WSOP-Circuit Headed to Florida Next?

Book it, says TD: Palm Beach Kennel Club, Feb 17-Mar 1

by , Sep 30, 2010 | 9:27 am

If this is true, it would mark the second WSOP-Circuit addition not at a Harrah’s property. That’s the unofficial word from a Harrah’s suit, with firm-sounding dates attached. According to venerable Circuit TD Jimmy Sommerfeld on 2+2

I think that … a Tournament at Palm Beach Kennel Club on February 17 – March 1 would be a great Idea. Maybe its not a rumor?!! I would gamble and book a room.

Ah yes, it all makes so much sense now, doesn’t it? (That is, of course, assuming Sommerfeld doesn’t get canned before WSOP-Choctaw, in January 2011, for running his yap ahead of any official press release.

Not only would a WSOP-Florida series further support America’s favorite citrus-bearing peninsula as the juiciest destination in poker since France, but also, it would confirm Harrah’s willingness to take unprecedented steps in an effort to keep up with the new-and-improved WPT/Party/Bwin.

The above dates, if true, would run it right up against the WPT-LAPC, btw.

Florida, as we know, is in the early stages of a mini-boom thanks to sensible new poker laws (allowing higher stakes play) that emerged after five years of legislative tweaking. On a recent episode of The Poker Beat, we were discussing the new Florida market … and specifically the WPT’s deal with the Seminoles to put their brand in casinos and card rooms throughout the state.

I suggested (flippantly?) that we’d obviously be seeing a WSOP-Circuit event there soon … but BJ brought up a good point (lol): Harrah’s owned no property in Florida, and all other Circuit events had been at Harrah’s locales. Hmmm, I was not aware … off-air we had a good chortle about whether or not we might see Harrah’s buy up old rundown jai alai frontons.

But lo and behold our self-inflated windbaggery would turn out to be all for naught. (BJ was wrong, I was right, what’s new?) … with Harrah’s making their plans to venture into new territory plenty clear in a subsequent press release announcing WSOP-Choctaw. Check it out … 5th graf down:

The Choctaw Casino Resort stop also marks the first time the WSOP has stepped outside the Harrah’s-affiliated properties to offer a WSOP-branded event.

That was the real hedline in that WSOPress Release. With maybe a snarky subhed about challenging claims to NAPT sovereignity.

So again, no official confirmation about the a WSOP-Circuit event in Florida at the Palm Beach Kennel Club February 17-March 1 to be TD’d by Jimmy Sommerfeld … but we do know for certain now that Harrah’s is willing to take unprecedented steps — whether it be with Indian tribes or brick-and-mortar non-Harrah’s card rooms — to take the battle for tour dominance to new places.

The Choctaw announcement — surely not coincidentally, right? — came in the middle of the big annual River series at Winstar, an event hosted by PokerStars patch-wearing pro-dot-net Greg Raymer. PokerStars also established a small presence in the northern part of OK with the Heartland Poker Tour event at the Downstream Casino in Quahpah.

In the Heartland event, Stars (dot net) only sponsors the TV show, not the tournament. Likewise at WinStar, Raymer is just a player who happens to wear PokerStars gear.

But think Harrah’s isn’t essentially saying in Oklahoma and probably Florida to the NAPT/PokerStars, nuh-uh, don’t even think about it!?!

We can see now that the WPT and the WSOP have a new heads-up battle on their hands, and with both ops showing up in two different states with the bulk of their poker in Indian-controlled territories, you gotta think both have a strong corporate interest in doing whatever possible to keep PokerStars from establishing a foothold on American soil … even if they were thinking they could just change the N in NAPT from North to Native.

Though we have no proof of actual collusion, the similar interest of both Harrah’s/WSOP and WPT/Party/Bwin suggests the fight to keep out the NAPT — even in non-Harrah’s locales now — is pretty much two against one.

4 Comments to “WSOP-Circuit Headed to Florida Next? ”

  1. Mark Gahagan

    Actually, it’ll be the third. The IP Casino Resort & Spa is actually NOT owned by Harrah’s, which I know seems weird because its Imperial Palace, but that’s how it works I guess.

  2. DanM

    so has this IP one you reference always been around, or is it new on the wsop menu? was the oklahoma PR just a tiny bit off?

  3. Mark Gahagan

    It appears to be new for 2010/2011 as well, but they were announced way before the Choctaw deal was, or at least I remember seeing it when they released the initial schedule.

  4. Kevin Mathers

    IP Biloxi is new for the Circuit, there was a Circuit event held at the Grand Casino in Biloxi in 2005.