Connecting with old friends is one of life’s most important experiences. You never forget how much you enjoy their company and all of the fun and crazy moments you had together. It all just gets shoved to the back burner sometimes, especially when you and your friends don’t live close to each other. Phil and Marcia Alexander are old friends from another era when Phil and I worked in sales for the same company. My husband and I first met them in 1973 in Palm Springs, California where we were attending a sales trip. One evening there was a themed party for the salesperson and guest and that evening had a Sadie Hawkins theme. I don’t know where Phil got the idea for his outfit, but it fit him and his personality perfectly. Phil is a 6’5″ tall hulk of a man, probably 350 pounds at that time, more commonly thought of as an Arkansas Mountain Man. And there he was in a pair of overalls, no shoes, a red bandana in his back pocket, and a dip of snuff in his bottom lip. He quickly informed us that he had on no underwear. Rather than check for ourselves, Marcia confirmed his lack of undergarments. Only Phil would do this, but from that moment on, he kept us in stitches.
We have kept in touch with Phil and Marcia over the years and gotten together every chance we could. Mostly our relationship is gambling. When we first met them, they lived in Memphis, which anyone who has been there knows Memphis is just a few miles North of Tunica, Mississippi and knows Tunica is the gambling capital of Mississippi. Well, Tunica and Biloxi. So it only stands to reason that the first opportunity we got we made our way to Tunica. It is a nine hour drive and we could probably make the drive in our sleep for the number of times we have been down that road. So when the Gold Strike Casino and Resort in Tunica sent me an offer for three complimentary nights and $540 in free play, plus I would get to see the Alexanders, how could I not?
My husband Jim wanted to go on the trip, but he was not comfortable with leaving our elderly cat Missy. Plus at this point in our lives, I think he loves Monkey, our black cat whom he bottle fed for the first 6 weeks of his life, probably more than he loves me. Marie was not able to go either, so being the big girl, I bought myself a plane ticket and left the driving, ‘er flying to the pilot. One hour and twenty minutes after take-off, I spotted Marcia in the passenger pick-up lane. Yeah! On our way to seek our fame and fortune.
We got checked in to the Gold Strike. Marcia had her own room and Phil was staying home except for coming over to the casino for dinner three times. It wasn’t often Marcia and I got to have our adventure without the guys. Plus having our own rooms was a luxury. And since it was already 2:00 and the buffet would open at 5:00 we decided to play first and eat later.
I went in search of the Hot Shot Slot Machines, but I couldn’t find any. I asked a floor attendant and she confirmed they had been removed. Next I hit the Buffalo Grand Slots which I also love, well that and the Buffalo Gold and Buffalo Stampede, not to mention all the other slots in the casino. I had a few small hits, but nothing big the first day. When dinnertime rolled around, I thought it was a good idea to go ahead and eat and get a new start after dinner.
The Gold Strike Buffet is pretty good. I don’t think there is enough variety and the quality is not bad, just not great. But it was one way not to overeat. Plus we were able to get back out there in the trenches quicker. Not that it did much good. It was Monday and typically weekdays especially in the beginning of the week are pretty slow. We stayed up until 12:00 p.m. just because we thought we were supposed to. Marcia actually did fairly well on the Lightning Link Slot which is also one of my favorites. But I didn’t have much luck on anything.
On Tuesday I slept until about 11:00 and Marcia worked on her computer until I was ready to go down . Our rooms had a coffee pot and Marie had sent me with blueberry breakfast pastries so I had one before I went downstairs at about 1:00. When I went down I had several Bloody Mary’s with extra olives and I was good until dinner. We decided to play next door at the Horseshoe. I needed to work on my Total Reward points so we played at the Horseshoe until dinner where Marcia had two free buffets. Phil wasn’t coming to the casino until Wednesday so we had dinner without him. The food was good as it always was with a good variety of Asian, Italian, country cooking, and barbeque.
After dinner we went back next door to play until bedtime. Marcia played Lightning Link and recouped some of her losses. The problem with the Lightning machines at Gold Strike and Horseshoe is that each casino has only four machines. So they are really hard to get on, but to be honest at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi there are eight or ten, and they are hard to get on. Plus I really miss the Hot Shots. The Horseshoe did not have them either but they used to have them. I hope it’s not a sign of things to come at other casinos. Marie has noticed that there are less Davinci Diamonds machines in the casinos. So when Marie gave me $100 to play for her I was torn where to go with it, especially when my luck wasn’t looking too good. No Hot Shots and no Davinci Diamonds so I decided to play something new to me. I saw a Snow Leopard and gave it a try. I turned out to be a good choice since I turned her $100 into $191.
