LuckyPhow
LuckyPhow
Joined: May 19, 2016
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December 22nd, 2016 at 8:23:31 AM permalink
Biloxi in December is great. Casinos are not crowded. Resort hotels at casinos are hungry for visitors, and the comps reflect it. The weather is reasonable, compared to the snow, sleet, slush, and freezing temperatures in other gaming destinations. So, what's not to like?

My first casino destination was the Imperial Palace. When I tried to connect my computer to the hotel guest wi-fi at Imperial Palace, Foxfire screamed that, "this Internet connection is totally insecure," so I didn't connect (but, I did report this to the hotel). A few days later I was able to connect to the hotel wi-fi at the Beau Rivage. When I logged into WoV, I saw an email sent a short while earlier from DeMango, indicating he was writing from his room at the Scarlet Pearl. So I replied, announcing I would be at the Scarlet Pearl the next day. We did meet one another the next morning playing MS Stud. And, while everyone *KNOWS* DI is absolutely, positively impossible, I did see him later at the craps table, where he consistently seemed to average longer-than-average dice rolls. (Roll on, DeMango!)

Scarlet Pearl had just installed a new game called, "Cajun Stud." The Cajun Stud base game is identical to Mississippi Stud, but Cajun Stud has some new bonus bets. The table at Scarlet Pearl has the fairly-common 3-card bonus bet (based on the 3 community cards). It has the Aces-Faces-Pairs bet that is standard on Texas Hold'em Bonus. (Aces, or an ace with a face card in the player's 2-card hand win the bonus, as does any pair.) Cajun Stud also has a Lo-Ball Bet, which pays if the unpaired player hand is between 7-high and jack-high. Although the Lo-Ball bet was shown on the "How to Play Cajun Stud" info card, it was not available at Scarlet Pearl.

When I first became aware of the new Cajun Stud game, I was playing MS Stud. Apparently, they set up the table the day before I arrived, and dealers were being "trained" as I watched from across the pit. Later that night, Scarlet Pearl opened the table for play, and it seemed to get a reasonable flow of players. I continued to play at MS Stud, as we had a table full of fun folks and good dealers.

It turned out the player sitting beside me was the company rep for Cajun Stud. It was HIS game. So, I asked for details. Here's the scoop: Right now Scarlet Pearl is the only Mississippi casino with the game because it is starting a 90-day "trial" as part of its approval process. In discussions with Scarlet Pearl, it was agreed not to offer the Lo-Ball bet because there was concern the larger number of bonus bets would confuse the players and slow down the game. Both the casino and the company want the game to have a successful trial, and the Lo-Ball bet could be added later if the game trial is successful.

I was looking for an opportunity to encourage Hard Rock to "up" their comparatively stingy offers, and Hard Rock gave me an opportunity to do so. For something just this side of a billion slot points earned in one day, Hard Rock offered a free monster-size 16-quort roaster oven (which is something I could really use, since my kitchen does not have a "regular" oven at all). I got the roaster, and Hard Rock got a higher-than-normal level of play from me. Hopefully, I will see a more friendly Hard Rock, because I really enjoy playing there.

I had some interesting experiences at Harrahs casino, where for several years the casino and I have been in a Mexican stand-off. The casino doesn't offer me so much as the time of day, and my play is just enough to let them know I was in town. However, this time was different! A free 2-can-dine buffet offer and a $5 table-game offer. So, one morning I went, both to play and to eat a (mediocre, based on my long-ago previous recollections) buffet breakfast.

I had tried to download the Harrahs offers from the Internet before I left home, and was unsuccessful. So, I took the mailer announcing my offers to the Total Rewards folks in the Cashier area. They told me I should be able to download them from the "redemption" kiosks. At the kiosk I saw my buffet offer, but not my table-game offer. Not sure about the "details" of the offer (yes, I was somewhat suspicious), I decided to click on the buffet offer to see if I had to use it on the day printed, etc. (as I wasn't sure I wanted to eat there that day). The machine immediately printed out my buffet offer. TWICE! And, each had a different ID, so (it seemed) I got two 2-can-eat offers (which was true). And, each offer was good through the end of the month. Success!

