Gaming News

A Day in the Life of…. A Jockey

shutterstock_162041381It was 5:37 am on a cold Saturday morning in September 2013 when I pulled off the Watterson Expressway and took the sharp right turn into the Circle K parking lot. I had 18 minutes to get a coffee and drive the 1.3 miles to Gate 5 of Churchill Downs before missing the first set of work-ers that appear like apparitions out of the inky darkness every morning.

Problem was the slow-moving pickup truck with out-of-state plates in front of me didn’t seem to share my sense of urgency. Maybe it was camaraderie of being awake at such an ungodly hour, but like riders loading into the starting gate, this fellow driver and I both turned our heads to acknowledge each other when we finally parked under the neon sign.

That’s when I couldn’t help but laugh. Out of the truck hopped a very chipper Jesus Castanon wearing his riding boots and an unzipped red protective flak vest with his usual ear-to-ear grin. All that was missing from the ensemble was his helmet – which was sitting on the passenger seat atop a stack of conditions books from various tracks the journeyman jockey has called home in a career that has spanned over a quarter century.

Standing in the checkout line with one eye on the clock (which now read 5:42 am) and my hand holding a very large, very hot coffee, Jesus and I got to chatting. He had a few horses to work that morning before he planned to hit the gym and head back to ride a few of the afternoon’s races.

With a $2 coffee warming my frozen fingers, I jumped in my car, luckily caught all the lights on Southern Parkway, waved a quick Hi! at the security guard, and was settling into my seat trying not to spill coffee on my clocker’s notebook as the first set of D. Wayne Lukas trainees reached the half-mile pole. “Hey you!” I heard from somewhere below. Looking over, there’s Jesus Castanon sitting on a big chestnut. It was 5:57 am. I still have no idea how he had time to check out, drive, drink his soda, find the barn on Churchill’s vast backstretch, park, don his protective gear, get a leg up on the horse and ride over to the front side of the track when I barely had had three sips of coffee.

But jockeys are a rare breed.

These brave men and women live at under 115lbs and zip around hairpin turns at 45mph in herds of 1200lbs animals ~ and they do it all balancing on their toes. They are also tireless workers: visit any track in the mornings and you’re guaranteed to see the best riders in the country in addition to the plethora of unsung hero exercise riders on every caliber of racehorse. Santa Anita has Mike Smith and Gary Stevens; Gulfstream Park has Joe Bravo and Edgar Pra-do; Kentucky has everyone from Calvin Borel to Robby Albarado.

Why would Hall of Fame jockeys wake up before dawn almost every day to work out a handful of horses? Jesus Castanon has nearly 2,300 wins in a 17,000 race career: the man has earned the right to sleep in.

But unlike most professional athletes, jockeys don’t have a front office to rely on for guaranteed assignments. There is no depth chart for the position: if a rider wants to succeed, every day is draft day.

So jockeys and their agents use the mornings to build relationships with trainers and get a feel for the stock in each shedrow. Not every horse a jockey works will turn into an afternoon mount: sometimes a trainer wants to put a young horse in more experienced hands or to test a young jockey’s timing with a temperamental charge. When the chemistry is right between horse and rider, though, it’s obvious.

Brian Hernandez, Jr., the 2004 Eclipse Champion for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey, often works horses for Ian Wilkes, but there was something different when he got aboard Fort Larned. The near-black son of E Dubai had nine different riders in his 25 starts, but six of his ten career victories came under Hernandez, Jr., including American racing’s richest prize: the $5million Breeders’ Cup Classic. Watching the pair fly through the lane during their weekly pre-dawn workouts over the course of three years was textbook: Fort Larned reaching for ever more ground as Brian sat chilly in the saddle.

Similarly, Hall of Fame rider Calvin Borel has a knack for calming nervous horses. In Rose to Gold’s final 2013 Kentucky Oaks prep, the compact chestnut filly came through the Churchill Downs stretch moving well enough, but the real magic was after the wire: Calvin stood up like he does with every horse, but this time he ran his hand along her neck and stroked her mane for a few strides. The horse took a breath and relaxed noticeably: she started to move in a more fluid manner and even seemed to puff up a little with added confidence. She may not have won the Oaks, but she was a different horse after that work.

