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Harrah's Gulf Coast & Beau Rivage visit on the MS Gulf Coast

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Trip Reports' started by RebelDiceMan, Feb 2, 2015.

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  1. RebelDiceMan

    RebelDiceMan High-Roller

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Mississippi
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    21

    My Trip Report

    We did a lot of traveling over my Christmas break. First we went to Ft.Walton/Destin to spend Christmas with my brother and the rest of my family. We then returned to sleep in our bed for two nights before leaving for 3 nights in Biloxi. We needed a Saturday night and all of our offers except IP were Sun-Thur or Sun-Fri. By the time I called, IP was booked solid. Thankfully, my CET host who takes care of my Harrah's New Orleans trips was able to get us in at Harrah's Gulf Coast on that Saturday. We made good time on the road since most of the holiday traffic was over with and were standing in the lobby by 3 PM. There were only a few people ahead of us in the check-in line but it seemed that every one of them had some sort of complicating factor that kept their check-in from being short and sweet. Plus, only two check-in stations were active and open. Once I made it to the counter, it took maybe four minutes to get me my keys and off we went. The only glitch was having to call Baboo over to show her ID since she was listed on the room also. After a quick unpack, I departed for the floor. I was anxious to see what Harrah's had gotten for the millions that they sank into the remodeling. The Baboo was going to meet me a little later.

    My first task was to do a walk-about on the casino floor to see what changes had been made. The casino almost seemed like a new place. The exterior walls were still in the same places so I knew that they had not expanded the actual space but somehow the place looked a lot bigger. It looked like they had taken down some things that previously blocked your line of sight and it gave the illusion that the casino was more spacious. They had also rearranged their pit areas and added a few more table games. Instead of the one pit area that they had before the remodel, now there are two. Another thing that struck me right off the bat was how much brighter everything was. Part of that was the increased lighting on the walls and ceiling but the brightness was also enhanced by the many new machines that were glowing brightly. All in all, the casino floor was much improved in my opinion. There was a more cohesive, planned out feel to the layout as opposed to earlier when it seemed a little more just thrown together.

    After my initial inspection, I landed on a .50 JOB machine right in the middle of the horseshoe shaped "Stage Bar" just as the clock struck 4. If you have never been at this bar, they have the VP machines arranged with dollars on the far left, .50 in the middle, and quarters on the far right. The JOB pay table was a disappointing 8/5 but the paytables were the same when it was the Grand so it was not a surprise. I immediately noticed that they had upgraded the televisions at the bar. They still had the two on each end of the bar but had added a considrably larger unit directly behind the bar. Sticking my first $100 of the trip into the machine, I got down to business. To my dismay, business was bad. They do have progressives at this bar and the .50 was at 2,032.45 when I started but I never even sniffed a Royal on this machine. In a pretty short time I was down to 0.00. I had only cycled that hundred thru the machine 3 times while only hitting 2 flushes for a mealy 30 Tier credits. (VP is still $10 per TR credit)

    With those type results, I thought it prudent to move to a different machine. It had the same paytable but this one was more cooperative to my efforts. One other bit of information that the machine gives you when you first put your card in is the commp credit you have available. I was glad to see that I had around $95.00 so we should be eating free. I played on this one for quite a while and hit a variety of recordable hands including one 4OAK (9's) Despite this machine letting me play for a couple of hours, I still only cashed $50 ahead. I did have a little over a grand coin-in before I cashed out. I usually don't keep up with that too much but I wanted to earn 500 TR credits tonight and get the bonus for doing so. There was one odd little coincidence. I had been on a bit of a dry spell while just hitting the Max Bet button so I started hitting the Play One Credit button 5 times to get the hand dealt. As soon as I started that, I won on eight consecutive hands. Of course my superstitious self wanted to do that the rest of the night. It didn't take me long to see that there was no magic in that method and I went back to Max Bet.

    I made a quick stop to check out the Diamond Lounge to see what improvements that they might have made. It was about the same except for newer furniture. The bar was crowded so I didn't even bother with a drink. I then scooted up to the room to make dinner arrangements with the Baboo. When I got back downstairs, it was back to the Stage Bar and more VP. I had stayed on fifties and this machine was pretty nice to me too. I record all my straights, flushes, full housees, four of a kinds, straight flushes, and Royals while I play. Doing that sort of slows my play down a little in a negative expectation game and gives me something to look at after the trip. On this machine, I hit 12 recordable hits including my second 4OAK (6's). I also saw my only "Four to a Royal" here. I needed the jack of clubs. This machine gave me another small win ($80) so I was now slightly ahead for this trip. When The Baboo arrived, I cashed out and we took a stroll around the floor.


