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TUNICA TRIP REPORT

by JPB

JPB has been playing blackjack and counting cards part-time since 1996. He plays throughout the country but primarily in Missouri. He has been a Green Chip member of BJ21.com for four years and one-time winner of the Post-of-the-Month. JPB is a professional engineer with three engineering degrees and works as a consulting engineer.

Note: The following casinos were visited in November 2014:

Resorts

Hollywood

Samís Town

Horseshoe

Gold Strike

Roadhouse

SEVERAL DECENT CASINOS FOR CARD COUNTERS

It had been over two years since my last visit to Tunica. Since then, Harrahís (one of the largest casinos there) had closed. I was starting to wonder if this was the beginning of a steady downturn for the Tunica casino market since they have a lot of casinos for the relatively small Memphis metro area. More importantly, if the overall casino market was deteriorating, I was concerned that the blackjack playing conditions would also deteriorate.

Here is what I discoveredÖ

Casino Logistics

Tunica is located 30 miles south of Memphis. There are eight casinos in Tunica, all located within a 10-mile radius. There are two clusters of three casinos. Cluster 1 consists of Resorts, Hollywood, and Samís Town, and Cluster 2 contains Horseshoe, Gold Strike, and Roadhouse. The other two casinos are Fitzgeralds (located close to Cluster 1), and Ballyís (close to Cluster 2). If you are going to visit casinos in Cluster 1 and 2, you really need a car.

On this trip, I visited the following casinos: Resorts, Hollywood, Samís Town, Horseshoe, Gold Strike, and Roadhouse.

Hollywood (1150 Casino Strip Boulevard)

I started my trip out at the Hollywood casino. This casino has one of the worst reputations for acting as thugs to any skilled blackjack player; furthermore, I have been blacklisted at other Hollywood properties so I had to keep my visit short. There was one single-deck game with H17 and no DAS; however, the table limits were too low for me ($10-100). There was also one double-deck game with $10-1000 betting limits, and H17, DAS, and RSA. The house advantage against a basic strategy player is a modest 0.35%, and the penetration was about 55%.

I was playing an inconspicuous $25-250 spread and was steadily losing. Finally, a big plus count came up and I decided to go ahead and wager my remaining $400 in chips to give the appearance that I was a desperate gambler. Happily, I won the hand and the count was still huge, so I laid out the $800 bet. My big bet paid off since my next hand was a sweet blackjack. The count was still positive, and I was able to lay out about three more big bets of about $500. As soon as it was shuffle time, I headed to the cashier as fast as I could and was glad they were willing to cash my $3000+ in chips without asking for an ID. Because I gave them very little action at the blackjack tables, I certainly would have been backed off in a matter of minutes if I continued playing.

Resorts (1100 Casino Strip Blvd.)

There were no single- or double-deck games. Only two six-deck tables were open with H17, DAS, and RSA. Penetration was around 4.2-4.5 out of 6.0 decks. This is nothing to get excited about. In addition, I only saw two players playing blackjack. I decided to hit the road quickly.

Samís Town (1477 Casino Strip Blvd.)

I saw one double-deck and one single-deck game when I visited. The rules for the single-deck game were H17, no DAS, and no RSA, for a thin house advantage of about 0.17%. Table limit was $25-500. I was playing heads up and getting about four or five rounds before the shuffle. The double-deck game was $10-500, with h17, DAS, and RSA for a house advantage of 0.35%. Penetration was only 50%. I decided to play the single-deck game; however, I kept the session short. I didnít have any problems even though Current Blackjack News (CBJN) reports that they are quick to back off at the single-deck game.

I left this cluster of casinos wondering...

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