This weekend I decided to drive around Seattle, and check out the tribal casinos that I haven’t been to before. On Friday night and Saturday, I visited 9 new casinos.
The main takeaway of the trip is that I loved table games. Prior to this, I never played table games, except when I had a match play offer. The main reason was the table minimums of $5-10 being very expensive for my low-roller blood Turns out, some of these 9 casinos I visited have $2-3 blackjack tables, and $1 roulette, so I had a chance to enjoy table gaming. Problem is, now I don’t get much fun out of slots, after playing hours of blackjack
After this trip, I’ve been to 15 of the 28 tribal casinos in WA State. During this trip I drove about 400 miles, and ended up ahead by $110. Here are the new casinos I’ve visited and my comments on each one of them:
Nice, clean place, which seems to be newly remodeled. Got $10 free play (after 250 points, which accumulated very fast), played for a while and ended up with $11 net profit. They also give $5 match play for new signups, which I lost at the blackjack table. Although it’s nice, it’s very far south, and it’s quite a drive off of I-5. So, I don’t think I’ll be back.
Emerald Queen at I-5:
Very smokey, but has lots and lots of slots, and tables. It was packed with people and smoke. And there were lots of new areas being built, so it looked like a construction site. I wouldn’t have stayed longer here because of the smoke, but I discovered the first $3 blackjack table here. I played about two hours, ended up losing about $30 on the blackjack table, which I made up with a great win ($32 from a $0.25 bet) on 100 Wolves. Machines not accepting player cards is the weirdest thing I’ve seen at a casino this size. Even the smallest casinos have this functionality, and I really don’t know why they have not invested on a good player tracking system yet. As a side note, at the end of my 2-3 hours here, I might have easily second-hand smoked a packet of cigarettes. I think they need to invest on better air ventilation system and a good player tracking system.
Emerald Queen at Fife:
This looked nicer to me than the other one down the road, but this one had no table games. It has a wide open room for non-smokers, which was the best thing about this casino. The non-smoking area was ridiculously underpopulated with machines, and I don’t know why they haven’t thought of squeezing in more machines here. It’s good for the customers, but definitely it’s a waste of prime real estate for them. One downside about this place is the building structure being separate rooms, rather than one big casino floor. It’s like a huge labyrinth, made up of small rooms, hence smoke was still kept in, although not as much as EQC at I-5. I had some wins on 100 Wolves and SJP here, and overall I found the machines to be not so bad in both EQC locations. My total net profit together at both places was $11.
Angel of the Winds:
I really liked this place. Its location is pretty good (being only 10 miles north of Tulalip), and it looks very new and nice. Customers seemed to be nice too. Just one FYI though, their buffet on Saturday is $30, and not even 30% of what Muckleshoot buffet gives you for $25. So, skip the buffet, but regular menu seemed ok to me. I went there Saturday morning and saw a blackjack table with 6-7 people. It didn’t take long for me to realize that it’s a $2 table! I was hanging around to find an empty spot on this table and finally I got one. Played for an hour, $2 per hand, and ended up breaking even. The table converted to $3 minimum at noon, and I left. In the evening I came back to this place and sat down at the same table for $3 per hand. I ended up winning lots of splits, doubles, blackjacks and quickly I was up by $60. They also let you double after split, which was not the case at Emerald Queen. I asked for comps, and got $20 off at the restaurant, which was very nice. I will very probably go back here for some cheap blackjack. Slots were not as good in my experience. I got their $5 free play for new players, and lost quickly. Played some of my blackjack winnings on Pharaoh’s Fortune, Stonehenge etc and didn’t get anything. So, my net profit at this place was $40.
Swinomish Northern Lights:
This casino is very far from I-5, if I knew it was this far, I wouldn’t have gone. It’s in Anacortes, so I was expecting to see some nice views, but it was so so. The place looked small and felt very old. It looked like a deserted fishing village. I didn’t get a good impression overall. I joined their player’s club and spun the wheel, got the biggest possible amount ($10 free play). I lost half of it on Jungle Wilds, pocketed the rest. I then discovered a roulette table with $0.25 chips and $1 minimum bets! If we had such a table in Tulalip or Snoqualmie, that would be packed with 100s of people. This table on the other hand was empty. So, I satisfied my roulette urges for the first time (again due to the fact that I’ve never found such good table limits before). I was the only one playing and played about half hour, coming up ahead by 8 bucks. So, ended up leaving the place with $13 profit. It’s too far from me to deserve another trip, but I wish it was closer so I could go and play some cheap roulette.
Nice, friendly place, right on I-5. Still though, it’s very further up after Tulalip, and Angel of the Winds. It looks old, but the high ceilings and big floor make the place look nice and breathable. I got $5 free play and lost it at Wild Wolf. I found a $3 blackjack, and sat down. Very nice, friendly dealer. Played about an hour and came out $20 ahead, which was my net profit at this casino.
A nice couple of mile drive from I-5 and a nice, new place. I got $5 free play with new player signup, put it into Rich Little Piggies and cashed out $15 after a bonus. Went ahead to find a cheap blackjack, and there’s one for $3, but packed. Waited 5 minutes, but no one seemed to be leaving, so I left this casino. Net profit $15. Don’t think I’ll be back. This one and the Skagit Valley could be good options for Canadians, but for Seattle area players, I’d recommend to stick with the closer ones like Tulalip, Snoqualmie, Angel of the Winds, Muckleshoot etc.
This is a casino, right on the Canada border, in the middle of farms, and villages. The parking lot had a very strong fertilizer (the real thing) smell to it. The location is very remote, but it’s a very peaceful place. You get off your car, and there’s literally no noise except your footsteps. Casino is super small, no new offers for new players and all the players are 50+. No offense to our senior members, but I usually like a good mix of folks in a casino, because it keeps a nice balance for the atmosphere. This place was exclusively geared towards senior citizens, as I could see lots of promotions for 50+ members. There are no table games here, just a couple hundred slots. I walked right out, to drive down to their sister property.
This place also looked very remote, but still it was next to a state highway, so the most remote casino award still stays with Nooksack Northwood. This one had table games, and a $3 blackjack table, but I didn’t like the environment and didn’t play there. I thought, I might as well go and play $3 blackjack at Angel of the Winds, so I can get some comps. There was an empty roulette table with $5 limits. Are you kidding me? This is an empty place, in the middle of nowhere and the limit is even higher than Tulalip, which is the most popular casino in WA. The roulette dealer was eyeing me like a hawk, hungry for customers; of course I didn’t fall for it and moved out quickly. So, at Nooksack tribe casinos, I haven’t played anything and I don’t think I’ll ever see these two places again. They might be good for the local folks out there, but not me. And by the way, looks like even locals don’t like these places, because on the way to Nooksack Northwood, I’ve seen many banners condemning casinos and sending messages to people that gambling is bad etc. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if these two places close soon due to local opposition and lack of customers.