Major poker event proves a boon for Wallonian city

Major poker event proves a boon for Wallonian city


Namur will be the centre of the poker playing world for the next couple of weeks.

The city’s Circus Casino Resort is playing host to a major international poker tournament between now and August 6.
Hundreds of players have converged on the Walloon capital from all over the world to chance their arm in a ten-day jamboree.
They will be playing for prize money up to €1 million.

With such a huge influx of visitors the event is welcome for the local economy in the city and also the resort. It combines a casino 4-star hotel and wellness and is the only place of its kind in Belgium.

It also comprises La Carte Du Roi which (in English) translates as Card of the King which, given the casino next door, is entirely appropriate.

Guests here are also offered a unique “pick a card and win a meal” offer which, again, must be a first in Belgium.
At the end of every meal, the waiter produces a pack of cards and invites diners at the table to pick a card. If the card chosen King of Hearts then the bill for the meal (for the table) is reimbursed.

Given the number of cards in a pack, it means you have a one in 52 chance of “winning” a meal and, since the restaurant opened, there have been about 90 occasions when a diner has come out “victorious.”

While the serious poker players focus on their games in the adjacent casino, amateur “gamblers” can join in the fun over a meal in the restaurant at this fine complex.

The current poker tournament, in fact, is particularly welcome to this venue which is still trying to recover (as are so many places) from the double whammy of a health pandemic and a cost of living crisis.

As well as the chance to “win a meal” this places benefits from what must be one of the grandest locations in the whole of the country.

It is situated at the very foot of the city’s formidable, eight-hectare Citadelle, which was Europe’s strongest fort in the 17th century.

The restaurant also directly overlooks the splendid River Meuse, which, along with the Sambre is one of two rivers that meander through this fine city. A large terrace, seating up to 35 people, therefore makes for a particularly lovely spot in the summer to enjoy a meal.

The restaurant benefits from a huge, floor-to-ceiling glass window so guests eating inside still get a great view of the river and the passing boats.

There has been a casino on this site for many years with it first opening way back in 1914 and it has been an important local entertainment centre ever since.

However, the restaurant itself is quite new, having opened (at pretty much the same time as the adjacent hotel) last autumn.
But it has already proved a hit, both with locals as well hotel guests and people using the casino.

As well as the main card, featuring “refined, flavoursome” largely European cuisine, there are a couple of fixed menus as well, a 2 course option priced €35 and a 3 course one which costs €47.Suffice to say that the aim of the chefs at this modern bistronomique is to “satisfy the most demanding of tastes.”

The card “competition” at the end of the meal is not the only thing offered to diners here: those eating at lunchtime benefit from free parking while there is a 50 percent discount on parking in the evening.

As long as you are aged 21 or over you may want to have a dabble in the casino (and its 260 slot machines) after a pleasant meal. It is the 2nd biggest poker venue in Europe which is also used for other events such as salsa dancing. Even if you don’t want to try your hand on the roulette tables you can just have a drink and “dream” of winning big.

The poker rooms will be fully occupied during the current tournament but even the rest of the year this place is popular, with up to 800 players using its facilities on an average weekend.

The pandemic forced the closure of the resort for no less than 18 months, described as a “very difficult period for us” by Andrea Iovine, a duty manager.

While poker players, some playing until 5am, will be hoping to scoop that €1m jackpot others can set their sights on something a tad more modest: a good, wholesome meal in the resort’s resto.

La Carte Du Roi
Avenue Baron de Moreau 1, Namur
081 64 92 20
www.circuscasinoresort.com

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