on December 30, 2008
When we checked into our timeshare resort on Sunday night, we were given unit 777. As recreational gamblers who enjoy a night at the casino, I told my hubby that this was a good omen, especially since at least one night at the Hard Rock Casino was on our agenda.We spent a rather leisurely day around the resort our first day, so dinner and a night out seemed appropriate. After dinner we ventured the 30 minutes south to Hollywood, FL to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.I remember when the Seminole tribe bought the Hard Rock Casino and thinking "damn they must have a lot of money." Well now that I've been to their casino in South Florida, I can see that they are certainly MAKING a lot of money!We arrived at approximately 8:15pm. The parking lots were a zoo - no parking anywhere close to the main entrances. Even the parking deck was full. We ended up parking out in a make-shift parking area with temporary lights run on back-up generators.Once inside the place, it was a mob of people. The line to get a players' card was at least 50 people deep. They were offering a great deal for new members, $50 in gaming cash plus a coupon for a free lunch. We had planned on getting a card too, but not when you have to stand in line for what was at least an hour.The vastness of this place cannot be overstated. It is simply huge inside! Slot machines, both the old fashioned reel type as well as the new fangled electronic ones were as far as the eye could see. Good news here . . . they even had a huge section of nickel and dime machines.I had my sights set on playing my favorite table game, 3 Card Poker so slots were not on my agenda. One of the reasons for the huge crowds is that this is one of the only (if not THE only) casinos in Florida that is a full Las Vegas style gaming establishment. Most in the state only have slots (no thank you), poker rooms and off track betting . . . not my style of casino. In fact, there is one right across the street from our resort with those things, but we wanted a "real" casino.As we wandered through the maze of slot machines and table game pits, it was clear that the Seminoles were racking in the big bucks . . . $25 to $60 at a time! I had never seen table minimums so damn high before. I did find a small grouping of 3 Card Poker tables with $15 minimums, so I found me a seat and swallowed hard. I typically choose the $5 games and will up my bets to $10 only when I get ahead a couple hundred bucks. I promised David that I would only play "a hundred's worth". LOLWell I hit a couple of small payouts, flush, then a straight, then a pair. Then it happened . . . the elusive straight flush! WOOHOO! With $15 on the pairs plus bet, plus the bet against the dealer for $15 (plus ante of $15), I was chachinging in for a $850 win. It was quite exciting as that was the first big hand at the table in the hour I had been playing. Note: this casino had some of the best 3 Card Poker payouts for the jackpot hands I had ever seen. Ordinarily the straight flush "only" plays 40:1. Here they were paying 50:1 AND if it was a "mini royal flush" (Q, K, A) it paid 100:1.When I got my bankroll up to $900 up, I got up and we headed for the cashier's cage. You may wonder about what David was doing all of this time . . . he was being the happy observer and cheerleader. He was still too brain-dead after the road trip from hell, so he didn't want to play blackjack, especially at $25 per hand.A couple of other comments about the Seminole Hard Rock Casino . . . this is a very large, full service entertainment venue . . . every bit as big and glitzy as those you will find in Nevada. Billy Joel is the headliner coming into town later this week for a series of shows. Jay Leno is also going to be here this week.There are a number of restaurants on the premises, everything from snacks to gourmet fine dining restaurants. If you are a guest staying in their hotel, I can see that it would be possible to spend your entire vacation here and never leave the grounds.If you don't like crowds or find the high table minimums too rich for your blood (especially for an extended visit), you may want to choose another casino destination. More information may be found on their web site: http://www.seminolehardrockhollywood.com/.As an aside, I did ask our dealer about the crowds as I was wondering if it was due to the holiday week. He said that it was always this busy and that table minimums are only low during the day or in the middle of the night.
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