After 50 Years, Say Goodbye to “Orange Lake” Jai-alai and Poker
For 50 years, real jai-alai, poker and then the originators of the 2-man scam of fake jai-alai is coming to an end in Orange Lake, Florida. It was known as Ocala Jai-alai and now known as Ocala Gainesville Poker.
Yes, after 50 years, the building will likely become a real ghost town, leaving the cow pasturelands quieter than ever. The owners are packing up and moving from Orange Lake (located halfway between Ocala and Gainesville) to inside the city limits of Ocala itself.
The new location will be at 1781 SW 60th Ave in Ocala and will be known as Ocala Bets. It will feature 35 tables of Vegas Style card games and Texas Hold-em Poker. A restaurant and full bar is also under construction.
The last day of operation in Orange Park will be this Saturday, October 28th.
There is no date yet of when the new facility will be open. They are actively looking to train and hire poler dealers now, with training classes lasting six weeks.
This may be the last chance to see the old fronton, which was a favorite of many (including me) to watch and play at. It was 50 years ago when Marty Fleishman threw the first pelota off the wall as the building was under construction and without a roof at the time. The fronton always had a decent roster – Tampa’s roster would head north in the summer months to play there. About 15-20 years ago, the place was a hangout for the college kids from Gainesville to enjoy Wednesday night quarter beer night, often packing the place.