Colorado Casino Trip Report October 2021

In late October, Kristina and I took an early flight from Las Vegas to Denver. We rented a car and drove to Cripple Creek. We stayed two nights in Black Hawk, covering there and Central City.

These are some of the best regional casino markets in the country. Ten times odds at craps is normal. Some offer 20 times odds. All but three Colorado blackjack tables pay 3:2. Nearly every casino offers at least one 99% or better video poker game. 

This blog post covers what we played and other observations. Our full Colorado Gaming Guide may be purchased by clicking the link on the image below or this link. It has every live and electronic table game that we found at commercial Colorado casinos. It also has the best video poker sorted by property. The cost is $5.

Cripple Creek

This was our first visit since bet limits went up in May 2021. Table games in Cripple Creek were closed due to pandemic restrictions during our 2020 Colorado casino visit. This was our first time seeing those games open.

We stopped at Wildwood Casino first. It is about a quarter of a mile away from the other Cripple Creek casinos. We noticed some changes to the table game pit. The most noticeable was the addition of baccarat. We also discovered that craps is now 10 times odds, down from 20 times odds.

After that, we drove to Century Casino. We walked for the rest of the afternoon. 

We did not see many changes through that side of the street. The Midnight Rose poker room is permanently closed. There were a few more electronic table games. The video poker games seemed to be the same as it was during our previous visit. 

We went down to Double Eagle, crossed, and headed back towards the car on the opposite side of East Bennett Avenue. I knew the machine that I wanted to play was over there.

Johnny Nolon’s has two triple play machines. These are quarter coin games. This casino has many coin video poker and slot machines. The video poker is all quarter denomination. The coin slots reels have that and $1, $5 and $25. 

Kristina and I played the best game there for about 20 to 30 minutes. It is Not-so-ugly-deuces. There are several 99% or better games on it. The game that shows as Bonus Poker is actually Bonus Poker Deluxe.

Our last stop was Bronco Billy’s. It is in the middle of an expansion. The last part of the property is gone. Sadly, that is where I found 10/6 Double Double Bonus last time. I did not find it anywhere here on this trip.

I played some blackjack at Bronco Billy’s. It was Thursday. All its table games at Bronco Billy’s have a $5 minimum bet on that day weekly. 

After this, we took the 2.5 hour drive to Black Hawk. We had free rooms at Ameristar and a $50 food comp. We used that at Timberline Grill. It was exceptional. I had the scallops. Kristina had the filet. 

I had a $70 free play but it expired the next day. We were tired from all the travel and went to bed. When I got up the next morning, I discovered the free play had expired at 6am. It was clear on the mailer. I just did not read it closely enough. Always read the fine print.

Central City

We toured Central City the next morning. We started at Johnny Z’s. It is in a remodel that includes a rebranding to Dragon Tiger Casino. I played some $5 blackjack at Century Casino. Our next stop was Famous Bonanza. It is a casino that operates mostly on coins. It has a variety of old nickel video and higher denomination reels. 

After playing some there, we walked to Dostal Alley and Easy Street Casino. Neither have any table games. Our last stop was Grand Z Casino. After we checked out the games, we had a conversation with Sean, the sportsbook manager. I ended up making a losing bet on Michigan for the next day there.

Black Hawk

Black Hawk is the largest casino city in Colorado. Ameristar and Monarch are major properties. Isle Casino, Lady Luck, Bally’s and Lodge are also on the larger side for this market.

Our first stop was Lodge. The two most noticeable changes were a large stadium area and the Superbook upstairs. Stadium Three Card Poker is dealt here. It is the only installation of this game that we found in Colorado. 

We walked towards Z Casino next. Our first stop was the Wild Card Saloon. We were surprised to find that smoking is allowed there. It is apparently considered to be a cigar bar, not a casino, so it is exempt from the statewide smoking ban. It is all slots. Bull Durham is next door to it. It was much the same, except that there was no smoking. 

We went to Z Casino next. Its table games are closed for the season. There are a few electronic ones. Sasquatch did not have any gambling games that I wanted to play. Instead, I put a quarter in the Frogger machine. I could not make the top score.

It was time to head back the other direction. We stopped in Gilpin and Saratoga. Both seemed mostly the same as the last trip. 

Our next stop was the Bally’s complex. This once consisted of Golden Gates, Mardi Gras and Golden Gulch. Now, the name of each is Bally’s and its direction from the center. However, all outdoor signage still showed the old names. 

There were some changes at these properties. The DraftKings sportsbook had some reconfiguration since we were there for its opening. The blackjack tables no longer permit surrender. Single deck blackjack is gone. An employee said that happened when the bet limits increased.

Lady Luck was next on our walk. Table games had moved upstairs since our last visit. The room was branded as O’Sheas, after the Las Vegas Strip Irish pub. All three 6:5 blackjack tables I found on this trip were there. It also has some 3:2 tables.

Some of the good video poker machines were in the upstairs area of Lady Luck last trip. A few remain. I found some of those machines at Isle Casino. Baccarat tables replaced some blackjack ones under the poker room at Isle Casino.

At this point, we were hungry and tired. We walked back to our hotel at Ameristar to relax. We ended up agreeing on dinner at Mardi Gras Casino. The casino cafe was as expected and competitively priced compared to other options in town.

The next day, we went back to the sportsbook at Grand Z in Central City to watch Michigan at Michigan State. The sportsbook has dozens of seats. However, we were the only ones there. It was nice to have it to ourselves, but I felt like the effort this operation has put into sports betting deserves better support.

After Michigan failed to cover the spread, we headed down to Monarch Casino. It is newly remodeled. Additions include a poker room, new restaurants, rooftop pool and hotel. A sportsbook is under construction. 

We received a tour of the property from Nick, the sportsbook manager. He took us to the rooftop pool. We got some great pictures of the outdoor deck. Big thank you to him and Monarch for allowing us access to the property. 

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