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Property Profile: IP Casino Resort & Spa – Biloxi, Miss.


IP building exterior - pic 2_Biloxi is booming! One property that seems to always bring their A-game on the Gulf is IP Casino Resort and Spa, a AAA Four Diamond-awarded resort located on the Back Bay in Biloxi, Miss. You can’t miss the towering 32-story hotel tower when coming across the I-110 bridge. Featuring a roof top pool with cabanas and cocktail services, a spa with all of your favorite treatments and services, top tier dining, including thirty-two, a restaurant on the 32nd floor of the hotel tower, IP has branded itself as a premium Biloxi gaming destination that appeals to the guests from the entire region.

Upon entering the massive lobby, you will notice the Chill Ultra Lounge, a contemporary place to relax and enjoy the sounds of some of the Coast’s best local artists. Get there early on the weekends, as it tends to get crowded and seating is a premium, but the cocktails are always perfect. The stage is elevated behind the bar, making the band visible from anywhere in the lounge. Opening at 5 p.m. daily, Chill opens at 5 p.m. daily with a happy hour that lasts till 8 p.m. Every Thursday features Ladies Night, with free drinks for ladies from 9 p.m. until midnight. Chill Ultra Lounge is the perfect place to go with friends for a night on the town.

IP_Entertain-Chill_Ultra_Lounge_01-747272-fullThe casino floor, just beyond Chill Ultra Lounge, features 1,700 slot machines, 60 table games and a 13-table non-smoking poker room. With 70,000 square feet of gaming, you are sure to find all of your classic favorites and may encounter a new favorite game. The slot personnel and dealers are professional and outgoing to ensure guest satisfaction and make every experience at IP a memorable one.

From comedy to country and R&B to rock and roll, entertainment is king at IP. Studio A is IP’s state-of-the-art theater, where every seat could be considered “the best seat in the house.” Located on the second floor of the casino, this intimate venue offers comfort and personal service while you enjoy great performances from world-famous headliners.


When it’s time to relax, IP has you covered with Senses Spa & Salon, a full-service spa that offers an escape from ‘the everyday’ and immersion into extreme relaxation. With services ranging from a 50-minute Senses Massage, to the ultimate Sense of Change combination package that features a Blueberry Wrap, Bamboo Fusion Massage, catered lunch and a Sense of Bliss facial, you can’t go wrong carving out some time to indulge in Senses. Nineteen private treatment rooms, aRelax-1_FULL state-of-the-art fitness center and a co-ed lounge are guaranteed to provide a renewal remedy for everyone at Senses Spa & Salon. Saunas and steam rooms provide private relaxation, and the Gulf Coast’s only arctic snow room refreshes and revitalizes with cooling crystals.

There are eight restaurants at IP, all featuring different flavors and price ranges. Starting at the top, don’t miss thirty-two, a AAA Four Diamond-rated restaurant offering delectable stake and seafood dishes along with the finest wine selection of the Coast. The views are simply amazing, as you can see for miles across the back bay of Biloxi and Gulf Coast. Thirty-two has won a number of awards in Gaming and Destinations’ Readers’ Choice Awards, and once you try it, you will know why!


Another AAA Four Diamond-rated restaurant at IP is tien, a multicultural inspired venue featuring a variety of Asian cuisines including Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese and Japanese. Some options include Teppanyaki, Shabu Shabu, Dim Sum and Sushi, all served with a unique, interactive experience right at your table.
For a casual dining experience, you are sure to be satisfied. From Italian in Costa Cucina, to Highlight’s Sport Lounge and High Tide Café, options abound. For all your favorites in one place, stop by Back Bay Buffet to try classic southern dishes, Italian, Asian, Bar-B- Que and more. Infusion Coffee Bar offers the finest coffee concoctions, an array of pastries and desserts, and fresh deli sandwiches and salads.


