Harrah’s Casino, Cheroke NC
Location and Contact Info
- Harrah’s Casino, Cherokee NC
- 777 Casino Dr.
Cherokee, NC 28719
- (828) 497-7777
The casino is located right on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s about 45 minute to an hour drive to Gatlinburg TN, and then about 15 or 20 minutes on to Pigeon Forge. It’s probably only about 15 miles in a straight line from Cherokee to Gatlinburg, but you don’t go any where in that area in a straight line. There is lots of other stuff to do, if you have to bring along family members that maybe don’t enjoy the casino as much. That area has been a major tourist trap for years, long before a casino ever popped up.
General Review for Harrah’s Casino in North Carolina
I only got to spend a short amount of time in the casino as I had my wife with me and she is not all that big into the casinos, but she let me a have a couple of hours to play some poker while we were there. We spent the weekend in Gatlinburg. Most rooms in that area are in the $120.00 to $250.00/night. On the Harrah’s web site the rooms during the week ran about $120/night. When I checked for weekend rates, rooms for the next 3 months were booked so I don’t know what their week end rate is. I didn’t look out any further. My wife and I paid $119/night for a 2 bedroom Villa in Gatlinburg the weekend of September. 11th. The same room goes for $250/night later on into October and November.
The casino just completed a large parking deck so you do have free covered parking, they also have valet parking if you are so inclined. The have a couple of nice restaurants opening in the casino soon. I didn’t go check them out but according to the web site they are going to open a Paula Deen restaurant and a Ruth Chris Steak house. The Ruth Chris is not supposed to open until 2011, but the Paula Deen restaurant may have been open already.
It says late in 2010. If we had know at the time we would have checked to see if it was open yet.. My wife is a big fan of Paula Deen, and we have eaten at her restaurant in Savannah and it’s pretty good food. They also have a buffet, we were not there long enough to try it, but it was very busy. It’s down on the casino floor so we passed right by it. Looked more like a food court but they called it a buffet.
Poker Action and Table Games
The poker room, along with every game in the casino is electronic. So, to play you must get a players card. You then go to a cashier and set up a poker account. You must give the cashier the money and he will put the money on your account. This means that if you bust, you must leave the table go to a cashier window and put more money on your card before you can resume play, as there are no dealers at the tables. You can fund your account with enough to re-buy at the table, but if you don’t you can’t pull out your wallet and buy chips on the spot.
You have a computer screen in front of you. It’s like playing online except you can see the other players. There are no chips, your stack size is shown in a display in front of your seat at the table. All the cards and pot details are displayed on the video monitor that is the table. The table is large, they would accommodate 9 players, and every thing is big enough to see easily, except that they keep it pretty dark and the glare from the big screen TVs on the walls above made it difficult sometimes to make out the cards in the middle.
To bet you are shown a display of a $1, $5 and $25 chip and you tap the screen for the domination you want to bet. To see your cards you cup your hands on the display and the edge of your two cards will flip up to show you what you have. It’s a bit touchy and it took me a few times to get the position just right. They also have a clock on every action. I never saw the clock run out on anyone in the hour and half I played, but I assumed your hand was folded. You have 45 seconds for every action, So as you can guess, you can play a few more hands than at a live table.
The only up side to this arrangement, that I see, is you don’t have to tip a dealer. From the Casino’s standpoint, I guess it’s a good deal for them. You play more hands which means more rake and they don’t have to pay dealers. There was one guy on duty and running the whole thing. There really can be no controversy as you can’t string bet, or bet out of turn or question a ruling as it is all handled by a computer. I guess if I didn’t have any other options I would play at these tables but I still prefer a true live game.
I never got the exact amount of the rake, but I watched a few times and it seemed to be pulling $4.00 or $5.00 per hand in Rake. I was playing 1/2 NL, which had a max initial buy-in of $200.00. They had a list going for people wanting to play 2/5 NL which had a $500.00 max buy-in. The list had 6 or 7 people on it which seemed like enough to start a table but they never did. They also had a 4/8 limit table going. I was there on a Saturday between 4 and 6 PM. There were 4 or 5 tables going, a few 1/2 NL and one limit table. According to the web site the tables can used to play Stud or Omaha.
They had no bad beat or any kind of jackpot promotion going when I was there. When I asked the other players they all gave a resounding no, as if they were exasperated by the fact they did not have any kind of Jackpot hands.
I saw nothing about tournaments. I didn’t ask but their website says nothing about them either. I imagine the tables could be programmed to do that, but it doesn’t look like they are doing it right now.
This section will be a bit brief as I really only play poker. I did look around a bit and they have a number of table games. The blackjack tables do use live dealers and chips, but apparently the cards are all done electronically. I walked by a couple of the tables and each seat has a video display in front of it. They also had some totally electronic three card poker tables, with virtual dealers. The dealers were shown on a large video display in front of the table. I saw no one playing them while I was there. I didn’t see any roulette, or craps tables. So I don’t think they do those, the website doesn’t mention them either.
If you like slots then you should be able to find a slot machine for you. The casino was pretty large and they had slot machines every where. They ranged from the penny slots up to a high roller section. I don’t know what values they had as I didn’t venture over but I imagine it’s like most casino’s $5 and up machines. They also had video poker.
My wife played penny slots while I played poker and she won a little over $200.00 in the hour and half we were there. Probably not typical, trying to get her hooked maybe?
Comps and Casino Rewards
As I mentioned earlier you have to get a players card, The players card is part of Harrah’s total rewards and good at any of the Harrah’s locations.. So if you already have a total rewards card then you should be all set. When I got home and checked on the Harrah’s reward site, for my one and one half hour of play I received 0 points on my card. A week or so later I got an email welcoming me to the rewards program and when I went and checked my points again I had a 175 points.
I also got a mailer a week or so after that with a coupon for a free meal at their buffet and $10.00 in game credits. For the time my wife played slots she got a little over 200 points and she got a coupon for a free weekday night a $35.00 food credit and $20.00 in game credits.
Something else to keep in mind, drinks are not free in this casino. A beer is $3.00, and I don’t think they allow mixed drinks. You can get sodas and water of coarse. You can also get food and eat it at the poker table. I didn’t order anything, but a soda along with a tip to the waitress would probably cost you $3.00 or $4.00. They do allow smoking in the casino, the poker area is smoke free and they have some smoke free slot areas as well.
The casino is nice enough and looks fairly new. I must admit I am not a big fan of the electronic poker. Although since I was only stopping in and had a limited amount of time to play it was probably better, as I could get in a few more hands than I would have in a live game. I would not go there just to stay at the casino, but I think it would make a nice day stop on your next smoky mountain vacation.