Jai Alai ... The Fastest Sport in the World!
The fall jai alai season starts on Friday, Sept. 15, at the Casino at Dania Beach (301 E. Dania Beach Blvd., 954-920-1511, CasinoDaniaBeach.com), where it’s been played since 1963.
New this season are three competitions aimed at pumping up excitement.
The first is the Speed Challenge, spokeswoman Sandra Rodriguez says. “Using a radar gun, we will determine which player can throw the fastest ball. The player who throws the fastest ball most throughout the season will earn a special cash prize.”
Another is awarding a prize to the singles player with the most run-outs. A run-out is when a player scores a point against seven consecutive players in a game.
And the third is a 10-week, multiple-round tournament that gives all players on the roster a chance to compete.
Matinee jai alai performances are on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m. Evening performances run from Tuesdays to Saturdays, starting at 7 p.m. In each performance, games 1, 5, 6 and 10 are singles and the rest are doubles.
In last season’s play, Erik — players in this pari-mutuel go by one name — won the overall singles championship, Diego won the doubles and rookie Leke had the most wins, players manager Benny Bueno says.
You can wager like at other pari-mutuels, but for some extra challenge try the Jai 5 promotion. In games 5 to 9 of each performance, half the pool goes to all promotion winners. And if one bettor picks the winners in all five games, he or she walks with the total pool and the jackpot.
The Big Easy Poker Room at Mardi Gras Casino (831 N. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach, 954-924-3200, MGFLA.com) recently added five new 65-inch TVs.
“Moving them around, we will have three more in the tournament area,” says David Litvin, director of poker operations. “I think we are now a legit sports bar.”