Big surprise when I went to get breakfast! Like some other Biloxi casinos (Boomtown & Palace, for example), Harrahs buffet does not serve breakfast. Nor does Harrahs buffet serve lunch (except on weekends). Both times I ate there, Harrahs' buffet was so empty (even on a weekend night) that the cashier told me to seat myself "anywhere." At best, the buffet was 10 percent full each time I visited.

But, that wasn't all. A few days later I came back to use my second buffet offer, checked the kiosk, and saw my $5 table-game offer. I selected it, and it immediately printed the offer. TWICE! So, I tried to use the offer at a 3-Card Poker table, only to have the Floor explain the offer could not be used on any "poker" game. ("Sir, didn't you read the impossibly small fine print on this offer?") I was told I could use it betting roulette red-black (etc.) or on Blackjack (but a natural would pay 1:1, not 3:2). So, I lost one and won one on roulette.

Later, when playing MS-Stud, my dealer said she had never ever seen the casino this empty, and I agreed. Not counting the hotel part of the parking garage, the main part of the garage seemed to have a total of about 3 dozen cars on two floors. Also, as best I can tell, Harrahs now no longer offers the Texas Hold'em Bonus game it once had. Maybe this helps explain Harrahs desperation, stooping so low as provide me food and gaming offers.

After scratching my head, trying to figure out the best playing strategy for River Card Bonus, it wasn't open when I stopped by Treasure Bay casino, so I played MS Stud for a while. Then, I watched folks playing Double-Draw Poker, but didn't play it. As a true "bottom-feeder," I enjoy the low table-game limits at Treasure Bay. But, like Harrahs, their offers leave something to be desired.

Golden Nugget had an interesting new slot. Golden Nugget is owned by Tillman Fertita, a rich guy with his own "Billion Dollar Buyer" TV program. The slot was a take-off on his TV show. The bank of 3 or 4 machines had a large-screen TV above them playing an episode of his show. I couldn't stand the TV show, so I didn't even try to play the slot.

And, one final non-gaming item: I stopped by the new Margaritaville resort-hotel. It's located in the old, but now restored, Casino Magic building immediately next to the Golden Nugget casino. Margaritaville has no casino (yet!), but instead presents itself as a playground for kids. And, boy-oh-boy, is it! It has a 55,000 square-foot gaming floor, which is bigger than Golden Nugget, Hard Rock, Palace, Boomtown, Treasure Bay, or Harrahs. Almost makes me wish I was 12 again! The pool (only open to hotel guests) has a double corkscrew water slide. I asked about room rates, and a staff person showed me some then-current offers. For example, a hotel room for 2 nights and some credits on a game-floor e-card and a food discount cost between $200 and $250. Hotel check-in is on the tenth floor, and the bar on that floor has one of the best views of the Biloxi coast. (It will be super watching sunsets!) Overall, Margaritaville is a very intersting addition to Biloxi.

I played slot tournaments at Scarlet Pearl and at Imperial Palace. Had fun, but didn't even come close to winning anything. As far as my gaming went, I played my heart out, but Lady Luck abandoned me. Sometimes that happens, don'cher know?
tringlomane
tringlomane
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December 22nd, 2016 at 8:27:19 AM permalink
Nice report!
DeMango
DeMango
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December 22nd, 2016 at 12:56:15 PM permalink
Nice meeting you! Did well on my trip. Just lucky, I guess ;)
When a rock is thrown into a pack of dogs, the one that yells the loudest is the one who got hit.
charlestfuller
charlestfuller
Joined: Nov 18, 2016
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December 24th, 2016 at 8:48:06 AM permalink
I've talked to people who have said the same thing about the new Margaritaville setup. They said it was completely dead, so I wonder how much business that theme will actually bring in. Circus Circus concepts may not work outside of Las Vegas.
LuckyPhow
LuckyPhow
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December 24th, 2016 at 10:19:22 AM permalink
Quote: charlestfuller


I've talked to people who have said the same thing about the new Margaritaville setup. They said it was completely dead, so I wonder how much business that theme will actually bring in. Circus Circus concepts may not work outside of Las Vegas.