Morning workouts are over around 10 am, so jockeys take a few hours to go to the gym, visit with trainers, or grab a nap before checking in with the Clerk of Scales. They may not haveteams, but one similarity to other professional athletes who have equipment managers is that riders will have a valet who makes sure they have the right silks, saddle, enough goggles, and a whip throughout the raceday. Most riders won’t have a mount in every race, so they occupy their downtime by studying past performances, playing ping pong, or signing autographs for fans. Once the races are over, there is the opportunity to dine with owners and trainers and continue building solid relationships both on and off the track.

To succeed as a top jockey requires more than good hands or the courage to thread a horse through a barely-there hole between rivals: it takes a near-24/7 commitment to the craft.

Inside the Numbers: Preakness Stakes by America’s Best Racing

Whether you come to enjoy the infield fest or to dream about a Triple Crown possibility after the day is over, the Preakness Stakes is a great experience. While we can only guess the amount of black-eyed Susans and crab cakes that will be consumed at Pimlico, we do have some interesting numbers that go along with the Preakness.

Thanks to the all-star team at America’s Best Racing for the inside scoop with the numbers behind the Preakness.

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1 3/16 Miles – The distance of the Preakness.

3 – The number of grays that have won the Preakness. Bays have won more than half of all Preakness runnings.

5 – The number of fillies that have won the Preakness. The last filly to do it was Rachel Alexandra in 2009.

6 – Eddie Acaro has the record for most wins by a jockey. Gary Stevens (three wins), who is scheduled to ride Firing Line, and Victor Espinoza (two wins) who is scheduled to ride American Pharoah, have an opportunity to add to their totals this year.

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VICTOR ESPINOZA WON THE PREAKNESS LAST YEAR ABOARD CALIFORNIA CHROME
(Photo by Eclipse Sportswire)

7 – R. Wyndham Walden has the record for most wins by a trainer. Bob Baffert (five wins) is tied for third on the list and can add another win when he sends out Dortmund and American Pharoah.

11 ½ Lengths – The largest winning margin in the Preakness, set by Smarty Jones in 2004.

14 – The field of the Preakness is limited to fourteen horses.

16 – The amount of winners that have started from post position number six.

34 – The number of Kentucky Derby winners that have gone on to win the Preakness in the Triple Crown era.

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I’LL HAVE ANOTHER WON BOTH THE KENTUCKY DERBY AND PREAKNESS STAKES

(Photo by Eclipse Sportswire)

$48.80 – The largest $2 win payout by Master Derby at 23-1 odds in the 1975 Preakness.

140 – The 2015 edition of the Preakness will be 140th time the race has been run.

1:53.00 – Fastest winning time of the Preakness, set by Secretariat in 1973.

1909 – The first year that the weather vane was painted with the silks of the winning horse. That annual tradition continues to this day and it is usually done immediately after the race is declared official.

1978 – The last year the Preakness winner (Affirmed) went on to win the Triple Crown.

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AFFIRMED AND ALYDAR FIGHT TO THE WIRE IN THE BELMONT STAKES

$2,050 – The purse of the first Preakness in 1873.

$30,000 – The value of the Woodlawn Vase sterling replica that is awarded to the winning owner of the race. The original silver Woodlawn Vase trophy was valued at $1-million in 1983 and it is kept at The Baltimore Museum of Art only to be brought out to Pimlico every year for the running of the Preakness while escorted by guards.

123,469 – Record attendance of the Preakness, set in 2014.

$1,500,000 – The purse of the 2015 Preakness.

$63,230,573 – The record amount bet on the Preakness Stakes (2005).

See more great horse racing articles at AmericasBestRacing.net 

Southern Gaming’s Celebrity Derby Party Hits the Jackpot!

