Monday, June 9, 2014


It was a long but easy drive here to Biloxi because of a good sleep, easy roads and a very early start. Having NPR all the way made the boredom melt away too. I did get a bit tired of hearing the same news each hour, but my mind worked to pick up new details or fill in the blanks. Somehow that kept me mentally engaged in a way that keeps drowsiness at bay.

The terrain was fairly repetitive and uninteresting. Once I passed an area where I could see forests of pine for miles and miles and a few of the swamp water sights were interesting. Most of the trip was just super highway.

However, I encountered very little traffic. Leaving at 5 AM left me free of traffic in Orlando, although not free of the infernal toll roads. I did not want to try going without them, but I had not gone but a few blocks when the GPS sent me down the toll road for fifty cents and then back up part of the way for yet another fifty cents and both of those tolls collected where exact change was required. In Florida you have to have quarters in your car to go anywhere, and over the course of the first part of the journey I was always reaching for quarters or for more where there were attendants.

However, the rest of the journey went quickly. I did not stop for breakfast except to grab some coffee at a reststop. I munched on cheese and Sami's wraps from Tampa. That was a fine plan.

The Google predicted eight and a half hours of travel but the GPS was more accurate at nine and a half. I pushed the speed limit a bit and probably would have made the entire journey in GPS time, but it is hard to measure. Once I got near here I decided to eat and get my oil changed as I was early. They are an hour different in time here too.

I saw a sign for Barnhill's buffet and decided to try it with my coupon. The senior special matched my coupon price. For $7 I had some very good food. I really enjoyed the pulled pork on biscuit, and the sweet potato, fried catfish, and other tastes were good. The greens were the frozen variety and not very interesting. It was a good bargain and a good place to stop with the car packed as I could see the car from where I ate. There are two of these in this area. I am not certain how much of a chain this place it, but I wish we had one in Albany. It made for a fine midday meal after the long ride with just a bit of snacking. Key to my staying fresh for driving is to eat very little and drink coffee.

Policemen came in and I asked one about an oil change place. He sent me a mile away to a Fast Lube and they did a quick and easy job so I am good to go. I should have had that done in Tampa, but this was easy as I might not get into the hotel early and I was feeling pretty tired.

They did say something about a refrigerator but none arrived in my room. I'll keep my humira on ice today in the cooler. I am happy to have that small insulated ice pack also. My television does not work and I got in too late to ask about it. Other than that I am very comfortable. The room safe accomodates my laptop as well as other valuables. It does not read the four digit code the first time, and that was a bit disconcerting, but I may have the key to that which is pushing the door a bit in to line up with something. The bed is just wonderful and it is very quiet here and dark as well. I look out on what may someday be Margarittaville, but is now just a shell deserted of workmen. All construction is on hold due to the financial crisis.

It is fine to have the computer with me. I feel so fortunate. And it is so nice to have the room safe. I'd rather have that than television. I am very glad to have saved all my notes as word documents and not left them in the cloud. I have access without Internet. I could get Internet here for a price.


I decided to use my time to check out some of the plays.

I am not really the one to check on VP as the details easily slip out of my mind. I wrote some things down, but when I got to my car, I did not have the notes. Since I don't intend to play any VP this trip, surveying the paytables is a bit of a time waster. Beau Rivage and the Hardrock. I saw 7/5 JOB and 9/6 DB. I checked at both desks and there are no benefits. At the Hardrock you can earn points at the same rate as a slot player, except the VP points are not good for the freeplay offered eventually. I went round and round frustrating the counter girl trying to figure this one out. She kept telling me that yes I would earn the points, but could not tell me of what value they would be except to give me a higher status card. There is a food comp. This is a “percentage” but no one knows what equals even a breakfast buffet. It is a mystery and I was sorry to have stayed in line to ask any questions as there were not answers.
At the Beau the answer was the same sort of thing except the line was longer. There the girl “thought” the freeplay could be earned as VP as $5 earned a point for VP while $3 earned it for slots. Again the few machines I checked were ridiculous.
I actually thing that information on cashback ( which does not exist except as freeplay) might more easily be gathered by calling the promotions rooms than standing in line to have people “think” they might know the answer. At the Beau the food comp was also a mystery. However, here the person talking to me laughed with me at that joke rather than getting annoyed with me asking so many questions.


For poker play no cards are required at the Hard Rock or the Beau or at the Isle of Capri. The Hard Rock awarded food vouchers at the rate of $5 every two hours. That seemed generous. However, games were a spread limit of 1-4 and 1-8 and the tables were not full. They had a small bad beat and I later found that the huge bad beat at the Isle had attracted all the local players. The Hard Rock poker floor told me they were thinking of going more to smaller, daily awards and getting away from the bad beat jackpots that got bigger and bigger but did not pay too many. I prefer those.
The rakes are nuts. They get 5 and 1. The floor said that they were talking about going to 4 and 2 when the new payouts are developed.

Oh, the Hard Rock here is not connected to the Hard Rock in Vegas. To earn nothing but empty points on low paying VP here, you have to be planning on coming back to Biloxi. Otherwise you just lose the nothing you have earned.


This was a better attended venue. They had a 4-8 game and the tables seemed to include players who were not all poker faced and well practiced. Here the rake was 5 and 2. It is hard to win even when you win at those rates. They would give some food comps there if you managed to ask at the right shift changes. I hate those dysfunctional comps. I don't come to the casino to keep track of anything but my own game. I certainly don't need to keep track of the time of shift changes to get fed.

