On Sunday, the World Poker Tour’s (WPT) Southern Poker Championship will kick off from the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi. The state will host the first WPT event of 2010, a $10,000 buy-in tournament. The festivities run through January 27th, when the WPT Southern Poker Championship will crown a winner.
In 2009, Allen “AawwNutz” Carter, who recently took down the PokerStars Sunday 500 for $71,000, emerged victorious from the pack in Biloxi. The tournament drew 283 runners and Carter defeated Bobby Suer heads-up to pocket just over $1 million. All was not lost for Suer, however, who earned $501,000. Others who reached the six-handed WPT final table included Soheil Shamseddin (third place for $263,725), Hilbert Shirey (fourth place for $184,607), Tyler Smith (fifth place for $134,500), and Chuck Kim (sixth place for $105,490).
During Season 6 of the WPT, the Beau Rivage played host to the Gulf Coast Poker Championship, which was held in September 2007. That year, Bill Edler took down the $747,000 first place prize, defeating David Robbins. A field of 256 players turned out and Robbins earned $411,000 for his efforts. Others who found fame and glory in Biloxi included Hank Sitton (third place for $216,768), John Davidson (fourth place for $163,540), Tim Frazin (fifth place for $140,177), and “Captain” Tom Franklin (sixth place for $120,814).
2007 marked the final year of the annual WPT tournament held at the Gold Strike Casino in Tunica, Mississippi. The town, sprawled among the fields just south of Memphis, boasts several “pods” of casinos, with Gold Strike making its home adjacent to Horseshoe Tunica, Bally’s, and the Sheraton. Team PokerStars Pro member and crowd favorite Daniel Negreanu came in second out of the 294 players who bought in that year and earned $502,000. Negreanu fell to Bryan Sumner heads-up in a final table that also featured two-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner J.C. Tran.
Following the Southern Poker Championship, WPT officials will make their way to California for the Celebrity Invitational and L.A. Poker Classic. The former takes place on February 20th and 21st from the Commerce Casino, while the latter kicks off February 26th at the same venue. The list of past players in the Celebrity Invitational reads like a “who’s who” of Hollywood’s elite: James Woods, Ben Affleck, Don Cheadle, Paris and Nicky Hilton, Vince Vaughn, Hank Azaria, Tobey Maguire, and Mena Suvari, just to name a few.
Poker Players who have made their way to the Celebrity Invitational in past years and may do so again in 2010 include the legendary Doyle Brunson, 11-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth, Negreanu, Men “The Master” Ngyuen, Team PokerStars Pro member Barry Greenstein, “The Great Dane” Gus Hansen, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Full Tilt Poker pro Gavin Smith, 2009 WSOP Main Event November Nine member Phil Ivey, Cyndy Violette, and Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari.
The Mac-friendly online poker site Full Tilt is running qualifiers to the L.A. Poker Classic and Bay 101 Shooting Star WPT tournaments through February 28th. Full Tilt offers a fully downloadable Mac poker client, allowing you to play with all of the bells and whistles of your Windows-loving counterparts.