From Feb. 15 through 23, the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) will visit Louisiana, a state reportedly considering iGaming regulations, for the very first time. The Belle of Baton Rouge will play host to a $100,000 Guaranteed Main Event from Feb. 21 through 23, and the first MSPT of the south is already generating excitement among players.
“I'm excited that the MSPT is coming to Baton Rouge. Louisiana and the Gulf Coast are fertile areas for the game that definitely can support more tournaments,” said Bill Phillips, owner of Gulf Coast Poker. “In fact, there is a bit of an unfilled void on the poker calendar in Louisiana. As an owner of www.gulfcoastpoker.net I know firsthand that with the right bit of marketing this and other tournaments like it can be a big hit.”
Southern pro Jeremy "theChemist" Gaubert echoed those sentiments: “When I heard about the MSPT coming to Baton Rouge, I was very excited. We definitely need more in-state competition when it comes to Louisiana poker tournament circuits, and hopefully this is the start of exactly that. I look forward to playing in this event, and I can only hope there are more of these local tournaments in the near future.”
According to its website, the Belle of Baton Rouge is located next to the historic USS Kidd and between two of Baton Rouge’s largest universities – LSU and Southern University. The property offers more than 850 slots, poker, blackjack, craps, and many other gaming options.
“Long term, I think this will be a fixture on the schedule and it's nice to see Baton Rouge, a local hotbed, get their own tournament,” Phillips added. “The best part about it is it's in the middle of Mardi Gras. It’s never fun to bust out but I think Mardi Gras will ease the pain a lot better than other places.”
PokerNews, which will be live reporting the MSPT Belle of Baton Rouge, also sat down with Marty Brown, Director of Casino Operations at the Belle of Baton Rouge, for a quick Q&A on the upcoming MSPT.
PokerNews: The MSPT is visiting the Belle of Baton Rouge for the first time. In fact, it’s the first time the MSPT has traveled so far south. What inspired you to bring the MSPT to town?
Marty Brown: Hosting an event like this and partnering with MSPT is a great opportunity to expose the city of Baton Rouge and our property casino to out of town poker players.
What sort of things has the Belle of Baton Rouge been doing to prepare for the MSPT?
We have partnered with a few hotels in the immediate surrounding area to make sure we have plenty of available rooms. My gaming team completed a third deck casino floor redesign to accommodate 15 poker tables to ensure a more secluded area for the tournament play. There will be qualifying tournaments beginning on Feb. 11.
Can you tell us a little about your property and the surrounding area?
The Belle of Baton Rouge Casino & Hotel has a 288-room hotel, 14,000 square foot atrium and a full service casino with 787 slot machines, table games and poker room.
Can you describe the poker room at the Belle of Baton Rouge?
The poker room at the Belle is located on the second deck of the casino. We have a four-table room and offer $1/$2 and $2/$5 no limit, $4/$8 limit Texas hold’em and Omaha. Promotions include Aces Cracked ($100) on Monday and Wednesday from 9am-3pm, High Hand of the Hour ($50) on Tuesday and Thursday from 9am-3pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-3pm.
Are there any other events going on players should check out when in town for the MSPT?
Mardi Gras in Baton Rouge! The Artemis and Orion Parades will be rolling right next to the Belle of Baton Rouge property. A great chance to experience a true Louisiana tradition!
If you had to recommend three things for players to do other than poker while at the Belle of Baton Rouge, what would they be?
Visit the campus of Louisiana State University that is less than five miles from the casino. Tour the USS Kidd right next to the casino, and don’t miss the downtown Mardi Gras fun parade experience.
Where’s the best place to eat at the Belle of Baton Rouge?
Shucks on the Levee, with traditional south Louisiana dishes.
For more information, visit msptpoker.com.