Domino Jones

The competition is fierce at Carnaval Miami

Colorfully clad in traditional guayaberas, and chomping on their cheroots as if the cigar were their last meal, the veteran players tossing bones at Little Havana’s Domino Park represent the flavor of Miami as much as a café con leche. Given the peppery language and folksy pageantry, one shouldn’t be surprised that Carnaval Miami has made its Domino Tournament at the picturesque Maximo Gomez Domino Park in the heart of Little Havana a highlight of this year’s festivities.

Organizers say since beginning six years ago, the tournament has grown in popularity and attracts clubs from as far as Orlando and Puerto Rico to compete on Calle Ocho for the $1500 grand prize. “We are expecting ESPN to film the tournament for its Spanish programming,” beams organizer Alfredo Bared of the Little Havana Kiwanis. “The game has caught on with audiences with the same excitement as Vegas poker championships.”

During three days of elimination rounds -- which come to a head today at 4:00 -- 80 players ages 45 and older will be paired in teams of two. The geezers will face off in the old-school game of double nines, where whoever scores 150 points advances while the losers are given the heave-ho. Expect the clickety-clack of the tiles to be drowned out by some spirited cussing and crotchety cheering, warns Bared. “We don’t want to lose the flavor of the game which has always been played by the veteranos.” Call 305-644-8888, or visit www.carnavalmiami.com.
Wed., March 8
 
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