Best Poker Game - 2006
The Dania Jai-Alai Cardroom
When poker skyrocketed in popularity a few years ago, games sprouted around South Florida like mushrooms. Poker fans can pick up games anywhere from pubs to megacasinos. Amateur players delight at the large number of games around town, but old, salty poker dogs aren't so thrilled. Where to go for a more authentic experience? The forgotten halls of Dania Jai-Alai's Cardroom are as real as you can get around here. The tables are small and intimate, live simulcast betting is a glance away, and jai alai balls crack against concrete in the background all night. The players know the game all too well and keep a close eye on their cards. Every day but Monday, from noon to midnight, games of Texas Hold 'Em, Seven-card Stud, and Omaha Hi/Lo keep the cards turning. But there isn't the crush of the bigger gambling palaces, with a hundred waiting players queued up to take your place. As soon as a table fills, it's a mini-tournament. On the weekends after 5 p.m., no-limit Texas Hold'em cranks up. But the real night to play is Wednesday, when the beer flows for a buck a cup and $1 chicken wings fill paper bowls.