56891_SOGD_Logo_v3aIf you are looking for a great Derby party where you can see celebrities, dance to one of the hottest bands around, enjoy a premium open bar that includes the best bourbons in the world, and feast on a great selection of bourbon themed food, we’ve found your party… Jim Beam’s Derby Poker Celebrity Bourbon Bash presented by Draft Kings.

The event is hosted by Hall of Fame basketball Coach Denny Crum, and poker professional Robert Williamson III on Oaks Eve (April 30) at The Olmsted in Louisville, Kentucky and is much more than a poker tournament.

Guests will enjoy a premium open bar, food stations, live music by Tony & The Tanlines and more,

In addition, this year marks the 35-year anniversary of Coach Crum’s 1980 National Basketball Championship. Several members from the 1980 team will be on hand and there will be a special airing of the championship game from 7:00 – 8:00, as well as limited edition bottles of Jim Beam and posters commemorating the team.

 

“We are really excited about this years event,” Commented G. Douglas Dreisbach, Southern Gaming’s General Manager and event producer. “We have one of the hottest party bands in the country, the best bourbon in the world and a great group of Derby fans, celebrities and athletes all coming together for a great cause.”

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WHAT: Southern Gaming Magazine’s Derby Poker Celebrity Bourbon Bash, sponsored by Jim Beam and DraftKings, returns to the Derby week party scene for the eighth consecutive year. Hosted by Hall of Fame Coach Denny Crum and poker professional, Robert Williamson III, the star-studded event has hosted an array of celebrity guests including Jane Seymour (actress), Jennifer Tilly (Actress), Ron White (Comedian), Nora Roberts (Best-selling author), Warren Moon (Hall of Fame NFL Quarterback), Jonathan Kite (Actor/Comedian – 2 Broke Girls), Robby Albarado (Derby Jockey), Bob Guiney (The Bachelorette), and many more.

Guests will enjoy a premium open bar, food stations, bourbon tastings and live music by Tony and The Tanlines.

 

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WHO WILL BE THERE? 

  • Denny Crum – Event Host & Hall of Fame Basketball Coach
  • Robert Williamson, III – Event Host & Poker Champion
  • Warren Moon (NFL Star)
  • Nora Roberts (Best selling author)
  • Robby Albarado (Future Hall of Fame & Derby Jockey)
  • Darrell Griffith (NBA Professional and UofL Star from 1980 Championship team)
  • Troy Hanson (Professional Racecar Driver)
  • Luke Hancock (Former UofL basketball star)
  • Mario Urrutia (NFL Player and former UofL football Star)
  • Cheech Marin (Actor)
  • Ruben Studdard (American Idol)
  • Kris Allen (American Idol)
  • Bob Guiney (TV Personality – Bachelor)
  • Diego Klattenhoff (actor – The Blacklist)
  • Claire Foriani (Actress – Meet Joe Black)
  • Scooter McCray (1980 UofL National Championship Team Member)
  • Wiley Brown (1980 UofL National Championship Team Member)
  • Jerry Eaves (1980 UofL National Championship Team Member)
  • Tony Branch (1980 UofL National Championship Team Member)
  • Greg Deuser (1980 UofL National Championship Team Member)
  • Roger Burkman (1980 UofL National Championship Team Member)
  • Jerry Jones (Asst. Coach for 1980 UofL National Championship Team)
  • Jerry May (Trainer for 1980 UofL National Championship Team)
  • …and more!

 

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This year’s event will also celebrate the 35-year anniversary of UofL’s 1980 National Championship with a special viewing of the title game with Coach Crum and members of the team including Scooter McCray, Wiley Brown, Roger Burkman, Jerry Eaves, Tony Branch, Greg Deuser, coach Jerry Jones, team trainer Jerry Eaves and more.

Limited edition items will also be available including special commemorative bottles of Jim Beam Black commemorating the championship. a at the event and members of the team are expected to attend.

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WHEN IS IT? 

  • Thursday, April 30th
  • 7:00 – Door Open – (Poker registration starts at 6:00)
  • 7:00 – Special Viewing of 1980 UofL National Championship Game
  • 8:30 – Tony & The Tanlines take the stage.