    As we were meandering around, we noticed several things. The blackjack tables that we saw had traditional 3/2 payouts for blackjack with the dealer hitting soft 17's. The Baboo commented on something that I had noticed earlier. It seemed like Harrah's Gulf Coast had adopted a policy of announcing every hand pay jackpot over the intercom. If they were legitimate jackpots, a lot of people were getting paid this night. Another thing I liked is that they were letting the dealers and other staff break uniform code by wearing college football jersies. I was happy to see Ole Miss represented by a number of people. As we walked by one of the new restaurants, (Steak and Shake), we noticed that they were completely full and had a line of about 20 people waiting to get in. There is also a new fine dining establishment where LB's steakhouse used to be. All in all, these new developments made the casino seem more vibrant and exciting.

    After our exploratory jaunt around the casino, we wound up at the entrance to the Buffet. Saturday night buffet was $56.00 for two but we both had free buffet coupons from our mailouts. Everything we ate was flavorful and fresh but the chicken pot pie I got was as good as anything I have ever gotten from any casino buffet. We were completely satisfied with the food. The HGC buffet is smaller than many others but it wasn't overly crowded and the service was fast and courteous.


    After a meal in which we ate too much, we went over to the Stage Bar and found two seats together in the .25 section so that we could sit together and play while we got a couple of drinks to help settle our dinner. I had been drinking beer since I got here but was so full that I switched over to screwdrivers. The Baboo got her usual Captain and diet coke. I had little to no luck on this machine but the Baboo's was giving her some play. By the time we finished our drinks, she was ready to go hit the slots. As she went in that direction, I was about ready for something a little different too. I had dropped about forty bucks even though I was playing quarters.

    I made my way over to the high limit area with the intention of doing something I occasionally do at Harrah's New Orleans. I sat down on a $5 machine and played single coin. The good news is that this paytable was the best in the house at 9/6. The bad news was that I would be sick if I hit a Royal while playing short coin. (I did that once in New Orleans) I got no play at all on this machine. I burned thru that $100 without hitting one hand that was a straight or better. Now that sucked. I moved over to another $5 machine and tried again. This machine was only fractionally better than the first one. I did hit a couple of flushes and one straight but that is all. Those higher payouts don't do you much good if you aren't hitting some winning hands. It wasn't very long until this foray into the big dog area had cost me two C-notes. Time to give up on this mess.

    Making my way back to the Stage Bar, I switched gears and took a seat at a dollar machine. At 8/6, this paytable was in between the .50's and the 5.00's . This machine pumped out a 4OAK (7's) in the first ten hands so I felt like I would get to play for a little while here and I did. It would occassionally supplement my credit meter with a flush or full house and keep me in the game. I was happy about that because the band up on stage was in high gear by now and they were good. They were old geezers like me and playing my kind of music. Plus, their energetic delivery added even more to that feeling of excitement within the casino. For the next hour or two, I enjoyed the music and cold Miller Lite while trying to find a winning combination on this machine. The rest of the casino was pretty active with a lot of people coming and going. Those jackpot announcements kept coming and I was hoping that the Baboo would come walking up to tell me one of them was hers. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case. When she did come by, it was to tell me that she had had enough and was going to the room.

    I eventually reached 500 TR credits which would give me a 125 point bonus. Together that would definitely put me over the 10,000 TR mark for the year. I would not make Diamond again for this year but that was cool. I didn't want to get too deep into my bankroll here at HGC since we were going to Beau Rivage for a couple of nights the next day. I was enjoying the atmosphere in the casino and particularly around the Stage Bar, so I cashed out from the dollar machine and moved down to the quarter end of the bar. I piddled around there enjoying the beer, music, and VP until I was tired enough to call it a night.

    A couple of other things we noticed is that they have remodeled both the lobby bar and the little coffee shop close by. The lobby bar looks much more like a sports bar now with televisions placed high on the walls about every 10 feet in a complete circle around the bar. They have new tables and chairs that look more suitable for a bar. To us, it was a much more inviting place to spend some time . The coffee shop looked like it had expanded the menu it had to offer in the way of food and drink.

