around Miami and nothing sounded better than the game we had going in our hotel. we did drive by the Hard Rock on our way out of town (an ice storm in ATL canceled all flights for a day or two so we had to drive up) and it looked impressive. I definitely plan to hit one of the FL Hard Rocks sometime soon..which one do you prefer ..Hollywood or Tampa?

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