WHERE IS IT?

The Olmsted at the Masonic Homes
3701 Frankfort Avenue – Louisville, KY 40206

HOW MUCH IS IT? 

Tickets are $100 each (or 10 for $750) and poker buy-ins are $550 (Includes party ticket) and can be purchased at www.DerbyPokerParty.com or by calling Blessings in a Backpack at 1-800-872-4366 Ext. 103 thru April 24th.

Tickets available for purchase at the entrance of the event.

WHO DOES IT BENEFIT? 

The beneficiary charities for this year’s Derby Poker Celebrity Bourbon bash are Blessings in a Backpack and The Denny Crum Scholarship Foundation.

HORSERACING: Intentional Pari-Mutuel Wagering

I’ve spoken with hundreds, maybe thousands of horse players in my day, and while most of them grasp basic handicapping precepts, few have mastered the art of managing their bankroll. More specifically, I know some downright excellent interpreters of the Daily Racing Form who access Amscot Financial almost every other week in order to secure a payday loan. Preposterous you say!? Well, there’s simply an enormous difference between being an efficient handicapper and being an efficient bettor.  (more…)

Three Card Poker: No Bluffing Needed

threeCardpokerBannerIf any modern table game could be said to be an adopted son of the South, it’s Three Card Poker. Success in Mississippi eventually convinced casinos throughout the United States to give the game a try and today, it stands as a casino standard that every operator must have.

It is fun, easy to learn and gives players a decent chance to win.

 

HOW TO PLAY
Start by making an ante for player vs. the dealer and/or a bet on Pair Plus. At most casinos, you do not have to make both wagers. The ante and the Pair Plus wager can be of different sizes. They are separate bets, and are decided independently, so they don’t have to match.

 

After all players have made their wagers, each player gets three cards face down, and the dealer also gets three cards face down. Play continues after players have a chance to pick up their cards and look at them.

 

ANTE-BET PLAY VS. THE DEALER
After you’ve seen your cards, you may either make a bet equal to your ante, or you may fold and forfeit the hand. If you’ve anted $5, then your bet must also be $5 for you to stay in the game.

 

The dealer then turns his cards face up. If the dealer hand is at least a Queen or better, it is a qualifying hand. For you to win, your hand must outrank the dealer’s. If you win, both your ante and your bet are paid at even money, and if you lose, the dealer takes both your ante and bet.

 

If the dealer hand does not qualify and you’ve made the bet to stay in the game, then you win even money on the ante, but the bet is returned to you with no additional payoff.

 

In addition, there is a bonus for strong hands regardless of whether you beat the dealer or not. Most casinos pay a 5-1 bonus if you have a straight flush, 4-1 if you have three of a kind and even money if you have a straight.

 

For example, let’s say you ante $5, see you have a straight flush and follow with a $5 bet. Assuming you win the hand, you then collect winnings of $5 on the ante, $5 on the bet and $25 on the straight flush. On other wins that don’t include one of the big three hands, you’d collect $5 on the ante and another $5 on the bet.

 

THE ANTE-BET STRATEGY
Optimal strategy for Three Card Poker is about as easy as it gets. Make the extra bet to stay in the game if your hand is Queen-6-4 or better. Fold if you have a lesser hand.

 

That means you also bet on all pairs, flushes, straights, three of a kinds and straight flushes – those all outrank high-card hands. Note that in Three Card Poker, straights outrank flushes. That’s because you see flushes more often than straights in three-card games. In five-card games, you get straights about twice as often as flushes, but in three-card games there are 1.5 times as many possible flushes as straights.

 

If you don’t have any of those higher-ranking hands, then hands are ranked by highest card first, then second highest. If you have Jack-10-7, the proper strategy is to fold. It is not Queen-6-4 or better since the highest card is lower than the Queen.

 

If your hand is King-3-2, then you should make the bet. The King outranks the Queen, making this a better hand than Queen-6-4 even though the second and third cards are lower than the 6 and 4.