Well, it was pretty dead when I was visiting, but that was around 11 am on a Thursday morning. I asked how much "traffic" they were getting and was told I should come back that night and look. Or, even better, on Friday night, when (they insisted) the place would be full -- crawling with kids. And, in summertime, when the pool is open, they said the hotel stays pretty full (because only hotel guests can use the pool). I didn't come back to check out their business volume.

I suspect at some time in the not-too-distant future, they may decide to apply for a casino license. Mississippi Gaming Control now requires new casinos to have some "non-gaming amenity" as part of the total package. For example, Scarlet Pearl has two 18-hole mini-golf courses constructed around a lava-flowing, pretend volcano.

So, Margaritaville may be trying to position itself for an easier casino approval in the future. However, the kid in me was impressed at the games they had available.
FleaStiff
FleaStiff
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December 24th, 2016 at 11:08:44 AM permalink
Thanks for a trip report of such great scope. I can see you are not a "play where you stay" type guy but that's just fine.

I believe Margaritaville has some history that offended some power brokers ... wasn't that the place that originally opened to a crowd that had more reporters than customers. One woman's long career in the coastal area hospitality industry ended when a death occured in a performance space on the property. Bad name for the property itself but worse its a bad name for the entire coastal economy and no banker wanted to reward the property by continuing their relationship. This was a long time ago, but as they say "Mud Sticks".

Long ago the IP (no longer the Imperial Palace except in legal documents) had this credit card operated email kiosk. It was just great. The hotel's internet was available only in teh rooms at the time. Hotel staff knew nothing about the kiosk so if you had questions you were out of luck and I actually witnessed one frustrated guy pull the plug out of the wall, but I liked the kiosk since I had two free rooms at the IP but no internet in either one and no portable computer anyway. Back then the IP had a serious "trap"... the express checkout dropbox was identical in size, shape and color to the gold plated USMail drop box and they were in close proximity to each other. My free rooms ended when I made a mistake while checking out while still a bit sloshed.
LuckyPhow
LuckyPhow
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December 24th, 2016 at 3:46:48 PM permalink
Quote: FleaStiff


I can see you are not a "play where you stay" type guy


Well... Maybe, maybe not. Because my "stay-at" casino sometimes does not open the games I want to play until around noon, I often visit other properties in the morning, especially if I have a comp offer or the property offers a budget-rate breakfast. I don't always do that, but it is common.

However, I like to return to my "stay-at" casino around noon so I can snag a good parking place from someone who has just checked out (and before the new guests arrive). Once back at my "stay-at" casino, I pretty much nail my butt in the chair playing something, usually (but not always) a table game. Then, I may take an early dinner break (since I'm on Eastern time, 5 pm at the casino is 6 pm to me). And then -- when everyone else goes to dinner (6:30 to 7:30, and seats open up at tables where I want to play) -- I'll play until midnight (or thereabouts). Or, sometimes, I'll just play straight through from noon to, say, 9:30 pm, and then grab a late dinner and retire to my room.

Based on my play, it seems my "stay-at" casino is usually satisfied with my play.

Quote: FleaStiff


I believe Margaritaville has some history that offended some power brokers ... wasn't that the place that originally opened to a crowd that had more reporters than customers. <snip> This was a long time ago, but as they say "Mud Sticks".


Wow! I dunno. (I never got the memo.) The short-lived Margaritaville casino that closed a few years ago wasn't around "a long time ago," by my standards. If Jimmy Buffet was present at the opening, it might have had lots of reporters there. I don't recall a performance space on that property.

Was there some other, much earlier Margaritaville casino in Biloxi? I only started going to Biloxi around 2000, so it would have had to be sometime before then. They started building a Margaritaville casino across from what is now Harrahs Gulfcoast Casino, but the major recession starting around 2007 forced construction to stop, leaving a steel-beam skeleton as a blot on the landscape until recently.

