The Gamble Rogers Festival

For those of you who are planning on attending the 12th Annual Gamble Rogers Folk Festival in St. Augustine, Florida on May 4, 5, and 6 of this year, you may know that this festival showcases a variety of musical talent, ranging from Michael Smith, to The Burns Sisters Band, from Amy Carol Webb, to The Cook Trio. You may also know that this festival offers performances by local musicians, contests, arts and crafts, and discounted local accommodations. What you might not know, however, is the story behind Gamble Rogers. It’s not only a tale of talent and tragedy, but also of uncompromised heroism.

James Gamble Rogers IV was born on the last day of January 1937 in Winter Park, Florida. While his father and grandfather were architectural geniuses, Rogers took a path that led him away from architecture and into the open arms of music. He became a folk singing legend – influencing Jimmy Buffet along the way and leading him to dedicate his album, Fruitcakes, to Rogers.

Called a “national treasure” by journalists, Rogers was well known for his songs about Oklawaha, Florida, a fictional town full of colorful characters and stories. He was also known for his guitar playing and uncanny ability to captivate any audience for which he performed. He reintroduced the art of story telling and served as the proverbial father of Florida Folk Music. He also released several albums, some posthumously. His albums included The Lord Gives Me Grace And The Devil Gives Me Style, Sorry is As Sorry Does, Signs of a Misspent Youth, and Good Causes.

Rogers became most revered not for his musical acts but for his act of bravery, an act that ultimately led to his death. In October of 1991, while camping in Flagler Beach, Florida, Rogers heard someone who needed help. He followed the voice to find a man named Raymond Tracey stuck in rough water. Rogers jumped in and made the ultimate sacrifice: he saved the life of Tracey and lost his own life in the process.

Folk singing, unlike other genres of music, does not belong to the young: many folk singers get better with age. Because of this, Rogers, at the time of his death, seemed to be just getting started, leaving the world of folk music to shake its head and wonder what might have been.

For his musical talent, he was inducted to the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 1987 and posthumously given a Folk Heritage Award in 1993. For his sacrificing act, Rogers was awarded the Kiwanis Award for bravery and the Carnegie Award for heroism. The area of the beach where Rogers met his death was renamed The Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler, Beach and a school in St. Augustine was renamed The Gamble Rogers Middle School in St. Augustine. Rogers memory, his songs, and tributes to him also live on at the Gamble Rogers Memorial Foundation, a foundation set up with the purpose of never forgetting a legend.

Law Infringements Lead to Suspension of Poker Tournaments in Florida

For years now, growing revenues from poker play at racetracks have been adding millions to Florida’s tax coffers. The surging popularity of Texas Hold ‘em and tournament poker has added even more fuel to the growth of Florida tax earnings, until now.

Recently, some racetracks decided to up the ante and challenge legal limits on amounts wagered in poker play. Initially, state courts didn’t object to the challenge, allowing the Florida state Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering to increase betting limits at authorized sites. When no-limit wagering at poker tournaments made its debut, however, officials decided to step in and cease all tournament poker activity indefinitely.

Though cash games (mostly low limit) can still be played at the racetracks, some sites, such as Dania Jai-Alai and Melbourne Greyhound Park, have already started to see a drop in patronage. Other card rooms, particularly in southern Florida, reported no significant changes thus far as a consequence of the legal ruling.

There is tremendous competition for clientèle in the gaming industry, mainly from cruise ships, tribal casinos, and online gambling sites. Understandably, then, the ban on poker tournaments has many Florida card room managers concerned. Most of them, however, are hesitant to contest the issue openly since they have a vested interest in the promotion of gambling in the state.

Florida Casinos

Florida is well known for Disney, sunshine, amazing beaches and fresh citrus. Every year hundreds of thousands of people make their way to visit Tampa and other places to soak up the sunshine, do some swimming in the ocean at the coastal areas, and to check out Disney, Universal Studios, and other theme parks.

Florida features almost too many great tourist towns to count, including Tampa, Orlando, Cape Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale, Daytona Beach and many more. The Sunshine State has a population of well over 15,980,000 and features great weather year-round, making it a popular destination for those tired of the winter weather up north in areas such as Chicago, St. Louis and Minneapolis. Florida is also the home of many famous writers include the late, great John D. MacDonald. His Travis McGee series was set in many areas around Sarasota, Bradenton and Miami. These bestsellers are still on the racks waiting for non-Floridians to discover them.

In addition to all the great sun, surf and sights, Florida Casinos are a booming business in the Sunshine State. Florida Casinos and Florida gambling include many well-known games; slot machines, table games such as blackjack and Texas Hold-em poker; but also roulette and many other table games. What some don’t know about Florida Casinos is that many of them also feature dog-track betting, which is a famous Florida pastime. Many books have been written which feature a day at the Florida dog track as part of the plot! Florida casinos are an excellent way to discover fun without the need for sunblock and swimwear.

Florida casinos include land-based operations and cruise ship gambling, which offers a classy way to enjoy the state’s gambling and see the sights at the same time. Casino cruises are available everywhere from Cape Canaveral to Port Richey. There is a wide range of experiences on offer from Florida Casinos, the hardest choice you will have is where to start! From the dog track to the roulette wheel, and every game in between, you will find it all at Florida casinos. In Florida you may encounter some casinos that have specific dress codes, so be sure to check online or by telephone to find out what the rules are at each casino. Some Florida casinos specify a casual atmosphere, but may require no tank tops or flip-flops. Know before you go that you should gamble responsibly and above all, have fun!