With more than 1,000 elegantly appointed hotel rooms, you will find all the comforts of home here. Make your next visit to the Mississippi Gulf Coast a trip you won’t forget at IP Casino Resort Spa.


Hot Happenings at IP!


Feb. 5-6                Willie Nelson & Family


Feb. 13                 KC and the Sunshine Band


Feb. 26                 George Thorogood & The Destoryers


Feb. 27                 Arlo Guthrie – Alice’s Restaurant 50th Anniversary Tour

Be sure to check out all of the fun at www.ipbiloxi.com

Midwest Roadside Distractions: What they are and where you’ll find them!

The World’s Largest! The Biggest! The Tallest! The Smallest! Nothing says America like a good superlative, and nothing helped paint the idyllic image of travel-by-car in mid-century U S of A as much as the roadside attraction did.
Equal parts museum piece, carnival sideshow and schlock, these tawdry excuses to pull off the highway for a little respite from the dotted white lines showcase some of the best and worst of what our country has to offer: For every mammoth monument to the legendary folk heroes of yore (Paul Bunyan) there is macabre marker of our dark side (Who WOULDN’T want to see the Bonnie and Clyde death car?).
But alas, the roadside attraction is becoming yet another piece of our uniquely American culture to be borne back ceaselessly into the past. Interstate travel has all but made irrelevant the system of U.S. highways, at least for long-distance travel, that afforded easy access to stops of all kinds. And now that tablets and onboard video players are omnipresent in the modern family truckster, who needs a life-size T-Rex and mini-golf course to break up the monotony of going over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house? Who needs kitsch when Dora can doing the exploring for the kids on the iPad in back?
But there are still roadside attractions around, and they still manage to do some attracting. Here are a few of our favorites across the Midwest. Fuel up, put some Beach Boys on in the station wagon, and hit the road.

Roadside--CatsupGiant bottle of Catsup
Where: Collinsville, Illinois
What’s nearby: Just a 15 mile jaunt along I-55 to St. Louis
Why: Pay respects to America’s favorite condiment. It’s probably safe to say that most people like catsup. But the people of Collinsville must LOVE it. How else to explain the fact they maintain a giant bottle of catsup right beside S. Morrison Avenue, one of the burg’s main drives? Almost 70 feet tall and hoisted above the landscape atop a 100-foot-tall tower, the bottle—designed for use as a water tower at the old Brooks Catsup plant—was built in 1949 and is capacious enough to hold up to 640,000 bottles of the spicy red syrup the Reagan administration wanted to classify as a vegetable. Some say the monument has supernatural powers in that pregnant women who come too close to it will give birth to red-headed children.

Kicker: As of 2014, the bottle is for sale. Good lucking having someone pass it around your picnic table if you buy it.

John Dillinger Museum
Where: Crown Point, Indiana
What’s nearby: Gary, Ind., another city that’s no stranger to crime
Why: You just can’t get enough fake autopsies
Death cars virtually litter the American countryside. Bonnie and Clyde’s. JFK’s. Mansfield’s. Patton’s. But death pants? Now we’re talking something interesting. And if you’re interest in the macabre takes a bent toward crime as well, then the John Dillinger Museum should be on your list the next time you make the trip from Indy to Chicago. Not too far off the highway, Dillinger devotee and curator Joe Pinkston has placed the pants and other artifacts from the short life and brutal death of the Depression-era gangster in the basement of the old Lake County (Ind.) Court House. In addition to the trousers of doom, visitors can see the robber’s Indiana baseball shoes, wax figures of the gang robbing a bank, fake guns Dillinger wielded when he didn’t have real one, and even a bucket (hopefully not the actual one) that Dillinger had as his only toilet during nine years of incarceration. And for the climax, a recreation of the city morgue where a waxen Dillinger cadaver is spread out in all its gory glory.

Kicker: A life-size diorama of the death-by-electrocution of Bruno Hauptmann, history’s fall guy for the kidnapper and killer of the Lindberg baby. Why? Well, why not?