 

With that strategy, the house edge on the ante-pay combo is 3.4 percent of the ante, or 2.0 percent when both the ante and bet are considered.

 

PAIR PLUS
If you think ante-bet is easy, then Pair Plus is a real snap. You don’t have to beat the dealer, and there is no strategy to learn. All you need is to match a hand on the pay table – a concept video poker players can identify with. You win on any hand that contains a pair or better, and lose if you don’t have at least a pair.

 

There are several pay tables available, but the most common pays 40-1 for a straight flush, 30-1 for three of a kind, 6-1 for straights, 3-1 for flushes and even money for pairs. At that pay table, the house edge is 7.3 percent.

 

The payoffs aren’t as huge as you see on five-card games, but they are attainable. Anyone who plays very often will see the occasional straight flush or three of a kind. You’ll see the top hand, a straight flush, about once per 460 hands. Compare that to a five-card royal on a game such as Caribbean Stud. That occurs an average of once per 649,740-1. Caribbean Stud pays a lifestyle-changing progressive, but you may never see one in your lifetime. Three Card Poker pays a more modest sum, but $200 for a $5 bet is a nice win, and you’ll see straight flushes a lot more often with three cards. Good luck!

 

 

CLICK HERE for more winning tips by Southern Gaming!  

VIDEO POKER: Boomerang

When I was in Australia a few years ago I noticed that although “pokies” (video poker) machines were quite popular that unlike the country’s famous boomerangs, player benefits didn’t always come back to frequent patrons. It caused me to ponder the differences between gambling in Oz and other worldwide gaming spots versus the advantages of remaining right here in the USA. So for those whose boomerang won’t come back elsewhere, here are some tips for accessing the bounce-back from their casino play.

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The Latest From Aristocrat Technologies

Aristocrat Technologies  has long been an innovator in the way it uses its reels and bonus events. It’s the company that introduced Reel Power, the 243-ways-to-win format based on buying reels instead paylines with your bets.

And Aristocrat launched a trend that became a casino standard when it introduced Hyperlink back in the 1990s through its Cash Express system. Hyperlink, with frequent hit, four-level progressive jackpots, is the father of all the multilevel progressives from multiple game makers you see in casinos today.

The Australian-based slot manufacturer is at it again with a triumvirate of creations that figure to make players, casino operators and competing game makers to stand up and take notice. The new Sons of Anarchy slot introduces Cluster Power, a new way to form reel combinations that will hold your attention until the last reel stops spinning.  The Romance of Fire and Rain uses some of the biggest Mega Symbols yet – up to three reels across and eight symbols down – to enable some huge, multiline wins. And Super Wheel Blast takes the ever-popular wheel spin and integrates into main game play, a new, different way to use a game mechanic that long has been used just for bonuses outside main game play. (more…)

Social Media: Win, One Tweet @ A Time

TwitterTwitter, the “microblogging site” that lets people communicate with others 140 characters at a time, is a way of life to some – and a complete mystery to others. Southern Gaming’s recent reader’s survey found that many of you consider yourself to be in the latter camp.

We totally understand that. On the surface, it just doesn’t make sense that people talking randomly in such short bursts could ever be more interesting than “Here’s what I had for lunch today.” But once you do a little digging, you’ll find that there’s some fascinating stuff being written and published, much of it treating the limit of the medium as a strength rather than a weakness.

So, if you’re ready to take the plunge, install the Twitter app on your smart phone—or simply go to twitter.com—and get ready to “follow” some folks based on your unique playing interests. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of experts and personal favorites who should be a great start as you start exploring the online world of sports, gaming news and information. (more…)

Hot Slots of 2015!

Slot machine manufacturers play a perpetual game of “Can you top this?” Each year brings new ways to play, new possible winning combinations, innovative new bonus rounds evermore advanced graphics, sound effects and lighting displays.

This year is no different, and gamemakers are gong all out to make sure they have attention grabbers you just can’t ignore. Here’s a peek at some of the hottest slots you’ll see in casinos this year.

