Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Poker Diary

Hard Rock Exterior1
“Welcome Back  My Friends to the Show that Never Ends.”

Over the years I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Hard Rock brand, so getting the last minute call to cover the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Winter Poker Open tournament series was a no brainer.

The first thing you notice on arrival are the lyrics of Emerson, Lake & Palmer displayed in large letters, “Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends.” And that’s just the beginning, Rock ‘n’ Roll quotes are sprinkled throughout.

On the way to the Poker Room you pass costumes worn by the Jackson 5, just one of the many iconic displays throughout the hotel and casino. Bruce, Madonna, Liberace and dozens of other framed musical greats grace the walls, most with one name recognition.

The Poker Room is a unique balance of spacious luxury and a cozy home game.

When the 50 tables are packed with tournament and cash tables the vibe is electric. Yet when the last $2-$4 Limit or $2-$5 PLO wraps in the early morning, the room is intimate, not a cavernous pit.

The entire room makes customer service the top priority, from dealers to supervisors, from the brush desk to the cage, it’s a well oiled machined.

Poker Room
Poker Room

And don’t forget the Hard Rock Girls. They’re everywhere!

Calendar cover girl Kayla signed autographs as her year came to an end. And the Hard Rock Cafe was rocking Saturday night with the 2014 Hard Rock Girls Calendar Unveiling Party.

The Beattles, The Who, Chuck Berry and Sinatra all have displays and memorabilia surrounding the casino floor. At nearly every turn there’s something for everyone, even a ’90s throwback Justin Timberlake outfit.

When you’re not grabbing a quick bite at the Cafe, there are plenty of dining options.

The Council Oak Steaks & Seafood is the most talked about restaurant and for good reason. Steaks are dry-aged on site and Alaskan King Crabs are stored fresh in saltwater tanks.

Other dining options include the Fresh Harvest buffet and the Noodle Bar at Jubao Palace, where fresh duck is hanging by the counter.

You can’t help but tap along to Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” or any Queen song that filters through the Hard Rock. Whether you’re waiting for the next hand of blackjack or making your way to the Center Bar, Rock n’ Roll permeates the air.

After a night of poker, table games or high limit action, the Lobby Bar is a great place to unwind. It’s a laid back ambiance with a wall of flaming candles.

And after taking it all in, knowing there’s more to absorb on your next trip (the Water Wall, Kiss costumes, Sklar guitar to name a few),  there’s the perfect line as you leave the Hard Rock.

“You can checkout anytime you like, but you can never leave.” – Eagles

Can’t wait for the next trip!