Traveling Around - Mississippi - Another visit to the IP in Biloxi
The Trip And Its Planning
I was a little surprised when I got to the bus stop at about 5:25 in the A.M. When I'd purchased the ticket, I saw that it said "departing at 6 A.M.". I asked the seller/organizer to make sure and he told me to be there by 5:45. I asked about the bus arrival and he said the bus would normally be there by about 5:30. I expected by getting there a couple minutes earlier, I'd be in great shape. I saw the bus when I pulled up and I wasn't sure it was my bus because there were probably 40 of the 52 seats already filled. A later comment was that if you're a senior citizen, a scheduled 6 AM departure makes you late at 5:15.
The organization of winter visitors sponsors a weekly trip to the casinos. One week they'll go to the IP and the alternating week they go to the Hard Rock. I scheduled my trip and purchased a ticket that would take me to the IP. They had announced a $12 price tag and a rebate by the casino of $15 in free play. It turned out that they gave us $20 in free play. I began my day in an inauspicious manner by forgetting my slot club card. The escort to the trip was happy to oblige and got me a new one when we arrived.
With a 15 minute "stretch break" we were in Biloxi by about 9:15. I had a new card and was on my way to fun and riches quickly.... Well, maybe fun, but definitely not riches on this Friday.
When I contacted GATOPCAT to wish him a happy birthday a couple weeks ago he had a trip to Biloxi planned that would end the day before I came to town. After he started his vacation, he got an unexpected 2 nights from Golden Nugget and extended his stay to 18 days. Because of this he was able to meet me for lunch at the IP Buffet on a Friday.
There was a carving station as well as three soups and many salads and several hot line areas. There were probably forty different hot dishes in addition to the carving station which had three different kinds of meat. The dessert selection was large but may not have been as large as last year. The cappuchino machine was up and running and once you figured out the controls you could get your hot drink.
I had decided to be conservative and almost succeeded. I had only a little bit of various things running from some really good shrimp etoufee through green beans and a 2 inch piece of sausage. Then on to 3 small sushi pieces, 1 crab rangoon, and a Chinese BBQ chicken drumette. This was after a small bowl of New England clam chowder and a small amount of seafood salad with some crackers. I saw that they had kim chi on one of the lines but I couldn't quite talk myself into trying it. I drank sweetend tea with my meal but couldn't resist a cup of cappuchino latte with my carrot cake for dessert.
I don't think my dinner companion was quite as conservative as I.
The IP Buffet is always clean and bright and the staff was very attentive. I think that last year I enjoyed it a little more than this year but maybe because I paid more attention to the food. GATOPCAT told me that he'd had the dinner buffet and it had a prime rib on it that melted in your mouth like butter.
He had a food comp and I used points to pay for mine so no cash changed hands at the cash register.
The Gambling- Part 1
When I first arrived, the free play was on my players' club card. I'd decided that the goal today was to just have a great time with games that I really enjoyed. I wasn't going to worry about 2 percent on video poker when I knew that if I played 3 hours, I'd put maybe $1,000 through the machines that 2 percent would only amount to less than $20. It was worth that to have a better time than just slugging it out on high percentage video poker.
I had found a 25 cent jacks or better game that was full pay and decided to put the $20 free play through it. I'm not sure but if I had thought about it, I might have realized it was an omen but I traded my $20 in free play for $13.25 real money. I did take my $13.25 real money out, though, and wandered off to find a cheaper machine that I could comfortably pound away on and laugh at the vagaries of Lady Luck.
I found a nickel deuces wild game that had an atrocious payback and I tried it but I couldn't quite understand how the game was played. For some reason it kept wanting a second 5 nickels and then wouldn't let me draw any cards. Rather than try to figure it out in my limited time, I took my limited bankroll and moved to a 9 play penny spin poker where I played a deuces game that had even worse payoff. I enjoyed it thoroughly particularly when I made the beeping sound for a more extended period as it racked up some mysterious large number of pennies.
The best hand that popped up is pictured below when I was dealt a wild royal. That meant that I had 9 wild royals and although the payoff for a wild royal on the machine was reduced significantly, I still enjoyed listening to it.
Gambling - Part 2
I cashed out with an $8 win on the penny machine and moved one machine to my left to play another of my favorite machines - Quick Quads. It's a Jack's or Better machine with not particuarly good payback but I like it. Being conservative I played at the nickel level as opposed to the quarter level where I normally play.
I always think it is a lot of fun when the machine speaks up and says in its resonant voice "Quick Quads". A lot of the time it startles any players that are sitting nearby and they look over curious about what is going on. It was the only Quick Quads machine I saw and I wondered after I left if there were players around that were just waiting to try it.
I've tried to explain the game to several people and seem to always fail. This time, though, I had a hand that was worthwhile and it will explain the game better. There is a picture of it below.
The gist is that if you hold a hand that has three of a kind and the other two cards totals the face value of an individual card in your three of a kind, the machine pays you as if you got a natural four of a kind. I find it to be a lot of fun and I try to hold appropriate cards looking for that total hand.
Anyway, I got dealt this one and it really pleased me.
Regardless of the two outstanding hands, I wound up the day at minus $4.00.
I found that trip to be more tiring than usual. One of the problems was that there was a loud storm during the night before I got up at 4 in the morning to make it to the bus. Without a full night's sleep and finding it difficult to nap on the bus, I was beyond tired when I got back to the apartment.
The other problem was the amount of gambling time in relationship to travel time. The bus trip takes about 6 1/2 hours round trip. They schedule 5 hours in the casino. If you have fun and eat, that leaves you four hours to gamble. No wonder two men almost missed the bus home because they didn't want to cut short their time in the casino.
Told the wife after arriving home that I didn't think I'd do it again this year. The apartment complex, however, usually sponsors a trip in February so I'm not sure my resolve will last. We are planning a 6 night stay in Tunica in mid March and I think I'll try to figure out a significant group of non casino activities to get us away from that environment temporarily each day.