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.***

  14 comments for “You’ve Gotta Know When To Hold ’em- Our Casino Night

  1. freebutfun
    May 9, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    I’ve never really gotten into gambling. I wouldn’t have anything against gambling the way you do but I guess I just rather stick to sipping the beer and chatting with people for entertainment 😉

    Btw, some trivia for you: here gambling is a monopoly by law, and the slot machine association (no idea what the official name in English would be) donates all profits to third sector charity organisations thereby being the biggest supporter of these kind of causes in the country. It’s not just me who see some controversial aspects in this scenario. ..

    • andthreetogo
      May 9, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      How interesting! All their profits go to charity?! I will have to read up more about that.
      Yes, I usually prefer beers and conversation with friends but occasionally the thrill of losing a bit of money sounds appealing. LOL

  2. Cyndie Tobin
    May 9, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Good to know. I feel the same about gambling. I have my limit and that is that. I like the two quarter max slot machine and it has to have cherries.

    • andthreetogo
      May 9, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      I like those machines too!

  3. Bronwyn Joy @ Journeys Of The Fabulist
    May 10, 2014 at 5:33 am

    I’m not into it. I wholly support people who can gamble recreationally according to their budget and not get sucked in – my Uncle used to go all the time, using the same rules, and my Granddad likes a little go on the pokies – but I just don’t enjoy it myself.

    The Native American thing is interesting (and weird) though. I love how those quirky little laws grow up.

    • andthreetogo
      May 10, 2014 at 5:45 am

      I know a ton of people that feel the same way you do. 🙂 I think it is ok either way. 🙂 it is interesting how things begin sometimes. There are casinos all over California, which makes sense as really all of America was Native American land before the “settlers” came. 🙂

  4. runningafterale
    May 10, 2014 at 10:01 am

    I would love to try gambling. I’m just afraid that I would loose the millions I don’t have! One day I’ll make it to Vegas!

    • andthreetogo
      May 10, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      Haha! That is a real concern for sure! It is really important (in my opinion) to go into a casino with a certain amount of cash and only bring what you are prepared to lose.
      I lived in Vegas for a while and learned that the hard way. 🙂

  5. thehomeschoolingdoctor
    May 12, 2014 at 1:31 am

    Fun night out! I always made a little when I would gamble in St. Louis or on our honeymoon, but my husband would proceed to take it all and lose what I gained. Ugh!

    • andthreetogo
      May 12, 2014 at 2:02 am

      That’s what usually happens to us, but chad saved us this time with Texas hold’em. 🙂

  6. Brian
    December 6, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    Sounds like a fun night, but thats a real bummer that the drinks are so expensive. Many casinos in the south will just give you the drinks for free. I totally agree with setting limits! They say the loss of $10 feels worse than the winning of $20! Thanks for sharing your trip!

    • andthreetogo
      December 10, 2016 at 6:40 pm

      It was fun. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  7. Ollie
    June 9, 2017 at 2:19 am

    As an uneducated Swede I was under the impression gambling was only legal in Las Vegas. But as I’m planning a road trip around the US with a buddy, I see blogs about casinos all over the US. Makes it easier to find places to gamble, but we can’t possible see everything in a month and decisions are hard 😉
    Ollie recently posted…Världens bästa kiropraktorMy Profile

    • June 19, 2017 at 11:58 am

      I am sure you can find them throughout California and in other states as well. Good luck!

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