The Beau Rivage, one of many Biloxi, Mississippi area casinos damaged by Hurricane Katrina, will re-open on August 29th, 2006 according to its parent company MGM Mirage.
The re-opening date is significant, as it will mark the one year anniversary of Katrina hitting the Mississippi shoreline. The 72,000 square foot casino portion of Beau Rivage was situated on a barge, per Mississippi gaming law, and suffered extensive damage when heavy winds and a thirty foot storm surge rocked the resort.
Beau Rivage's re-emergence will be good news not only for it's estimated 1,000 employees, but for Gulf Coast area poker players. The remodeled casino will include a poker room with a rumored opening of forty tables. Built by Steve Wynn, and opened in March of 1999 at a cost of 680 million, the Beau Rivage initially had a plush poker room, but management closed it down in favor of more slot machines just months after opening.
While the addition of a large poker room to the resort is most likely due to the increased popularity of poker, it may partly be due to the influence of Mirage Resort chief executive Bobby Baldwin. Baldwin, a former professional poker player who won the WSOP main event in 1978, is the namesake for "Bobby's Room," the famous glassed-in ultra-high limit table at the Bellagio poker room.
The reintroduction of poker at Beau Rivage comes on the heels of three Biloxi casinos opening their doors in December. Slowly but surely, the Redneck Riviera's poker scene is coming back to life with nine tables at the Isle of Capri and sixteen tables at the IP. Meanwhile, two other casinos have plans on opening this year, proving that a category five hurricane can destroy buildings, but cannot destroy the spirit of poker in the Gulf Coast area.