Roadside--MusicFatal crash site of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson
Where: Clear Lake, Iowa
What’s nearby: Not much, but at least you’re just about 90 minutes of Des Moines on I-35
Why: Because it’s where the music died
Early on February 3, 1959, a small Beechcraft Bonanza took off in light snow in Clear Lake, Iowa, and plummeted to the ground just minutes later, in a farm field. Dead were three young musicians whom papers the next morning would refer to as “idols.” Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson were gone, and the trajectory of rock ‘n’ roll was forever altered.
Fans of their music or historians of American music culture generally can find connection with the crash, referred to as “the day music died” in Don McClean’s sweeping musical ode, at a couple of small monuments close to the crash site. One of them is a large replica of Holly’s famously thick and black glasses. And while the actual point of impact is farther away from the road, friendly locals have been known to guide fans to it.
Kicker: This being Iowa, many aspiring political campaigns also have crashed nearby. Ever heard of President Dean?

Roadside--DinosaurDinosaur Gardens
Where: Ossineke, Michigan
What’s nearby: Traverse City is just a quick 140 miles away, if that’s any consolation
Why: Because no list of roadside attraction is complete without at least one dinosaur
Dinosaurs! New Pteradon Nest! Frozen Yogurt Topping Bar!
Seriously, folks, what more can you ask for when you’ve packed the mini-van with ADD kids and a spouse who won’t get off the text machine long enough to fire up Waze for you? Acres of forest environment populated by dinosaurs—some of which you can climb to stairs to mount—are spread out before you, monetized in addition to the aforementioned Frozen Yogurt Topping Bar! by a souvenir shop and putt-putt golf course. Want more? Ok, greedy, you can also hike and watch birds.
Snark aside, the folks at Dinosaur Gardens must be doing something right. The park is celebrating their 80th anniversary, an especially impressive feat given that there is absolutely nothing close to the place. Seriously. Nothing. The nearest interstate is more than 81 miles away.
Kicker: Frozen Yogurt Topping Bar!

Roadside--PierrePierre the Pantsless Voyageur
Where: Two Harbors, Minnesota
What’s nearby: Duluth and all its Minnesotan pleasures
Why: It had us at “pantsless”
This one was tough for us. We could have gone for the Greyhound Bus Museum. (Motto: “Sometimes you ride the dog. Sometimes the dog rides you.” Not really.) You also have your fair share of large ottos and pelicans. And then there’s all those Paul Bunyan graven images. But when your Googler brings up someone named Pierre the Pantsless Voyageur, well my friends, that’s when you know search is ended.
Meant as an homage to the long ago days when French explorers charted Lake Superior (which, as we all know, never gives up her dead when the gales of November come early) and her sisters. Do you know why he’s pantsless? Seriously. We’re asking. Couldn’t find it anywhere.

Kicker: Second place would have been the monument to St. Urho, Grasshopper Chaser. No, we did not make that up.


So, there you have it, a few roadside attractions to get you through the long stretch of highway between your destinations. Enjoy!

By Joseph Grove

(Photo courtesies: Catsup: flickr.com/straightedge; Holly: flickr.com/photolibrarian; Dinosaur Gardens; Pantless: flickr.com/mytravelphotos

Strip Teasers: Penn & Teller Join 9 More of Our Vegas Faves

Penn & Teller 2015 for interiorAs the casino industry changes to focus ever more on accommodations and entertainment, the importance of high-quality, broadly appealing acts has never been greater. Mention Las Vegas to most people, for example, and close behind hastily drawn mental images of slot floors and blackjack tables are the modern and historic acts that have helped draw visitors to the desert ever since Benjamin (he hated to be called Bugsy) Siegel opened the Flamingo Casino in 1946.

Even then, star power was perceived as key to success: Entertainers included Rose Marie and Jimmy Durante as entertainment, with guests including Clark Gable, Lana Turner, Cesar Romero, Judy Garland, Joan Crawford and others.

