All You Need to Know About Florida’s Top Poker Event

Florida has an excellent reputation for being a place where things happen. From Orlando to Miami, there are beaches to explore, theme parks to get lost in and plenty of other things to see and do. One aspect of Florida life you may not be aware of is its poker scene. Recently, several high-profile tournaments have occurred in the state, with more on the way in 2022.

Traditionally, Las Vegas is the home of world poker. It hosts the World Series of Poker, the one tournament that grabs the headlines, mainly thanks to the film Rounders, bringing it to worldwide attention. Whilst the good and the great of the poker world flock to Nevada in the fall to take part, many have already been right here in the Sunshine State honing their skills.

Much of the action occurs at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino resorts, with Hollywood hosting the main spring event. It is called the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown and is ranked by as the most prestigious live poker tournament in the country outside of Las Vegas. The 2021 event took place in late April and saw Brek Schutten snatch a prize pot of $1.2 million. In second place was Steven Snyder, who took almost $990,000. Both players were bagging their biggest cash-ins of their careers, with Schutten previously “only” taking $400,000 in career earnings. Not long after that event came the WPT Tampa tournament, another prestigious event here in Florida.

On that occasion, Brian Altman took home a prize pot of $613,225 for his third WPT title. He became the seventh player to win three or more major tour events in a single year, making this not only a lucrative tournament right here in Florida but a history-making one, too. Interestingly, all of Altman’s WPT title wins have come at Seminole Hard Rock locations in Florida, winning the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open, held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood.

What is next for Florida and the WPT? In August, Jacksonville hosts the WPT best bet Scramble with a $5,000 buy-in, and in November, the tour is back in Hollywood. This time, the WPT Seminole Rock’ N’ Roll Poker Open, a $3,500 buy-in tournament and the penultimate one on the calendar before the season-ending Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

How would you go about qualifying for one of these exclusive Florida-based events? Like the famous Chris Moneymaker, you can turn to an online provider if you are not already a poker professional. Moneymaker is famous for winning the World Series of Poker in 2003, having qualified through a satellite tournament in his bedroom at home. report that the accountant took home the top prize of $2.5 million in May of that year, and if you wish to do the same in the WPT event, you should look for an online provider offering a route to the tables.

However, only some of the tournaments require an invite, so if you have the stake money, you could well find yourself around the felt of a prestigious Florida event next year. The Jacksonville event and the Seminole Rock’ N’ Roll Poker Open are open to anyone with the money to participate. Still, if you do win a satellite event, you could find that you also get your accommodation and food thrown in too, so they’re certainly worth checking out. These events often have a much smaller buy-in, but you qualify in stages, with one tournament awarded tickets to the next until you reach the one that qualifies you for the event.

Chris Moneymaker may have created the dream for others to follow, but all roads in the poker world do not necessarily lead to Vegas. Florida’s own WPT events make it the second-best place to play poker in the United States, and another string to our bow as the best of all states in the country!


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Written by Rufus Holland

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