    It was raining when we got up the next morning so we went straight over to the Beau Rivage, thankful for that enclosed parking garage. Since it was 11:30 AM, we figured that was a little too early for them to have rooms ready. If we could not check in, what better place to spend a little time than The Breeze Bar ? Playing VP next to one another bumps our fun meter up several notches. We love yakking away and celebrating each other's wins. Plus, I often seem luckier when The Baboo is sitting next to me. These two machines only had two options (.25 or $1) so we both got on quarters. That had us on a 8/5 JOB paytable. There was a progressive and it was a very respectable $1,368.57. After ordering a round of White Russians, we started our Beau Rivage visit. Both of our machines were pretty kind. Neither of us came out ahead but when we cashed out at 1:30 to see if we could get a room, we had lost less than $80 between the two of us. That isn't too bad for two hours of play. We had also enjoyed those delicious White Russians that the Breeze bartenders concoct.

    Even at this early hour, the desk clerk was able to get us in a room with all the things we requested. King, Non-Smoking, semi-close to the elevators, and Gulf view. We were directly over the pool and had a great view. The Baboo settled in to relax and I went back downstairs to see what mischief I could get into. It was still mid-afternoon so I went back to The Breeze Bar and tried the VP again. The .25 progressive still had not been hit and was now right at 1,400. With the Royal up that high, I was altering my play slightly to give me more shots at hitting it. It didn't do much good. I played for a couple of hours with one machine change to try and get my luck in gear. Nothing worked luck wise so I wound up losing the hundy I had started with as well as the $20 weekly free play I had. Feeling it was time for a break, I walked over to the poker room and checked out their set-up. I had a plan in the back of my mind to play some here if I felt like staying up later. The Beau has a very nice room and it had a good crowd for a Sunday evening.

    Before I went upstairs, I went over to Snax to get us something to eat. We always take tons of snacks to our room on casino but you have to eat real food sometime. I got us both sandwiches, potato salad, chips, and a dessert. Making things even better, I was able to take care of the bill with points off my card. Once I got upstairs, we feasted and relaxed for a while. Feeling refreshed by the break, I was ready to do some table gambling. The Baboo said that she might join me later but she had to watch Downton Abbey first. After a quick smooch, I was headed to the elevators.

    One of the things I really enjoy doing on every visit to the Beau Rivage is playing Caribbean Stud Poker. The jackpot that you win with a Royal Flush was a little over $140,000.00. Even a non-Royal straight flush would pay you over 14 thousand. I took my seat about 7 PM and would remain there until midnight. I was able to get an end seat (1st base) which gave me a great vantage point to people watch when I wasn't playing a hand. I had a great time the entire night. There were a couple of people on the table already and it did not take long for us to have a complete table. It seemed like almost every player who sat down with us was in the mood to have a good time. At times, it was almost like we had a group from central casting. Our regular dealer was a booming voiced fellow who liked to be called "Tony from Jersey". Yeah, he looked just like he left from shooting a scene on Sopranos. He was a lot of fun and helped keep us laughing. Not very long after I sat down, a married couple sat down. He was just an ordinary guy but his wife could be a stand in for Reese Witherspoon. That became sort of a table joke the rest of the night. I was glad that she was sitting right next to me. She was a lot of fun and constantly laughing. About an hour after they sat down, she hit a Full House 66655 and then a flush in the space of five hands. To make things even sweeter for her, she got paid on her back bets on both hands. In addition to the bonus payouts she got for those premium hands, she got multiple payouts on her back bets. All in all, she won around $800 on those two hands. She immediatly annointed me her "Good Luck Charm" and would try to dissuade me any time I mentioned going to play another game. About half way thru the night, a guy sat down in the third base seat and I told her that she wasn't the only celebrity look-alike on the table anymore. Our new table-mate was a dead ringer for Anthony Hopkins. He wasn't much for talking but he sure had the look as he peeped out from under the brim of his fedora. The best thing about the night was that we were all laughing with one another and taking joy in whatever successes anyone at the table had. Reese and her husband told us a story about a guy who had been playing on this table this afternoon while they were playing. According to them, this guy brought fifteen to twenty thousand dollars to the table and lost every bit of it in less than a hour. They said that they were dumbstruck and I don't blame them. That is some serious money. As for me. I was getting some good hands but I was having trouble getting my full payment on them. I kept count of all the two pair hands and trips hands that I got which did not get paid in the back. There was a total of 12 back bets that did not get paid. My back bet was $30 so that was $360 that I would have gotten had the dealer opened on those hands. I had some that did get paid but it would have really helped to have those payments. After 5 hours, I left the table $250 down. Not long before the midnight bell rang, another look-alike joined us. This guy reminded us of the old Cliff Clavin character on Cheers. He didn't sound anything at all like Cliff (more like west Texas) but if you put a postal uniform on him, he would have passed for Cliff. Sometime around that time, the married couple and a couple of young guys who had joined us thought it would liven things up if they did a few shots. I think they decided on Fireball. I flat out refused to join them. I know my limits. Anyway, by now it was a little after midnight and I thought it might be a wise idea to bid them adieu and catch that elevator up to the 12th floor. It had been as fun a night as I have had on a table in quite a while but all good things have to come to an end.