On day 3 we thought it might be a good idea to get away for awhile. We decided to try Fitzgeralds because it was 50+ day and when you earn 10 points you get to spin the wheel for cash and prizes. But we had trouble getting too excited about it since the highest prize was $25 or you could win a free buffet so it was no surprise that the buffet was just what we won. Phil wasn’t coming over that night to eat so we cashed in our big wheel win and ate the buffet.
Back to the Gold Strike to try again. I always say you can’t catch a fish if you’re hungry because the fish can hear your stomach growling. I was hoping it was the same idea at the casino. I decided to try my luck at the Mississippi Stud Poker table. I love that game along with Ultimate Texas Hold’em. I should have tried it instead since I had no luck on Mississippi Stud.
I quit while I still had some money to play the slots on. I played Lightning Link and hit a little bit and lost a little bit. I went to Luck of The Irish and hit $250 and moved to Buffalo Stampede. I hit the bonus and retriggered several times. I didn’t hit much, in fact I didn’t hit more than I put in. I played a Quick Hit Rising Riches and got some bonuses, but I didn’t win as much as the guy next to me who had over $900 when I got up to move. I found Marcia and we decided to go to bed at 9:00 and thank goodness it was 8:55.
I hate to sound negative, but I really was not having enough good luck to talk about. The best part of the trip so far was spending time with my friends. I didn’t expect that to change, but I was hoping to add some other elements to the trip.
On Day 4, we checked out of the Gold Strike in order to take advantage of my free room at the Horseshoe. Plus I had only made a quick pass in the casino and hadn’t earned many points. I had a talk with myself that morning and decided to play smarter and I was hoping I could stick to it. I went in search of machines I had played over the years at the Horseshoe Tunica. It has always been one of my favorite casinos. I saw a round bank of $.50 Triple Cash machines. I have always loved these particular machines at the Shoe. I usually hit something decent on them and usually they are very popular and are hitting good. I was playing the max bet of $1.50 and hit three blue 7’s for $150.00. Now comes the part where I stick to my guns and I did.
I found Marcia on Lightning Link so I sat down next to her. Since it was early in the day we were able to get two of the four machines. We both hit bonuses numerous times but they were so far between that we couldn’t ever get ahead. At least there were more people on day 4 in the casino than on the other days. It makes you hopeful because you think surely there is a win somewhere in the casino if it’s crowded. It wasn’t really crowded, but it was better. We played until about 5 when we walked back to the Gold Strike for dinner at the Chicago Steakhouse. I took a couple of pictures – one of the three of us at the table and one of the bread the waiter brought to the table. We were so hungry that we dove into the bread and butter and I forgot to take pictures after that. Phil had bone-in ribeye, Marcia had the sea bass and I had halibut. We all had crème brulee for dessert. You’ll just have to use your imagination.
It was all really good, but I was really looking forward to the next night when we would have the seafood buffet at the Shoe. I love me some crab legs. I had been looking forward to it since I made my flight reservation. On Friday afternoon Phil met us at the seafood buffet at the Horseshoe. There were raw oysters, boiled shrimp, spicy broiled shrimp, fried catfish, crab legs, crab claws, mussels, plus the usual of prime rib, barbeque, fried chicken, pizza, pasta, Asian food, salads, sides, and desserts including the best bread pudding in the world. And you guessed it – no pictures. When I am at the casino I don’t usually eat breakfast or lunch, so by the time I get to eat I am too hungry to even think about pictures. I just want to get after it.
I could only get one night at the Horseshoe because they were having a concert and a slot tournament and were booked. I moved over to the Tunica Roadhouse which was just next door on the opposite side of the Horseshoe from the Gold Strike. I had never stayed there before, but it was pretty nice. With upscale furnishings, a great mattress, and in-room Jacuzzi tub, I would definitely recommend it, even though the Jacuzzi tub is not my thing.
The next morning Phil and Marcia picked me up and dropped me at the airport. All good things must end and even though we had a great time together, I was ready to get home and see my husband and Monkey and Missy. I did get that in the right order, didn’t I?
I must apologize for the lack of pictures. I had computer problems last month and now I am having cell phone problems. I hope to get this resolved before the next trip report. Hope you are entertained in spite of my technology problems.
Until next time, the Slotsisters are coming to a casino near you soon.