 

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$1 Million TournEvent of Champions: Arrive a Winner, Leave a Legend!

MMGhighresKathryn McDonald has always considered herself lucky. She likes to gamble, and she regularly brings home winnings after a Friday night trip with her coworkers to their hometown Snoqualmie Casino, just outside Seattle. But even she was surprised how far that luck took her a few months ago, when she parlayed a slot tournament win at Snoqualmie Casino into a $200,000 jackpot and the title of best tournament player in the United States.
“It was the experience of a lifetime,” said McDonald, who’s already busy with plans to defend her title in 2015. Though major gaming organizations don’t keep statistics on slot tournaments, casinos and players alike report they are a growing segment of the gaming industry nationwide.
That surge is clear in the popularity of the annual National TournEvent of Champions. This series of slot machine tournaments is put on by Multimedia Games, a GCA company, at casinos nationwide throughout the year, with winners from every local event facing off during a final tournament held in Las Vegas each fall.

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Southern Gaming’s Road to the Derby Race Report

DerbyFirstTurn_CourtesyofChurchillDowns, Inc.

The 20-horse field for the Kentucky Derby is determined by which horses earn the most points in selected “Point Races” leading up to the first Saturday in May. The top 20 point earners will compete on the first Saturday in May for the coveted garland of red roses, and a $2 million purse too!

 

Below is Southern Gaming’s snapshot of the current Top 5 contenders based on points, upcoming races, and expert outlooks for who we might see in the Kentucky Derby winners circle. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Current Top 10 (CLICK HERE for the full points leader board)

  1. El Kabeir (75)
  2. International Star (71)
  3. Dortmund (70)
  4. Carpe Diem (64)
  5. American Pharoah (60)
  6. Itsaknockout (50)
  7. Upstart (36)
  8. War Story (24)
  9. Far Right (22)
  10. Madefromlucky (20)

Next Races:

  • Saturday, March 21 – Spiral Stakes – Turfway Park
    This race will host a capacity field for the 1 1/8-mile race on Polytrack. Top contenders are Another Lemon Drop (Calvin Borel); Big Family (Albin Jimenez); Conquest Typhoon (Mike Smith); Dubai Sky (Jose Lezcano); Imperia (Joel Rosario) and Metaboss (Alex Solis).

CLICK HERE for the full schedule of Kentucky Derby Point Races.

Current Top 5 Derby Picks 

Doug Dreisbach (Southern Gaming)

  1. American Pharoah (60)
  2. Upstart (36)
  3. Firing Line (8)
  4. Dortmund (70)
  5. Carpe Diem (64)

Eric Floyd (Southern Gaming Horse racing Expert)

  1. Ocean Knight
  2. Far From Over (10)
  3. American Pharoah (60)
  4. Texas Red (12)
  5. Dortmund (70)

 

For Expert Handicapping Analysis, visit BrunoWithTheWorks.com 

Americans To Bet $2 Billion on 70 Million March Madness Brackets

Washington, DC – With Selection Sunday just days away, the American Gaming Association (AGA) has released new research estimating that Americans will bet more than $2 billion through more than 70 million brackets on March Madness this year. The total number of brackets to be filled out will be greater than the number of ballots cast for either President Obama (66 million) or Mitt Romney (61 million) in the 2012 election.

 

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“Sports betting has played a major role in making March Madness the big-time event it is today,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA. “With more people filling out brackets than casting a ballot for President Obama – who makes his NCAA predictions in the Oval Office each year – it’s clear that Americans embrace gaming.”

 

While Americans will bet $2 billion through brackets, the total amount wagered on the tournament is expected to reach $9 billion. Of that amount, $240 million will be bet on the tournament at Nevada sports books.

 

For this year’s tournament, the poll also found that:

  • Nearly 40 million Americans will fill out brackets;
  • The average person will complete nearly two brackets;
  • The average bet per bracket will total $29; and
  • Half of all March Madness viewers have filled out a bracket at least once in their lifetime.