    The next day (Monday) we slept in and did not get stirring until noon. The Baboo used our binoculars to check out the action out on the Gulf. Mostly it was shrimp boats and barges with the occasional larger or smaller vessel in sight. She loves watching the salt water so much that a nice view of the Gulf was a must have back when we were condo shopping. Nothing else would do and I felt the same way. I got the first shower so I went on downstairs while she finished getting ready. That gave me time to chase that quarter progressive that had somehow escaped being hit last night and was now around $1,500. That is almost a full 50% bonus on the Royal. I was chasing it as hard as I could. Incredibly, for a while it seemed like I was the only one playing quarter JOB because it looked like the only time the progressive meter moved was when I played a hand. Maybe the other VP games weren't tied into the progressive because there were other people at the bar. I doubt that all of them were playing dollars. I don't know how but that is how it looked to me. This machine was decent to me. I had somehow wound up with an uncashed $20 ticket from the night before and that is what I put in the machine. I would eventually cash for $60 so I tripled my money at this machine. I wish I could say that when I put in a hundred. The Baboo joined me shortly and we had plenty of time before they shut the buffet down for lunch so we enjoyed a pre-meal cocktail before eating. It was soon evident that I was on the wrong machine. The Baboo was ON FIRE ! She was hitting those flushes and full houses like I hit pairs. When she hit her first 4OAK, she even mentioned waiting a while before eating. I wanted to eat so we decided against waiting. Just to show me that she could, she hit another 4OAK before we left. She had turned her $20 bill into a $100 bill. I had also won this session so I couldn't whine but she did twice as good in half the time.

    We both had buffets from our mailouts so we breezed on in and got to eating. I went with my usual carb load of mac-n-cheese, lots of bread, potatoes, and dessert. I did get a bunch of fried shrimp and pulled pork BBQ for protein. The Baboo was a little more restrained but she did make a return trip to the dessert area. Everything was good but I don't remember anything as outstanding. OTOH-I don't remember anything being bad either. We got out of the buffet just as they were starting to close up to change over for dinner. The Baboo had a big chunk of free play so she left for Slot Land. I walked over to the Breeze Bar to see if anyone had hit that progressive. The answer was no and it was now up to $1,530.11. This machine let me play so that is what I did. I started with that $60 ticket from earlier and was actually increasing that pretty steadily. Over the course of the next two and a half hours, I had as good a VP run as I had on the whole trip. I saw 10 flushes, 6 full houses, and eight straights with two 4OAKs for good measure. The only possible downer was that I was still chasing that quarter progressive and it is hard to build up a big payoff even when you are hitting. On a side note, I had three different shots at a Royal when I looked at Four To A Royal but did not catch the last card needed. The three missing cards were the 10 of clubs, J of diamonds, and Q of diamonds. When I missed the Q of diamonds, the very first card on the next hand was, you guessed it, the Queen of Diamonds. When I did cash out to walk around a bit, My ticket was $150 so I was happy to be finally creeping back toward breaking even.

    I went to the poker room but there was about 10 people on the waiting list so I went to check on The Baboo. She was still playing but not particularly happy. Her old faithful machine had acted like it did not recognize her and none of the new machine friends she tried to make were cooperating. She had tried different denominations and different types of machines in different areas of the casino. She had some brief successes but over the long run, it was a slow drain of her pocketbook. She had $75 in freeplay that she went thru first. Then she went thru her VP winnings and finally she had to get into her gambling stash for about $300 dollars. It was getting close to The Bachelor time so she was going upstairs to watch her show. She did suggest that I bring something upstairs for a late night snack whenever I came.

