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Best of John G. Brokopp

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Love of Boyd Properties Takes Couple Cross Country

11 November 2009

The majority of recreational gaming enthusiasts exhibit some degree of brand loyalty when it comes to choosing a location for a casino outing, but Alex Bratu and his wife Mary Anne Sulik are in a class by themselves.

Happily married for 17 years (Mary Anne kept her maiden name), the couple became enamored with the customer service, dining options, and hotel amenities of Boyd Gaming properties and took that infatuation to delirious new heights.

Last week they embarked on a cross-country road trip from their home in Milford, Connecticut to visit each and every one of the 14 Boyd Gaming casino properties located in six states nationwide, including Blue Chip casino, Hotel & Spa in Michigan City, Indiana, and Par-A-Dice Casino Hotel in East Peoria, Illinois.

I caught up with them while they were traveling from Blue Chip to Par-A-Dice in their Toyota Camry, which will have some 6,800 miles added to an odometer that already has over 125,000 miles on it before their journey is completed this weekend.

"In early September I was coming to the end of my career with my company and I decided I needed a rest," Alex said. "I wasn't going to worry about employment for a few months and have a little fun, so I said to Mary Anne, 'Why don't we visit all of the Boyd properties?' She said, 'Great, let's do it!'."

They began their journey with a visit to the plush Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, a four-hour drive from their home, then jumped in the car to drive to Blue Chip, where they arrived on Monday of last week and enjoyed an overnight stay in the immaculate new Spa Blu Tower.

From there it was on to Par-A-Dice, then another long drive to Sam's Town in Tunica, Mississippi followed by a weekend trip to Louisiana where they visited Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, Delta Downs Racetrack Hotel & Casino in Vinton, and Sam's Town in Shreveport.

Last Sunday morning they embarked on a long trip to Las Vegas (no Boyd properties along the way), where they expected to hit the remaining six destinations on Tuesday and Wednesday, including Downtown properties California, Main Street and Fremont, as well as Sam's Town, Suncoast, Orleans and Gold Coast in Vegas and surrounding communities.

"Mary Anne and I are what you'd call 'low rollers'," Alex said. "We like the penny and nickel slots. For us it's entertainment. Lately our favorite game is Survivor."

The couple had a chance to meet and chat with William S. Boyd, executive chairman, and Keith Smith, president and CEO of Boyd Gaming, last week at Sam's Town in Tunica when they flew in for an employee talent show that was being held.

"We're having a blast," Alex said. "We're not 'glitzy' people and we love the Downtown area in Vegas and other locals-oriented casinos. It's also nice to be able to play with one player's club card, Boyd Gaming's B-Connected card, which can be used at every one of their properties."

Mary Anne's affinity for Boyd casinos begins with the hotel amenities, which are exemplified in the new Spa Blu Tower at Blue Chip.

"We travel a lot, and Boyd properties are always immaculate," she said. "The staff always seems to be extra friendly and helpful, and every employee I've encountered is always very complimentary of how they are treated. That's very important."

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp