Season 5 of the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) is off and running. Last weekend, Mark Sandness topped a field of 354 players to win the MSPT Running Aces Harness Park for $90,913, which included beating MSPT Team Pro Blake Bohn in heads-up play. On Friday, the MSPT’s next $1,100 Main Event (which features a $100,000 guarantee) will kick off at the Belle of Baton Rouge in Louisiana, marking the tour’s first visit to the South.
"I am excited that the MSPT is coming to Baton Rouge because I get to play in my hometown and I don't have to incur any traveling expenses,” said Walter Chambers, who you may recall as the winner of the last televised World Series of Poker Circuit stop in New Orleans. “I do not know much about the MSPT yet, but I am glad an organization has finally brought a poker tournament presence to Louisiana, and specifically Baton Rouge. I look forward to seeing how it is accepted and how it is run."
Likewise, Bill Phillips, owner of Gulf Coast Poker, echoed those sentiments.
“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 said. “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.”
Indeed, the fact that Mardi Gras is happening the same weekend as the MSPT ought to appeal to a lot of players. As any player can attest, the venue and extracurricular activities often play a big part in their decision whether or not to travel for a tournament. What's more, Mardi Gras festivities are not only an option for those who bust, but the kind MSPT schedule will allow all players to partake in the festivities (both Day 1a and 1b start at a player-friendly 5 p.m. local time).
“The Artemis and Orion Parades will be rolling right next to the Belle of Baton Rouge property,” said Marty Brown, Director of Casino Operations at the Belle of Baton Rouge. “A great chance to experience a true Louisiana tradition!”
Check out Brown’s full interview with PokerNews by clicking here.
According to visitbatonrouge.com, there's really no better time to visit the city than during Mardi Gras.
"Mardi Gras in Baton Rouge is an annual celebration attended by thousands each year who join in and experience the excitement and fun filled family activities that are hosted in Baton Rouge, La. The capital city offers a variety of parades and has become a favorite place for families celebrating Mardi Gras. So while you're here, play and stay in Baton Rouge and be sure to enjoy the cuisine that we're famous for. The family friendly Baton Rouge Mardi Gras kicks off with huge floats, fancy balls, excitement and entertainment for everyone. The annual Baton Rouge Louisiana Mardi Gras parades include everything from beautifully decorated traditional floats, marching bands, costumed canines, lawn mower pushing krewes and dancing for all to enjoy!"
List of Baton Rouge Mardi Gras Parades
|Krewe of Jupiter Parade||February 15, 2014||6:30 PM|
|Mystic Krewe of Mutts Parade||February 16, 2014||11:00 AM|
|Krewe of Artemis Parade||February 21, 2014||7:00 PM|
|Krewe of Mystique Parade||February 22, 2014||2:00 PM|
|Krewe of Orion Parade||February 22, 2014||6:30 PM|
|Krewe of Southdowns Parade||February 28, 2014||7:00 PM|
|Krewe of Spanish Town Parade||March 1, 2014||12:00 PM|
For an in-depth look at each parade, check out downtownbatonrouge.org.
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. In other words, if Mardi Gras isn’t your thing there are plenty of other options to keep you busy.
Jeremy "theChemist" Gaubert, Ben Mintz, and Allen Kessler are just a few of the pros who are expected to attend the event. Kessler is perhaps the most well known of that group, and he’s actually had quite a few scores in Louisiana. His biggest came back in 2009 when he took down the $3,000 Winter Bayou Poker Challenge Championship Event for $70,976. Interestingly, Mintz was also at that final table, ultimately finishing seventh for $11,090.
Remember, the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be in Baton Rouge capturing all the action from the $1,100 Main Event. You can follow the action in our Live Reporting Section under the MSPT banner.
For more information, visit msptpoker.com.
*Lead photo courtesy of universalorlando.com.