By Tony Dunst
The WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown series runs next month from April 15th through 28th, and I suspect it may be one of the first events players feel ready to travel for in some time. I look forward to visiting the Seminole Hard Rock for this series every year…and if you’re on the fence about joining then perhaps these five reasons will put you over the edge:
- The schedule: The Poker Showdown has one of the best and most comprehensive side event schedules of any series. There’s a variety of games on offer with buy-ins ranging from $400 to $50,000 and healthy guarantees on most events. Plus there are daily satellites feeding into the major events, so there’s no lack of opportunity for players wanting a lower entry point.
- The property: With the Hard Rock’s renovations completed, the giant guitar-hotel now towers over the surroundings and offers every gaming, dining, and nightlife experience you could hope for, all on-premises. There are more restaurant options than I can count, and the cafe stays open 24 hours— an important feature for poker players and their nocturnal lifestyle. The property has one of the nicer hotel gyms I’ve ever seen, and an expanded pool that’s lined with new cabanas.
- The main event: The SHR Poker Showdown offers a $3,500 WPT Main event with two starting days and one re-entry per flight. I’m a big fan of the single re-entry (per day) format, and despite that limitation, I’m confident the event will exceed its $2,000,000 guarantee…especially judging from the enormous turn-out of the Lucky Hearts Poker Open main event here back in January, which drew a field of 1,573 entries for a prize pool over $5 million and the first prize of $809,515. As always, you’ll get a great structure with a WPT Main Event, and the winner will land their name on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup.
- The location: The Seminole Hard Rock sits roughly 15 minutes from Fort Lauderdale and 45 from Miami, so there’s no lack of activity options should you want a South Florida vacation with your poker. The climate is usually ideal beach weather in April and stays comfortable for evening dinners overlooking the water. Being close to two major tourist destinations also doubles the airport options, and makes finding direct flights easier than less accessible tournament stops.
- Director of Poker Marketing Tony Burns: Our game is home to many great directors, but Tony at Hard Rock is among the best for his involvement and communication with the players. And while his approachable nature has him on a first-name basis with nearly every player, you do have to be careful when he goes for the handshake: it’s a firm one.