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Heard it on the river

9 March 2007

By Rudi Schiffer

It's going to be a stretch for some gamblers…is a first place prize of $100,000 worth a shot for a $1,000 buy-in? I've plunked down up to $500 several times to get into blackjack tournaments and will have to reach down to get in the quarter million bucks tournament that will take place at the HORSESHOE on Saturday April 21.

But somehow I can't miss this biggie, and that thought will drive a lot of players to pony up.

The Horseshoe, the self-proclaimed home of the big hitters with $10,000 limits and 100 times odds, is now reaching out to dominate the tournament trail with this $250,000 monster that is expected to draw in blackjack players from around the country via its huge data base. As the new VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING, MELISSA CONNER states, "The Horseshoe is the home of the gambler, so why not host the biggest one-day blackjack tournament that Tunica has ever seen." Indeed, why not! If you miss on the hundred grand for first, second money is not bad at $50,000. For all the details check out the feature on page one.

You might want to get in some practice at low buy-in tournament play before you move up to the big time. GRAND CASINO and HOLLYWOOD will provide that opportunity all month long and these events are fun to compete in and a place to hone your tournament play. The MILLIONAIRE MAKER BLACKJACK CHALLENGE takes place at the Grand every Saturday for a $50 buy-in with the weekly winner getting $1,500 in Reel Rewards free slot play and a seat in the $5,000 Millionaire Maker Challenge final on March 31. The final event is also open the public for a $100 buy-in. The big pot at the end of this rainbow, however, is a seat in the national tournament at CAESAR'S PALACE in Vegas in August for a million smackers. Registration is from 10 a.m. to noon just outside LB's Steakhouse. Hollywood Casino's SUNDAY SPECTACULAR tournaments pay up to $1,000 for first place with just a $30 buy-in. Five bucks from each entry fee will go to the progressive jackpot each week and winners of back-to-back tournaments win the progressive. Registration begins at 4 p.m. outside the cage. While you are at Hollywood, swipe your players card at a kiosk for a free entry in the $7,000 Sunday drawings every hour from 6 to 9 p.m. While there, get your photo taken with a celebrity look-alike, free, every Saturday this month from noon to 8 p.m.

It will be a busy month at the FITZ, what with the SUNDAY BLUES SPIN, and the ST. PATRICK'S DAY celebration. Every Sunday there will be a $2,000 free slot tournament followed by great music. The FAMOUS UNKNOWNS, featuring that outstanding harmonica cat, MARK SALLINGS, and the Queen of Beale Street, RUBY WILSON, will perform on alternate Sundays. When you turn Irish on March 17 you can do it at the "Biggest and Best St. Patrick's Day Celebration in the Mid-South." The GOODTIMES RADIO SHOW starts things off that day with a remote broadcast at 8:30. Stop by and you may win a pair of buffet tickets if you can sing an Irish tune on air, not Danny Boy, please. The show is live from the stage bar featuring newcomer, DANNY Z, and yours truly. Bring your paycheck along and cash it in for a shot a $1,000 a week paycheck for life.

It won't be long before the azaleas are blooming in full springtime glory at AUGUSTA NATIONAL for the Masters and also at DANCING RABBIT, the crowning jewel of Pearl River Resort, that the Choctaw Band has made into a two-course layout that will make you think you are on Augusta National. If you are golfer you absolutely must visit the Resort. Golf Director, MARK POWELL, tells me that the Azalea and Oaks course came through the winter just fine and callers are looking for tee-times. To get yours, telephone 601-663-0011, ext. 1019. Save Sunday while there to play in the THREE CARD POKER tournament that runs through July 8. The buy-in is only $50 but if you advance to the $100,000 finale on July 15 you could bag $50,000 for first place. Call (866) 44PEARL for more info.

Lots of casinos have smoke free areas but Hollywood does it a little differently. They have taken a large room next to cage and closed it in entirely behind a glass wall for slot players. Welcome back, DOM MORREALE, poker room manager.

That zany hypnotic adult comedian, ANTHONY COOLS, will bring his act to BLUESVILLE at the Horseshoe on March 17, a week after he is a guest on the GoodTimes Radio Show. Check your sexual hang-ups at the door. MELISSA CONNER moves up to Vice President of Marketing at the Horseshoe and over at the Grand, STEPHEN L. HALL, named regional vice president of food and beverage operations covering not only the Grand but the Sheraton and Horseshoe as well. The three sister properties have also just donated $40,000 to support the Memphis Botanic Garden's Horticulture Program for seniors as part of HARRAH'S ongoing and significant community partnership program.

Soon you will have just one players card at GOLD STRIKE and it will be good at all participating MGM MIRAGE properties including the beautiful BEAU RIVAGE in Biloxi. The program begins in April. Also new at Gold Strike is an all new High Limit Room for blackjack and mini-baccarat players. No tux required. On the food scene so dear to all gamblers, there are now new daily specials at Tunica's only 24 hour full-service restaurant, THE ATRIUM, a new wine list at the Wine Spectator award- winning ,CHICAGO STEAKHOUSE, and the COURTYARD buffet has moved up a few notches and now has the look and feel of fine dinning in a buffet room. Check out the Saturn Sky Roadster giveaway each Saturday this month Drawings at 8 and 9 p.m.

Next month TUNICA NATIONAL plays host to the $300,000 MISSISSIPPI CLASSIC that is expected to draw about 150 touring golf pros. The event takes place on April 2-8 and pays $40,000 to the winner. Kudos to the club and general manager BOB WOLCOTT and the TUNICA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU for their hard work in bringing this significant event to the County. The Classic features a pro-am, parties, hospitality, stadium seating, and a junior clinic. Australian Stuart Deane, who won the Trump Million Dollar Invitational, will play in the U.S. PRO GOLF TOUR event. For more info go to While you are there, check out the rising master planned golf community development now underway just south of the Club House. Call CODY or MATT for more info at 662-363-9510.

The TUNICA QUEEN starts sailing again on March 10 but with a new look for its daily cruises on the Mighty Mississippi. It has a totally different look in its classic 19th century interior and the 400-passenger vessel also has a new menu. The Queen is located adjacent to the Fitz and the Tunica RIVERPARK, which you must absolutely visit. The paddle wheeler and the museum are great amenties for the county and its visitors. Make reservations now for yourself or group by calling 866-805-3535 or visit


"If you have never gambled, you are preciously rare and probably terminally boring." -- Michael Pakenham, Bad Bet (1998)


Rudi Schiffer
Rudi Schiffer is a long time columnist and contributing writer for Jackpot Magazine, the South’s leading gaming publication, and for, the world’s leading casino industry internet news distributor. He is also owner and co-host of the 20-year-old Goodtimes Radio Show, now simulcast on Fridays from 3-6 PM Central Time from Country Classic 1180 AM, Memphis networked with KMIS 1050 AM, and 103.9 KGLU FM from Kennet, MO covering parts of Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. His radio show is also archived at A Boston University Journalism graduate, he resides in Memphis, TN. Known as the "Voice of Tunica" for his support the gaming jurisdiction for two decades, he was also recently named to Memphis Business Quarterly Magazine’s 3rd annual “The Power Players, Who’s Who” of Memphis.He is also a contributing writer for Southern Gaming & Entertainment and Mississippi Gaming.

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