Monday, April 11, 2016


The first few posts reflect 2016 and then there is a note telling that the rest is from 2009, my last trip to Mississippi to play poker.

Everything is in reverse order, blog style.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Scarlet Pearl and the IP to eat and play

I thought the IP poker game was a good one, but I found one more to my taste at the Scarlet Pearl.  Sunday afternoon was perfect with the table full of tourists who did not like to bet high.  It is a spread limit 4-8  game with a 1-2 blind.  Seeing the flop often costs just two dollars as opposed to the four dollars it costs at the IP.  And there are those fine possibilities for betting based on the strength of a hand.  After the flop the bet can be 1-4, and turn and river bets can be 1-8.  I have always liked these games. 
The poker room has a huge window, although the view will be obstructed soon with a parking garage.  It is bright and pleasant and everything is new.  The rest of the casino is that was as well.
Really different were the people working.  John was an especially patient and attentive dealer.  He called the game, talked about the casino, joked a bit, and in general made us feel welcome and taken care of.  I rarely tip more than a dollar, but I did tip John two.
One amazing thing was that they automatically changed the rake when we got down to five and with four took no rake at all.  This made short play easy to endure.
There is not a NL game in this room, just this unstructured spread limit game.
I think it might be my favorite game in the country.
It took me a while to get used to the spread again at the Scarlet Pearl.  I overbet good hands and everyone folded.  Once pocket Aces only got me the blinds.  I showed them and did a bit of friendly whining.  The next hand I had just a good draw, so I just bet a dollar until.  I was never raised, so on the river I bet the max of $8 and stole the pot with folks thinking I slow played good cards.  I did it again a few hands later.  That was in the early afternoon of Sunday with mostly tight tourists.
I did well, playing tight aggressive.  Then some fellows came in who were upped the action more than I wanted and I was missing hands, so I left with $85 profit.  However, the real advantage was that this game would not kill my bankroll if I played over a long while even with a difficult second best slump.   So the price of entertainment was low.
Folks were very friendly.  Mike next to me has actually been the fellow who set up the Magic Manatee marina where we rented out pontoon in Homosassa.  He was fun to talk with.  There was a fellow there who lived in the villages in Florida.
They have a poker rate of sixty nine dollars weekdays and ninety=nine on weekends and the $2.50 earned in comps each hour can be applied to the price, so that lowers it even more.  I thought I might stay one more night here and skip the Shelbyville stop, but I can't easily squeeze that out.  However, I can spend a bit of Tuesday afternoon, use of my comps for a meal and if I get three or four hours of travel in before sleeping, that will almost be like spending another night here.  Part of me would like to see Shelbyville, but I just know that it would be a disappointment after this place.
Their promotions were very accessible too.  Every half hour yesterday the house splashed the pot with twenty five dollars.  I almost won one time but lost on the river when my flopped trips were defeated by a flush.
They also splashed the pot with bits of bling.  I won a sippy cup with the name of the casino.  I wanted to trade a woman for her card protector, but she did not want to trade.  John just went up and got my a card protector.  He did not even take the sippy cup.  These card protectors are pretty cool.  They are in a plastic case but if taken out they will spin on top of the cards.  I have not tried mine out yet.  As a card protector, I think I better like it in the case, but it will be cool for the home games.

My best hand was Peter's favorite 6-9.  This was of spades.  The straight flopped and there were two hearts.  I bet hard and was called by heart draws and one two pair fellow.  No one would put me on a 6-9.  It was the largest pot of my trip so far, well over $100.  And it won the sippy cup which also got me the card protector.  Pretty good.


I went to the IP to use my poker comps for a buffet.  They gave me a full buffet although I only had fifteen dollars.  He said I could come back and play.  I did.  But I lost.  I made a bit back at the video poker, hitting a few quads and a straight flush.  I caught a seven and jack of clubs to make it.
But even with the win at the Scarlet Pearl I am down for the trip.  $358 is my score.  So far I've eaten $52 in free food, so that helps, but I'll need some luck if this is to be a winning trip.

I do like the affect it all has on my sleeping and my attitude.  I'm relaxed and appreciate not thinking about politics and death for a few hours in the day.  I sleep very well, with dreams, but I sleep through the night. 

Jen's father Joe died yesterday.  So that is two deaths while I've been here in Biloxi.  Peter and Casey are scheduled to fly to meet us in Chicago on the 8th, but perhaps they won't make it.  We'll see.  It is fine to have booked at Southwest where it won't cost anything to cancel and use the money later in the year.  What a great airline!

Oh, the buffet at the IP was good but not as good as the Beau.  The seafood was rather dry and tasteless.  I better liked a meatball and sausage and a jumbo.  It all spiked my sugar, however.  I did not measure after the Beau.  Perhaps I will today.

