Was just down in Ft. Lauderdale this weekend and got a chance to visit Seminole Hollywood HardRock. Overall, a fantastic room and would definitely go back. However, I'll break it down into specific segments because some aspects were better than others. submitted by
** The Room **
The poker room itself is gorgeous. It looks like something out of Casino Royale. Very nice lighting, (marble?) floors and walls, non-smoking (but with a patio for smokers), smells nice, clean bathrooms. You can tell they put a lot of attention to detail. The reason I mention these things is because not everywhere is like that. Seminole HardRock in Tampa has a darker kind of lighting and theme. The casinos I go to here in Michigan are usually very smoky.
One thing I will say is the room is a little tucked away. I would have preferred if it was closer to the table games. Although, it is in the mall part of the hotel. There are tons of nice shops, bars, and even a dance club right next the poker room. So the room gets an AA rating from me.
** Dealers, Floor and Service **
The dealers were a mix of competent and incompetent. I'd say half of them were perfectly professional, the other half needed some improvement. I played 3 sessions for a total of 7 hours, and had something like 6 misdeals. A few times the dealers did a very bad job of keeping the action in order. I was playing Holdem the 2nd night, and the guy to my right kept acting out of turn. I raised his river donk lead and he insta-folded even though there was another player left in the hand (obviously he wants the other guy to call to see if I was bluffing). After the hand was over I asked the dealer, "you gonna do anyting about this?" because it was the 5th time he'd acted out of turn. The dealer literally shrugged. And that wasn't the only session where players were acting out of turn and the dealers weren't doing much proactively about it. Dealers get a JJ rating. Good enough, but wouldn't place too much faith in them.
The floor got involved twice when I was there, and I think they handled it perfectly. First time was on holdem. Guy posts his small blind, gets dealt in, gets up to go get food, and the dealer folds him since he wasn't at the table. Guy gets mad, floor comes over, calmly explains that you will get mucked if you're not at the table, and moved on. Second time was at PLO. Guy opens, I 3bet KKds, a guy who limped starts pushing forward calling chips and the opener immediately says "POT". The guy was going to call pulls his chips back trying to save himself 60 bucks. The dealer says no, that stays in. Cue argument. Floor is called, and says, you have complete your action. Flustered, the guy decides to repot instead lmao. But yeah they handled it very well. Floor gets an AK rating: very slick.
I gotta say, the drinks were expensive. Like $18 for a vodka-redbull (can not included). $10 for a beer. Maybe that's normal price down there, but seems like a scam. The waitress staff were all thicc, and were wearing push-up dresses and mini skirts. Which was distracting in a good way. The service staff gets a 69s rating from me: pretty to look at, not much value.
** The Players **
The players are action action action. Not as good as some of the home games I go to, but fuck do these fucks like to gambol. However, a lot of them have little to no manners. I got slow rolled twice in marginal pots for no apparent reason. One guy shoves a king high flush draw on the turn, binks the river, and then gets up and starts gloating to the other player. He sits down and says to the dealer, "I knew there was a reason why you good looking" and the dealer just looked uncomfortable lol. A lot of aggressive table talk too. That, along with how people drive, leads me to believe being assholish is just a part of the culture. So the players get a T9s rating: love to play 'em, but don't take 'em seriously.
Seminoles have lived in Florida since ancient times. For more than 40 years, they fought for their freedom in countless skirmishes and 3 bloody wars. But the forces were unequal, and in 1858, after the Third Seminole War, almost the entire tribe was evicted from their native lands to distant Oklahoma. Only about 200 Indians escaped the General sad fate and disappeared into the vast tropical swamps of the Everglades, where they engaged in cattle breeding, somehow making ends meet, because there were few pastures, more swamps. There, under the protection of Panthers, alligators, and malaria, they felt comparatively safe.
In early 1944, in Florida, a Seminole Agnes Billy of the Bird clan had a boy born out of wedlock. My father was an Irishman, a cadet at the naval aviation school that was based near the reservation. In 1943, he went to war without even knowing about his girlfriend's pregnancy. Mother called son Chukie, which means "the one who was taken."The shamans of the tribe did not recognize the half-breed baby and decided to get rid of it, sentencing it to death. The boy was saved from death by his mother's friend, Potaki, who was also a half-breed.
The women raised a terrible cry, the neighbors ran, and Potaki publicly vowed that she would inform the police if anyone touched the baby.
Jim Hukipi and his mother lived very poorly, and when he was 9 years old, she died. The first orphan was sheltered by his mother's parents, but soon became them, and Hokie homeless. But his rescuer Potaki, who felt responsible for the teenager, took care of him and kicked him to school. Over time, it became difficult to cope with the boy and he was sent to the Haskell boarding school in Kansas, a special school where they tried to teach the Indians how to become white. A few years later, with grief in half, Jim received a school diploma and returned.
