Hurricane miss meant busy time for poker rooms

If you ventured out of your house and into a poker room last Friday, happy for an unexpected day off after Hurricane Matthew swerved wide right, you found plenty of company.

South Florida poker rooms were packed on the surprise holiday, with waiting lists above 50 people at some venues Friday afternoon.

“People had a mixture of cabin fever and relief and couldn’t wait to play poker,” said David Litvin, director of poker operations at Mardi Gras Casino in Hallandale Beach.

Like most card rooms, Mardi Gras had planned to be closed on Friday because of the storm. They moved the reopening time to 4 p.m., then again up to noon.

“We were scrambling all day to reach employees to come in,” Litvin said, adding that he himself filled in a few hours as a dealer. “I still got it!”

According to the poker room application, waiting lists included a total of 71 at Mardi Gras, 62 at the Isle Casino and Racing in Pompano Beach and 38 at Hialeah Park. Most rooms were at about two-thirds of their table capacity.

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