Heavy day of Gambling

I tried to nap but it did not seem to work, so finally I got up and went to the IP and lost $200 at JOB before I decided to go down to the Beau Rivage for some food.   This is quite the upscale place.  It is very fancy, unlike the IP which is nice, but not fancy. 
Parking at the Beau is a walk through shops to the casino.  IP is get off the elevator and there it is.

I wandered around a bit watching the action.  I stopped at the M-Life Player's Club for a card and redeemed my free buffet from MyVegas.  The price of this buffet on Saturday is  $30.  Quite a good deal for free.  Unlike some of the other MyVegas offers there is not a separate offer for lunch and dinner.  I got there during the closed time, walked and checked out the poker room, and came back with ten minutes to wait for the supper hours and there was already a line.  I listened to the chatter in line but I was quiet and no one asked me a question.  It is so unusual to be where almost all of the speakers have Southern Accents.  Fun.
The buffet was a real treat, especially for a seafood lover like me.  There were all sorts of seafood from crab legs to crawfish to fillets done in various manners to fried oysters, stuffed crabs, deep fried balls of seafood flavored hush puppies.  I concentrated on a creamy soup named after the casino which seemed to have a process broccoli.  I ate a lot of deep fried oysters and they were very good.  The crawfish tasted good as well.  I could not remember much about all the Mudgrift Alligator Dan from Louisian' had shown me in 2009, but I did okay.  Too bad ole Dan isn't alive anymore or perhaps he would have met me down here.

I did go back to the poker room and even was seated at a new game, but suddenly the old game was nearly breaking and that took most of the new game players, so rather than wait on a list when half the table were new and not leaving soon, I decided to go to the IP and play some more video poker at the IP. 
The traffic outside the Beau was thick.  I had to wait in line to exit the parking garage and I quickly decided not to try to go to Pearl, but to go back to the IP.  This hotel is easily located for IP access, just a bridge between us really, unaffected by traffic as it is a major highway 10.  I sure made a good decision.
Also, near the poker room is JOB in what is the only full pay quarter VP (with reduced points earned) in Biloxi.

At the IP they had a seat for me in 4-8 and so I played for a while.  I arrived at 5:30 and I left about midnight. I was up and down and ended down, then put what was left in the video poker and lost a bit, making the day a $297 loss and that was my trip loss so far as well since I broke even yesterday.

I loved poker at the IP.  They had a promotion that apparently the locals don't like much, so there were only a few really skilled players and some terrible folks.  I'd have left with profit if I hadn't decided to see if I might win the $500 and play to midnight.  The easy money players left and so did my cards.  Second best took me right down.
I loved the people.  Constant chatter in delightful Southern English, some joking, friendly dealers, one very lively and cute girl and a loose game.  I played Peter's 6-9 once and flopped two pair, was called to the river and won.  I had pocked Aces go to four of a kind and won just a small pot and wished I was in Ocala where the high hand award would be $250 and the Aces would probably hold up for that as they pay every half hour.  I'm always getting the best cards in places where they aren't worth much.

I loved the blinds.  It is a 4-8 game but with 1-2 blinds, so in long stretches of terrible cards I could not get blinded to death.
If I heard right they pay $2.50 an hour for play, but it is all handled by their poker room.  That seems like a lot, so I may have heard wrong.  I'm hoping I can collect today and use it toward a buffet.  I have enough points anyway, but this would save them for Vegas.
I like very much playing in a B Connected casino.  I am drifting more and more in that direction in Vegas and it is just great to be able to earn a few points here and then have them when I go next to the Gold Coast or Orleans or Sam's Town.  Also, what was left on my card I am able to use here. 

The Young at Heart Monday deals are not quite a good, but then I'm covered for Monday anyway with another MyVegas voucher for the Beau.  I can't imagine why more people here don't play for these unless as locals they are shut out from the deal.  These buffets are pricey.

My computer connections go in and out, but I set up the Califone box with a tape I made of Jonathan Schwartz radio and that is just great.  Boy, I love this box.

