Editor’s note: This is a guest post from our friend @MississippiRob4. He’s a frequent Biloxi visitor and organizer of an upcoming meet up.
Fair warning: I’m not a writer. I would even say I’m the exact opposite of a writer–I’m an engineer. So, my preferred communication methods are spreadsheets, math, and data. However, for a special occasion in the near future, I thought it would be beneficial to put some of my thoughts and opinions about Biloxi, MS into word form. Thanks so much to Adam, I mean Vegas, I mean Travel Fanboy for hosting this article on his website.
So as many already know and a few more are learning now, I have organized a group meetup in Biloxi, MS for the weekend of March 31st thru April 2nd. I think anyone considering coming deserves a detailed preview. Also, since I don’t have a podcast or a blog, this will have to do the job.
Casino gaming found its start in Biloxi in 1992. So I don’t have a memory of Biloxi without casinos. They have always been a part of the culture and life having grown up in the city just north of the back bay, D’Iberville. In the 90s, casinos were homes to the biggest and best arcades on the planet—Boomtown and Grand Casino Biloxi were my favorites. In the 2000s, the casinos were just a fancy place to eat dinner and take pictures before the homecoming dance or prom. Everything changed in the 2010s. That’s when I finally had my chance… to support the local community by ensuring the casinos made great profits and paid plenty of taxes. Throughout my nearly 13 years of casino gambling, I’ve tried about every angle in Biloxi casinos—except the high limit areas. I’m saving those for retirement.
There is no other place to start when talking Biloxi casinos than at the Beau Rivage. It was designed by Steve Wynn and opened in 1999. It’s been the industry leader ever since. The classic, luxurious look meets the demand of anyone visiting town, but you will pay for that luxury. Hotel room rates and table minimums are the highest in town. I’ve always loved the Beau Rivage for its quality dealers and variety of amenities, but I know anytime I’m there—I’m fighting above my weight class.
Best memory: Our first Biloxi group meetup was in December of 2018. Tim Lawson, Chris Moore, Bogan Painter, and I had some great craps and Pai Gow sessions through the night. But nothing was more entertaining than hearing the craps dealer get personal with us and referring to Bogan as Logan for the rest of the night. I can’t remember if I won or lost money, but I definitely remember running the Logan jokes deep into the ground.
Vegas comp: Bellagio—just look at the place.
Great location (next to Beau Rivage), but it’s just not my vibe. Live music on the gaming floor can be a positive, but the dark lighting and casual service swing the pendulum in the other direction for me. However, the hotel rooms are nice, and the comps are reasonable.
Best memory: I’m not sure that I have one. I don’t think I have ever won in this casino. It’s either cursed, or I am due for a jackpot!
Vegas comp: Luxor—great exterior (pyramid/guitar), dark/boring interior
Harrah’s Gulf Coast (Formerly Grand Casino Biloxi)
The crown jewel of Biloxi before the Beau Rivage was built. It was a massive resort with gaming, concerts, and more on the south side of the highway while the hotel was located just north of the highway. However, the Grand Casino met its match in Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The south side was destroyed, and the decision was made to condense the casino into hotel structure on the north side. Today, the casino is nothing special with a small gaming floor. The hotel does have a heated pool that stays open year-round though—major plus in my book.
Best memory: First trip since casinos re-opened from the pandemic. While waiting for my friend and his wife at the video poker bar, I upped my denomination from quarters to dollars and proceeded to hit 3 4OAKs. Still my biggest casino win to date.
Vegas comp: The Linq—great place to gamble, but nothing special to see.
I really don’t even know where to start. I’ve had so many gambling sessions in this casino that I call it home. After all, every king needs a palace. Once upon a time, The Palace was a low roller joint known for $3 minimum blackjack & craps played with white chips that seemed permanently stuck together. Then, a renovation occurred which quickly made The Palace a solid second-tier resort that locals and visitors would enjoy. My wife especially enjoyed the non-smoking policy adopted after the renovation. The low minimums remained, and I’ve still been partaking of $5 craps and pai gow sessions every time I’m in town (post pandemic $10 minimums).
Best memory: $3 blackjack sessions for 8-12 hours straight on a $60 bankroll. Heaven on earth for a 21-year-old.
Vegas comp: The D—great gambling options with a respectable gaming floor.
Small, dark gaming floor, but I’ve always been impressed with the comp offers given to a low/mid roller playing table games. Best pool and hot tub in town.
