Traveling Around Brimley, MI: Bay Mills Casino
Decided after we got back from Florida to go someplace every couple months. Choice this time was Bay Mills Resort in Brimley, Michigan. We picked a Tuesday/Wednesday visit to hopefully avoid weekend crowds and to find the better rate usually available on weekdays.
It was a Michigan resident special on Tuesday night of $59 and an AARP rate on Wednesday of $62 that convinced us of these nights.
With only two nights away we packed only one suitcase and tossed it in the car and were on our way.
Because Brimley, Michigan, isn't that far we left about 10 AM. We expected it to take us just over 3 hours to make the trip. The expressway north was practically deserted and we cruised along at the speed limit - now 75 on that stretch - and were at the Mackinac Bridge at noon.
Exploratory Stop at St. Ignace
Just across the bridge is St. Ignace, Michigan, which is home to one of the 5 Kewadin Casinos in the upper peninsula of Michigan. It had been several years since we'd been there and I wanted to investigate.
My surprise at the casino was immense. I remember a sort of deserted motel-like structure to one side of the parking lot that may or may not have been connected to the casino on the other side of the parking lot. What I saw this time was a large structure with two wings. The wing to the right had the appropriate windows to be the hotel while the wing to the left was the casino. It was all very lush looking and unlike what it had looked like when I'd visited before.
Further to the left was a large tent like structure that I believe is an entertainment pavilion. Part of that was substantiated by the quality of entertainment that we saw advertised. It could not have been presented in the casino lounge showroom which we saw inside.
When entering the new facility you faced a large wall that was a huge window that looked out on a bay. Further out was Lake Huron. It was a magnificent view. The hotel registration was to the right. I checked after we got home and half of the hotel rooms also feature a bay view. To the left was the entrance to the casino.
I thought it strange that a sign directed 19 and 20 year old customers to go to the Player's Club for some kind of permission to be there. It said nothing about 18 year old customers. Perhaps there is a slightly different interpretation about "of age" on the tribal lands.
The casino was quiet. There is a large restaurant on the right as you enter the casino and there is a multitude of slot machines. Some of the really new games are present with the big screens that tower above the player and provide all kinds of entertainment. Among others we saw "Orange is the New Black" and a laughing Buddha machine that was fun to watch.
We searched pretty thoroughly for good paying video poker machines but couldn't find any. The best we saw was some 8/5 jacks or better. There was a multi-player blackjack machine that had a $1 minimum which I'll probably wind up at if there is a future trip in a few months.
We wandered around for a bit. Didn't try any of the machines.
After being thoroughly impressed we were back on the road after about a half hour.
Fun Times at Bay Mills
We wound around through the countryside and wound up at the Bay Mills Resort about 45 minutes after leaving St. Ignace. Having been here before we easily accessed the hotel desk and got checked in. The desk clerk was very helpful and moved our room from w-a-a-a-y down the hall to something closer and also gladly adjusted a minor error in the rates being charged.
We got our luggage and stashed it in the room and went to investigate the changes we expected to find in the casino.
There wasn't any. Even though it had been 2 years since we'd be here, the layout and with the exception of some of the slots, the machines were the same.
Since I had some favorites at video poker, the lack of change was welcome. I made sure the low level machines (5 and 10 cent) and my favorite 5 cent Quick Quads machine was where I had left it. Sharon spotted machines on the bar that were quarter 9/6 jacks or better that we played for a bit later in the trip.
Walked over to the Player's Club and got our cards and set up the rebate for the toll on the bridge. They refund it to you in free play. Then out to the car and got the luggage. Toted it to the room and hung up some clothes. By then, the itch got to me and we went to the casino.
Feeling sociable, I sat down at a nickel machine next to Sharon and began playing deuces wild. I find it to be a fun game and it went pretty good. Sometimes it seemed like I couldn't miss and Sharon would look at me sort of dumbfounded that such a stupid play of the cards could result in a winner.
I did get tired of it after a while and changed machine to the nickel Quick Quads. I began played 3 handed - which was a 90 cent play. I usually play bonus poker on the QQ machines because of the premium on some four of a kinds. 90 cents is a little out of my comfort zone but I really enjoy it so decided to just have a good time.
It seemed like a long time of playing and gradually losing my money before I heard the voice say "Quick Quads". And while it was a downhill slide to breaking even after that win, it wasn't long before I realized it wasn't going my way and decided that rounding up Sharon and getting some dinner sounded like a good way to go.
The restaurant at Bay Mills of which we had fond memories was "Sacy's" and it hadn't changed either. The menu was the same. We had a delicious specially prepared chicken that was covered with bacon and a cheese. We had enough sense to remember that it was a huge meal so we split one order that included asparagus and a baked potato and had an extra salad (which we realized that we didn't need).
