Rival tourneys mean big business for Tunica

Beginning this week, Tunica, Mississippi, will play host to two major, competing poker tournament events. The Gold Strike Casino is hosting the 7th Annual World Poker Tour (WPT) World Poker Open, while neighboring Grand Casino is hosting the World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) Grand Casino Tunica tournament series.

The WPT World Poker Open began this past Monday in the Gold Strike Casino ballroom. One hundred and fifty players are expected to compete in this year's series, including poker pro Chris "Jesus" Ferguson. Throughout the event, players will indulge in buffets and plasma screen televisions, and compete for a total of $5 million in prize money. The main event's final table is scheduled to take place on January 19.

The WSOPC Grand Casino Tunica began on January 4 at the Harrah's Tunica venue, which has hosted numerous WSOPC events in the past. The final table of the series' main event is set to begin on January 27.

Despite the rivaling international poker events, all parties involved agree the tournaments can only have a positive effect on Tunica's economy. Indeed, the gaming industry generates an estimated $1.2 billion a year in Tunica. And, according to Webster Franklin, president and CEO of the Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau, the tournaments bring "...great exposure to Tunica not only as a destination for poker players from across the country and across the globe, it can also introduce people all over the country to what we have to offer here."

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