New Games at Magic City Poker Room

Four new card games, all with potential for scoring quick cash, have livened up the poker room at Magic City Casino in Miami.

“They’re all a form of poker, but they all appeal to a broader and different clientele,” Magic City President, Alex Havenick says.  The games are: Ultimate Texas Hold ‘em, Three-Card Poker, Two-Card Poker and One-Card Poker (or, as we called it as children, “War”).

SortalJan8OneCardPlayers bet as little as $5 and use their cards to make the best possible hand, losing their money when they have trash but earning big loot for big hands. For example, a pair of red aces in Two-Card Poker pays 20 to 1.

The state approved the games because these versions are based on a “designated player,” meaning another gambler pays out players’ winnings and collects the losses, rather than the house. That makes them “poker,” in the state’s eyes. The specific rules to the four games are trademarked and Magic City is the lone Miami-Dade casino that has the rights to them.

In Broward County, Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach and the Isle Casino in Pompano Beach offer Three-Card Poker while the Seminole Tribe of Florida has all four because of its table-games agreement with the state. So the Seminoles can act as the house, and don’t use designated players. The Seminoles are suing the state for allowing Magic City and the others to have designated-player games, which the Seminoles say should be exclusively theirs.

Magic City’s poker room revenues are up 22 percent compared to the same time last year, according to state figures. The casino takes a rake from each hand.

Most Texas Hold ‘em Poker tables are 90 percent male, but the four new games, all added last year, draw about 40 percent women, Havenick says.

“They’re less intimidating to play and a lot more social,” Havenick says.

They also can bring quick money. Players hitting a mini-royal flush in Three-Card Poker are paid 200-to-1 on their bets, for example, while those playing Texas Hold ‘em are usually happy if they double their investment. Texas Hold ‘em players having a rough day also often sidle up to a table seeking to change their luck, Havenick says.