 

The poll was conducted by GfK Custom Research North America. The sample consists of 1,000 completed interviews, made up of male and female adults (in approximate equal number), all 18 years of age and over. All completed interviews are weighted to ensure accurate and reliable representation of the total population, 18 years and older.

 

About AGA: The American Gaming Association is the premier national trade group representing the $240 billion U.S. casino industry, which supports 1.7 million jobs in 40 states.  AGA members include commercial and tribal casino operators, suppliers and other entities affiliated with the gaming industry.  It is the mission of the AGA to be the single most effective champion of the industry, relentlessly protecting against harmful and often misinformed public policies, and paving a pathway for growth, innovation and reinvestment.

 

Mac McAnally and Coral Reefer Band to Play Benefit Concert in Biloxi

BILOXI, Miss. (March 10, 2015)Seven-time CMA Musician of the Year Mac McAnally is teaming up with MGM Resorts International’s Beau Rivage Resort & Casino to host a one-of-a-kind concert for a cause. On Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 8:00 p.m., McAnally will perform a special concert with members of the Coral Reefer Band and the USM Festival South Orchestra to benefit local charity, Extra Table.

“I am honored and excited to perform at Beau Rivage on behalf of Extra Table,” said Mac McAnally. “Extra Table represents a great cause which solely benefits the needy in my beloved home state. Playing with several of my Coral Reefer Band family, as well as an orchestra full of Mississippians, equals about four or five dreams coming true all at the same time. Come join us and celebrate Mississippi, while helping make it even better!”

Mac McAnally

Extra Table −founded by chef, author and restaurateur, Robert St. John − is a non-profit organization working to fight hunger in Mississippi by providing healthy food in bulk to food pantries and soup kitchens. They have partnered with the nation’s largest food distribution company, Sysco, who delivers the food directly to the doors of Extra Table’s affiliated feeding agencies. On the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Extra Table partners with Feed My Sheep in Gulfport, Loaves and Fishes in Biloxi, Our Daily Bread in Pascagoula, St. Gerard Community Outreach in Bay St. Louis, and The Lord is My Help in Ocean Springs.

McAnally has achieved many milestones in his remarkable career, which started with writing his first song at the age of 15. Mac has been named CMA Musician of the Year now seven consecutive times, most recently in November 2014. He has written six No. 1 hits, become a sought-after producer, and is regarded as one of the foremost musicians of his time. In addition to playing alongside the Coral Reefers, McAnally has been inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame.

Tickets are $24.99 and $34.99, plus tax and service charge, and available for purchase at the Beau Rivage Box Office, by phone at 888.566.7469, or online at www.beaurivage.com or www.ticketmaster.com. A limited number VIP tickets (which include photo op and floor seating) are available for $99.99 at the Beau Rivage Box Office. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.extratable.com.

Marquee Millionaire Slot Tourney in Tunica, Miss

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Don’t miss the Marquee Millionaire Slot Tournament series at Hollywood Casino in Tunica, Mississippi where you can win a chance to play for $1 Million tournament in Las Vegas!

The tournament is March 13, 20 and 27 and it’s easy to enter! Earn 400 points Monday – Friday each week to earn one entry to Round 1. Earn another 200 points on the day of the tournament by 8:00 pm and receive an entry into Round 2!

 

 

1st place each week will win a chance to play for $1 Million in Las Vegas and there will be 5 Wild Card winners who will receive $100 Free SlotPlay.

 

CLICK HERE for more information…good luck!

 

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Now Open! Gateway to the Blues Museum in Tunica, Mississippi

Gateway to the Blues SignTUNICA, Miss. – The Gateway to the Blues Museum located on the Blues Highway, United States Route 61, in the Mississippi Delta where the Blues began opened today, Thursday, February 19, 2015.

The Gateway to the Blues exhibition represents one of the most important collections of Blues artifacts and memorabilia in the country.  Over seven hundred items help to illuminate the story about the origin and development of blues music in the Mississippi Delta.

