We just returned from a very brief staycation up in Oklahoma. 5 hours long at the WinStar World Casino, just over the border and about 1 hour 17 minutes from our front door. We had the pleasure of the company of many a school district employee of North Texas at the various tables we played.
Sevy and I love to play cards; hearts, gin rummy, euchre, poker, Quiddler - we love to play whether or not money is on the line. But let's face it, there's nothing so fun as winning a big gob of money on a blind hand in three card poker, now is there? That having been said, we're truly bottom feeders, looking for the $5 limit tables and only making the trip on the occasional month, not occasional week or day.
Usually we spend an overnighter in Shreveport, but with limited time we decided to check out the updates north - we'd last been there when the "5th largest casino in the world" was still under partial construction (as in the mile long people mover was not yet working). The time trade-off is about 1 hour of driving each way, but the quality trade off is eons apart - in fact we've decided to cross WinStar off of our list completely.
Here's why the longer trip is worth the drive. Competition. While Shreveport has 4-5 large casinos reminiscent of what you would find in Las Vegas, WinStar is the only game in Okie-town - and they know it. Tablemates (all teachers in Cedar Hill School District) at the Three Card Poker table groused that the night before they'd had to wait over 3 hours to get a seat, and the table limits had risen to a fairly high $15. We felt fortunate to only wait 45 minutes for our seats, but still felt this was unnecessarily long as there were other tables that could have been opened but weren't. In Shreveport when this happens you just (take a cab if you've been drinking) go to one of the other large casinos on the river to try your luck.
To add insult to injury, WinStar charges an ante on table games of $.50 per hand, I'd never seen this done in casinos in Las Vegas, New Mexico, Michigan, Missouri or Louisiana. The game choices are very limited too, no Caribbean Stud, no Let It Ride, no Pai Gow Poker, they didn't even have Roulette that I could see, it was truly pathetic. Here's the clincher - no free cocktails. In fact, they charged Sevy $1.25 for a bottle of water - WHAT, WHAT?
Now if you're a penny slots player, WinStar may be your thing - they've got thousands of those machines, just push your way through the senior citizens on oxygen spending their Social Security stipends and pick your machine. But you won't find me there - I want to win money, not get nickled and dimed.