Has the average local poker player gotten better?

 

This is just anecdotal speculation, but is South Florida poker play getting better?

I’m a $100 cash-game kind of guy, and yes, I can get some nice games (i.e., with bad players) especially at Gulfstream Park, Magic City Casino and Hialeah Park.

But even in the Andy Slater “See You Later” Tournament at Seminole Coconut Creek, my table was loaded with experienced players, who mostly showed patience balanced against healthy aggression.

The buy in? All of $94.

My night ended early and I can blame bad cards: No pairs above 6s for two hours, and my two A-K hands missed the flop. But the bet-sizing kept me off balance and once I failed to add to my 8,000 stack earlier, I wasn’t going to be chipped-up enough to afford to knock people off hands.

Could South Floridians, who have seen an invasion of outsiders at the tables, be improving?

The end came shortly after the 8 p.m. break (it’s a 6 p.m. start), when my 2,400 or so chips ended up all-in with A-Q, and couldn’t improve. Leonid Goldshteyn snagged the bounty chip on me, which was good for an entry into next month’s Slater tournament.

And, to my credit, I outlasted the other bounties: Slater himself, his producer Dio Garcia and Tommy Hutton, the former Marlins broadcaster who had never played Texas Hold ‘em before.

For those who haven’t been to the Stax Poker Lounge since it moved the first floor, it’s not as smoky as I would have thought, although players at my table complained. The interesting part is that I strolled up on Level2, the new non-smoking area, and only three people were at the blackjack tables and two on the slots. Granted, it was 5 p.m. on a Tuesday, but clearly less active than the first floor, which allows smoking.

Now that I have settled into this semi-retired thing, I’m looking to play more daytime tournaments. I’ll report back on the field research as my efforts progress.

Twitter: @NickSortal