Watery wagers: Florida to host underwater poker tournament on shipwreck

  • First annual Lady Luck Poker Tournament to take place on July 23rd
  • Competition marks 1st anniversary of the sinking of Lady Luck
  • Six finalists will compete for prizes, trophy and a diving trip

This Sunday (July 23) will see the Lady Luck shipwreck host its first ever poker tournament. Sunk one year ago just 1.5 miles off the coast of Pompano Beach in southern Florida, the 324ft (99m) vessel will welcome six lucky finalists as they battle it out underwater to see who is really king of the waves.

underwater poker tournament
Going all in (the sea) for Florida’s first underwater poker tournament

A unique venue

The Lady Luck was sunk last year on the same date in Shipwreck Park, taking her place alongside 16 other vessels on the Florida seabed.

Prior to her submersion, artist Dennis MacDonald was commissioned to install a poker table and casino decorations, including some sinisterly smiling sharks, atop her decks.

Now, the aptly-named ship will host its first game of Texas Hold’em as six contestants take their seats round the table. Qualifying rounds took place earlier this week to whittle the competition down to the finalists, who will duke it out for cash prizes, a bespoke trophy and the chance to be the very first diver aboard the Okinawa ship, which is scheduled for sinking on the August 18.

Watery wagers

The contestants will be using specially made plastic cards and clay chips, designed by Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park to withstand the difficulties of playing underwater.

Their poker faces will also be given a helping hand by the scuba masks, meaning they really will need Lady Luck on their side if they’re to swim off with the top prize.

While this is the first time that Florida has hosted its own underwater championship, it’s not the first of its kind. Back in 2005, Juha Helppi became the first ever underwater poker champion at a venue in St Kitts in the Caribbean, while the first European tournament took place in Sheffield in 2013.

This time around, scuba diving spectators are invited to watch the action for a fee of $60 per head. More information and registration details can be obtained from South Florida Diving, while the event is due to take place from 8.30am to 1pm on Sunday 23rd July.

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