Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Biloxi blues

After leaving Livingston, I headed south down I-20/59 toward the Gulf Coast. Most of my Tuscaloosa crew weren’t going to New Orleans until Thursday, but since I was already a quarter of the way there I figured I’d spend the night in Biloxi if any lodging were available.

As my Grand Prix moved further south, I began to encounter trees twisted into unnatural shapes and old buildings missing roofs. When I reached the coast, the destruction was almost unimaginable, but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. I hit the coast front highway in Gulfport and turned east toward Biloxi. Rubble was piled everywhere, as concrete slabs and blown out signs were all that remained of many buildings. I passed an IHOP, the Bombay Bicycle Club, Jefferson Davis’ home Beauvoir – all places I’ve visited, and most gone beyond repair.

In some cases, the shells of the old casinos remained, but most of the former floating barges were completely destroyed. Three have re-opened – Imperial Palace, Isle of Capri and Palace, the former two having opened poker rooms to meet the demand.

I headed to IP to check out the poker room and got into a 1-2 NL game. Almost as soon as I sat down, my pal BJ from T-Town called and said he and some friends were already in New Orleans. Change of plans. As I had just sat down, I figured I might as well stay and play for an hour or so, especially since there was this old crazy man named Harold sitting at the table who would play ace rag for all his chips. As he had most of the chips at the table this kept him from going bust.

Finally, I picked up AK and raised to $15, Harold made it $55 and I pushed the rest of my $200 or so stack in the pot. Just my luck, Harold turns over KK. Thank you ace on the turn. Harold lost another pot and then gave the rest of his $130 to the dealer.

“He can probably afford it,” one player said of Harold’s gambling ways.

“I hope so,” I replied.

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