Nowadays, a successful act in Las Vegas can be rightly be called the pinnacle of success. You might be able to make it anywhere if you can make it New York, but when you make it everywhere else, that’s when you get the honor of your name in bright neon lights on the Strip.

That’s why the entertainment industry was abuzz last week during G2E, the annual convention of the American Gaming Association. For the third time, they named a Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year. For 2015, it was Penn and Teller.


Make Hollywood Casino Home for the Holidays

Hollywood insideMake the season bright and step into the spotlight for your shot at fame and fortune at the place where unrivaled gaming action meets award-winning dining: Hollywood Casino Tunica. Then put a bow on your visit with a stay in our luxurious hotel or full-service RV Park.

Put a little something extra under the tree this year when you win big on our 54,000-square-foot casino floor, featuring over 1,100 of the newest big-hitting slots, more than 30 world-class table games, and the hottest dedicated poker room around.

Once you’ve had all the winning you can handle, take a break and take in some holiday cheer at any of our incredible restaurants, including the award-winning Fairbanks Steakhouse. Here, you can indulge in mouthwatering steaks, succulent seafood and desserts that would make the Sugar Plum Fairy blush. Or pile up your plate with holiday favorites at Epic Buffet. There’s something for every taste at Hollywood.


Property Profile: MGM Grand Detroit

MGMGrandDetroit - webThe city of Detroit is known for many things. Motown music, auto manufacturers and the Detroit Lions and Tigers seem to come to mind first. But the city has also grown into a hot spot for first-class casino action. One property that continues to excel across several fronts, from spas and suites to dining and nightlife, is MGM Grand Detroit.

Located in the heart of downtown, the resort-style facility is home to nearly 4,000 slots and video poker machines, almost 100 table games, 400 hotel rooms and suites, three signature restaurants, a live entertainment lounge, a luxurious spa and more. When it comes to a great gaming getaway, this is certainly a stop to have at the top of your list.


Henry Tamburin Publishes Ultimate Guide to Blackjack

Blackjack insideGaming and Destination’s contributing writer Henry Tamburin, Ph.D., in partnership with 888casino, has written an extensive and comprehensive introduction to the casino game of blackjack.

The online “Ultimate Guide to Blackjack” consists of 18 chapters containing authoritative strategies, tips, and skills for both novice and experienced players, written in an informal and practical tone. It begins with the history of blackjack and then incrementally introduces topics that give the reader the knowledge to play blackjack skillfully.

The guide consists of short paragraphs with bullet points to catch the reader’s attention. Facts and figures stated in words and numbers are also illustrated to make it easier for the reader to comprehend the information. Color-coded strategy charts, chapter objectives, takeaways, and a “test yourself” quiz, make for an enjoyable learning experience. To ensure that the guide was technically and stylistically accurate, each chapter was reviewed and edited by Blackjack Hall of Famer Don Schlesinger. You can read the “Ultimate Guide to Blackjack” at: http://blog.888casino.com/casino-guides/blackjack. (Note: This site has no links to online gambling.)

Isn’t It Time You Played Around?

Potawatomi insideTired of the same old boring vacation year after year? This year, take a break from your typical golfing or beach excursion, and go on an action-packed adventure. These top gaming destinations will fill your days and nights with glitz, glamour, and all the thrill you can handle from the comfort of your seat—although, probably on the edge of it! These world-renowned casino resorts will pamper you with their luxurious accommodations, decadent spas, and world-class entertainment. Whatever you choose, it’s no gamble, everyone’s a winner.


Harrah’s Cherokee Kicks Off Fall World Series of Poker on Thanksgiving

WSOP interiorThe World Series of Poker returns to Cherokee this Thanksgiving, with circuit events scheduled through Monday, December 7. Events include two seniors’ events, a ladies event, and a main event with a $1,000,000 guaranteed pot.

