High stakes poker games now legal in Florida Players are lining up to play at area casinos

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TAMPA – High stakes poker players at the Tampa’s Hard Rock Casino didn’t waste any time.
“We started at 12:01 this morning, had 40 tables in play at 3 o’clock this morning which is crazy,” said VP of gaming, Russ Christianson.
A new state law lifts the $100 maximum buy-in for poker. That means big games with no limits are legal.
“We’ve seen pots already 4 or 5 thousand dollars so it’s fun stuff,” said Christianson.
Player John Burks just got back from Las Vegas, and headed right to the Hard Rock. He says Florida could become the poker capital of the country.
“Probably for most people, they see all this poker on TV and they envision themselves being a great poker star and winning tournaments and going on. It just gives them an opportunity to do that,” said Burks.
The new law allowing no-limit poker is in effect after an agreement between the state and the Seminole Indian tribe. Under the agreement Florida is expected to take in up to a billion dollars over the next five years.
Other spots like Derby Lane in St. Petersburg can also host no-limit games.
“The changes are for the real poker players that play in their garages and the pros. That’s what will be new to us,” said Christianson.
At the Hard Rock they say most of their business will still come from lower stakes games, but now those interested in the high stakes action can play 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.
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