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Former NFL star to play blackjack at Florida casino

17 August 2010

HOLLYWOOD, Florida -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- We know he can hit. But can he receive? We'll find out this Friday, Aug. 20, when former Dolphins linebacker and fan favorite, Zach Thomas will be among the first to receive the first blackjack hand dealt at Seminole Casino Hollywood.

The 30-year-old casino located just a block away from Seminole Hard Rock will hold special ceremonies starting at noon to mark the first time in Florida that a casino has guaranteed it will have $5 tables available for play 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Seminole Casino Hollywood has hired 90 blackjack dealers for the new game.

After brief speeches by Seminole leaders and Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen, Seminole Casino Hollywood General Manager Adrian Fox will begin play by announcing: "Guests Place Your Bets" to 84 seated guests at the casino's brand new 12 blackjack tables. First hand players will include Seminole Tribal Council members, Dolphin great, Zach Thomas, comedian Jimmie Walker, GSN Catch 21 show host, Alfonso Ribeiro, local media celebrities, and other VIPs.

One of the most rugged and beloved players in Miami Dolphins history, Zach Thomas was drafted by the Miami Dolphins out of Texas Tech in 1996 during the fifth round and played for them for 12 of his 13 NFL seasons. He was selected to the Pro Bowl seven times. Thomas signed a one-day contract worth $1 with the Miami Dolphins on May 20, 2010, so that he could officially announce his retirement from football the same day. With more tackles than any linebacker in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he is currently fourth all-time behind Randy Gradishar, Jessie Tuggle, and Junior Seau. Thomas' sister, Katina, is married to fellow linebacker and former Dolphin Jason Taylor.

Comedian Jimmie "JJ" Walker coined the catch-phrase "Dy-no-mite!" as the star of the Good Times sitcom on CBS. Ribeiro is best known for his comedic portrayal of Will Smith's uptight cousin, Carlton, in the TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

The reggae band Higher Ground will perform all afternoon, and at 6 p.m., Walker will perform his hilarious stand-up act. Singer Rachel Brown and her band will also perform from 7:30 until 1 a.m. when a special guest DJ will take over until 4:30 a.m. And of course, the $5 blackjack action will "party on" all night.

Just a few of the other local media celebrities confirmed to play blackjack are:

Shireen Sandoval, Deco Drive co-anchor and entertainment reporter
Kenny Walker, WKIS-FM 99.9, morning show host
Donny Michaels, WFLC-FM 97.3, "The Coast" midday host
Vance Phillips, WMXJ-FM 102.7, All Request Show host
DJ Gringo, WXDJ-FM El Zol 95.7, morning show mixer
Stephanie Bromfield, WLYF-FM, 101.5, weekend host
Greg "Toast" LaMega, WBGG-FM 105.9 and WKGR-FM 98.7, morning show personality
Rob "O'Snap" White, WHQT-FM HOT-105, Old School House Party host

Seminole casinos can offer real blackjack exclusively 24 hours a day, seven days a week due to a compact agreement passed into law by the Florida Legislature and approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior in July. Seminole Casino Coconut Creek began higher limit blackjack games on Aug. 13.

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