Sunday, August 19, 2012

Vegas-Style Gambling Comes to North Carolina

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We had heard about a huge change at Harrah’s Cherokee so on the spur of the moment, we drove to the casino yesterday afternoon. By last minute I mean we were headed out for burgers. We somehow end up in Cherokee, North Carolina. Prior to leaving the house, I had grabbed forty bucks and my driver’s license. That’s it.

I’d only mentioned the casino in casual conversation. Next thing you know, we’re off. As a sidebar, let me just say that I’m beginning to see the true appeal in empty nest. Isn’t it grand?

Anyway, Harrah’s Cherokee is about a two hour drive from our place. And that’s with a maniac behind the wheel (my DH believes he missed his NASCAR calling). We made it to Cherokee in record time. If I’d known what had been waiting for us, I probably would’ve insisted on being present for the first ‘roll’ across the craps table this past Wednesday.

Oh yes, you read correctly, my friends. Harrah's Cherokee now has live craps! I'm more excited than Kris Jenner was when she became famous!Okay, bad joke. I actually think Jenner is pretty cool.

Back on topic. Casino gambling. Harrah's. Pull up a chair gambling fans. I'm about to share some fantastic news with you.

Harrah's Cherokee recently completed a grand expansion. I still can’t get over the HUGE makeover.

The most advantageous additions are found on their gaming floor. Harrah’s added ‘live’ tables this past week (meaning Vegas style—without the digital nonsense). While I’m impressed, to say the least, the casino still has a few quirks to work out.

The craps tables were packed. Limits ranged from $10-$25 on three tables. A player couldn’t stand there long without being elbowed one way or another.

At times, I felt like I was on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Instead of throwing around orders, players were tossing chips this way or that. Most of them didn’t have a clue what they were betting on which irked this player, not that I’m a professional, but when I throw my money down in a casino you can bet your sweet sitter downer this player knows what she's betting on.

Anyway, I somehow stood there for about an hour and a half, listening to a few old timers bitch about the game progress. Let me add right here, for the first time in my life I truly understand the difference between ‘don’t’ players and the rest of us. Those players playing the don’t line have an attitude I’ll never quite understand.

In any case, our first three shooters rolled maybe a total of eight times. The dealers had a real issue with paying the players correctly at this point. The crowded table made for some nervous employees. To make matters worse, the players consisted of one-third craps players (those of us who understood the game) and two-thirds tourists, those who didn't know how to play at all.

The true gamblers possessed little patience for incorrect payouts. The tourists didn’t know the difference. Remember now, craps dealers must be quick thinkers. They need to be able to pay out a wide variety of bets on a moment's notice or else they slow down the game. Our game moved at a turtle's pace.

After listening to the ‘pros’ bitch about the way the dealers handled the players and payouts, I decided to call it a night. My forty bucks had turned into four hundred because the DH staked my attendance at the craps table. I found him at a blackjack table, returned his three hundred dollar investment, pocketed the extra, and told him I was ready to go.

That never happens in a casino. I tend to stay and stay until someone drags me out kicking and screaming. Well, maybe it’s not that drastic.

In the end, I was glad we drove up the mountain yesterday. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the vast changes, but keep in mind I was one of the first players to play up there back when the gaming took place in an old tribal warehouse casino, a real hole-in-the-wall. Later, I was there for the unveiling of the Harrah’s-owned casino. We were among some of the first guests to stay in their original hotel. Some of the employees there were like family. Then, I stopped going. I don’t really play slots and that was sort of their forte.

That was then. This is now. Today, Harrah’s Cherokee is a first-class gaming resort.

Right now, table limits are high ($50 minimums on blackjack tables with live cards), but I assume the limits will lower as more tables are added. The poker room will be a live card poker room in a couple of weeks, if the employees told the straight of it.

There are some rumors about a few other nice additions, too. Then, who will need Vegas? Not this gal. I like to stay close to home. Besides, whenever I travel west, it takes about three point eight seconds for someone to have a dire emergency that requires an immediate return home. Now, I can have the best of both worlds. A getaway at a relaxing casino resort without the long distance travel time.

Large billboards once cluttered East Tennessee, the Carolinas, and Southwest Virginia with ad splashes which read: There’s Gold in these Hills. Admittedly, I used to curse that sign because at the time, Harrah’s only offered games of chance. Now, with a state-of-the-art poker room, craps tables, great dining options, super entertainment, boutique shopping, and five-star hotel rooms & suites, I couldn’t agree more.

Yes indeed. You’ll find gold in those hills now. And it’s about time.

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International bestselling author, Destiny Blaine writes in all genres. Her Siren-Bookstrand novella, Lying Eyes appeals to lovers and players alike. The banter between Max and Audra makes for some sexy dialogue where card playing quickly becomes foreplay at its finest. For a quick read, check out the short story, Mississippi Dry Spell available from Destiny Blaine Productions

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