Event buy-ins range from $65 to $1,675. Players can register at the Event Center Promotions desk beginning at noon on Thursday, November 26. Those interested in hotel room rates can call 1-844-777-7711 for information.

Starting with a single satellite event in 2011, Harrah’s Cherokee has broken attendance records year over year. In 2016, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort will host two more circuit events in addition to its second straight National Championship event.



Tips: How to Wager on Horseraces at Smaller Tracks

Eric Floyd is a turf writer for various gaming publications as well as a Triple Crown pari-mutuel consultant for several national media outlets. Excerpts from his gambling memoir, “My First Decade Playing the Game,” can be found at LuLu.com.

Horseplayers who labor when the sun is shining often miss the opportunity to play major “daytime” racetracks like Churchill Downs, Santa Anita Park, Saratoga Race Course, Gulfstream Park and Belmont Park. Instead, they typically help fund the handle at intermediate “night time” ovals like Evangeline, Prairie Meadows, Canterbury, Mountaineer, Charles Town, Delta, Penn National, Remington, Fairmount and Assiniboia.


Tracy Morgan to Appear at Harrah’s Cherokee

Tracy Morngan interiorMulti-talented comedian Tracy Morgan is back at it, announcing the “TRACY MORGAN: Picking up the Pieces” tour, his latest major multi-city standup tour starting in February 2016. One of his first dates will be at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m.

Morgan was critically injured in a June 2014 crash in New Jersey when his limo was rear-ended by a cargo truck. The crash, which killed Morgan’s friend and fellow comedian Jim McNair, left Morgan with multiple broken bones and brain trauma. At one point, there was doubt whether he would be able to perform again. But after a triumphant return to the Hollywood stage at this year’s Emmy Awards and a visit to his old stomping grounds at SNL, audiences can look forward to the entertainer doing what he does best: bringing bags loads of funny and making people laugh.

“It’s just like falling off a bike and getting back on, that’s all: you don’t forget where the pedals are,” Morgan says on getting back to touring. “People can expect more of what I did before. It’s me: funny + truth = Tracy Morgan. I can’t wait to get back to ya’ll. City to city, state to state, watch me operate.”


Video Poker Strategy: Are You Playing the Odds?

Writer_Boyd_Linda-bw_insideWe’ve all heard them—I’m talking about stories describing players or their friends getting two royals on the same machine minutes apart or some other unlikely gambling events. But can these possibly be true? Absolutely! But they’re anomalies, not realistic expectations, and should never be used to guide your play in video poker or any other casino game. Instead, you should use mathematical tenants based on the best possible odds. Here are some video poker strategy tips for maximizing outcomes based on statistics rather than hunches.

Game selection. You should look at the ER (expected return) percentage on either tutorial software (Dean Zamzow’s WinPoker is a good one) or pay tables with numerical data (there are free and removable tables in my book “The Video Poker Edge”) before choosing a game. Too often I hear players selecting a game by pointing to an isolated and infrequent hand payout as the reason for playing. For example, choosing 8/5 Double-Double Bonus (8/5 DDB) because you’re salivating over the payout for 4 Aces with a kicker (2,3 or 4) of 2,000 coins in addition to the 4,000 coin royal payout is misleading. The ER is just a paltry 96.7861% while it has a whopping variance of 41.99487, a major risk to your bankroll. Instead, base you decision on the numbers for the ER, variance and your knowledge of the game’s strategy.


We Crown the 2015 Culinary King of the South

Culinary King logo_interiorIn all our years of sponsoring this competition, we’ve not seen such a hard-fought and close contest for the hearts and pallets of our readers. We congratulate these chefs for their recognition and encourage all our readers to put their cooking on your must-eat list as you enjoy all the incredible dining opportunities our casinos have to offer.

