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Best bets in Tunica

 Posted by Bootlegger on 7 April 1998, at 8:43 a.m.



I just thought I'd get the ball rolling with a report on Tunica casinos. There are nine casinos in Tunica, and I would submit that it is the best blackjack location in the United States outside of Nevada. It has nine casinos, all of them large and comparable to the newer casinos on the strip in Las Vegas. Although technically on riverboats, you've never seen riverboats quite like these unless you've been there.


They are not in the river. They are on huge barges which are sitting in holes filled with water. They do not resemble boats and you wouldn't know it was a boat until you walked right up to the casino and saw that there was a small ribbon of water around it.


The best blackjack can be found at the Horseshoe, one of three casinos which are immediately adjacent to one another. The Horseshoe offers single deck, double deck and six deck blackjack. Green or even black action is accepted without fuss. Adjacent to the Horseshoe is the Gold Strike, a property owned by Circus Circus. It also offers good blackjack, including single and double deckers. The third casino of the group is the Sheraton. While it offers a single decker, it doesn't compare with either the Gold Strike or the Horseshoe. You may want to check it out to see if you can get an uncrowded table at the single deck game, however.


Of the other casinos, the Hollywood is probably the best for blackjack, although they seem to run hot and cold. The last time I was there, they were offering a good double deck game with decent penetration. I have heard that they very recently added a couple of single deck tables, but I haven't personally seen them. The Hollywood also has plenty of 9/6 Jacks or Better $.25 and $1.00 video poker, for those of you who are interested.


Harrah's, next door to Hollywood has what I consider to be the prettiest casino in the area, but, alas, their blackjack leaves something to be desired. I am told by high rolling friends that the double deck game offered in their Premier high roller area is a decent one, but again, I have not had personal experience there. Sam's Town, which is across the street from the Hollywood and Harrah's has single deckers, but it is usually crowded, and finding a table with less than three players is virtually impossible.


Three casinos stand alone. The largest of these is the Grand, which offers a variety of blackjack games, including Spanish blackjack. Unfortunately, the games are not among the better ones in town, especially in terms of penetration, although they are the only game in town that offers S17 on their double deckers and shoes (not counting the Spanish blackjack available at some of the other casinos). Again, finding an empty table at either the two deckers or the single deckers is tough to do.


Fitzgeralds is another casino that seems to run hot and cold as far as blackjack goes. While I have had the good fortune of finding good penetration on their double decker, I have seen reports from others who have not been as fortunate. They also offer a single decker, but it is usually crowded.


Bally's may be the least busy of the nine casinos in the Tunica area. It's games are not outstanding, but you do have a chance of getting heads up play here, which is valuable in and of itself, especially in a single decker.


From what I have been able to see, it seems that the rule of six prevails in the single deck games offered in the Tunica casinos. Penetration on the double deckers varies from casino to casino and from dealer to dealer.


As always, I have found that casinos often belie the reports made about them. A little shopping around at any of these casinos may very well turn up conditions better (or worse) than those I have described.


Now there are some better games to be found in Mississippi, particularly in Vicksburg, but taken as a whole, I would recommend Tunica because of the variety of casinos available, the number of games and the fact that heat is at a minimum there. Comps are easy to come by. If you are a player who is used to getting comps in either Las Vegas or Atlantic City, you will have no problem with getting a comp here. If you are a player who does not usually get the full RFB in those other locations, you may be pleasantly surprised. It's close proximity to Memphis is a plus as well.




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