Magnolia Classic a vital stop on fall poker tour



The Ante Up crew will be visiting Mississippi in November, and not for a week of just rest and relaxation. The Magnolia State Fall Classic at Horseshoe Tunica (Nov. 15-21) is an absolute must-stop on the fall schedule. In the third year of this event, the Magnolia Classic has partnered with Ante Up to feature six days of fantastic structures, unique concepts and affordable buy-ins. Not to mention the good ol’ southern hospitality you can always expect from Horseshoe Tunica.

Horseshoe tournament director Dale Carden said: “Our goal with this event is to provide tournaments with a buy-in everyone can afford. Most of the big events have enormous buy-ins and really limit who can play. Daily noon events at the Magnolia Classic ($230) average fields of over 100, with the nightly events ($150) averaging just over 80.”
Noon events each award one seat into the World Series of Poker circuit main event at Harrah’s Tunica in January. Carden added: “This seat is paid for by the Horseshoe poker room, rather than the prize pool, and is a huge bonus for our players.”

A tournament is just as good as its director, and Carden’s career experience makes him one of the best. In 2004 he was inducted into the Seniors World Championship Hall of Fame. Working with Jack Effel (WSOP tournament director) on past events has influenced how he runs tournaments.

“All of our noon tournaments offer 10,000 chips and 45-minute blind levels,” he said. “We really focus on giving players time to play their chips, to play poker. We also have the best staff at Horseshoe Tunica, bar none, in the poker world. Seasoned and experienced is how I would describe them. We hope that by scheduling this event between other large-scale tournaments and by partnering with Ante Up Magazine we’ll draw fields of 150-plus for each event.”

Said Carden: “The ladies event this year will offer an extra 1,000 chips for any participant wearing the color red. Our main event ($550) will also feature a bracelet for the winner. Though the “Battle of the Ages” featured the last two years will not be returning this year, we will instead just focus on offering a great seniors event. We do anticipate that the Battle of the Ages will return at some point in the future.”

Another highly anticipated tournament is the last event, the Bad Hat and White Tiger Cash Blast, which has received quite a bit of buzz.

“This is a ‘money for money’ tournament,” said Carden, who began his career as a Florida dealer in 1990. “The $340 buy-in awards the player 300 chips with real cash value, that they may cash out at any time during the tournament. Blinds are 5-5 the first hour and then go up to 5-10 for an hour.”

Ante Up caught up with Mike “White Tiger” Woods, for some additional information on this unique tournament.

“This tournament was designed to entice cash players to play tournaments,” Woods said. “Players can cash out their chip stack at any time, or play down to compete for a prize pool that is sponsored by Horseshoe Tunica. Because of the small amount of starting chips, the game starts out with very low blinds at one-hour increments and then progressively the time will get shorter and the blinds will increase, until it resembles a regular tournament structure.”

The idea for this has humorous origins.

“One time while playing in a tournament Kenny “Bad Hat” Piel was at a table with a new player who had quite a chip stack,” Woods said. “When the table broke, rather than going to his new seat, the first-time player decided he’d just go to the cage and cash out. Of course, the player was promptly sent back to his seat.”

A rather entertaining story quickly turned into a brilliant idea, which has since been copyrighted under the Bad Hat White Tiger name. Though Bad Hat and White Tiger are both pro poker players in their own right, Woods said, “Without the help of Dale Carden (and Lisa Crompton, also of Horseshoe Tunica), we would have never gotten off the ground.”
Their Cash Blast tournament is leased to be run at multiple locations nationwide, but with its origins stemming from Horseshoe Tunica, they are very happy to be included in the Magnolia State Fall Classic.

It’s no surprise with all this and more that the Magnolia Classic, (named after the formidable state tree of Mississippi) will not be a week of R&R for the Ante Up crew or the thousands of poker players who will visit Horseshoe Tunica during November. But it does promise non-stop action, impressive prize pools and a solid six-day southern poker event to rival any other.

— Jennifer Gay is a poker journalist, poker room supervisor and poker player local to the Mid-South region. Her column will focus on the Mississippi-area poker scene. She can be contacted at

Magnolia State Fall Classic

NOV. 15-21

11-15 10-7 p.m. SNG sats 35-45-65-125
11-15 Noon NLHE 200+30+10
11-15 7 p.m. NLHE 125+25+10
11-16 Noon NLHE 200+30+10
11-16 7 p.m. NLHE 125+25+10
11-17 Noon NLHE 200+30+10
11-17 7 p.m. NLHE 125+25+10
11-18 Noon Seniors* 200+30+10
11-18 7 p.m. NLHE 125+25+10
11-19 Noon NLHE 300+40+10
11-19 2 p.m. Ladies** 125+25+10
11-19 7 p.m. NLHE 125+25+10
11-20 Noon Main Event 500+50+10
11-20 7 p.m. NLHE 125+25+10
11-21 Noon BHWT*** 300+30+10
• Single-table satellites start 11-15 at 10am daily
• Every Noon event winner gets a seat into the WSOPC Main Event at Harrah’s Tunica in January 2011, which is paid for by Horseshoe, not out of the prize fund.
• All tournaments are one-day events.
* Age 40 or older by Nov. 18, 2010 to play this NLHE event.
** Ladies wearing red receive extra 1,000 chips.
*** Bad Hat and White Tiger (BHWT) Cash Blast: Chips have actual value and you can cash out at any time.

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine