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The Deep South

Gambling in the Heart of Dixie

by Sean Chaffin

The number of casino resort destinations in the South has grown considerably in the last couple decades, making it one of the best gaming destinations in the country. Here’s our list of southern properties offering plenty of summer fun and festivities that are ideal for a gaming getaway.


Lake Charles and Baton Rouge, Louisiana

This luxury resort offers two great properties for gamblers with numerous table games and slots, a salon and spa experience, shopping, fine dining, entertainment, nightlife, and world-class golf.


The beautiful 70,000-square-foot casino sits in a huge glass dome with vaulted ceiling and architecture inspired by the Texas hill country. The property offers more than 70 table games (including favorites like black-jack, craps, baccarat, and more) and 1,600 slots including high-stakes action and denominations for every taste. The casino also features a hip VIP bar and lounge. For card players, the 2,100-square-foot poker room features numerous cash games, tournaments, and a high-stakes area. Dining options abound for hungry gamblers, including: Ember Grille &Wine Bar, a modern American steakhouse offering a variety of beef and chops cooked over a wood-fired grill; Le Café, offering great casual dining 24/7; the Le Beaucoup Buffet with tasty American, Tex/Mex, and every other cuisine and dessert imaginable; and Lattes coffee bar offering delectable coffees and drinks. The resort recently completed a $17 million hotel renovation with nearly 1,000 rooms, private villas and 147 luxury suites redesigned and renovated. Upgrades included iPod docks, flat screen TVs, and more. Many rooms offer scenic views of the ship channel used by recreational boaters. For a night out, check out Jack After Dark at the Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Bar and Grill. The hot spot offers live music and entertainment every night of the week. The resort also hosts national acts and the piano bar makes for a fun night out. Contraband Bayou Golf Course features7,077 yards of scenic greens, natural beauty, and plentiful water areas to challenge every level of golfer. For some relaxation, the Spa du Lac can reinvigorate the mind, body, and spirit.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT: The pool is a real delight with private cabanas, a lazy river, and full-service bar.


This sister property opened in 2012 and this unique complex features a74,000-square-foot casino with nearly 1,500 slot machines, 50 table games, and a poker room. The property attempts to capture the feel of a Southern river lodge and embraces Louisiana’s rich cultural history, food, music and way of life. For slots enthusiasts, check out favorites like Iron Man, Clue, and Dancing in Rio (among many). Fifty table game offerings are also available and include blackjack, roulette, pai gow, craps, and more. Those looking to test their skills at the poker tables will enjoy this ultra-cool, non-smoking room with regular tournaments and promotions.

When your pockets are full from winning casino chips, head out for a nice bite to eat at one of the property’s many restaurants. Bon Temps Buffet offers Southern comforts, seafood special-ties, crawfish, delectable desserts, and more, featuring breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Stadiums Sports Bar & Grill offers a night out with friends for bar food and drinks in a great sports atmosphere. For some fine dining, 18Steak offers great cuts of meat, fine wines, whiskey, and Scotch. Entertainment options include the area for touring acts like Clint Black (Oct. 17), Better Than Ezra (Oct. 24), Wynona (Nov. 22), and Aaron Neville (Dec. 5). The Sunset Society rooftop pool is also a great option with specialty drinks and the sounds of local artists. Not ready to go home? Extend your stay at the luxurious12-story hotel, which features 205 elegant rooms or suites. Relax even more at the spa experience, perfect for some special time away.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Check out the spa’s Exfoliating Sea Salt Glow, which utilizes a blend of mineral-rich and therapeutic sea salts from the Dead Sea. The body scrub increases circulation, and detoxifies and removes toxins while exfoliating the skin, leaving it radiant.


Biloxi, Mississippi

The Golden Nugget Casino offers an elegant stay and gamble with the hottest slots in many denominations. For slots fans, choose from1,200 machines, including Michael Jackson King of Pop, Money Talks, and Betty Boop Fortune Teller. Enjoy 29 table games with blackjack (including single deck blackjack and 21 + 3), craps, roulette, three card poker, and Mississippi stud. Poker action is also available every day with daily tournaments and promotions in a hip room with a smoke-free environment. For a perfect night away, hotel options include balcony and ocean view rooms and suites. For more relaxation, visit the spa or the pool and embrace the tranquility. The multi-level infinity pool offers panoramic views of the Gulf Coast—perfect for sipping a mixed drink or beer from the poolside bar.

