Gulfstream Park Poker Room Likely Closed For Good While Horse Track Gets New Turf

Written By JR Duren on September 14, 2021

It’s time to cash in your chips…literally.

Hallendale Beach’s Gulfstream Park Casino posted a banner on their website noting that patrons have until the end of March 2022 to cash in their poker chips.

The move seems to indicate that poker may not come back to the South Florida facility.

Where have all the poker rooms gone?

Like other card rooms across the state, Gulfstream’s poker room shut its doors early in the pandemic when cases were surging across Florida.

“With the utmost regard for the safety and well-being of our customers and employees and in following the best available guidance from local and international health authorities, Gulfstream Park will temporarily close to the public for racing and simulcast at the conclusion of racing today,” the casino wrote in a statement released on March 12, 2020.

The closure lasted just over three months. The casino reopened on June 18, with a litany of COVID protocols in place to protect guests and employees. However, the card room remained closed.

How long do players have to cash in Gulfstream Park poker chips?

Gulfstream Park Casino will accept poker chips through March 31, 2022. The casino will only accept chips of the type pictured below:

This redemption deadline seems to indicate that the card room will not open.

There are other indications that this is the case, too. Gulfstream’s Facebook page has not posted about their poker room since April 2020.

The Gulfstream website’s poker-room page seems to be gasping its last breaths. A pair of videos — that once showed visitors the poker room’s entrance and main room — are no longer available.

The page’s “Purchase Tickets” button leads visitors to a broken webpage.

What does the future look like for Gulfstream?

As a horse track and a casino, Gulfstream should be able to weather a poker-room closure well. Its slots are still open and running, and the facility is in the final stages of installing a new taffeta track.

In a recent interview, Gulfstream Park VP Greg DiVincent explained that the new synthetic-natural taffeta track is safe for horses and can weather rainstorms. It sits in between Gulfstream’s dirt and turf tracks.

Part of the reason that Gulfstream installed the taffeta track is to give horse owners a viable surface option if the turf track is rained out.

“When it’s raining and you have maybe 10 or 11 horses in the field and you have to move [the race] off the turf onto the dirt, the turf horses don’t want to run on the dirt so the owners will scratch them off the race and we may go down to five horses, and that doesn’t make for a great race,” DiVincent told an industry interviewer. “We’re happy to have this surface. We’re going to be one of the only tracks in the world that has a dirt, a taffeta, and a turf surface.”

Photo by Dreamstime
JR Duren Avatar
Written by
JR Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey gambling beats for Catena Media. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun. Duren is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

View all posts by JR Duren