2009 Southern Poker Championship (SPC), MGM’s Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Biloxi, Mississippi USA (Jan 2-17)

A report by David Sasseman & Claire ‚Anne‘ McDonald

The first major poker tournament of the year attracts 1005 entries. A homebuilder for Georgia, Ronnie George, wins.

Beau Rivage Resort
Beau Rivage Resort
Biloxi, MS (January 4, 2009) – The World Poker Tour (WPT) started this year in Biloxi Mississippi USA and it promises to be an exciting success. Event #1 (of 15 Events) had a turn out of 1005 entries. The alternates were lined up out the door. But poker managers, Ken Lambert, Johnny Grooms, Eric Comer, and Shawn Johnson got it going in grand style. When the controlled chaos was over, Ronnie George, a 50 year old homebuilder from Douglasville, Georgia, became our first champion of the year taking home over USD 65,000, a seat to the final USD 10,000 Event, and a coveted, custom made 1.5 ounce white gold diamond encrusted SPC bracelet. When asked if he had any plans for the money he said, „No but my wife does!“
Event #1 held on Jan 2nd was a USD 300 + USD 30 no limit hold’em event. At 2 AM (14 hours after the event started) 29 players remained. They came back at 2 PM the next day and it took over seven hours to crown or rather bracelet our champ, Ronnie.

Ronnie George (Image by impdi.com)
Ronnie George (Image by impdi.com)
Ronnie started the final table in eighth place out of ten players. He stayed out of trouble and accumulated his chips going in with the best hand. For example, when it was heads up against Larry Alexander, a very good aggressive player, Ronnie waited till he had the nut flush and set his trap. He bet out small and sure enough Larry goes over the top with an all in. What a horrible time to bluff. It crippled Larry and Ronnie won a couple hands later.
Ronnie said he has played in a number of tournaments but he loves it here in the Grand Ballroom of the Beau Rivage. The Beau is located on the Gulf Coast. It is an MGM Mirage property and was named one of the top 100 hotels in the Continental United States and Canada by Travel + Leisure. The Beau is a sister property to the Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas ant he Gold Strike in Tunica, Mississippi. It has 1,740 elegant rooms and suites, 11 restaurants, four night clubs and bars, and one of the best golf courses in the Southeast. For more information visit www.beaurivage.com or call 888-56-ROOMS.

Image Masters is here and they supply a wonderful service by taking photos of ALL the tournament players. Then sell them at a booth in the tournament lobby or online. Eric Harkins and crew supplied the photo of the winners of theses events to us for free. You can go online and see more of their work at http://www.impdi.com

Names of some pros playing here: Even with all the competing tournaments* in January the Beau Rivage will attract many famous professionals like Hoyt Corkin, Timothy „TK“ Miles, Barry Greenstein, Gavin Smith, Clonie Gowen, Robert Williamson III, Erick Lindgren, Men the „Master“, Josh Ariah, Nguyen Eskimo Clark, Bill Elder (who was last years main event champion), and amateurs alike. It promises to be one the best tournaments of the year.

Cash games: The cash games here are fast and furious. Upstairs in the Grand Ballroom they spread no limit hold’em games from USD 1/USD 2 to USD 25/USD 25/USD 50 and USD 300/USD 600. Omaha, triple draw, and mixed games abound. Downstairs in the poker room the waiting list has been 300 deep. The USD 1/USD 2 no limit hold’em game has a list of over 100 players waiting to play and pots up to USD 5,000- yes, in a USD 1/USD 2 game! The economy looks good here. With staff members like Terry Bargy, the southern hospitality at the MGM Beau makes you feel warm and welcome.

*Some other January tournaments:
2009 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure at the Atlantis Resort & Casino in the Bahamas
Aussie Millions Championship in Australia (Jan9-26)
Euro Final of Poker at the Aviation Club de France in Paris (Jan3-17)
Harrah’s in Tunica, Mississippi (Jan20-Feb3)
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey has one (Jan13-27)
Three Tournaments Daily played at the Gold Strike (the Beau’s sister property) in Tunica, Mississippi (Jan19-Feb7)

Final results

Event #1
No-Limit Hold’em
January 3-4, 2009
Buy In: USD 300 + USD 40
Entries: 1005
Total Prize Money: USD 282,455
Places Paid: 63

1st Ronnie George Douglasville, GA USD 65,109
2nd Larry Alexander Grand Bay, AL USD 33,895
3rd Brad Edwards State Road, NC USD 21,184
4th Tom Becnel Belle Chasse, LA USD 18,642
5th Larry Dale Wright II Montgomery, AL USD 15,817
6th Jessica Dawley Las Vegas, NV USD 12,993
7th Dieter Fiek Kennesaw, GA USD 10,168
8th Jeremy Sanders Columbus, GA USD 7,344
9th Kevin Fields Forsyth, GA USD 4,519
10th Ilene Matz Atlanta, GA USD 3,954