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Tunica Bargains? - A trip report
Posted by Snapper on 6 December 1998, at 4:55 p.m.
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I finally made it to Tunica last week. I had heard "they" have the best rules and odds around - better than Vegas. But that's not what I found.
First, the rooms in Tunica are just as expensive as rooms in Vegas. Forty to sixty bucks a night - Sunday through Thursday. And sixty bucks a night or more on weekends. Otherwise, it's a about a half hour drive for a room in the Memphis area.
Second, the cuisine is limited and more costly than Vegas.
Third, there are only nine casinos in Tunica. They are all situated on acres of land. Each is surrounded by parking lots, golf courses, fountains, etc. So it's not easy getting from one casino to the next.
Three casinos (Hollywood, Harrah's, and Sam's Town) are located near one another and are collectively known as "Casino Stip". These three are close enough for walking and also offer a free shuttle bus to get from one to the other. You need wheels if you intend to play the other six casinos.
The Gold Strike, Horseshoe, and Shearaton are neighbors and they are known as "Casino Center". These three are closer together than the Casino Strip casinos. You need wheels to get from these three "Casino Center" casinos to the other six casinos.
Each of the remaining three casinos (Fitzgerald's, Bally's, The Grand) are situated remotely on many acres of land. You do need wheels to get to and from these casinos.
There is a privately operated bus that runs to all nine casinos. It costs $9 for an all day pass. I believe the bus runs on the hour every hour.
Last but not least, the blackjack rules and the penetration stink! These casinos hit soft seventeen. Some have the hit soft seventeen rule printed on the table felt and the others do not. I guess they expect you to ask or know what the rules are.
Only the Grand Casino stood on soft seventeen. But that rule was posted on a table placard making it easy for them to change the rule at anytime.
I saw the worst rules and poorest penetration at CASINO STRIP.
CASINO STRIP-SAM'S TOWN has 1 & 2 deck hand held games and 8 deck shoe games. Hand Held rules H17, no double after split, No mid-deck entry, rule of six penetration. Table minimums are high during slow periods. You can DAS and enter mid-shoe in the 6.5/8 deck shoe, but who would want to?
CASINO STRIP-HOLLYWOOD: Single, double and six deck games. Same lousy play and entry rules as Sam's Town. But the pen is worse. I watched a head to head game where they used a rule of four. And I saw a two player game where they used a rule of two. (At least Sam's Town uses the rule of six consistantly) For the shoe game they do not shuffle the cards after all players leave the table. A new group of players must start out mid deck.
CASINO STRIP-HARRAH'S: Same play and entry rules as above but upgrade pen to poor. They have table computers that track bet sizes for each player and who knows what else. I give them a star for having the most comfortable chairs.
I saw better conditions at CASINO CENTER:
CASINO CENTER-GOLD STRIKE: Same game and entry rules as Casino Strip casinos but good pen. I took a few chips from these tables.
CASINO CENTER-HORSESHOE: Same rules and conditions as Gold Strike but far too busy with full tables.
CASINO CENTER-SHERATON: Same rules as the other two Casino Center establishments but very few tables open.
I found the remote casinos comparable to the City Center Casinos:
FITZGERALD'S & BALLY'S: Same rules and conditions as Casino Center but the pen varied.
THE GRAND CASINO: Best rules and good pen. S17, Rs3, RsA, DOA, DAS. Many tables with 3 or 4 other players. Good place to wong. I did best here.
Overall, this may be a good place to play for locals because it's the only place to play. But to me Tunica sure isn't comparable to Vegas. I can find better conditions at Indian Reservation Casinos close to home. Next time I travel long distance to play, it will be back to Vegas.
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