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STICKMAN'S STANCE: THE HISTORY OF THE TUNICA CASINOS-Part 5

by Jerry "Stickman"

Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in craps, blackjack, video poker and advantage slot machine play. Frank Scoblete's and Jerry "Stickman's" book "Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker" presents dozens of video poker games and strategies for maximum returns. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanjerry@aol.com.

This final installment of the history of Tunica casinos contains a look at current casino conditions in Tunica County.

The Tunica casinos were losing business well before the flood of 2011, which was highlighted in last month's article. While the author is not sure what the true reason behind that situation was, the fact that casinos were becoming stingier with comps and game rules, less friendly toward their customers, and more openly hostile to those they felt might have a chance at winning did not help their plight.

Recently I took a tour of every Tunica casino that was still in business after the 2011 flood and made notes concerning the current conditions. This is not a trip report, as such, because I did not actually play any games. Instead, I walked through the casinos with a notepad taking notes about what I was observing. I took particular note of their blackjack, craps, and video poker games. My intent was to give the reader a feel for what the casinos in Tunica are like today. Below is what I found - casino by casino, starting from the north. Unless otherwise stated, the blackjack rules are as follows:

  • a blackjack pays 3:2
  • dealer hits a soft 17
  • double down on any two cards allowed
  • double down after splitting allowed
  • re-split up to four hands
  • only one card on split aces, and
  • insurance and no surrender.

Harrah's: No longer in business.

I noticed the following sign as I was heading to Tunica. Several layers of newer signs had been blown off revealing something from way back in the past.

Things have certainly changed from when this sign was first erected.

During its prime, Harrah's (formerly known as Grand Casino Tunica) looked like this:

Notice the white steel securing posts with the angled braces on either side of the white center section of the casino. At one time, Harrah's boasted three hotels (the original near the casino, and the Veranda and Terrace across old highway 61, with a shuttle running between the casino and the Veranda and Terrace), an RV park, and a Kid's Quest near the two remote hotels where parents could dump their offspring while they gambled to their heart's content without worrying about their children.

Now, here some pictures of what the area currently looks like:

Nothing is left of the casino but the white steel posts and small remnants of the entrance arches.

Harrah's main (North) entrance sign.

Harrah's south entrance.

The main drive to the (former) Harrah's casino.

Harrah's entrance and first hotel.

A closer look at the original Harrah's hotel.

Harrah's Veranda and Terrace Hotels and Kid's Quest.

Bally's Casino:

 

Bally's Hotel currently closed for "renovations."

As was the case even before the flood, Bally's is geared toward the lower-end player. Table minimums were generally $5, with maximums between $500 and $1000.

Blackjack: There were a total of...

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