TUNICA, MS (abc24.com) - Gaming competition is heating up in the Mid-South. The big players: Tunica's casinos and West Memphis' Southland Park. Revenues in Mississippi keep dropping while Arkansas is seeing a boost.
Tunica is hoping to turn that around. The World Series of Poker is happening at Harrah's Casino over the next 12 days.
"Tunica in January is a place where poker players know they want to go," said Bill Bruce, World Series of Poker organizer. Those are words Tunica's casinos want to hear.
The World Series of Poker stops in 20 cities all over the country. The next two weeks it will be at home in Tunica.
"Tunica's always been one of the good stops here on the circuit with big numbers," Bruce said. "As you can see as you look out over the field every table is full down here."
Players come from near and far to play.
"It took about six hours," said player Todd Vandyne, who plans to stay there 3 or 4 days.
"It brings all players from the region, from up as far as Chicago. They come from all over the country," added player Kenny Piel. "You'll find the best poker in this whole region right here in Tunica."
That's good news for local casinos, whose gaming revenues have decreased the past few years.
West Memphis' Southland Park and Tunica have been in heavy competition for gamblers, with Southland launching a controversial ad campaign.
Piel said, "I've seen their ad campaign but to be honest with you I've never been to Southland. Why would I go there when this is here?"
Thursday is first day of the tournament, with about 500 players in attendance. They're expecting around 4,000 over the entire event.