Poker in Tunica, Part Two
In part one of this two-part series, I discussed the relative benefits and drawback of playing poker at the Gold Strike, and the Grand in Tunica. Today, I discuss the Horseshoe, Sam's Town, and Hollywood. Enjoy.
Horseshoe — This used to be the undisputed leader in Tunica poker action, but the distance has narrowed with the improvements across the alley at Gold Strike. The Horseshoe is a Harrah's property as is the Grand but other than sharing a monthly printed tournament schedule, they seem to operate independently unlike the good old days when the Horseshoe and the Gold Strike collaborated on the Big World Poker Open tournaments. Lisa Cromption is the manager at the Horseshoe Poker Room. Brooks Bradley is the day shift manager and perhaps one of the best dealers on the planet. The new room at the Shoe is very nicely appointed and doesn't seem an afterthought like the old Horseshoe room. There's plenty of action here and the biggest limit, NL and PLOmaha games and the free food is very good here. If you are ever in the room and seated near the $10/$20 Hold'em table, listening for the table talk, it's worth the rake just for the entertainment.
Six tournaments a week at The Horseshoe: Monday and Thursday at 7 PM is the $65/$40/$40 event; Wednesday $130 is the popular Target/Bounty event also at 7 PM. Weekend tournaments run at 4 PM on Friday ($65/$40/$40) with $1,200 added; Saturday at 2 PM ($130/$100/$100) and Sunday 4 PM ($130/$100/$100). The weekend events can fill up early at the Horseshoe. The Shoe also runs Omaha Hi/Lo single table shootouts at 10 AM on M,W,F with $100 added to just a $22 by-in, nice little overlay there.
Sam's Town -- Middle of the road in Tunica poker action with lots and lots of $3/$6 action and they do track you for comps in the lowest limit games. It's a real low limit oriented room and very, I repeat, very loose games on the weekends. The tournaments are small, fast, and (at least this week) profitable. The Sam's regulars feast on the tourist crowd, so if you have any moves at all, this is a good room to play.
Tournaments at Sam's Town run Wednesday through Sunday, they are the least expensive buy-ins in town and draw a crowd with more gamble and perhaps a bit less tournament experience. I particularly like the Ladies Only event Thursday at 6 PM and the Heads-Up event the 4th Saturday of each month. Cheapest tournament ($35+$15) in Tunica runs Sunday, Thursday and Friday at 11 AM. All Sam's Town events are limited to 10 tables and registration begins two hours before the event, do not show up late, these fill up fast.
Hollywood – Someone has to be at the bottom of the totem pole, in Tunica that would be the Hollywood poker room. With six tables and a whole bunch of regulars playing $3/$6 for the 20 hour a week freeroll, well you get the picture. They do run sit-n-gos everyday and I have seen these go off hourly almost every day. During my week of room-hopping the bad beat jackpot (quads beaten) was over $95,000. One of my favorite dealers on the planet deals at Hollywood, nice to see you Rudie! Last complaint about the Hollywood, the entire casino is smokey and even though the poker room is smoke free, there is always a haze of smoke hanging over the tables.
Tournaments at The Hollywood run everyday of the week the lead event runs twice a day at 10 AM and 6 PM, is a $65 in the morning and $115 in the evening. There is an additional event at 7 PM most weekday evenings with a different buy-in each day. Sam's Town events are populated by a lot of regulars, who know each other's games quite well; it's a good idea to lay it down to the lady in the black hat when everyone else does.
Overall, I think it's a toss-up whether you like the Shoe, the Strike or the Grand the best. Heck there are regulars at Sam's Town and Hollywood too. Food at the table is a nice touch at the Gold Strike and the Horseshoe. The tournaments at the Gold Strike have great structures and lots of play. The Grand room (without a circuit event) is a bit quiet for my tastes but I really like there tournament facilities and wonder what those will look like after the remodel early next year. The Horseshoe was a lot of the "regular" games but I am not a regular in Tunica, so I find the "tourist" games at the Gold Strike at lot more lucrative. The Sam's Town small buy-in tournaments are really great for those learning the ins and outs of playing an event with some fast structures.
I would suggest that bankroll dictate your selection of venues. Low limit tables abound at Hollywood and Sams Town and the table limits go up at you move to the Grand and then the Gold Strike with the biggest games in town at the Horseshoe.