Strong, cunning, agile, tough, and a natural leader, he was created to become a Ranger for the U.S. army. The Vietnam war was breaking out, and that was where he belonged. The jungle was like the Everglades, but without alligators,and the war was like hunting. Jim distinguished himself very soon, he was promoted to Sergeant, appointed commander of the Department, and began to give tasks more and more complex. Capture languages, raids behind enemy lines, reconnaissance and other activities of the Rangers he liked. His group often went on a knife edge, but always returned without loss. The blood of his brave ancestors played a role, and Jim could feel ambushes, traps, mines, and poisonous snakes on his skin. It seemed that luck would never leave him, and his companions were ready to follow him into the fire and water.
After serving a full term in the Inferno, he had every right to go back, but signed up for another term. Ranger didn't want to leave his comrades, but he liked the risk. Again, RAID after RAID, task after task, and success after success. Jim soon became a master Sergeant and Deputy platoon commander. He would have been sent to officer courses, but he did not show any desire. After another successful RAID in 1968, he was given the highest award of a soldier, a vacation home. When Jim returned, he learned the terrible news that the platoon's luck had run out without him. Friends went on another task, but with them there was no "one who was taken away", and there was no one to smell the danger in time. The platoon was ambushed and only its name remained.
Something broke inside, and Jim blamed himself for the deaths of his comrades. "What am I fighting for? he thought, and couldn't find an answer. The fight was abruptly stopped, and the depression started in my head swarmed dark thoughts. After completing his term, he left the army and returned to the reservation. The boy Hukipi matured, matured, and adult beyond his years, he felt pain for his tribe, which
looked at new look. Beggars, reduced to despair and alcohol, living on handouts, without prospects and hope, and yet... such relatives. Jim remembered his skills as a Builder and started building Chiki, traditional Seminole homes. Hollywood did its job and the Indian theme became popular. Chukie decided on this play, saying: "This Chica can build only a true Indian. Everything else is nothing more than a fake."Very soon his Chicks appeared in parks, private clubs, and in the yards of the rich. Business quickly grew and he became one of the most successful members of the tribe (although the entire tribe was less than 1.5 thousand people).
Now it was possible to deal with public Affairs. The problem was obvious, the reservation was chosen by drug couriers as a transit point. Seaplanes loaded with cocaine from Central America regularly landed in the swamps, and from there the poison spread further. The former special forces officer decided: "we need to eliminate the root cause."He loaded a revolver, took a Winchester in the boat, and persuaded a couple of friends, also veterans of the Vietnam war, to go with him. Then from the marshes began to hear gunfire and explosions, but Hookie always came out unscathed. Very soon, the drug traffic through the reservation disappeared forever.
Hokie admired, began to be afraid, his voice on the tribal Council became very important and in 1979-m to year Hokie became the Supreme leader. Jim announced, " it's time for a change. We are Seminoles, we are a great tribe, and it is time for us to regain our greatness."
The chief received the tribe in a very deplorable state. But Hokie was a clear plan:"we Should open on the RES hall to play Bingo. If it goes well, we'll open a casino."He considered the situation and realized that he needed serious help. A friend told him about an old man-a pensioner who can help. This grandfather's name was Mayer Lansky.
Mayer Lansky was a well-known figure in the underworld. He was the brain of a huge underground Empire that controlled the Jewish and Italian mafia.
Hokie got a meeting with an old gangster.
Old Mayer was sitting at a table. He looked tired and listless.
"So I know why you came to me. Why do you need money? Lansky asked.
"I want to open a case."started Hookipa.
"You want to start a business and get rich."- with a grin said the pensioner.
The Indian understood that full frankness was needed with Meyer. Something leaped in his chest and he spoke, breaking into a low cry:
"Yes, I want to be rich, I won't deny it. Everyone wants it. But more than that, I want to finally get my tribe out of the shit we've been living in for more than 120 years. Do you know what it's like to live on a reservation? Live outside the line like animals? When people look down on you with disdain? I grew up on a chimpanzee farm, and I remember that tourists looked at me and the monkeys as curiosities. We live in bestiality, we have a beggar sitting on a beggar and driving beggars, and everyone is trying to somehow feed themselves. Land, freedom, and pride were taken from us, and in return they gave us alcohol and meager handouts. We have almost lost our language and our faith. From day to day, from year to year, from decade to decade, it's the same thing. We will soon stop being ourselves. You will not believe it, but many of us almost can not read and write. I am not the prophet Moses who brought you out of Egypt, but I love my little people. And I want, I really want to make it prosperous. And I will do it, no matter what it takes. I could, of course, succeed for myself by going somewhere else, but is it worthy of a man? If I am not for myself, who is for me? But if I am only for myself, then why am I? And if not now, then? Do you understand me, Mr. Lansky???"
