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News, Reviews And Interviews From Around The Poker World

by Card Player News Team |  Published: May 28, 2010


New Poker Laws Finally Come to Florida
After Years of Obstacles, State Scraps Buy-in Restrictions


That’s what many poker players in Florida are inevitably saying as both the Florida Senate and the Florida House passed a new deal in April that will transform the poker landscape of the state. Once the governor signs the new compact and the U.S. Department of Interior approves the new legislation, Florida will finally have uncapped poker.

In some ways, Florida has been the laughingstock of live poker in the U.S. Due to a host of wacky restrictions, such as a $100 max buy-in for all cash games, casinos were running $5-$10 no-limit hold’em with a maximum buy-in of 10 big blinds.

But that’s all about to change.

Poker Laws in FloridaThe Florida House voted 74-39 to approve a new compact that will expand gambling in the state, just days after the Florida Senate approved the new deal by a 29-9 vote.

The new compact — which gives the Seminole tribe the exclusive right to operate Vegas-style slot machines and host blackjack and other table games at five of its seven casinos, lowers taxes for pari-mutuels, and extends the hours of poker rooms throughout the state while scrapping the $100 restriction — is expected to generate $1 billion for the state and tribe over the next five years.

“This is a big contribution and a big commitment,” said Rep. Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton), one of the main proponents for the bill in the House. “It’s not estimated; it’s not, ‘Well, we might be able to achieve this.’ This is a guarantee.”

This has been a long time coming for Florida poker players.

In 1989, Florida officially legalized “penny-ante” poker and stopped policing various home games and community centers, as long as pots never exceeded $10.

To increase traffic at state-licensed pari-mutuel facilities, the legislature passed a law in 1996 allowing jai alai frontons, kennel clubs, and horse tracks to spread poker during races. But they still had to abide by the $10 rule.

For seven years, both players and cardrooms pressed the state to raise the betting limits, but all attempts failed. In 2003, after both sides had somewhat relented to various stipulations and conditions, poker grew with some new restrictions. A new law allowed a pot to exceed $10, but players could not bet more than $2 with any given action. This meant that no-limit games were still nothing more than a fantasy.

In 2007, the state finally buckled to increasing player demand and allowed no-limit hold’em with a $100 max buy-in. While cardrooms saw the change as a victory, many players felt that the $100 buy-in rule still reinforced the notion that poker is a game of chance, not skill.

Now, it appears, skill will have a chance to rule the day. Finally. Spade Suit

Full Tilt Rush Poker TournamentsFull Tilt Launches Rush Poker Tournaments
New Format Makes Successful Transition to Tourneys

In April, the craze that got the online poker world buzzing when it first launched in ring games made a successful transition to the tournament side. That’s right, Rush Poker tournaments have arrived.

“Available exclusively at Full Tilt Poker, enter a Rush Poker tournament to experience the world’s fastest poker tournament,” the site says in explaining the new format.

Full Tilt first introduced its patent-pending Rush Poker format in cash games in January, with widespread support. Grinders who had grown accustomed to massive multitabling, and even amateurs who hated waiting around for playable hands, were mystified and amazed at the opportunity to “quick fold” and almost instantaneously move to a new table with a new batch of players for the next hand.

Just as they can in cash games, players can use the “quick fold” option throughout tournament play. However, in Rush Poker tournament play, once a final table is reached, the tournament is played out normally, with no additional seat changes.

There is also no hand-for-hand play in these tournaments, and once fewer than 30 players remain, the tourney moves to shorthanded play to maintain a swift speed.

Currently, Full Tilt is running two sit-and-gos with the new format — both of which are 135-player no-limit hold’em turbo tournaments. The $4 (plus 40¢) and $10 (plus $1) tourneys run throughout the day.

But it’s not just hold’em that is the benefactor of Rush Poker tournaments. Full Tilt is also using the new craze to energize its low-stakes pot-limit Omaha tournaments. Although the site is introducing these tournaments slowly, it already has tournaments ranging from $20 (plus $2) double-stacked six-handed (both turbo and regular speed) to $2 (plus 20¢) eight-handed.

Full Tilt’s no-limit hold’em Rush Poker tourneys already have attracted big fields. A $10 (plus $1) event on April 20 at 11 a.m. witnessed a field of 1,086 players, including a couple of “red pros” in Roy Winston and Monte Kouz.

Play Rush Poker today on Full Tilt Poker. If you haven’t done so already, sign up through to receive your exclusive deposit bonus. Spade Suit

Friendly Poker Games Might Get Legalized in South Carolina
Subcommittee Passes New Proposal by a 4-1 Vote

It’s not too often that a friendly $20 poker game leads to four years of debates, lawsuits, court cases, and legislative hearings. But that’s what happened after South Carolina authorities raided a poker game in Mount Pleasant in April 2006.

Now, four years after the arrests in that raid, the South Carolina government is finally moving on repairing what many consider ineffective and archaic laws governing social gambling.

In April, a South Carolina House subcommittee voted 4-1 to change the state’s 1802 law, which currently bans “any game with cards or dice.”

Under the new proposal, socialized gambling would be allowed. That means that friendly poker games would no longer be subject to random police raids and prosecution. The new proposal also would allow state-certified nonprofit groups to conduct raffles, as long as 90 percent of the money goes to charity.

House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham (R-Cayce) said that this move is not an attempt to expand gambling in the state, but a sensible solution to a growing problem.

“When you can’t play Monopoly and Yahtzee, that’s a problem. We need to move the ball forward,” said Bingham. “We’re trying to make legal what’s common practice. Clearly, it’s not to open the door for gambling.”

That caveat — making it specifically clear that this is not an attempt to expand gambling — was emphasized, because this same proposal stalled last year after being approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Too many legislators were nervous about addressing gambling laws.

PPA [Poker Players Alliance] Executive Director John Pappas has called the 1802 South Carolina law “one of the most, if not the most, out of date statutes on the books.”

Now that the subcommittee has passed the proposal, it will go on to the full House Ways and Means Committee for a vote. Spade Suit