Numerous restaurants and bars are avail-able, including Morton’s The Steakhouse, witha sleek design and the ultimate fine dining experience with top-notch dishes like Double Cut Rib Lamb Chops and mouth-watering New York Strip. The Buffet offers everything imaginable for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Seafood Dinner befits the Gulf Coast. Offerings range from shrimp to crab legs. Other unique eateries include: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. for seafood dishes, salads, and baby back ribs in a fun, family atmosphere; Lillie’s Asian Cuisine offers exotic flavors in chic atmosphere; and Michael Patrick’s Sports Café & Grill for great food, sports, video poker action, and drink specials. Need a pick-me-up? Check out Starbucks for great coffee or beverage. The Nugget is great for gambling, but offers much more.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT: At Morton’s, check out the Power Hour Sunday–Thursday from 5 p.m. to 6:30p.m. and 9 p.m.–close for specially-priced select beverages and Bar Bites food specials including mini crab cake BLTs, tuna tacos, petit filet mignon sandwiches, and oysters on the half shell.


Biloxi, Mississippi

This casino property recently expanded its hotel offerings and there are now two hotel towers: the Royal Tower with 325 rooms and suites; and the new Platinum Tower has 154 rooms and suites. Rooms offer a great stay with comfortable beds, 42-inch TVs, Rock Spa products, party bar, three-headed showers, and complimentary high-speed Internet, and more.  After checking into your lavish hotel room, grab your cash and choose from 1,300 slots with hundreds of the most popular video slots including True Blood, Dolly Parton, Lord of the Rings,  Aladdin, and Deal or No Deal. Also enjoy 50 “Hard Rock style” table games including blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat, pai gow, three card poker, and Mississippi stud. For poker buffs, the Hard Rock offers four live action poker tables with several tournaments and promotions.

Dining options are plentiful at the Hard Rock. For great steaks and seafood, enjoy Vibe’s vibrant atmosphere with a circular bar, and intimate accommodations.  A night at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse also makes a perfect wayto unwind. Other dining options include the world-famous Hard Rock Café for great American cuisine, and the Satisfaction Buffet for the best in Southern comfort foods, seafood, and tasty desserts.

Entertainment options abound including Hard Rock Live for major bands and touring acts such as Ted Nugent (Aug. 15),  Boz Scaggs (Aug.16), Deep Purple (Aug. 29) and Bret Michaels… Life Rocks Tour (Sept. 5).Look for more live music at Road House Live, the Center Bar, and Hard Rock Café. Detox offers the ultimate pool party. Enjoy a fantastic day at the Rock Spa or dip in the pool. Swim up or walk over to the Wet Spot Pool Bar & Grille, which is surrounded by tropical landscaping, calming cabanas, floating beds, and comfortable lounge chairs for an intimate pool experience.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT: $1,000 Guaranteed Blackjack Tournaments every Sunday and Wednesday. Take a chance to win some big cash.


Bossier City, Louisiana

Ready for the feel of the Caribbean right in the heart of Louisiana? This new addition to the Margaritaville family brings the excitement of Carnival and an elegant casino ambiance. Feeling lucky? Visit the gaming area for big-time action with blackjack, craps (with 100x odds!), let it ride, Mississippi stud poker, 3 card poker, mini baccarat, and more. Slots fans hoping to hit it big will enjoy popular games like Michael Jackson, Pawn Stars, Family Guy, and Judge Judy.

Worked up an appetite? Grab that “Cheeseburger in Paradise” at the Margaritaville restaurant, as well as other tasty appetizers, soups and salads, burgers and sandwiches, and Volcano Nachos. Other nice options include: Jimmy’s Seafood & Steak with delicious steak and entrées straight from the Gulf of Mexico; the World Tour Buffet for a culinary feast; and numerous bars for some cocktails with friends.