Culinary King of the South: Chef Gary Riley

Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall-Tunica
Stacked Seared Sea Bass with Crab Cake and Scallop
Chef Gary Riley began his culinary career in Las Vegas at the Famous Stardust Casino at the age of 23. Now, 41 years later, he still enjoys preparing world-class meals for people who love good food and having a good time. Since joining Sam’s Town, he has helped further establish the property as a local and not-so-local great place to order traditional southern food. His commitment to quality and variety shines through the menu offerings.


Poo-Bach’s Hot-Hand Gambling Strategy

Writer_Scoblete_Frank-bwThere seems to be almost as many gambling systems as gamblers. There are advantage play methods at blackjack, craps, video poker, casino poker, Pai Gow Poker and, yes, even slots. These can actually work to get the players a relatively small edge. Few players, extremely few, learn advantage-play methods, preferring instead to adopt various betting schemes that don’t work to get the player an edge, which they can’t actually get over the house.

Thus, on the losing end of the spectrum (where just about every player plants himself) you have money management systems, trend betting systems in all their almost infinite variety, (flawed) mathematical systems such as the Martingale, various cancellation systems and on it goes into the light-years equivalent of wrongness.



Best for Last: Our Southern Sensations Desserts

We’ve shared our readers’ favorite for appetizers and entrees. Now, we get to the sweet stuff: desserts. We hope you’ve saved plenty of room, because we’ve saved the best for last.

Tableside Bananas Foster for Two ($16) | Thirty Two at IP Casino. To make their version of this dessert classic, the chef starts with sweet, fresh bananas and adds a citrus rum sauce before introducing ice cream to the mix. Learn more about IP Casino.

BR Prime Creme BruleeCrème Brulee ($13) \ BR Prime at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. This timeless dessert made with only fresh ingredients is an exquisite ending to a gourmet meal. Regionally-grown seasonal berries delightfully rest on a bed of caramelized raw sugar. Fresh Madagascar Vanilla Beans are the secret to the rich and creamy custard that makes this an unforgettable specialty. Learn more about BR Prime.

Seven Layer Red Velvet Cake ($8) Twain’s Steakhouse at Sam’s Town-Tunica. Seven layers of delicious velvet cake covered in a cream cheese icing make for one towering inferno of awesomeness. Learn more about Twain’s Steakhouse.


More Southern Sensations! Entrees from Our 2015 Casino Dining Guide

Once you’ve whetted your appetite with these great appetizers, it’s time to move on to the main course. And the main courses our readers selected this year are perhaps the best ever. Sit down. Open wide. Say, “Ahhhhh!”

DG_Entrees_Crusted Sea Bass_interiorSeared George’s Bank Scallops ($38) | Thirty Two at IP Casino. Based on the ingredients list along, this dish ought to please: sauce vin blanc, with arugula purée, heirloom grape tomatoes, fennel fronds, micro chervil and cucumber pearls tossed in Meyer lemon oil. Learn more about Thirty-Two.

Andouille Crusted Sea Bass ($38) | Thirty Two at IP Casino. The seafood favorite leverages corn and crawfish maque choux against green onions and lemon beurre blanc to create the perfect backdrop for the fish’s natural flavor. Learn more about Thirty-Two.

Pecan Smoked Ribs ($20 for half slab, $26 for full slab) | Coast Restaurant at Beau Rivage-Biloxi. Wood from the pecan tree imparts a lighter flavor than, say, hickory or mesquite. The taste is nutty and almost sweet, and this dish puts those characteristics to full barbecue goodness. Learn more about Coast Restaurant.

Po’ Boys ($15) | Coast Restaurant at Beau Rivage-Biloxi. Event at an affordable $15, there’s nothing “poor” about this traditional New Orleans favorite. The best of breads and meats can be ordered up to provide a dish that satisfies at once the desires for great taste and for authenticity. Diners can take their choice of shrimp, oyster, crabmeat or cheeseburger. Learn more about Coast Restaurant.


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