You’ve Gotta Know When To Hold ’em- Our Casino Night

Last night we partook in a guilty pleasure of mine that I haven’t done in a long time. We went gambling!
Here in California (USA) gambling is illegal, unless the casino (or gaming facility) is on Native American land. It’s a long story as to how that came about, but if you are interested you can read about it here.
The newest Native American casino here in California, Graton Resort and Casino,  is in Rohnert Park, which is about a ten minute drive from my hometown of Santa Rosa. What luck! Maybe some of that same luck would win me millions.

Just a side note here before I get started, Chad and I think of gambling as a form of entertainment. We budget (very little really) for it ahead of time and never spend more than we had originally planned… in other words we expect to lose. If you have a problem with gambling or think that it is wrong, please do not hold it against me, I won’t force you to go with me, I promise.

Graton Casino Rohnert Park
Photo found on Wikimedia Commons, Credit Here
Chad and I left Zoë with my parents and headed to the casino. Upon arriving at the new hot spot in town, I was impressed with the way the building looked muted, but flashy at the same time. It had none of the cheesy cheapness of many of the Native American Casinos I have seen or been to, in fact, it had a clean sophisticated look that was welcoming.

We had an excellent time and spent 5 hours playing the tables (Chad) and slot machines (me). We didn’t win our millions, but didn’t lose too much either. I could go on and on about what we did exactly, but instead I thought I would just let you know what I liked about the casino and what I think could be a bit better.

Card games and game tokens 01
No, these are not my stacks of poker chips, I sure wish they were! I found this photo here.

The Great Things About Graton Resort and Casino

  • Ambience and Cleanliness: The casino was tastefully decorated. It was lit well and the noise was actually at a really low-level. It felt almost hushed, there was no slot machine noises or loud music that drowned out any conversation that you would wish to have. The casino was clean and despite allowing smoking throughout most of the gambling floor, it did not smell at all. In fact the only time that I smelled cigarette smoke was when I sat right next to someone currently smoking one.
  • Availability and Choice of Gambling Machines:  The casino was filled with brand spanking new gaming machines, everything from old school reel slot machines to the new video penny machines. All the machines that I saw were well maintained (probably not hard since the casino just opened a few months ago). There was a good variety of betting amounts from pennies to high limits (nope, I didn’t make it into that room).  Also, a good thing to know is that there are non-smoking areas all over the casino and there are the same machines (as far as I could tell) in both smoking or non-smoking areas.
Who would't want to play a Michael Jackson penny video slot machine?!
Who would’t want to play a Michael Jackson penny video slot machine?!
  • Customer Service: As soon as we stepped in the casino we were greeted by helpful, smiling casino employees. They were very attentive to all our needs. There were cocktail servers that would bring complementary non-alcoholic beverages as you sat at the machines or tables on a regular basis. There were also employees walking the floor that would help you with any question you might have.
  • Restaurants: Although I did not try any of the restaurants or eateries, there was a vast array of types of food, ways to eat (cafeteria style to fine dining), and all the eating areas that I saw looked clean, organized and well-managed.
Make sure to get your player rewards card for possible prizes and free slot play money.
Make sure to get your Preferred players card for possible prizes and free slot play money.


The Not-So-Great Things

  • Table Limits: I am not a table player, but Chad is. He was really chagrined to find that the cheapest table minimum was $10. At most of the Native American, heck, at almost all the regular casinos there are tables that have lower minimum bets (around $2-5 on average).  Some people might not mind this so much, but for anyone wanting to gamble just a little bit for entertainment (like us), high table limits make it too stressful.
  • No Free Alcohol: There are no free alcoholic beverages at any of the Native American casinos, it’s a law. I do understand that.  At most of the casinos I have been to, if they do charge, the drinks are fairly inexpensive… because they want to keep you drunk happy and gambling. Duh. But not this casino… the cheapest beer (a Bud Light Bottle) was $4, well really $5 after the dollar tip for the bartender. Well mixed drinks started at $7 and cocktails started at $15! In no way am I saying that one must drink alcohol to have  fun gambling, or doing anything else for that matter, but if you like a beer to sip while you watch the reels go round and round, you will be losing a lot of  money without even putting your first dollar in the machine.
  • Temperature: I admit, I am acclimated to the weather in Phuket, Thailand. I have been freezing cold since we set foot in California, so I may be a bit sensitive. The thing is that, it felt like they had the air conditioning on full blast when it was 16 degrees Celsius (about 60 degrees Fahrenheit) outside. It was unnecessary in my opinion, although it may be because of the extreme ventilation, which I do appreciate. I guess my advice with this one is to bring a winter coat and dress warmly.

All-in-all we had a wonderful time at the Graton Resort and Casino. We probably won’t go again as we are just visiting, but if we lived here I think it would be fun to lose some more money  play to win there again.

Do you like to gamble on occasion? Or what’s another way that you like to waste money  do on a night out? Leave a comment and let me know! I love to hear from you!

***I was not asked to write about my experiences at the Graton Resort and Casino, in fact I am sure that when they handed over my players reward card that they were completely unaware that I write a blog. My opinions about this establishment are completely my own and yours will probably differ, because we are all different. For more information about And Three To Go’s Legal Disclaimers and Review Standards go here.***

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