At my poker table were some interesting characters.  One young girl had one of those young, fresh faces that just beamed with cheer.  I loved her.  She did not stay long.  After she was gone there was some whispering form a snarky local who for some reason resented her poor play and keep talking to the dealer. 
There was one old guy with deep hound dog jowls who never smiled, or answered a comment, or did much of anything human until his friends and family showed up to take him off.  Then there was hand shaking and such all around and I thought, "Oh, this guy is human afterall"

I sat next to Mohammed and we had some good talks.  He was friendly guy and I liked him.
A good player and a regular showed up with a billion chips and watched his phone play a movie unless he was in a hand.  He played tight.  He was gone much of time too.  I think he was just getting his hours in for the promotion.  He was tight aggressive and hard to beat, but my pocket Aces took out his ace/ king although he bet every round.
There was a good looking fellow with a confederate flag on his hat who played some of the worst poker I've seen.  No wonder they lost the war.
Hardest was a quiet but very spacey Mexican who bet and called everything.  It was impossible to push him off a hand and hard to have a sense of what he held.  He was not lucky, but he had a pocketful of hundred dollar bills and just replenished after he lost an all in .  I had a 2-5 that took the pot on the river from a friendly old guy who had bet his flopped trip 4's.
A couple of young guys showed up and sat either side of me and we bantered a bit.  They were from outside New Orleans.  Quite a few folks here from New Orleans.



Some of this repeats in other posts, but I decided to break out my hotel comments to develop a nice report for Trip Reports. I'll edit this as I go with new thoughts.   Other folks liked this place, but few had any specific comments to make or added details.
It was a great choice for me.  I am staying four nights.
Here I had a kitchen, a room close to my car, and good location for casinos. 
It was nice to have a hot meal of leftovers when I got tired playing video poker at the IP. And cooking bacon and eggs for breakfast with some hot tea was just a great luxury at a cheap price.
There are two nice burners and a timed switch on the back wall that cuts off electricity to the entire stove after a while, like those used for heat lamps in bathrooms.
They stock the room with :  a small microwave, two plates, two bowls, assorted plasticware to use with the Teflon pans, real silverware.  All this looks brand new.Two real coffee cups.  One small glasses and two large glasses. 
I put a plastic cup in the bathroom.  No plastic here, no Styrofoam.  Nice. 
Next to the microwave is a roll of paper towels.  Mine was new.
The refrigerator is small with little space for larger things, but fine.  The freezer is a narrow strip but held all I needed.  I thought the place was very comfortable.
The shower looks new.  It is simple, but there is a place to sit. 
Everything is clean and well maintained.  Perhaps these were renovated not too long ago.
The coffee maker was a surprise.  I am carrying coffee with me but not filters.  There was hotel coffee provided, but this machine will make my own coffee, so I asked housekeeping for some filters and she brought me a nice pile that will last me easily for my stay.
It could get noisy here, but it has not. I have slept easily.  There is daylight through the edges of the window curtain and the train sound of housekeeping rolling their sheets, but the workers don't shout back and forth.
 The AC/heat system acts as white noise. 
I guess if I just had a light carryon I would choose and upper room, but all the junk I want to unload and keep safe in the room as well as a heavy cooler, sleep apnea machine,  boom box, computer makes it more convenient to be on the ground floor even if once in a while someone talks a bit too loud outside my door during a midday nap.

The location to casinos is just grand.  The IP is a B-Connected casino where points earned on the card can be used in Vegas and vice versa. To get there I hop on I-10, cross a bridge over water and immediately get off, turn right, and I am there.  No traffic.  Other casino access may come with traffic.
For the newest of Biloxi casinos, the Scarlet Pearl, I don't even have to take the bridge.  I just run down a city street, turn, and there it is.
My first night I drove through a torrential rain and wind storm and was happy to have the IP so close.  The Pearl would have been more difficult because the self parking I prefer is outside and a bit of a walk to the casino.  I'd have gone Valet, but perhaps those spots would have quickly filled.

I do wish they had a better marking on the entrance road.  There is one road that is a false road that is first when coming off the I-10 expressway from the casino.  Then at night the other entrances are hard to see, blending into the black top of the highway.  Even a small reflector would help.  On one is a small blue sign that does not project over two bushes and so is easy to miss. 

I also did have a slight leakage of tobacco smoke through the vents and into the bathroom.  Behind me here are smoking rooms.  I might ask for a room more isolated, but in truth it has not bothered me much, and when I sense it, I close the bathroom door.  Cooking bacon also covers it up, a sort of natural Febreeze.  I had this for only a day or so at the beginning and then I expect those folks went away and smoked up their car rather than the hotel room.
I do like the room facing the back as the parking is easier.  I have room number 121 and I like that.