Best memory: Friend A offers to use his comp dollars to take myself and Friend B out to dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Friend A then asks us to “be reasonable” about what we order. Friend B proceeds to find the most expensive drink on the menu just to spite him. Keep in mind, our total bill was probably $80, and I’m confident my friend had thousands in comp dollars. We’re a special bunch.
Vegas comp: Golden Nugget—duh.
Made for locals. Enjoyed by smart visitors who want to enjoy cheap gambling. No hotel but the free play offers are generous. While it’s not fancy, it’s worth a visit.
Best memory: $10 Pai Gow with Tim Lawson and Eric Rosenthal during our 2021 meetup. Just a stellar morning session of hanging out and breaking even. It doesn’t get better than that.
Vegas comp: Ellis Island—trust me.
IP (Formerly Imperial Palace)
Biggest gaming floor in Biloxi. More Pai Gow tables than I’ve ever seen in one casino. Hotel is to be determined. I haven’t stayed here in years, and I’ve heard the rooms have gone downhill. But the rooftop pool was once a sight to be seen.
Best memory: My bachelor party in 2010. The night my friend taught my how to play craps. Two other shooters and I each rolled for at least 30 minutes. Late into the night, I’m the only one sober. So, we packed into my small car to head to Waffle House. Everyone couldn’t fit so one volunteer hopped into the trunk. I think we hit 25 speed bumps during the 2-mile drive.
Vegas comp: Bally’s—huge gaming floor with plenty of options.
Newest casino on the coast (technically in D’Iberville) which opened in 2015. Great hotel rooms with beautiful views overlooking the back bay. Bright, white gaming floor with high ceilings. The amenities are lacking, but the mini golf course with a volcano makes up for some of it! Table game minimums have increased relative to its competitors in recent years, but you can still find a good gamble here. Best video poker bar on the coast is in the sportsbook–excellent drinks and service.
Best memory: 2019 Masters Thursday. Cozied up to the video poker bar just after lunch. Drank walk me downs for about 8 hours straight with a buddy. I think I even won some money!
Vegas comp: Resorts World—although I haven’t visited Resorts World yet, the pictures look eerily similar.
Formerly a pirate ship (thanks Katrina). Home of $2 pai gow (at least before the pandemic). Not much of a casino or hotel, but the low rolling reigns supreme.
Best memory: Hit the ATS without ever making my point. I’m that good!
Vegas Comp: El Cortez—but not as nice!
I hope these descriptions can provide a useful preview for anyone coming to visit Biloxi—especially anyone coming to meet us this Spring. I’m also adding the tentative schedule of events for the meetup for reference. Hope to see you there! @MississippiRob4
2022 Biloxi Meetup
– Thursday, 3/31, thru Sun, 4/3
– Weekend of Gambling, Golf, and Good times
– The main base for most will be at the Beau Rivage. It’s the most luxurious option on the gulf coast (see Steve Wynn). But feel free to stay anywhere you can find a good deal.
Day 1 (3/31)
– 6 PM Beau Rivage Meetup
– More craps () and blackjack () tables than any casino on the coast.
– 2 Video poker bars
– Usually higher limits than other casinos on the coast, but Hard Rock is a backup option next door. I’m expecting $15 min craps on a weeknight.
Day 2 (4/1)
– 10 AM – group golf outing to Shell Landing. Course designed by Davis Love III and located in marshlands about 25 min from the Biloxi casinos. Open to anyone.
⁃ 12 PM – Boomtown meetup for the non-golfers. Small casino, but has $10 craps, $5 RTW craps, $10 Pai Gow, stadium gaming, and many baccarat tables.
⁃ 5 PM – The Palace meetup. My favorite casino. It is non-smoking, but the low limits and drink service can’t be beat. Usually has 2 $10 craps tables, $5 RTW craps, $10 min Pai Gow, great sportsbook, VP bar at the sportsbook, & Buffalo Diamond Slots.
Day 3 (4/2)
– Flexible day
– Visit remaining casinos as you’d like: IP, Harrahs, Golden Nugget, Hard Rock, Treasure Bay, Island View.
– Golf on any other courses in the area.
– 5 PM – Scarlet Pearl Meetup. Newest casino on the coast. I love the feel of this casino: bright w/high ceilings. My favorite VP bar. Plenty of table games. Lastly, it has a mini golf course w/a volcano for those who lost too much money in the casino.
*All times/locations are tentative.