by Ashley Adams
I really enjoyed the Biloxi, Mississippi poker room at the Isle Casino—an Isle of Capri property. (See my first two articles in this series for other rooms in the area). The Isle is beautiful, situated right on the beach, with beautiful seaside views everywhere. I decided to stay in town rather than drive the 90 minutes back to New Orleans. Before my return, however, I had a great playing session.
The Isle spreads both $1 -$2 no limit and $4 - $8 limit hold’em. There were three games going while I was there. Players earn $2 an hour in comps, and (as in the other rooms in the area) pay a 10% rake, up to a maximum of $4, with a $2 drop for the many promotions, including bad beat and high hand jackpots. My $1 -$2 game was filled with regulars who can only be fairly described as “characters”. They often play together, know each others schticks, and were eager to share them with the only newcomer at the table: me!
There was Charlie: His stack ranged from $2,000 to $4,000 during most of the session (there was no cap to the buy in). He was generally quiet, except with his betting action, which was often extremely wild and loose. He proved the wisdom of being welcoming to all when he said that though he often dropped a ton in this game, he kept coming back because of the pleasant company. To be sure, he was no pushover. I saw him shove $3,500 in chips into an $800 pot, win when his opponent folded, and then reveal an unpaired hand of 6-4. He gave a toothless smile when he did so, saying “Sometimes I have nothing”. Describing the philosophy of the game, one player said, “Some people play got’ems, some people play get’ems. We play get’ems over here”. And so they did. Many of the players loved to stay in when they were behind just to see if they could draw a winning hand. Pots were often $1,000 or larger.
Joe was the friendliest player at the table. He was an Italian who grew up in New York. He prided himself on knowing all sorts of Yiddish expressions, even if he did mispronounce them. We traded expressions all night long. David T was the best player at the table – soft spoken, with great stories of private road games in Louisiana where players brought suitcases filled with money. Mike Ackerman, a rail thin player who had been around the Gulf poker scene for a long time, shared great stories – especially about how it was that he was kicked out of some area poker rooms. Rounding out the regular players was “Table Captain”, an enormously friendly and welcoming guy who kept getting razzed, unfairly it seemed to me, by a guy in headphones. Toward the end of the session I met George, who had made his living for six years as a professional in Texas, playing the underground games there until a bad run left him busted. He played the only tight aggressive game at the table. I was glad to have him on my immediate right.
I had the perfect seat – to the immediate left of the pro and two to the left of Charlie, the player with the multi-thousand dollar stack. Though I bought in for $300 initially, when I understood what was what, I quietly slid under my stack another $1,400 in hundred dollar bills, – hoping to double up against Charlie. Alas, though my seat was ideal, and my read was right -- I just never go the cards at the right time. As it was, riding the roller coaster, trying to be in position to stack off against Charlie, I had to invest a few hundred just to stay in the game. Even so, the local “characters” made it all a fun session. And the extra comfortable room, for only $79 on a Saturday night, helped cushion the small loss as well.
Of all the rooms in Biloxi and Bay St. Louis, I liked playing in this one the most. It’s the first place I’ll return to when I come back to Biloxi again – something I plan to do before too long. Isle Biloxi, 151 Beach Blvd., 800-843-4753.
Ashley Adams is the author of Winning No Limit Hold’em and Winning 7-Card Stud. He hosts the radio show House of Cards, broadcast in markets throughout the US and on the Internet at http://www.houseofcardsradio.com. Contact Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org.