2009 Southern Poker Championship begins Friday

Bill Edler
Bill Edler is one of the many players to find success at Beau Rivage.

The 2009 poker season begins at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Miss.

The WPT Southern Poker Championship is set to kick off on Friday, making the WPT the first major poker series to get started in the new year.

Taking place Jan. 2-17, this year's schedule includes 15 poker tournaments packed into two weeks of 24/7 poker action. This marks the ninth consecutive year that Mississippi has offered a major poker festival in the month of January.

The Southern Poker Championship is, in many ways, the heir of two WPT events from the past - the Gulf Coast Poker Championship (held in the Beau Rivage) and the World Poker Open (held at sister property the Gold Strike in Tunica).

"We're going to be the center of the poker universe in what will be the first major poker tournament of 2009," said Ken Lambert, director of poker operations in Mississippi for MGM-MIRAGE, which owns and operates Beau Rivage.

"Whatever poker games our players want to play for whatever limits, we are going to offer [them] at Beau Rivage. Ask anyone of the thousands of players who made us an annual destination and they will tell you the poker action here is perhaps the best in the world."

Buy-ins for the 15 tournaments start as low as $300, but the big dance - the WPT televised event - will cost 10,000 bones. The WPT main event will run Jan. 14-17, and in addition to the anticipated $1 million first-place prize, the winner will receive a gold and diamond bracelet and a $25,000 seat into the WPT World Championship at Bellagio in April 2009.

This year also marks the first time that the Southern Poker Championship will offer a $5,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha Championship, so look for a few of those famous Euro-rounders to make the trip to Mississippi.

Most of the events will be two-day affairs, and there will be numerous ways to satellite in if you don't want to buy in directly. There will also be a nightly $175+$25 No-Limit Hold'em tournament open to all players at 7 p.m.

The Southern Poker Championship will also play host to a Ladies International Poker Series (LIPS) event on Jan. 10. The event is open to all women and will carry a $340+$40 buy-in.

The Beau Rivage poker room is one of the most celebrated cardrooms in the U.S. The room offers 16 tables, tableside food and beverage services and knowledgeable staff available 24/7. There are a variety of games available, with No-Limit Hold'em, Seven-Card Stud, Pot-Limit Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo all spread on a regular basis.


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