hmmm ... Chapter 47 was about gambling and now, here I am in Chapter 48, about to talk about gambling again. I do enjoy it, but don't get the idea I do it all the time. It's just a coincidence that two consecutive chapters deal with the same general topic.

Last weekend was Easter and I found myself doing a little bit of "work for food" in Huntsville, Alabama. As it turns out, Tunica, Mississippi is only 3-4 hours away, I had nothing much planned for the weekend, so off I went.


Note for all you Huntsvillians out there: Thanks to John Parrish, I found a new way to get to Tunica. I was in the RV, so 4-lane highways are much preferred unless I'm dawdling and sight-seeing -- not the plan this trip. You leave HSV on I-565 out thru Decatur, turn right at the Holiday Inn on Alternate Hwy 72, then just follow it for about 200 miles. You pass MS Hwy 5 and 7, those that alot of people take, until you come to a big green sign announcing Hwy 302 thru Horn Lake and Olive Branch. A nice big 4-lane that's a great time-saver over Hwy 5 or 7. Then 302 takes you right into Hwy 61, which we all know is the highway thru Tunica. Turn left and go about 5 miles to the Grand Hotel and Casino, which is where I stayed the entire weekend. NOTE: Don't hit Horn Lake at 5:00 on a weekday -- they have mucho traffic!

As I've said earlier, my current favorite game is Pai-Gow Poker. I played it most of the weekend and ended up winning about $270, plus I got all my meals free by simply asking the pit boss for a meal ticket. It appeared that they were giving the free meal tickets to anyone who asked, even the slot players. I ate all my meals at the Delta Blues cafe, which served good burgers, pizza, shrimp, catfish, etc. The Grand also has a steakhouse on the first floor, a buffet upstairs, and several other cuisine choices, but I ate at Delta Blues because I like their food and was mostly in a hurry to get back to the tables.

There's little in the way of tips for Pai-Gow, except to read the rules and generally set your hand the "house way". I do have one tip though -- if you ever get on a table alone, take the Bank every other hand. It gives you a slight advantage -- seems like I explained this before ... hmm .. check Chapter 7 (I found this by going to the home page and doing a search on Pai-Gow! I knew that Search would come in handy one day!).

So, I had good luck at Pai-Gow. Also played 7-Card Stud for about 6 hours on Saturday. Started with $100, had a few good hands, raked in a few pots, but ultimately managed to lose the hundred. I never have been able to win with any consistency at 7-Card Stud. I'd like to learn Hold-em sometime, though -- it looks like a very active game with large pots. Also would like to try out Mini-Baccarat someday -- I've heard it's the best odds in the casino, since you can choose to bet on either the house or the player.

Below, I've included some pictures from the trip and the stay at the Grand. I camped in their parking lot, disregarding the signs that suggested that overnight campers stay in their campground. I've stayed in the campground before, and it's really nice, but now that I've got the Class A with generator, I prefer the FREE parking lot. This is especially true at a casino, where I spend a minimal amount of time in the RV, and then only to sleep. You eat free in the casino, wouldn't use any of the campgrounds facilities, the temperature was cool enuf to not need A/C, so why pay the $$?


These first few I call "RVing can be fun, but not always!" Actually, this happened in Dothan, Alabama on my way up from Florida. Engine just quit and I spent time in Sam's parking lot waiting for a wrecker. That's the Bad news -- the Good news was that it was only the ignition switch and I got it fixed in the morning for just over $100. It required two wreckers because the first guy couldn't make it move, so the second guy came along to tell us to disconnect the driveshaft.
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These next few are outside of the Grand Hotel and Casino in the parking lot. First, my home by the D7 sign -- note that I'm not alone. There are always a group of RVers, Truckers, and Tour Busses in these areas. The big red RV bus in front of me had an internet address something like -- but that's not it -- I should have written it down. Tunica seemed a strange place for RVers from Alaska to end up. Notice how long a walk I had -- good exercise between games.
Finally, a shot inside the casino. As you may know, they don't allow photos inside casinos, since you might get a picture of paw being someplace or somewhere that he don't want maw to know about. I asked the casino host to take my picture at the Pai Gow table, but she was timid. So was the pit boss. So were several passers-by that I asked. I was even told by an anonymous casino employee that it wouldn't be a problem if someone just clicked a quick picture, then put the camera away. I couldn't convince anyone of that, so just took a shot of the Pai-Gow sign -- exciting, eh?
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Well, that's pretty much it except for a few slightly humorous anecdotes:

Anecdote 1 - One pit boss was named Michael. I was winning and feeling good, so I quipped "Aha, you're the one who rode the boat ashore." To my surprise, he answered back "Hallelujah!"  Guess he'd heard my joke before .. hahahaha

Anecdote 2 - All the dealers wore name-tags, as they do in most casinos. They also were wearing badges with REALLY! on them -- that's one of their current advertising slogans -- like We've loosened up all our dollar slots .. REALLY!  So, along comes a new dealer, with her REALLY tag covering up her badge. I naturally addressed her as REALLY, since that was what her badge said. Eventually, I asked her why she covered it. She told me her name was Donna and comical players always sang that Richie Valens song Oh, Donna to her.  After awhile, I got a great idea, so I sang OH, REALLY to the tune of Oh, Donna!  She even laffed a little ... hahahaha

Anecdote 3 - My favorite of the dealers was a guy named Mustafa. He was a tall bald guy with a French accent -- Cajun, I think. Anyway, Mustafa and I had a few really good runs of cards. I had several straights (bonus $10), three-of-a-kinds (bonus $15), and a couple four-of-a-kinds (bonus $125) and straight-flushes (bonus $250). I think I must have tipped him around $50 during the weekend and still came out a fair winner and had a greeeat time!

Anecdote 4 - Yeah, my Anti-Lock Braking System went out on the way home, but what the heck, things can't be perfect or we have no challenges. I figured I had survived driving without ABS for about 40 years, so another little bit wouldn't matter.

Hope you all had an equally enjoyable Easter 2003!
These next few are to demonstrate that the casinos in Tunica really are on the water. That's a law in Mississippi, but it's often very difficult to see the river. In the first picture, I photographed what turned out to be a puddle .. haha. Next, the actual river -- it turns out this is a tributary of the mighty Mississippi River -- a relatively small one from the looks of things. It even has water falls, as you may note in the picture on the right .. haha again.
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Wait! One more thing!

I've been hearing a GREAT commercial on TV recently. It's for Chevy Tahoe and it's narrated by James Garner. Something about it that really appeals to my wandering spirit.  I especially like "wherever you're going, that's wherever you are."

Here are the words, in case you're interested. I've had this for awhile, didn't know any more appropriate place to put it, so here 'tis. Of course, it's alot better with the scenic video background.

Have you seen the commercial? If not, .... NEVERMIND!
Moving Into April 2003
48. How I Spent My Easter Vacation
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