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by Riverboat Flyer

Riverboat Flyer is a low-stakes blackjack player. He plays the southern Ohio riverboats along with frequent trips to Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Tunica, and occasionally Lake Tahoe. He has been counting cards for over ten years, using the Hi-Op, High Low, and currently the half-count system.

Part 1 of this trip report in the October BJI covered the Tunica casinos.


We were heading south to Biloxi just as hurricane Irma was heading north. Fortunately for us, Irma stayed to the east. Many people on the east coast were not as fortunate.

When we arrived in Biloxi, it was full of Florida refugees from Irma. The folks I talked to mostly evacuated before Irma hit. They had tales of woe about the traffic getting out. The drive to Biloxi, which normally took six hours, took them 22 hours to complete. I met a couple from Tampa that had gotten out early with their grandkids, and Mom followed the next day. They had rented a house on Siesta Keys and were supposed to be headed there for a week of fishing and relaxing. There were cars with Florida license plates very visible in Biloxi, and many folks we met had horror stories to retell about their evacuation.

Most of the Biloxi casinos (just like in the Tunica casinos) have the same rules in blackjack: split any two cards; double after splitting allowed; split aces up to four hands; and the dealers hit soft 17. The double deck -games do not allow re-splitting aces. There are some 6 to 5 games. Note: At the high-limit room at the Beau Rivage, dealer's stood on soft 17.

Palace (158 Howard Ave.)

The Palace is my favorite casino for playing blackjack. It is clean, non-smoking, not very crowded, and you can play two hands without the usual requirement of having to double the amount of your wager (on each hand). There are ample two- and six-deck games to choose from. The hotel rooms are clean as well. They have a buffet, coffee house, snack bar, sports bar/grill, and a steakhouse. From my perspective, the only downside is that comps are more difficult to come by. I was still able to stay and eat for free; I just had to work harder to score comps. They even have a $3-minimum blackjack table, which I call the kitty table because of all the younger players it attracts.

My play at the Palace was not spectacular. In nine sessions (13 hours) of play I ended about $200 ahead. I seemed to have driven several oriental ladies crazy by refusing to play the "Plus Three" side bet. They would berate me every time my side bet hit, with comments like "you no play side bet." Being a diplomat, I refrained from pointing out that I already knew I was not playing the side bet. Another player, who was concerned about me not playing the side bet, turned out to be interesting...

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