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Biloxi Card Room
A busy cardroom in Biloxi
Biloxi Grand Hotel and Casino
By Jan Fisher

"No Fussin', no Cussin', where Southern hospitality is a reality."

-Tony Collins

The 21-table poker room at the Biloxi Grand Casino, the largest cardroom in Mississippi, is always bursting with action. The week of the MARGE event was no different. Vice President of Mississippi Grand Poker Operations Tony Collins, and his entire staff, went out of their way to make sure that everyone had a great time. Having previously been a guest at the Grand, this was no surprise to me as this is how Tony runs his day-to-day operations. It is as if every player in the room is special seven days a week! The primary philosophy of Southern hospitality widespread in these parts of the country is no stranger to the poker rooms. Adhering to a strict no-abuse policy, players are treated as guests in the host's room and if you misbehave, you are dealt with in the same manner as if you were to misbehave as a guest in someone's living room!

Tony Collins
Tony Collins
Tony Collins has been in the casino industry for 13 years, having begun his career in Las Vegas at the Golden Nugget, then moving on to the Horseshoe and The Mirage. In 1992, Tony relocated to the Gulfport Grand Casino near the Biloxi area. Here he assembled quite a remarkable staff and proceeded to move on to the Biloxi Grand property, where he became the manager of all of the Mississippi Grand poker rooms. Overseeing the three properties (the third is in Tunica) is quite a responsibility, but his love of his job really shows. Twenty-five percent of the staff at Biloxi consists of employees who have been with him since day one. This certainly speaks loudly about the type of operation that is being run there. Recently the cardroom hosted a five-year anniversary for long-term employees.

Gary Douglas
Gary Douglas
Gary Douglas is the lead shift manager with many corresponding duties. But Gary's dedication to the room doesn't end there. During the recently concluded MARGE (Mississippi Autumn Recreational Gaming Excursion) convention, Gary organized and saw to it that during the three tournament events, there was homemade, picnic-style food available. The food was not only for those playing in the tournaments but for everyone in attendance. Well over 200 players were guests of the cardroom. Employees banded together to make sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans, and other assorted luncheon foods, in addition to a plethora of freshly baked cakes and cookies - all in the name of Southern hospitality!

Debbie Manuel
Debbie Manuel
Debbie Manuel is the Biloxi Grand's friendly tournament director who is extremely professional at her job. She is a day-one employee who Tony relies on to handle both special events and tournaments. She acts as a consultant for the cardroom and assists in special projects on some of the other properties upon occasion. She has several assistants at different times and while I was there, I was impressed by the great job done by her aides, Jennifer and Toni.

One newly implemented concept at the Biloxi property is the betting line. This is a semi-circle about a foot from the edge of the rail used to constitute action. If you put chips into the pot inside the line, it is a bet; outside of the line, it is not. Same thing goes for checking. You may check inside or outside of the line but you'd best be careful where you "cut" your chips as chips cut on the pot side are in action. This rule is being finely tuned and is becoming increasingly popular. Watch for it in many cardrooms in the years to come. Likely, it is the wave of the future as it makes many difficult floor decisions much more cut and dried as opposed to being open for interpretation.

Games spread at the Grand include seven-card stud at $1-$5 and $20-$40. A HORSE game has become very popular and is regularly spread at $4-$8. Omaha/8 and hold'em are also played at $4-$8 and $10-$20 and higher-limit games are often dealt on holidays, weekends, or by special request as was the case during the recent MARGE extravaganza. Football squares contests are offered to customers free of charge, as are drawings for cash awards for seated players. The room features a self-serve snack bar with soft drinks, cappuccinos, and hot chocolate offered around the clock. Munchies also are always available consisting of raw vegetables, hot dogs, fruit, salads, and other snack foods. This is welcomed by the players, as they seemingly never have to leave the room unless they want to! Everything that they could want or need is within easy self-serve reach! Tournaments are offered and a monthly schedule is printed and always available so that you can plan ahead. The mailing list is free and easy to get on and special offers and incentives are ever present. Entertainment at the Casino's main theater is great and always changing and there is a Kid's Quest for the little ones' safety while the adults are at play.

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