Mayer was no longer sprawled out. His hands were clenched into fists, his eyes glittered, and his face was tight with muscle. It seemed that the old bandit remembered something, something long forgotten, but painfully native. Hokie paused, and Lansky looked at him, breathing hard.
"I heard you. I understand you. the old man dropped it slowly. "I used to be myself... however, let's not talk about it.. Lansky sighed heavily.
"And how will you perform this miracle?"
"I want to open a bingo hall where people can play big. If it goes well, then open a casino. I think there will be a lot of demand."the chief replied.
"My boy, I understand you. Casinos in Florida. This is a pipe dream of my life. There are thousands of problems and pitfalls on the way, but the main ones are two. The first is this Catholic Church and Archbishop McCarthy himself, the head of the Catholic Church in Florida. The priests hold the "bingo for charity" market firmly in their tenacious hands. These bigots with a mind so Holy, and in fact, much worse than the gangsters from the East side, so I do know. They fill their pockets, buy real estate and jewelry, and if they allocated at least one percent of what they have for good deeds, they could feed all the world's hungry for 10 years. The second difficulty is that the bureaucrats will never be allowed to open a casino in Florida. It's easier to negotiate with the wall. If you knew how much money, time, and effort my friends and I spent on these stupid and stubborn donkeys in Tallahassee (the capital of Florida). These fools can't see past their noses. Oh, if I could open a casino in Florida, do you think I'd be interested in opening casinos in Las Vegas, Cuba, and the Bahamas? No, son, I really want to help you, but it's not possible."Mayer said sadly.
"Mr. Lansky, I know what you're capable of. If there is a wizard in the world, it is you. I understand that you didn't succeed, but I will open a bingo hall and a casino."
"My dear fellow, as soon as you open the doors, the police will come and close the shop. And you will lose in court."
"You see, I have two trumps that you and your friends didn't have. Listen."
And, carefully looking around, Hokie whispered something almost in my ear Lansky. Old Mayer's mouth dropped open in surprise.
"It can't be. My boy, are you sure? Is this really true?"what is it?" he asked.
- "Certainly. Why else would I come to you? However, your lawyers will be able to verify my words."Yes," said the chief.
- "Amusingly. Here is the deal, this is on our way. Yes... it's going to be a nice job, we'll RUB the nose of these bureaucrats."
Lansky had a mischievous smile on his face.
"So you will give money?"asked Hokie.
"Where did I get the money? I live on a modest pension. But I have a good friend, Jack Cooper, I think if I ask him very much, he will not refuse the loan. Perhaps I can persuade some of my friends to politely ask the Archbishop not to interfere with us. I also know a couple of lawyers who will agree to help us for a nominal amount. By the way, you will need a good adviser on a regular basis. I would suggest an old friend of mine, Stephen Wilden. He is a reliable man, by the way, also served two terms in Vietnam."- almost accidentally showed his awareness of the gangster.
"And to manage the casino itself, I have in mind a guy from a very good family, his name is James Weissman. A very competent young man, and his brother, Eugene, can also help with various minor difficulties. You're not going to object if the order will be watching very responsible and decent people? Lansky half-asked, half-pointed, and stared at Hukipi.
"Of course I won't! Agreed. I am very happy."the chief replied, and they shook hands.
Cooper did lend money to the Indians without complaint, and Wilden began to spend a surprising amount of time on the reservation. And the Weissman brothers gave up all their business altogether and began to focus solely on helping the Seminoles. And very soon a new building with a major bingo game opened on the reservation. And the amazing thing is that Archbishop McCarthy has not objected to bingo on the reservation and even good luck to Jim.
As Lansky predicted, the police showed up on the first day and arrested employees and managers. And of course the Seminoles sued, claiming they had every right to do anything on their land.
"This is not acceptable. What kind of arbitrariness? Your Honor, we must close this receptacle of Vice and sin."- officials groaned.
- "Really. The only place where gambling is allowed in the United States is Nevada. Do you have any arguments in your favor?"
"We have two, Your Honor."don't be embarrassed," said Jim Billy and his lawyers.
"First, look at the precedent. Russell and Elena Bryan, from the Chippewa tribe, lived quietly on a reservation in Minnesota. All of a sudden, the state sends them a property tax bill that they've never paid before. They challenged it, the case went to the Highest Court, and he decided that:
a) the state does not have the right to collect taxes on business or property on the reservation
b) the state has no right to regulate the business of Indians on their land. And the bingo hall is just the business on our land.
And second and foremost, Your Honor, we are not part of the United States at all. All Indian tribes surrendered to the U.S. government. Some earlier, some later, but all signed peace agreements and in fact admitted defeat. Everyone but us. We are the only tribe that has never surrendered to the palefaces. Our ancestors went to the Everglades, but they didn't give up. We are still at war with you. Since when does anyone have the right to dictate terms and indicate what to do to an undefeated opponent on their land?"
