The Mississippi Gulf Coast offers an active casino scene. A few Mississippi casinos also have poker rooms, the most notable of which is housed in the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. Recently en route from the Florida Panhandle to New Orleans, we swung through Biloxi on an early Friday afternoon. We first visited IP Casino Biloxi, but it disappointingly had no active poker tables. We quickly moved on to the Beau Rivage poker room which lay just five minutes up the road. To our delight, the poker room at Beau Rivage was hopping just after lunch!
The Beau Rivage Resort & Casino sits right along the Biloxi shoreline. It’s just a few minutes off Route 10, the major east-west interstate, which makes it very easy to access from either Florida/Alabama or Louisiana. You can also drive the coastal route 90 (as we did) across the width of Mississippi. West of Beau Rivage, the drive along 90 is particularly nice, because you travel along the beach for most of it, until the road pulls inland at the Bay of St. Louis.
Befitting its scenic locale, Beau Rivage (an MGM property) is a very attractive, upscale casino. The property reminded us a bit of the Wynn in Las Vegas or Encore Boston Harbor. Walking from the parking garage to the casino, one passes by a row of retail stores. Let’s just say this is not outlet-mall-level shopping; bring the gold card! Beau Rivage also sports a large hotel whose rates, as with many casinos, vary widely depending on the season and day of the week. Some of the rooms feature nice views of the Mississippi Sound
Most of the dining options are also fairly upscale and pricey. These include a steakhouse, Asian restaurant, Italian place, and Salt & Ivy which offers a trendy, upscale take on Southern food. The buffet also looked to be on the nicer side of buffets. There are a couple of grab-and-go options, tacos, and pre-made sandwiches, but those, while lower-priced than the alternatives, are still overpriced for that kind of fare.
Beau Rivage offers a full-service casino with slots, table games, and an MGM Sports Book. A nearly 1,600-seat theatre hosts a variety of acts, mostly older rock bands, some country acts, comedians, and other dance/variety shows. Gladys Knight will be paying a visit in mid-February. Of course, Beau Rivage also offers a couple of decent decent-looking lounges and bars.
Beau Rivage clearly set itself up as the classy casino option along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. And it seems to have succeeded. Note this casino does allow smoking in most areas of the gaming floor.
Beau Rivage Poker Room Comfort
The 12-table poker room at Beau Rivage sits on the exterior edge of the main gaming floor, but fully open to it. The room is very loud from all the slot play and busy casino foot traffic, and also somewhat smoky. Smoking is not allowed in the poker room itself, but wafts in from the nearby gaming floor. The room was brightly lit, well-decorated, sported a well-maintained blue and white patterned carpet, and featured high ceilings. The temperature was comfortable and the light bright enough to see the board across the table.
The chairs are extremely comfortable. They have wheels, are adjustable, and feature about the best bottom and back padding I have felt in any room. The tables are attractive and clean, but a bit tightly packed, as people kept bumping into my chair as they passed behind me. Tables do feature a nice padded rail, functioning USB ports, and auto-shufflers.
The chips, cards, and felts are all clean. Play is nine-handed, but tables were large enough that everyone had room.
Poker Room Staff
The Beau Rivage staff are highly skilled and efficient. The dealers are accurate, fast, and very friendly. Dealers kept the play smooth while bantering a bit with players. The floor staff were very attentive, helpful, and active as I saw them guiding players to appropriate tables. Wait staff circled within minutes when I entered the room, and everyone seemed to have the drinks they wanted quickly.
Players at Beau Rivage Poker Room
The players skewed old, but there was a bit of a range. No women were playing cash, but several women were playing in the noon tournament. Most players at my cash table were very friendly and chatty, with a clear mix of regulars and out-of-towners. The playing style was mixed. There were some limped pots and also some $15 and $20 pre-flop raises in this $1/$3 game. I had to give up a few limped-behind in-position hands because of large raises on the button or in the blinds. Post-flop skill was also highly variable. Some players would check if they did not hit, others would c-bet consistently and size those bets large. Definitely most players at the table had a decent idea of what they were doing.
As of this writing, the Beau Rivage poker room has a tournament every day at 12:15pm. Sunday through Thursday. The entry fee is $100, with 15-minute blinds and a 12,000 chip starting stack. On Friday and Saturday, the tournament is $150 with 20-minute blinds and a 15,000 chip starting stack. Structures are not great, but not the worst we’ve seen either, with 16 S-points for the $100 events and 22 for the $150s.
In our tracking of tournament activity, the Beau Rivage tournaments seem well attended. Monday through Thursday, they get about 40 players. Friday increases to about 75, and on Saturday they get over 100 entries. Sunday drops a bit to 60. On the Friday of our visit, there were already 57 entrants halfway through the first level.
Cash Game Activity
On this early afternoon, the Beau Rivage poker room was running two active cash tables of $1/$3 and one of $2/$5. From our recent tracking of cash games (see our cash game activity update), Beau Rivage sees anywhere from 3 to 7 tables of $1/$3 cash on weeknights and through most of the weekend. During weeknights, $2/$5 games are rare, but Friday through Sunday there will be one or two tables going. Once in a while, a $4/$8 Limit game or Big O game will pop up as well.
Overall Assessment of Beau Rivage Poker Room
Beau Rivage is a highly attractive, upscale casino with an active 12-table poker room. They consistently have multiple active $1/$3 tables on weeknights and weekends, and their daily tournaments are well attended. The Beau Rivage poker room staff is highly professional and personable. The poker chairs are incredibly comfortable. However, because the poker room is open to the casino and some of the table spacing is not great, it is not the most pleasant environment in which to play. Nonetheless, overall, Beau Rivage is a destination room if you are in the Gulf Coast region.
Beau Rivage is a highly attractive, upscale casino with a 12-table poker room. There is an active cash and tournament scene and great staff. However, because the poker room is open to the casino and some of the table spacing is not great, it is not the most comfortable environment in which to play.