    I went and found a seat on the Caribbean Stud table to see if I would have any better luck with that 141K jackpot today. I got the same seat as the night before and enjoyed the people watching just as much. The overall fun level of the table wasn't nearly as good as the previous night. Most of the people who sat down were either quiet or grouchy. Tony from Jersey was off and his replacements were much more straight-laced. The cards were actually a little better for me. I did get my only clipboard hand of the trip. (Clipboard hands are those winning bonus hands that the pit critters have to come over and fill out some paperwork before paying you) It was only a flush (bonus of $50) and the dealer did not open so I did not get my back bet paid. Still, it was a symbolic win that indicated that things were going to be different tonight. The husband of Reese played with us for a while and informed us that his wife was too hung over to come down and play. I played on this table for about three hours with up and down results. At one point, I decided to see if a little 3 card poker might bring me back a little further but that turned out to be a waste of time. I sat down and lost $50 in 6 hands before giving up on that idea. I came back to the Caribbean table so quick that no one had gotten my seat. All the same players were there so it seemed as if I had never left. (except for the $50 I left at the 3CP table) I played for a while before deciding to take one last shot at that JOB progressive before going upstairs. I colored up my chips and was glad to see my $150 profit. I still wasn't ahead but I wasn't in as deep a hole as I had been in.

    Looking for that lucky seat at The Breeze, I took my last shot. The progressive was at $1,563.91. That would be a nice way to end the night if I could somehow make it happen. Well, it didn't happen. I just bobbed up and down like a cork on a fishing line for about 45 minutes before quitting with a $30 loss. I was afraid that Snax might close and I had been instructed to bring The Baboo something to eat. She is retired and is a true night owl. I didn't have to worry about her having gone to bed early. Once I got over to Snax, i was not especially pleased. On Sunday, I had been able to walk right up and order. Tonight, I had 6-8 people in line ahead of me. Well, Patience is a virtue so that is what I tried to be. I got the food and caught the first express elevator up to our floor. Again, I was able to use points off my card to pay for it. She was happy to see me and my packages. We had such a pleasant time eating our late supper that I decided against going back downstairs to play Poker Room poker. Time to get some rest and be fresh for the drive home the next day.

    epilogue:

    It has always been strange to me how some casinos like you and some don't seem to care about you. For years, MGM has favored The Baboo while CET seems to favor me. The odd thing is that both of us play about the same regardless of where we are. Well, this trip might have changed my status at BR. I just got my newest Beau Rivage mailout and they have quadrupled my free play and thrown in a bunch more food credit. Maybe I will get there a little more often now. We had a lot of fun back in December.
     
  2. jpw711

    jpw711 VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Good report.

    One question, you stated you wanted a non smoking room at the Beau. I know about a year ago the hotel went to 100% non smoking, have they changed back to having smoking rooms?
     
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  3. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

    Joined:
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    Good Report! When you kept mentioning the progressive amount, it made me think you would eventually hit it! :( And even though the meter only moved when you played, even with multiple people...you really may have been the only person routinely playing. Gamblers in Mississippi are pretty good drink moochers...myself included...:evillaugh If it went up a penny for every hand played, that's a pretty good meter (0.8%).

    And as for Harrah's Gulf Coast, I'm sure those were all $1200+ jackpots. On a saturday night in primetime, it's not a good sign if you don't hear that maybe 4 times an hour or so. But over half of those announced were probably between $1200-2000, maybe more.

    Nope, it's still all non-smoking it looks like from the web. Someone else on the forum said MGM as a whole is planning to eventually go completely non-smoking. Dunno how true that is though.
     
  4. Mnracer

    Mnracer Tourist

    Joined:
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    Appreciate the detailed report - Beau Rivage is on my list of places to visit someday.
     
  5. ShepherdDon

    ShepherdDon Tourist

    Joined:
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    I agree - I was sure you were going to tell us you hit the royal. Wouldn't that have been icing on the cake?

    You have a full and busy visit to Biloxi. You didn't stay in your condo????

    Appreciate the report. I'm going over there on a bus trip next week to the IP.

    Don
     
  6. RebelDiceMan

    RebelDiceMan High-Roller

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Mississippi
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    No Don, our condo was making money while we were losing money. Our rental company keeps it pretty booked up. Besides, everything you could want (bars, restaurants, very comfortable beds, room services, etc) is right there wiithin walking distance at the casino. We would have to get out and drive somewhere if we were at our condo. The room was free and we wound having all our meals taken care of by MGM so it works pretty well for us.

    jpw, you are correct in that BR is completely non-smoking. I just described our request that way out of habit from doing it so many years when most casinos still had smoking rooms.
     
  7. mafig

    mafig Tourist

    Joined:
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    RE: Smoking
    We were just at the Beau last week on a bus junket from Florida. Loooong ride!
    Anyway, one of the people on the bus was really addicted. He had requested a non smoking room and when we got there he was told the hotel was non-smoking. He was really upset.
    We saw him the next day and he told us they put him in a "low level, handicapped, smoking suite." Guess it pays to complain.
     
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