Two Mississippi poker rooms close doors

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Without much fanfare, Sam’s Town Tunica closed the doors to its poker room on Jan. 23. This was one of the original rooms in the Tunica market, known mostly for spreading low-limit games to regular players and small daily tournaments. Like most of Tunica, Sam’s Town was hit hard by the poker boom in Florida, losing many long-term regulars to the warmer southern climates and endless action. Recovery was never in the cards for this room, and after several rounds of casino-wide layoffs, the staff in the poker room was told with just a day or two to spare that the bad-beat jackpot would be liquidated through promotions and the room closed.

About 30 miles south, another poker room called it a day. The small, but fairly active room at the Isle of Capri in Lula, Miss., ceased operation on Jan. 11. It seems this poker room was largely unnoticed by all but the most diehard regulars, and it’s a shame, too. Though not ideally located, this room had some of the best small promotions, tournaments and staff available in the area. Dual-rate supervisor Tyler Burke said, “I was with this room from the beginning. I was able to get to know the players and became close with so many of them. It was a close-knit community of players who loved to play poker and hang out. I’m glad I was part of it. They were seriously some of the nicest people you’d have ever met. That room was really theirs; it belonged to the regulars.”

Burke was hit especially hard by the recent closings. As an employee for both of the now-defunct poker rooms, employed as a dealer at the aforementioned Sam’s Town as well, he tweeted: “For all of you calling to ask how the bad-beat jackpot will be liquidated, please remember, I just lost my job. Two weeks ago, I had two jobs and today I am unemployed.” Prolific Tunica poker-room manager at the Isle of Capri, Todd Desnoyers, responded “I’m in the same boat, but with a family to feed.”

I caught up with Burke to see how he’s doing and he said he was fortunate enough to get hired at Horseshoe Tunica, which is largely regarded as the busiest room in Tunica.

It’s always sad when a poker room closes. The small bit of silver lining being that now homeless “regular” players will drift to the remaining poker rooms and in turn, increase the action for everyone.

— Jennifer Gay is Ante Up’s Mississippi Ambassador. She can be contacted at facebook.com/aceofjewels or at jennifergay80@hotmail.com.

Million Dollar Heater, Beau Rivage, Jan. 4-23

Event 1 • $340 NLHE
Entries: 1,671 • Pool: $486K
Mohammed Moeini, $73,148
Event 2 • $340 O/8
Entries: 81 • Pool: $23,325
Jesse Jackson, $8,485
Event 3 • $230 Stud/8
Entries: 80 • Pool: $15,520
Ky MacPherson, $5,425
Event 4 • $125 NLHE
Entries: 277 • Pool: $47,045
Michael Plaxco, $14,116
Event 5 • $230 O/8
Entries: 72 • Pool: $13,968
Wilfred Lewis, $5,029
Event 6 • $230 Seniors
Entries: 232 • Pool: $45,008
Lawrence Highfield, $14,855
Event 7 • $120 NLHE
Entries: 113 • Pool: $18,721
Andrew Hilton, $6,739
Event 8 • $230 NLHE
Entries: 108 • Pool: $20,952
James Miller, $7,542
Event 9 • $230 LHE
Entries: 27 • Pool: $5,238
Daryl Williams, $2,357
Event 10 • $230 NLHE
Entries: 79 • Pool: $15,326
Richard Gibson, $5,357
Event 11 • $120 O/8
Entries: 90 • Pool: $8,730
Hod Berman, $3,142
Event 12 • $340 NLHE
Entries: 147 • Pool: $50K
Jon Luckett, $16,500
Event 13 • $125 NLHE
Entries: 28 • Pool: $6,111
Jason Daniel, $2,749
Event 14 • $340 NLHE
Entries: 494 • Pool: $150K
Claudia Crawford, $38,925
Event 15 • $400 6-Max
Entries: 46 • Pool: $13,386
Jon Hurt, $5,087
Event 16 • $550 O/8
Entries: 30 • Pool: $14,550
Tim Burt, $6,546
Event 17 • $125 NLHE
Entries: 138 • Pool: $22,892
John Finnan, $7,554
Event 18 • $230 Ladies
Entries: 41 • Pool: $7,954
Bridget Fredericks, $3,579
Event 19 • $230 NLHE
Entries: 69 • Pool: $13,386
Warren Sheaves, $4,820
Event 20 • $120 WTA
Entries: 24 • Pool: $2,328
Warren Fund, $2,328
Event 21 • $340 NLHE
Entries: 66 • Pool: $19,206
Robert Harwell, $6,916
Event 22 • $230 Ante
Entries: 25 • Pool: $4,850
Gregg Fund, $2,425
Event 23 • $550 NLHE
Entries: 53 • Pool: $25,705
Jay Kaplan, $8,992
Event 24 • $230 PLO
Entries: 24 • Pool: $11,058
Ryan Dunn, $5,529
Event 25 • $125 NLHE
Entries: 123 • Pool: $20,952
Charles Rickett, $7,542
Event 26 • $1,070 NLHE
Entries: 67 • Pool: $64,990
Corrie Wunstel, $23,396
Event 27 • $340 NLHE
Entries: 120 • Pool: $34,920
Stuart Breakstone, $12,571
$2,600 Main Event
Entries: 255 • Pool: $618,375
Tyler Reiman, $185,510
Event 29 • $125 NLHE
Entries: 65 • Pool: $10,864
Ricky Kestner, $3,911

WSOPC, Harrah’s Tunica, Jan. 24-Feb. 4

Event 1 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 435 • Pool: $130,500
John Holley, $28,707
Event 2 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 611 • Pool: $183,300
Sean Maurer, $43,880
Event 3 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 1,271 • Pool: $381,300
Lee Sawyer, $67,681
Event 4 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 306 • Pool: $91,800
Aaron Kerns, $21,571
Event 5 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 300 • Pool: $90K
John Loiacano, $21,595
Event 6 • $365 6-Max
Entries: 283 • Pool: $84,900
Gholam Fakhimi, $22,071
Event 7 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 339 • Pool: $101,700
Tom Zenthoefer, $23,389
Event 8 • $365 PLO
Entries: 162 • Pool: $48,600
Chris Conrad, $13,122
Event 9 • $580 NLHE
Entries: 313 • Pool: $156,500
Allen Kemp, $36,780
$1,675 Main Event
Entries: 666 • Pool: $999K
Ryan Stevenson, $204,795
Event 11 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 211 • Pool: $63,300
Bobby Byram, $15,824
Event 12 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 102 • Pool: $30,600
Mike Plaxco, $9,180