 

“It is with great pleasure that we open the Gateway to the Blues Museum, the first stop outside of Memphis for blues and music tourists looking to experience Mississippi’s musical heritage, today,” said Webster Franklin, President and CEO, Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We will forever be grateful of the generosity of Caesars Entertainment, the Mississippi Department of Transportation, and Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Hood of Dundee, Mississippi for making this project a reality.”

 

The Gateway to the Blues Museum is a significant element in the Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau comprehensive visitors services strategy to utilize the cultural and heritage tourism product of Mississippi and the Mississippi Delta region to diversify the overall entertainment offerings in Tunica County, a destination known for its gaming offerings.

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The official ribbon cutting for the Gateway to the Blues Museum in Tunica, Miss.

 

“The Gateway to the Blues Museum is another great attraction and educational opportunity for Mississippi visitors and residents alike showcasing, blues music, the heart of American music,” said Phil Bryant, Mississippi Governor.

 

The entrance to the museum is located in a restored train depot that dates back to 1895 and was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Hood. The museum artifacts were originally part of the Blues and Legends Hall of Fame Museum located in the Horseshoe Casino. The artifacts are on loan from Caesars Entertainment, who also donated the land where the museum is located.

 

The father of the blues, WC Handy’s coronet is just one of the artifacts that can be seen at the Museum.

The father of the blues, WC Handy’s coronet is just one of the artifacts that can be seen at the Museum.

“We are proud to be able to offer these historic artifacts, on behalf of Horseshoe Tunica, representing one of Mississippi’s most valuable and far reaching art forms, blues music, for the enjoyment of visitors to Tunica,” said R. Scott Barber, Regional President, Caesars Mid-South.

 

The Gateway to the Blues Visitor Center & Museum project was funded in part via a Transportation Enhancement Grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation and Economic Development Initiative Grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

tobertjohnsonguitar

Blues legend, Robert Johnson’s, original guitar is on display at the museum.

 

“Mississippi is the birthplace of America’s music, the blues, and this museum is a testament to that rich history,” said Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert. “The preservation and display of such valuable pieces of Mississippi’s musical legacy is a cultural and educational necessity.”

 

 

It is estimated that the new Highway 61 Gateway to the Blues Visitor Center Museum will have visits in excess of 40,000 per year.  By educating these visitors on all Mississippi has to offer, hotel stays, casino visits, and collateral visits to museums throughout the Delta region will be significantly enhanced.

 

The following attractions are examples, and are not limited to the Mississippi Cultural and Heritage tourism attractions, that the development of the Highway 61 Gateway to the Blues Visitor Center will positively enhance.

 

Tunica RiverPark                                                   Tunica Museum     

Mississippi Blues Trail                                          Delta Blues Museum

Ground Zero Blues Club                                        Highway 61 Blues Museum

Red’s Lounge                                                           Dockery Plantation

Po Monkey’s Lounge                                              BB King Blues Museum

Museum of the Mississippi Delta                                    Greenwood Blues & Heritage Gallery

 

The Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau has partnered with State officials and private developers to create a thriving tourist destination that appeals to a broader audience than just the gaming customer. The Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau has helped to develop attractions to include the Tunica RiverPark, Tunica Museum, Tunica Arena & Exposition Center, Tunica Aquatic Center, and Tunica National Golf & Tennis.  The private sector has developed Riverbend Links Golf Club, the Tunica Queen, and the Casino Factory Shoppes that combined with the gaming industry has made Tunica a must see destination that welcomes more than 5 million visitors annually to the State of Mississippi.

 

For more information about the Gateway to the Blues Museum visit TunicaTravel.com/Blues

 

About Tunica:

Located 30 minutes south of Memphis, Tunica is The South’s Casino Capital. “Live It Up Just Down the Road” and enjoy eight world-class casinos, 5,000 luxurious hotel rooms, fine-dining restaurants and buffets, headline entertainers, championship golf and tennis, award-winning museums, lavish spas and outlet/antique shopping. Call 1-888-4TUNICA to request a value-packed Winner’s Guide, or visit TunicaTravel.com for travel information.