There were just enough plugs, but carrying a three way splitter is also a good idea when traveling.  There were not those handy plugs built into the llighting.
Along side the bed were two lights operated with a hand switch.  This was very convenient.  so many places have these lights controlled by a central switch on some wall.  In bed with my sleep apnea mask all adjusted, I don't want to get up to adjust the light and if I go to the bathroom in the dark, I want that simple switch to work and not be cut off by some other.
The lights at the door allow for some variety of lighting with three switches controlling various lights. I like that set up.  One switch turns on two lights but they have their own switches as well.
The television has a good selection of stations but sadly not TCM.
The wifi worked well but was hard to log into for me at least and I had to log into it every 24 hours.  What happens is the log in page does not easily come up.  I have to put something in the google.  Here is was
 for some reason.  I have this happen in hotels often.  It takes a while to get the log in posted.  I don't know why.  In my last computer the log in sheet came up easily and right away.
Book on line early because the place fills up.  I saw walk ins turned away.


Saturday, April 2, 2016

From Homosassa to Biloxi

On the GPS my journey was a seven and a half hour drive, so I knew I wanted to leave early,  but I did not want to get out of bed at 2AM.  
But there I was.
The car was mostly packed, but I still found last minute things to bring, dishes to do, breakfast to eat, the cooler to pack. 
It seems hard to believe, but it was after five before I actually go on the road.

The journey up 19 was really a deserted drive at this time of morning.  I liked it.  Were I to break down I would not like it much, but for the absence of traffic and the quiet, easy ride, it was delightful.

And most of the trip was free of trouble until I got a couple hours from Biloxi.  Then the traffic started to pick up and the rain started to get very serious.   
Twice I passed vehicles that somehow had just left the road.  Both were driven by young men.  One was a little red car.  However, the other was a grey truck.  After waiting in bumper to bumper traffic for a half hour, I saw it, covered in mud, down in a muddy ditch.  The driver was just hanging around. Another truck had stopped and the young men there were just grinning.
I thought I knew why.
At my last pit stop I was just heading for the ramp to the highway when I heard the sound of a truck being revved to the limit.  I looked in my read view and there it was, going like crazy on the wet road, slipping to one side and the another, passing a car behind me.  I pulled off the road to let this idiot go by. 
I used to love trucks.  I associated them with folks who were working on their houses or carrying their boats.  But now I associate them with pushy, aggressive guys who like to tailgate and lane change and push and push.  Idiots.
Now here was this idiot in the ditch, the same grey truck I had seen a half hour before.
I tried not to be glad.

I see these big trucks all the time now.  Usually they are in the way. When I am driving at night, they sit just higher enough to shine their big old headlights right in my rear view mirror as they tailgate me.   I guess the lowered gas prices have improved the market.  Behind the wheel is often some old codger, older than even me.  And he sort of stumbles out and then waddles on bad knees to the grocery store.  I just know this guy ain't putting no sheet of half inch plywood in the back of the truck. Ironically, most of the stuff that might be carried in the bed of a pick up I can put in my stow and go van and the rest of the time I can seat seven.

I misjudged the time change.  I hate time change.  I'm just too simple minded to get it straight.  I kept thinking I was making great time even with my many pit stops, and then I realized that I had an hour more to drive than I had figured.

Well, it went fine.

A thermos of coffee depleted over the trip helped.
A little nap I took in Northern Florida in front of a closed and dilapidated old store or gas station helped.
And I loved my little boom box in the front seat plugged into a cigarette lighter and playing books on tape, real tape, Cassette tape. 
One was a sequel to Forrest Gump.  It was ridiculous and so it was very entertaining. 
Others were old Bob and Ray comedy.
Then Bob Hope.
When I wanted a break, I just put on the car radio and listened to NPR.
I played a bit of music, but these books on tape just do a better job of making the time go by.

I have not driven solo like this for a long while, but without Elizabeth along I could drive as long as I wanted, play what I wanted, and leave early to arrive good and early.


I found my pick of places to stay to be a perfect choice.
Here I had a kitchen, a room close to my car, and good location for the casinos. 

I settled in.  I'm so tired of packing.  I've been doing it in some fashion for what seems like my whole life, getting things to Susan's that stay in Florida until next winter, packing for this trip and for Chicago and for home.  Ugh!

However, it was nice to have a hot meal of leftovers when I got tired playing video poker at the IP.

I could not nap and finally went over to the IP, but I was just too tired to play poker.  I found the full pay JOB and ran my $20 up to over $100 and then back down to $20.  I enjoyed it.  It was good to use my B Connected card here so I can be sure my points will be good when I go next to Vegas.
But I was tired.

The rain was the worst I have seen lately.  A huge downpour and winds.  I got wet inside the parking garage parking my car.  The water just blew in.  I was happy not to have much of a drive.

So, here I am.

Some sad news this morning.  Gary Caldwell died after a long and grueling struggle with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.  His lungs had given him problems all his life. Asthma limited his play and school attendance.  Then it seemed to ease up a bit.  But perhaps the inhaler he used when we were in our youthful days helped cause this new disease.  I'll miss the old guy.  I have known him from third grade.