The NL here has no maximum. None. Minimum buy in is $100 but there “is not maximum on any of our games here.” Hmmmm. I wish I had thousands to risk on high limit games. I could play here and always be high chipped. What a contrast to the $100 maximum games in Florida. Since low funded players need not apply, I decided to play limit only here as I probably will most of my trip.

I was thinking of just not playing and heading out to the Jefferson Davis House this morning, but I decided to try one more casino. That was a good choice. The Isle of Capri (soon to become just the Isle) poker room was packed. Still I was greeted well and easily by a woman who did know what I was asking. The rake here was 4 and 2, but the bad beat was some ridiculously high number that would pay be thousands were I just at the table when it hit. This meant that the casino was full of fairly good but tight players. The 4-8 was a tough game, but few were really aggressive. I saw only one check raise the entire night of play. The blind structure here in all the games is 1-2 so it is possible to see some flops for just 2 and possible to push people out with a mid position raise because the raise makes it 6. I like this for playing high pairs and it did help me with some pots. I can't however build pots with button raises on draw hands and be certain I'll get enough callers to make the bet advantageous over time.

Still I stayed to play and left at eleven thirty. The game woke me up and I got some good cards. I played well. It was a predictable game for the most part. It was hard to raise on the river and get called as everyone seemed to believe me. I was not in many spots where I wanted to bluff, but that might have worked against some players. One fellow was in too many hands, but just seemed to have full houses glued to him.

These players were all from the South and it was fun to hear the interaction. I did not feel anyone ganging up on me as I had been warned on one board, but I think if that happens, it happens only in no limit games. I think they thought I was from Florida anyway.

I had a fine evening playing and wishing the bad beat would hit with the rest of the players. As that conversation became the perseverated topic of the night, I did feel some ennui, but I also fully enjoyed the good humor and easy nature of these fellows and their quiet jokes. However, I left down $42 as the game started to break up. I have my free breakfast comp and will play this morning for the cracked aces award as well. The Isle buffet is on sale and I expect I'll eat there. The Beau buffet was twice the price. I had read the food was very good there, but I am not trying to overeat so it matters very little if they have tons more choices. Crab legs were encluded in the special buffet prices at the Isle and the buffet is directly across from the poker room.

In fact, it may have been a mistake to take the breakfast buffet rather than a larger comp as the comps are good for three days. I just knew that I was coming to breakfast. Food comps have to be claimed the day of play, but they are food for three days.

Buffet comps were awarded with a card swipe instead of some other dysfunctional system so the change of floor did not affect the record of my play. I think they asked for five hours but gave comps out for less.

I am not much good at evaluating sleeping or poker rooms, but the Isle had two disadvantages. There were no automatic shufflers. The seats were too low and sometimes uncomfortable. Otherwise I was content there.

Overall I just liked the friendliness of this room. However, the heat got oppressive so I'll dress light today in case the air conditioning is on the fritz. The floor messed with it once, but that did not seem to do the trick.

I figure the one dollar lower rake as compared with the Beau meant my losses were 50% lower by the end of the evening. Still, these are tough rakes to beat and some of the other players commented on this. One casino in Bay ST Louis advertises $3 rakes and I will play there one day on my way to see Danny.

I did not feel up to an early morning walk along the beach this morning, but I guess I could find plenty of places to pull off and be right near the water. The old remains of piers are very quaint until I remember they were taken out by hurricane and not just aged over time.


I caught inside straights. That may mean I was too lose. One was after I played 2-7 in the small blind. I caught the A-5. I lost a fine straight to one a bit higher.
No flushes all night except for one I chased with the ace of hearts and caught for no more river money.
No full houses all night.
I won on pocket aces twice. My one experience of trips was with pocket queens and I could not do more than call as straights were all over. The guy betting out had 5-7 for two pair. I was relieved to get that pot.
The only steal was when I bet out on a flopped seven in early position when my pair of sevens was second on the board. My kicker was an ace so I was just over betting to see what might happen and I managed that small steal.

Generally, the game was predictable, fairly tight except for seeing the flop, and folks believed me.
I liked the game. If the bad beat holds I won't try other places today or tomorrow. I am going to play early today and get back for a nap and to ice down my humira once again. I was sorry to be falling behind in money, but my losses were equal to one pot and I played for four hours.

I liked these fellows and enjoyed watching one very pretty dealer as the young fellow next to her flirted with her. She was good humored and fun to watch. No women played here. I saw them at the Beau but here were just men of mixed ages, half old fellows like me.
I would have preferred a bit better position, to the left of the one loose better as he would have allowed me to make many head to head games with a reraise. There were few such plays. I think some of these guys were there to lose as little as possible while they waited for the bad beat. I like that sort of a game because there is less pushing with poor hands. Also, the lower blinds allows for many more flops as raising kills many good hands even when the raise is in late position. No free card tricks here. Still I best like to see flops and I would play some cards just because of all the callers and the lowered odds of raises after me. I had not thought about it, but this game structure means that late raises with aces or ace king are also good as push out rag raises. I'll have to try that this morning, especially with the aces cracked spinning wheel awards.

minus 42 in poker
minus 20 in one two quarter slot to keep my points up to date at Harrah's so I save my $12 in comps. I'll use those up in Tunica. That will be most of my slot play for this trip.

I won't be good at keeping accurate tabs on food, but today I spent about $9 on food and coffee. I filled the tank for $1.87. I got over 20 MPG for the trip.

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