Tiger Tours the Tables - biloxi grand, gulfport grand

10/27 wednesday

night before last, we had dessert at mary mahoney's - an old french house across route 90 (the main drag) from the beau rivage. the house and surrounding structures were built in 1737, and it's now a restaurant, lounge, irish pub and 24-hour cafe! the central courtyard is built around "the patriarch", a (magnolia?) tree that is supposed to be more than 2000 years old!! the main house is now the restaurant; the slave quarters is now the lounge; the carriage house is now the pub; and the cafe has got to be where the servants lived. we enter the cafe and are greeted by jean, a granny with real granny glasses. we have beignets (ben-yay) with cafe au lait (laced with chicory) and hot chocolate (laced with real chocolate syrup!). mmmmmmm! jean tells us of daily unadvertised specials: hot cakes and choice of breakfast meat for $1.37 and sausage biscuits for $.99!! but you gotta get there before ten ayem! the cafe has about a dozen outdoor tables under the trees, and i sure could picture myself doing the sunday crossword puzzle, feet up on another chair, sipping a cafe au lait and munching beignets.... (note: a beignet is a square of dough, deep-fried and dusted with powdered sugar. mmmmmmm)

yesterday, nolan played in the hold 'em tourney. he met robert from mobile, who has already posted his impressions of the two of us! :) robert is a chronological peer of mine, a six-footer, brown hair and beard with a touch of gray, with a rich deep voice. he's the race caller at the local dog track in mobile, and i can just hear him say, "here comes casey!" (they've re-named the rabbit in honor of a local politician). robert actually lived in new york city for a year in the mid 70s. he's played poker in lots of places in this country, and says that the biloxi grand is the best poker room in mississippi. i can't disagree. robert likes to talk, drink and play poker. he does all three very well. i like this guy. :)

the tourney ended when they got down to the final table. robert and another player had tiny stacks, and were happy to get any part of the chop. but nolan and the remaining seven other players whacked it up equally, and they each walked away with about $340. wtg!

tony collins is the poker room manager of the biloxi grand. he's also the general manager of all the grand casino poker rooms in mississippi! he's a real good guy who knows a lot about poker (and running a poker room), and tony is very much looking forward to next month's "marge" event.

last night, rgp'er keith fichtemayer (sorry, keith - i can't remember how to spell "keith"...) picked us up and we went to dinner at "chappy's", a restaurant in gulfport, west of the casinos. it specializes in fish, and i had a seafood combo of tuna, snapper and swordfish. the sauces were shrimp, crawfish and lobster, and i don't remember which was on which! but they were all delicious!! keith is a tall skinny guy with a crewcut and a deep voice, and you'd better listen carefully to everything that he says - or you'll miss one of his hysterical deadpan lines. and if you happen to meet keith, just demand that he give you one dollar, and then let him tell you the bad beat story of the susie isaacs/lee jones bad beat story... };)

the poker room of the gulfport grand casino has been moved to the 3rd level. they've got about 16-18 tables for stud and flop games. they've got bad beat jackpots. they've got "hand of the day" jackpots (yesterday the hand of the day was 10h 10c kc 8s 4c). the tables have the oval line drawn in the center to demarcate when your forward motion is a bet. seats next to the dealers are not no-smoking. there are two or three games in progress when we arrive. floorperson trish tells us that she's about to crank up a new hold 'em game, and tells us to sit down at table #11. there are already three or four people at the table; nolan takes #10, keith takes #3, and i take #2. pretty soon, a dealer comes over, and they unlock the rack to begin selling chips. nolan is away from the table for a moment, and a regular comes to the table, takes nolan's spinner (which nolan had used to lock up the seat), gives it to the dealer, and sits down in #10. hmmmmmm... it seems that there is only room for one of the three of us at the table, and shift manager russell's only input is: "well, we called the list." well, i guess i won't play at the gulfport grand this trip.

back to the biloxi grand, where keith and i play some 1-4-8-8 hold 'em. keith makes a royal flush, and wins a jacket! wtg keith!! also at our table is "helen", who just happens to be the aunt of johnny chan! keith makes some money, and takes off. i make some money. nolan comes into the room, and it's time to have a drink or two.

i cash out, and we head downstairs to the mississippi long bar, on the lowest level of the casino. there are video poker screens in front of each bar stool, but the bartender has become a friend of ours in the last several days, and doesn't bother to charge us for the heineken darks we put away. besides, we doubt that anyone is tipping him as much as we are....nolan and i talk for two hours about just about everything, and manage to resolve most of the problems in the world. and now it's time for craps with "darkside dalla!!! :)

he makes about $170 betting the don't and i make about $25 betting the do, and we definitely have more than $195 worth of laughs!! :)

back to the poker room, where there is the most amazing 1-4-8-8 hold 'em game ever spread. there's at least a 7-way cap pre-flop every hand. most players don't bother to look at their cards until after it's been capped on the river. "tran" from atlantic city is the ringleader! railbirds are three deep at this game, and i can't get onto the table until 6 am, after all but one of the maniacs are gone.... :(

at the suggestion of rgp'er paul mcmullin, i'm going to add a note about how the biloxi grand runs one aspect of their tournaments. during the course of a tourney, seats become open, and tables must be consolidated and broken down. in atlantic city, when a player must be taken off one table and moved to another (to equalize the number of players at each table), one player is high-carded and moved. this move is without regard to where the blinds were at the original table, and without regard to where the blinds are at the desination table. however, at the biloxi grand, the tourney director care- fully notes where the button is at both tables, and does his best to make a player move with the least effect on button location (if a seat is open two seats to the right of the button on the destination table, the player two seats to the right of the button on the source table is moved). thanks, paul!

a few closing notes about the biloxi grand poker room: i loved this place. the people who run the room are terrific. the people who work in this place are terrific. and the people who play in this place are terrific.

i saw about 25-30 dealers. all but one or two of them rate at least "very good." the chip runners were always right there. rulings from the floor were immediate and correct. i never had to beg or grovel for a meal comp - and there always was someone staffing the comp desk. and i've already told you how well they run their seating control.

the poker room was decorated for halloween - the only place in the entire hotel/casino complex that was decorated. that's just one more element which shows what a friendly place it is.

you folks going to "marge" are going to *love* this room!

tomorrow, we have to leave this wonderful town. :( but we're going to another wonderful town just down the road! :) stay tuned!