Confusion leads to wild poker week in Florida

The Money
High rollers make hay in Florida... for five days.

It was a wild week on the Florida poker scene, as a loose interpretation of new gaming laws by the Seminole band lead to five days of unexpected high stakes action.

Here's the crux of a much-anticipated state law regarding betting limits and No-Limit Texas Hold'em that came into effect last Sunday:

As of July 1, the betting cap for limit poker games at pari-mutuel card rooms was upped from $2 to $5. And No-Limit Texas Hold 'em is now allowed, with a maximum $100 buy-in for cash games and $800 for tournaments.

Casinos run by the Seminole band in Florida, however - who usually stick to state regulations for simplicity, although essentially not required to because of specific Native-American gaming laws - read the new law a little differently.

Their interpretation? No player was "forced" to buy-in for more than $100, but ultimately they could buy-in and re-buy for as much as they liked.

Under that interpretation, things apparently got a little wild. Tales started to leak out from Seminole poker rooms of $100,000 pots and high-rollers the state over pouring in with piles of cash.

By the time word reached authorities - possibly with the assistance of the pari-mutuels, who were sticking to the new law to the letter - five days had passed.

With a little pressure from said authorities, the Seminole band acknowledged they may have "misinterpreted" the new rules, and agreed to re-set games back to the agreed upon stakes.

''We realized," Gary Bitner, a Hard Rock spokesman told the Miami Herald, "we were reading state law a little differently than the parimutuels were. So we changed our game to bring it into line...''





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