Harrahs Cherokee casino is the closest legit casino to me. I hadn’t made a trip up to NC to gamble until they added live cards to their blackjack tables about a year ago. I’ve mostly gambled in Vegas, but I’ve also visited casinos in Kansas City, Connecticut, Lake Tahoe, Atlantic City, Biloxi, San Diego, and Miami so I’ve seen about every level of gaming house whether their average player rides in a Bentley or a Rascal scooter.
It is a 2.5 hour drive for me to get to Harrahs Cherokee so I’ve got to have a full day available to make the trip worthwhile. I’ve never stayed overnight, but the nice people at Harrahs Total Rewards keep offering me rooms so one of these times I’ll have to take them up on it and stay overnight – I have booked a free room even though I knew I had to be back the same night just so I had a smoke free place to relax between blakcjack sessions. The room was nice, about what you’d expect from a mid-level chain hotel along the lines of a Doubletree or Courtyard.
I’ve been to Cherokee a handful of times in the past year and overall I’m impressed with their operation. It is bigger than I had anticipated with a very large gaming floor. They have too many slot machines for my liking, but considering their location and the relatively high average age of their clientele it is probably fitting. I’m a fan of people watching and in general it isn’t that great here since you have a bunch of early retirement guys playing table games and an older tour bus crowd playing slots and not much entertainment to speak of so it doesn’t draw out the young locals or unemployed odd-balls that some other places draw in.
As far as gaming goes they have a decent selection of table games going at any time of the day or day of the week. I’ve only been out here during the day and honestly I don’t think I’d enjoy a weekend night since the crowds can build pretty quickly even on a Sunday afternoon. I’ve found that to play blackjack by myself as I prefer it usually has to be during a weekday at the $25 tables or I have to increase my limits and play in the high-limit room at $50 tables. They do have a nice touch with the $25+ tables which don’t allow mid-shoe entry which helps to keep out the swoop and poop guys who just want to place one bet and take off.
All of the blackjack tables are auto-shuffle and there is no surrender available anywhere in the casino. This isn’t my preferred set-up, but since my local options are limited I’ve adjusted my strategy to find a way to make money while not using surrender.
Overall rating for Harrahs Cherokee B
Dealer/staff friendliness: A-
People Watching: C+ – might be better on a weekend night
Nightlife: no thanks