A stay at the property’s hotel is a night of opulence. Rooms and suites include plush pillows and mattresses, free WiFi, and some rooms include balconies and view of the Mississippi. When looking for nightlife fun, check out national and touring acts like Leann Rimes, the Gatlin Brother, the Village People and Michael McDonald as well as local acts at Club Paradise. Margaritaville exudes a party atmosphere so grab your tropical shirt and order a frozen margarita—fun will soon follow.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Be sure to check out the Volcano Show each hour 6-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and every hour on the hour from 3-7 p.m. Sundays.


Tunica, Mississippi

This high-end resort recently completed a multi-million-dollar renovation of its 32-story hotel, which involved all of its 1,133 oversized luxury rooms including 125 suites. The amenities and casino make it a perfect stop on a Southern casino vacation. Guest rooms include flat screen televisions, marble baths and contemporary furnishings. The property, which lies only 30 minutes from downtown Memphis, also features a 50,000-square-foot casino with a modern design and anew high-limit gaming area. For table games enthusiasts, there are 55 of your favorites to choose from. There are also 1,300 of the most popular slots including 120 video poker machines.

Away from the gambling, enjoy a nice meal at one of the Gold Strike’s numerous restaurants. Two popular stops include: award-winning Chicago Steakhouse with a new menu offering a traditional upscale steakhouse experience complete with a mouth-watering menu including steaks, seafood, a variety of soups and more; and the 13,500-square-foot Buffet Americana, which emphasizes fresh, made-to-order meals at stations designed to recreate the feeling of an upscale specialty food market with dishes that include pasta, omelets, wood-fired pizza, a customized Mongolian grill, and much more. Several other fast and casual dining options are also available.  For entertainment, the 800-seat Millennium Theatre hosts national acts like B.B. King, Patti Labelle, Vince Gill, Beach Boys, and Rodney Carrington. For some relaxation, visit the Golden Reflections Spa or the indoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi. Enjoy some real Southern comfort at the Gold Strike.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT: The new High Limit Room is the only one in Tunica with mini-baccarat. For a night out with friends, head to theStage2 for libations and nightly live music.


Biloxi, MS

This smoke-free casino on the Mississippi Gulf Coast is a premiere destination for a splendid stay and fun casino excitement. Nestled along the beautiful Back Bay on the Gulf of Mexico, the resort offers hotel guests with picturesque views, award-winning restaurants, championship golf at the Preserve Golf Club, and numerous amenities. The recently-expanded casino features hundreds of slots, in denominations of a penny to $25, including the Titanic, Duck Dynamite, ZZ Top, and Avatar. The new table games pit features all the favorites including blackjack (and 21 + 3), craps, roulette, three card and Mississippi stud poker, and pai gow.

For a great overnight stay, the hotel is even more inviting with a spacious new hotel lobby complete with comfortable seating.  A multi-million dollar renovation of all hotel rooms from floor to ceiling was recently completed, with new bedding, flat screen TVs and redesigned bathrooms. Warm, neutral colors are accented with pops of color, and the sculptured carpet combines the colors into interesting patterns. The entire resort has now been upgraded, resulting in a clean, fresh ambience right on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

For fine dining, visit award-winning Mignon’s Steaks &Seafood, dedicated to extraordinary service and delicious cui-sine. Check out the menu’s Chef’s Collection for some of the scrumptious specialties. The all-new Palace Buffet is another popular choice with options ranging from boiled shrimp and stuffed crab to Mongolian barbecue and prime rib. Stacked Grill offers great burgers and everything in between. Relax at Wahoo’s Poolside Bar for a nice cocktail in an elegant atmosphere. For a great getaway, the Palace certainly befits its name.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Looking for some low-stakes action? Check out $3 blackjack and craps and 50-cent roulette Monday through Thursday. There are also regular exclusive drawings for table games players.


Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer and journalism teacher in Crandall, Texas. Email him at or follow him @PokerTraditions, which also the name of the blog he is re-launching. His new poker book is RAISING THE STAKES: True Tales of Gambling, Wagering & Poker Faces and available on and

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