After hearing such arguments, the judge was forced to make a fair decision: - " the Seminoles should be left alone. Let them do what they want on their land, even play bingo, even open a casino. And neither the state nor the feds have the right to take a cent from their income."
And the money flowed to the reservation. Soon Jim opened a casino and the flow of money increased. The tribe paid its debts to Cooper ahead of time, though all the people recommended by Lansky remained in charge of the business. However, is it a pity some 47% of profits for good and honest people, especially if they are so good at helping business development. Moreover, they advised how to correctly open other casinos.
For example, in Tampa, they decided to build a large Parking lot, but it turned out that this place is an ancient burial of Seminoles.
"I will not allow the pale-faces to defile the graves of our ancestors. Or have you forgotten that we are still officially at war with you? If so, I'll remind you. We'll give You the fourth Seminole War. We lit the fires of combat and beat Tom-Toms" - shouted angrily Hokie.
- "Oops. We didn't even know. Forgive us. What do you want?"- the mayor's office asked, confused.
"Okay, so be it, build your Parking lot."- was replaced by anger at the mercy Hokie.
"Just give us a piece of land to bury our ancestors in another place, but still not far from the city."
"Ufff. That's all. You are welcome. This is a great place, right next to the highway and not far from the city. Just do everything culturally and organize a Museum. We will study you."- happily breathed out officials.
- "Perfectly. Agreed."grinned the leader .... the Seminoles built a second casino.
"Er, that's not what we agreed to."no!" yelled the bureaucrats.
- "So we are about the world, too, did not agree and the Tomahawks we are not buried" - wisely said Jukie.
"Where's the Museum??? Where is he? Keep your word!"
"Where? Yes, inside the casino. Come and take a look. the chief laughed.
And the stream of money became a full-flowing river. There was so much money that the Seminoles even bought a stake in a casino on St. Martin and started building more casinos in Florida. True, there were dirty rumors that almost disinterested Seminole assistants were taking cash out of hundreds of boxes in private planes to various offshore locations, but all curious people were shown documents that clearly said they were taking food for the needy, and ridiculous rumors were a shame to believe.
The leader gained strength and developed a stormy activity. Electric companies that laid their networks, gas companies that stretched their pipes, garbage processing companies that buried waste, and other companies that rented land from the Seminoles for a penny, received an unpleasant surprise.
"That's it, the freebie is over."said Hokie.
"Now you will pay a fair rent. Otherwise, you will all go away."
Jim knew perfectly well that companies that had buried pipes and networks worth tens of millions would not go anywhere and would accept all his terms. And the flow of money has become even greater.
For almost 22 years, Hukipi led his small tribe with an iron hand. He became the highest-paid employee in Florida. Hukipi established a system of dividends for each Seminole, created a special Fund that provides any absolutely free medical care to all members of the tribe, and established schools on the reservation where learning the native language and traditions was mandatory. Moreover, every Indian can now get an education at any University in the United States and does not have to pay a penny for it.
Money was invested in real estate, energy, tourism, securities, and of course ... in the new casino. Money brought money and the tribe grew rich before our eyes. The Indians had beautiful new homes and expensive cars. But everything ends sooner or later, the chief noticed that the Council of chiefs began to spend a lot of money on themselves. Each of the leaders spent unaccountable millions and did not even think to answer to the tribe. And when Hokie was outraged and decided to investigate, he was dismissed from the post of the Supreme leader.
As usual, the official reason was accusations of sexual harassment of a subordinate. Then he was accused of corruption and abuse of power. But the former chief sued and... won. As a result, the tribe paid him more than $600,000. He retired, started building his Chiki again, and lived happily ever after. But the tribe is mired in corruption and scandals, because big money brings big problems. And in 2011, Hukipi was elected chief again.
Hukipi broke up corrupt officials, stopped the vicious practice of paying minors ' money to parents who might have squandered it, put things in order in reporting, and invested in new projects. Surprisingly, without corruption, there was again extra money, which turned into additional dividends for the Indians. Now every adult Seminole, in addition to free medicine and education, receives $128,000 a year. And the money of minors now goes to a special trust so that every member of the tribe reaches the age of 18 is already a multi-millionaire.
In 2016, the year once again, the Council leaders decided to shift Jucie. It is visible it strongly interfered with a free life. Now Jim Hookipa on the deserved rest. He is only 73 years old and still full of strength and energy. Who knows, maybe the Seminoles will need a strong hand and wise advice again, and then "the one who was taken" will again become a leader and lead his tribe to new heights. It is not for nothing that the popular wisdom says: "a Herd of rams led by a lion is much stronger than a flock of lions led by a RAM."
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