It was the last week of my trip and I was spending it with my son in Shreveport. Thursday evening when I arrived, we dropped by the local poker rooms to scope out the action and lucrative tournaments. As I walked up to the poker desk at the Eldorado, the poker manager was dealing with another player. When he finished, I introduced myself and asked him about the room and any tournaments they might have scheduled. He gave me a stack of flyers that included an ad for a ladies' tournament on Friday night. I asked him if I could play in the ladies' event, and he responded, "Only if you wear a skirt." I took three steps back from the desk and pointed to my kilt. The room rolled. Unfortunately the event was only every other Friday and the next one was after I left. He laughed and said he liked that and commented that it was one decision he didn't want to make. It really was a pity. I would have probably been the favorite. We all know ‘She' can't play.
There are only two poker rooms in Shreveport, the Eldorado and the Horseshoe. Both had a couple of $4/8 Limit Hold'em games and a couple of No Limit games. While I was at the ‘Shoe', they did start a $20/40 Limit game that proved lucrative. It was also the biggest limit game I found other than the Belagio and Caesars' in Las Vegas. The staff indicated that the game usually ran on the weekend. They did have a rule in their restricted buy-in No Limit Hold'em games that should be adopted everywhere. Instead of a fixed maximum buy-in, they allowed a player to buy-in for half of the biggest stack. This really helps the new player in an established game to overcome the initial short stack problem when he first enters the game.
The week before Shreveport, I spent on the reopened poker rooms on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I played in four rooms; Imperial Palace, Boomtown, Isle of Capri and the Beau Rivage. The Rivage was definitely the poker room of note. The new room is modern, dealers are competent, and the games are good. On the coast they spread $1/2, $3/5 No Limit and $4/8 Limit. While at the Rivage, they did start a Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo game.
Actually of all the poker rooms I visited this trip, the Beau Rivage was the most impressive. Their No Limit and Pot Limit games were unrestricted, for some real "deep stack" poker. They have regular small tournaments of $50-$70 entries, a good structure and pretty good pay-outs for a few hours work. They have also added lock boxes in the poker room available to players. Anyone that understands the income tax laws dealing with gambling, knows how valuable this service can be for the regular player. They have a Poker Rate for players that is more than competitive in the local market where there is still a shortage of rooms. The Rivage poker room will definitely become a star on the gulf coast. Did I mention Michelle? She is the poker room cocktail waitress. She knows how she makes her money, and works hard at it. I'd bet she could get a full chip toke from the tightest stiff, in the room. If you make it to the Rivage, Tell Michelle JB said ‘Hi'. In fact, when you sign up at the desk, just tell them JB sent you.
I did this backwards. I spent my first week in Las Vegas with a group of business partners. Luckily the business was poker. So, I did get several opportunities to do some research. I played at the Excalibur, MGM, Treasure Island, and the Plaza. The games available where: $2/4, or $3/6 Limit Hold'em and $1/3, or $3/5 No Limit. The games had a maximum buy-in of $200-$500. The Excalibur actually had the most games with the best action, and the Plaza had a late night tournament that might interest the night owls. It appears that there are few Limit games other than $2/4. For bigger Limit games, the Bellagio and Caesars' or maybe the Mirage are the only choice. TV poker is just killing Limit Poker.
For a quick reference here is each Poker Room in a single word:
Treasure Island Small
Mississippi Gulf Coast
Imperial Palace Busy
Isle of Capri Quaint
Beau Rivage Classy
Alas, Seven Card Stud may be dying, killed by TV poker. During my last two trips, I haven't seen a half dozen stud games and all were $2/4 or $1-5. Of course all limit poker is suffering as more and more of the Novice's want declare ALL-IN, but I will really miss a good Seven Card Stud game.