Sharon headed for the room and I went back to the QQ. This time it went more like I wanted and about the 10th hand, it dealt me the 66642 that resulted in three sets of Quick Quads for a nice payoff. Encouraged by that success, I switch to 5 handed even though it meant $1.50 each play. Played for about an hour before I tired and cashed out about $30 ahead on the nickel machine.
Back to the room and relaxed for the rest of the evening.
Investigation of Sault Ste Marie Casino
I had planned to have breakfast at Sacy's because we had a specific breakfast that we enjoyed but when we found out the kitchen in the restaurant was closed for the day we decided that we'd skip that and proceed with our plan to go to the Sault to see what the Kewadin Casino there was like.
It's about 15 miles and a 1/2 hour drive to get there. Although we passed lots of fast food places on the way, we decided to use the opportunity to check out the restaurant facilities in the casino.
Again, we got a pleasant surprise. The lobby area of the casino/hotel was approximately the same as the last time we'd been there. The restaurant had been moved and enlarged and was really nice. Sharon had a Belgian Waffle and I had Honey Dipped French Toast. Both were really good.
By the looks of the hotel and the restaurant, a stay there would be fun. The entire facility is more posh than Bay Mills. To us it appears that the Kewadin tribe is putting some of the profit back into the casino whereas the group running Bay Mills is not.
The casino is divided into two gambling areas. One is the Huron Room and one is the Superior Room. We wandered through both to see what was going on. There were table games that we not in use this early but there were lots and lots of slot machines. Video poker was difficult to find and when we did, we found that the payoffs were less than stellar. I did find a $1 multi-player blackjack machine that was comparable to the one in St. Ignace Kewadin.
It wasn't our intent to play at all at the casino so we headed back to Bay Mills.
Senior Day At Bay Mills
When we arrived back, Sharon needed a nap and I needed some Quick Quad time. We went our separate ways and I proceeded to the machine. Played for several hours.
Had one startlingly good hand while I was playing 5 handed. I was dealt a straight flush. On that nickel machine, it pay $62.50 which made me feel like standing up and shaking my fists. Although I admit it got a little irritating, I let the machine rack up each individual credit - all 1250 of them. Can you imagine what I'm like when I hit a royal on one of the noisy machines?
Finally tiring of the activity I found Sharon and we headed to the the Sports Bar for our dinner since the kitchen in Sacy's was still closed. On the way, I checked my point totals and the kiosk told me I had earned a free dinner buffet. We checked Sharon's card to see if she had one also but she was short of points. We decided to play enough of the quarter jacks or better machines that she'd found to get her points and we'd eat the buffet.
She deposited me in front of the video poker machine and went to the Player's Club to find out how many points she needed as we hadn't seen any advertising about senior day. She came back and the way she talked about the clerk at the Player's Club, you'd wonder if the clerk had heard of Senior Day at the casino.
She was able to get some vague idea of the number of points she'd need so she got on a second machine and we tried to pile up some points. Just as she sat down, I held a pair of kings and got two more for 4 kings. That's a good hit on a quarter machine and I got a little excited. Sharon put a $20 bill into the machine next to me and on the first hand, it dealt her 4 fours. We really got excited. Within about 6 more hands, I was dealt 3 fives and somehow the machine found the fourth five for me. We didn't know what to do - cash it all out or continue to play.
I suggested to Sharon that I thought we had enough points for the meal if she wanted to go check. I'd see if the streak stayed alive and we'd make a decision about eating when she came back. She cashed out her win and took off for the Player's Club.
Things cooled off for me quickly. Before she got back, I cashed out my winnings and was waiting for her. She had sort of a confused look on her face after talking to the same clerk at the Player's Club but she did have the comp for the buffet.
As we passed the machines, I decided to see what was going on with them, so I found two stray fives in my billfold and put them in. On the first hand, it dealt me a full house, doubling my $10 to $20. I was so dumbfounded, I didn't even play it off. I just cashed it out and we went to eat.
The buffet was okay. Food selection wasn't great. There were a couple hot meats and vegetables. The soup and salad section was not real extensive but was good. Desserts included pecan pie so we were happy. We ate more than enough.
After dinner Sharon decided she'd seen enough of the casino. I had maybe an hour or so before Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune came on the television so I headed back to the casino.
Mistake on my part. I was a little tired of the atmosphere and of punching the keys on the machine. I booked my only losing session of the trip and lost part of the winnings from earlier.
Thursday morning we checked Sacy's and the kitchen was now open so we shared the "Paul Bunyan Breakfast" which was lots of eggs and potatoes and sausage and bacon and biscuits. Didn't quite finish the eggs.
Paid the bill partially with comps and points on my card taking my balances down to zero.
Got packed up, checked out, and on the road by about 10 AM.
We had a great time with the getaway.
I spent about 6 hours of so at the machines and think I must have put about $2500.00 through them. Don't know whether that will result in any offers or not.
After the losing session in the evening, the trip showed gambling gains of $88 for me. I think Sharon also won.
Two nights was enough. I might try to break up the casino activity a little more on future trips because by the end of the second day I was getting tired of it.