Off To Gary, Indiana. Wish Me Luck, I Need It This Week! (MI – IN) “DAY 31” – 8/4/10

August 5, 2010 - 10:04 am (central) - (MI - IN) - “DAY 32”
I got up this morning knowing it would be my last day in Michigan.  If you have been reading, you may have noticed a little apprehension in my previous writings about going to Gary, Indiana.

F.Y.I - I planned this trip (the route) based on the a few criteria. 1.) Do I have a friend to stay with?  2.) Is there casino near bye?  3.) Is it on my way to the next city?

Like Kim in Virginia

Having a friend that will let me stay with them is #1 because if I have that, I don’t care how far I have to drive for poker.  If I don’t know anybody, then a casino (poker room) trumps the convenience of a direct route.  Lastly,  if I know nobody and the state doesn’t have a casino, then I picked a city that would make my drive the shortest.

OK, now that you know that, let me explain a little further.  I didn’t do any research on any of the cities I planned on hitting.  If a city met some of the criteria above, I just marked it on map and moved on to where I would be going next.  Nothing else was examined.

Now, while I was in Michigan (Detroit area) the last few days, I would tell people who I was playing poker with about my journey and inevitably they would ask... “Where are you going next?”

Since I was Michigan, my answer was... I’ll be in Gary, Indiana next.  Now... there wasn’t a person I told that to that didn’t have some kind of negative response!  They would respond, “Are you crazy!”, “Have you ever been to Gary?”, “I live in Detroit and I won’t go to Gary!” etc...


After visiting Detroit for the week and seeing how bad it is there... I am now a little worried.  So, when I got up this morning, I decided to do a little research for myself on Gary, Indiana.

I typed it into google and the information I received was accurate.  Gary was the 17th most dangerous city in USA but a year earlier it was the 10th worst (at least they are going in the right direction :)).  There is a 12% unemployment rate and many building have been reduced to rubble.

OK, so Gary is a dangerous city but I’m staying in the casino (Majestic Star), not on the streets of Gary, so I decided to check a little further into the casino I would be playing and staying in.

The reviews I read on the casino weren’t bad but the reviews on the Hotel were so horrifying that it actually drove me to want to stay there more!

Here are some quotes from the reviews...
Me and my family stayed there for a weekend and me and my daughter were bitten by bed bugs.” - “Do not stay here ever!!!!!!!!” - ”The toilets looked as if they hadn't been cleaned in a year!” - “We got to our room. Filthy! The bathroom was enough to make you vomit.” - “Don't come here. Just stay home and be happy you are at home.‎” “Warning: This place should be Condemed!"

It goes on and on like this. Now... I had to see it for myself!

Let me explain why...  It’s like when a friend takes a big dump in the toilet... He’ll come out and say “you gotta see this, it’s smelliest nastiest thing I’ve ever seen!”  Now, you know what you’re gonna see and smell when you walk in there... but you do it anyway and when you leave you say to yourself... “I can’t believe I just went in there and saw that! :)”

But you’ll do it and everybody has.  Ahhh... the curiosity of man!

Later Tuck!

With a new exciting perspective of Gary, Indiana, I headed out of J.T.’s and hit the road.  It was 3pm when I stopped for gas before I left, man it does add up!

I arrived at Majestic Star around 6 pm not knowing what to expect but I did have an open mind.  I wasn’t going to judge anything based on what I read, only what I experienced.

First, the casino is set back like a house in Beverly Hills. What I mean is, you go down a road (about a mile) with nothing around it before you get to the casino.  Perfect, it’s set away from the city streets.

Then, I went straight to the poker room which is where I will be spending most of my time.  It may have been the most aesthetically pleasing room I have been in yet.  It has 20 or so tables and WINDOWS with a view of the Lake Michigan!  (I mention that because most casinos/poker rooms DO NOT have windows, they don’t want you know what time it is).

So far so good!  But it was time to check into my room and see for myself what all the fuss was about.

As I approached my door, I thought about everything I had read, so I pre-pared myself for the worst and hoped for the best.  I entered the room and... it was normal hotel room.

The bathroom was clean, the room was clean, I hit the bed - no dust came up, I checked under the sheets and no bugs ripped off my arm. 🙂 They must have cleaned up there act after the negative feedback because this room looks fine to me.  Nice!

I settled into my room then hit the poker tables around 8 pm.  When I walked in, there were 4 tablesgoing and a tournament still in progress.  (They host the Heartland Poker Tour here, I can see why, as I said before... it is a really nice room.)

Anyway, I was sat immediately in a 1-2 NL game.  I bought in for what I had in my wallet ($136.).  The first hand I got was (10, 7) off-suit. This casino doesn’t make new players post, so I folded.

As always, conversation about my journey came up and I became friendly with a few players at the table.  One guy was named Bryant, he was born and raised in the area and gave me a local guy’s perspective of the city.

We spoke for most of the time he was there as he wished me luck on my journey before he left.  He gave me his card but I forgot to take his picture.

To the nitty gritty...  Before I knew it, my $136 buy in was just $35.  I couldn’t make a hand.  Then I went on a run where all my hands held.  Over the next 3 hours, I turned that $35 into $500!  The biggest win being a hand I doubled up with, K’s (K,K) vs Q’s (Q, Q), I had the Kings and they held.  Woo Hoo!

It was now around midnight and the table was playing very loose.  Nice!  A few hand later, I got pocket deuces (2, 2).  The flop (10, 8, 2) off-suit.  Finally... it’s my night!  I checked it, the guy next to me bet $10, four callers later, it got back to me.  I raised it to $30.

I few people folded as I got two callers.  The turn... 9 of hearts.  I bet out $30.  Both of them called.  At this point, I know I am still good.  The river... 7 spades.  F$%K!  7-8-9-10 is on the board and with two people in, I knew one of them had a jack.

I folded to a bet and both of them had a jack.  Are you kidding me!  I’m not mad they were chasing me down... I’m mad they hit the card!

View from Poker Room

After a hand like that, it was time to leave, so I picked up my chips and headed back to my room.  I cashed out for $432, up $296.  I’ll take it, a great start in Indiana and I needed it!

Before I left the poker room, I asked the floor manager (Mike) for a food comp.  We spoke for a bit and he was a real cool guy.  F.Y.I- He gave me $10 to get something to eat.  Thanks!

For the record, I don’t know what everybody was talking about in those reviews.  The floor and dealers were competent and friendly, the players were cool (as most poker players are), and the room was clean (both the poker room and hotel room).

Is it a 5 star resort?  No... but if I lived close, would I stay here and play?  Yes, all the time!  To me, this casino and hotel is no different than staying at Bally’s in Atlantic City.

Thanks for reading!


Comments (2)

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  1. Dad says:

    Hey Dave,
    NICE! Finally a night of poker to enjoy.
    I’m glad that you didn’t find a toilet filled and no large insect carried you out to Lake Michigan before you played. Best of Luck for the rest of the week.

    PS:A note to Buckley,
    I saw a new LA Fitness going up on RT 3 W. in Clifton area. Could be good spot and I didn’t see any health restaurants in center.

  2. Mike (Media & Film Class of 2010 says:

    Awesome blog man…I actually graduated with you…

    I see you’re in gary, Indiana….

    You should try and check out the Jackson Family Home…

    Only Landmark i Know in Gary, Indiana

    Best of Luck to you


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