Quote: FleaStiff


Long ago the IP (no longer the Imperial Palace except in legal documents) ...


Holy cow! You are SO correct! I never noticed the change. I just went out to the IP Casino Internet website and nowhere can I find any reference to "Imperial Palace." Did that change following the purchase of the casino by the Boyd organization?

One story I heard (from a local Biloxi realtor) was that the IP Casino hotel originally was supposed to be 27 or 28 stories tall, even though the developers wanted a 32-story building. Apparently, making it taller than 28 stories posed problems for planes landing at Keesler Air Force Base. However, for reasons unknown to my source, when they got to floor 28, they just kept on going to 32 stories. Lemmie know if you can confirm or deny, as you seem to have information not available to me.
FleaStiff
FleaStiff
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Thanks for this post from:
LuckyPhow
December 24th, 2016 at 5:52:27 PM permalink
Quote: LuckyPhow

Lemmie know if you can confirm or deny, as you seem to have information not available to me.

No... I just make things up with little or no concern for truthfulness or minutiae. Its a greatly liberating attitude.

I beieve the lawyers were a primary force behind the IP name change but the marketing people were gung ho for it even earlier. So the hip "IP" won out and signs, web pages, etc. all slowly changed.

Actually the death of the young attractive female performer was at some leased off site space and was deemed to be the fault of the equipment rigger, I believe, but it brought a tainted atmosphere that seeped into the political and banking world.

Margaritaville is a name that was associated with alot of planned structures, existing structures, destroyed structures and locally-held hearings. Trump was going to rent the Margaritaville name for what was originally the Marina in Atlantic City which is the casino that changed the fortunes of Holiday Inn and converted the corporate path from franchised hotels to corporate owned casinos. In order to pay off an anticipated multimillion dollar verdict Holiday Inn raised a ton of money then instead of losing they won a legal case and found themselves sitting on a treasure chest. They had just won gaming rights in teh Bahamas and had converted their fifty percent interest in the Marina to a One Hundred Percent interest for a song, dance and ten cent cigar. Barrons and the National Law Journal wrote obscure articles on the legal fine points involved and yeah, it was 51 percent and 49 percent but who really cares about facts. Certainly not Fleastiff. The anti-gambling chairman emeritus and founder of Holiday Inn retired completely apparently in disgust and Holiday went on a casino and name change spree that continues to this day. I've not kept up with it but I think they are still known as the Evil Empire.

I don't know about the air approach routes to Keesler but some states grant building permits that are binding on the state and some states grant building permits that are less than totally binding. No casino wants bad publicity. Heck one casino owner knew he had to put a pool in so what he did was build the pool but never advertise its existence or location. If you didn't KNOW it was there you couldn't find it and no employee was allowed to say anything but I've never heard of a pool on thsi property. Strange things happen. Teh real IP in Vegas was built without bathtubs becaue the owner wanted people to shower quickly and go to the casino, not take slow relaxing baths.
LuckyPhow
LuckyPhow
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December 25th, 2016 at 5:24:58 AM permalink
Quote: FleaStiff


No... I just make things up with little or no concern for truthfulness or minutiae. Its a greatly liberating attitude.


True or false, thank you for the Biloxi casino history lesson. It was a wonderful holiday gift.
FleaStiff
FleaStiff
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December 25th, 2016 at 12:37:37 PM permalink
Quote: LuckyPhow

Because my "stay-at" casino sometimes does not open the games I want to play until around noon, I often visit other properties in the morning, especially if I have a comp offer or the property offers a budget-rate breakfast.

Sounds like an excellent use of your time. And a perfectly valid reason. I tend to want free coffee in the morning and that means the dice can make that free coffee very expensive.

Quote: LuckyPhow

I return to my "stay-at" casino around noon, snag a good parking place and pretty much nail my butt in the chair playing a table game. Then, I may take an early dinner break then I'll play until midnight.
Based on my play, it seems my "stay-at" casino is usually satisfied with my play.



That is the important thing. You do visit other casinos but you do not allow those visits to so dilute your value to the stay-at casino that your comps and mailers get negatively affected.

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