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Poker Room Manager Joseph Fernandez Talks Upcoming $300K Guarantee MSPT Meskwaki

MSPT Meskwaki

Next weekend the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) will host an $1,100 buy-in $300,000 guaranteed Main Event at Meskwaki Casino in Tama, Iowa. That tournament will be held over three days beginning Friday evening with Day 1a at 4 p.m. and will play 14 levels. Day 1b, which will begin at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The remaining players from each flight will combine on Sunday at 10 a.m. and play until a champion is crowned.

The MSPT Meskwaki, where players only need to be 18 years old to play, is consistently one of the best-performing stops on the tour, which is one reason the property invites them back three times a year.

Back in July, Jonathan Olson topped a field of 368 entries to win a $95,741 first-place prize and joined the list of former winners that includes Muneer Ahmed ($89,184), Dan Sun ($77,103), Michael Reynolds ($81,060), Terry Ring ($87,694), Andy Van Blair ($88,958), Jesse Spooner ($81,060), and Matthew Anderson ($100,075).

Thanks to the hefty guarantee, the tournament is one of the most popular in the Midwest. Among those expected to play are Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler, Blair Hinkle, Ralph Massey, and Jeff Fielder. PokerNews recently spoke with Joe Fernandez, the Poker Room Manager at Meskwaki Casino, to talk about next weekend’s MSPT Main Event and more.

PokerNews: The MSPT visits Meskwaki several times each year. What inspires you to bring the MSPT to town so much?

Fernandez: We are always inspired by the business “rewards” and prestige (“bragging rights”) for hosting tri-annually this 300K guaranteed MSPT, which is the biggest guaranteed prize pool in the Midwest.

Are Meskwaki players excited for the MSPT? Has there been a general excitement in the room?

Yes, as shown by their comments on Facebook and Twitter, players are excited for the MSPT. There’s always some excitement in our card room not only for the MSPT satellites/qualifiers and main event but also for our MBCH in-house tournaments. More players have been coming and they tend to play for extended hours.

What sort of things has the Meskwaki been doing to prepare for the MSPT?

The things we do to prepare for the MSPT could be summarized as an “information-and-branding” campaign. We run such information campaign via electronic, print, and broadcast media approximately two months prior to every MSPT event. That includes Facebook/Twitter, e-mail, website, highway digital signage, in-house sentinel & content server, billboards, newspaper and radio Ads, MSPT free roll tournament to win certificates to $120 qualifiers, and giveaways. These are attempts to encourage players to anticipate and look forward to our MSPT events every spring, summer, and fall.

Can you tell us a little about your property and the surrounding area?

The Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel (MBCH) is a casino resort located on the Meskwaki Settlement – a home to the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa with close to 1,400 enrolled members. MBCH is about one hour away from the nearest commercial airports (Des Moines Int’l Airport, Cedar Rapids airport, and Waterloo Regional airport), and it is situated at the “dead center” of where the “Big Three” Universities in Iowa are located: --ISU–Cyclones in Ames (50 miles west), UI–Hawkeyes in Iowa City (76 miles Southeast), and UNI–Panthers in Cedar Falls (58 miles North).

Can you describe the poker room at the Meskwaki (i.e. the games, stakes, promotions, tournament schedule, etc.)?

Whoever said “you need your best poker face and winning strategy to win at poker” must not have played at Meskwaki Poker Room. Whether you are a newcomer, a pleasure player, or a high-stakes thrill seeker, we have a game for you. Our classic card room and cozy players’ lounge exude such rustic and scintillating ambience that makes every poker game more of a friendly art than a gut-wrenching science and, therefore, your winning out of luck is never ever frowned upon.

We love to see you get lucky at your favorite hold’em, Omaha, dealer’s choice, or stud games. Win cash and valuable prizes in our daily tournaments. Get ready to receive cash prizes in our weekly poker promotions, earn $1 in comp value per hour of live poker action, and accumulate all kinds of loyalty rewards and giveaways.

Are there any other events going on players should check out when in town for the MSPT?

Yes. You can try the “Christmas Comes Early” slot promotion (earn 100 points win free gift); Passion Music Group performing at the Lounge on Nov. 7 & 8; and a bingo special ($15 buy-in wins $1,199) on Nov. 8.
If you had to recommend three things for players to do other than poker while at the Meskwaki, what would they be?

You can play table games, slots, and/or bingo; exercise in our state-of-the-art workout room; or try SPA treatment.

Where’s the best place to eat at the Meskwaki?

I'd say the Prime-Cut Steakhouse/Grill in-house.

Listen to Bryan Mileski talk about Season 5 of the MSPT on the latest PokerNews Podcast. Click here to listen.

Located in Tama, Iowa, between Des Moines and Cedar Rapids on Highway 30, Meskwaki Casino features a huge bingo hall, table games, active craps tables, good blackjack games, horse book, indoor pool, exercise room, spa, and a large number of hotel rooms.

For more information on the MSPT Meskwaki, visit

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