Florida is one of the most popular places to gamble in the Unite States, but despite the hordes of casinos, race tracks and poker rooms, the laws there are not as open as you would imagine. In Florida, for instance, the only official places where you can legally gamble are in Indian Casinos, which come under different gaming laws to other casinos. There are also casino cruises which depart from many ports throughout the state, particularly in Miami and Hollywood. These boats are fully equipped with all the tables and slots you could ever want and because they take you out into international waters where there are no laws against gambling, then they are also “legal”.
The Seminole tribe dominate Florida, with 7 of the 8 Indian casinos. The biggest of these are the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Florida and Miami, but they are not necessarily the best or the only places to gamble in Florida. The Indian casinos have the luxury of size, and they are also great for general entertainment and as a hotel, with plenty to see and do, including live music, live comedy and even traditional Seminole tribal dances. The blackjack games here vary, but you can typically expect to find games that use 6 and 8 deck shoes, with an average house edge. The bet sizes here are probably the highest of anywhere in the state, as these venues cater for the high-rollers who come from miles around, but a lot of their trade also comes from tourism so the minimum bets are also fairly small, albeit not the smallest you will find in Florida.
The casino cruises themselves can give even blackjack professionals an experience that they have never had before. There are literally dozens of cruise boats to choose from, all with different amounts of tables and with different variations of the game available. These all tend to be in the mid-stakes range, but the experience of being on the water, with a bar and a restaurant nearby, and a great view from all angles, is one not to be missed.
Away from the boats and from the Indian casinos, there is an influx of smaller venues opening, typically ones that also have poker rooms, race rooms, simulcasting rooms and even racetracks onsite. One of the best in the Sunshine State is the Mardi Gras Gaming venue. This establishment doesn’t have the benefit of Indian gaming laws, but they use electronic blackjack games that allow them to sneakily weave their way past the strict and rather inconsistent laws. These games are setup just like any other game of blackjack, with the difference being that instead of a dealer, the players face an electronic terminal.
The Mardi Gras Gaming blackjack game has 6 decks and it also gives players the option of surrender. This is not like a slot machine, think of it more like computer game, one where you get a comfortable seat and a real table, and where the only differences are that the cards and the dealer are electronic. The limits to this game begin at just $5 and go all the way up to $475, but there are more of this systems springing up all around the state and they all have their own little tweaks and differences.
Many people actually prefer these to the real thing, and they are fantastic for those who are new to the game and want a relaxed and personal environment in which to play it.