Trip Report: North Carolina Cherokee Casinos

Written by: John Mehaffey , Expert on Las Vegas Casinos, Games, and Travel
5 minute read

Harrahs Cherokee River Valley CasinoI decided to take advantage of an offer from Harrah’s Cherokee River Valley last week. The casino is located just outside of Murphy, North Carolina. It is about two hours north of the metro Atlanta area. It also gave me a chance to visit with my family before the holidays as I am from Atlanta.

The Harrah’s offer was two $150 free play coupons, free hotel, and a $25 food voucher. The $150 free play coupons go directly into a slot or video poker machine as if it was a ticket. It must be wagered one time before it can be cashed out.

Using My Free Play Coupon

The first free play coupon ended on December 14, while the second started on the 15th. The time the offers start and end is midnight. This created the opportunity to receive $300 on this trip.

I got this offer from visiting Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River in June. I’ve received them every month since. My previous action was mostly video blackjack with some odd play on some bad video poker games like Shamrock 7’s. I even played some video keno to mix it up. I booked a moderate win on that trip.

Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River offers little more than gambling. There is a small hotel. There are five fast food outlets; Starbucks, Earl of Sandwich, Panda Express, Papa John’s, and Nathan’s Famous. There is no entertainment or sit-down dining options. There is a small Diamond Lounges where drinks are half price. Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River and its larger sister casino do not comp drinks. Total Rewards points may be used.

Games Available at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River

There is a variety of games at Cherokee. Many are the same slots and Games Kings found in Las Vegas. Table games like craps, roulette, real money blackjack, Three Card Poker, and Mississippi Stud are also there.

There are some machines that are rare outside the North Carolina Harrah’s casinos. These are Pot O’ Gold devices. Most are video poker and keno games with bad pay tables. These include 6/5 Jacks or Better where quads only pay 15-1, and Deuces Wild that only pays three on a full house and shorts a deuces royal flush.

Best Machine to Play: Shamrock 7’s

The most popular game on these machines is Shamrock 7’s. This is a joker game that has a bonus feature when making three or more 7’s. The player chooses one of three pots of gold for a bonus of six to thirty times the bet. The progressive jackpot, which resets at only 500 bets, is five of a kind.

Real money keno games on these devices require skill, so to speak. The game drops 10 numbers and asks the player if he wants to double the bet. Once that decision is made, the other 10 numbers drop.

Video Blackjack Best Game at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River

There are video blackjack games on separate Pot O’ Gold machines. This version is much better than the live blackjack.

Basic Rules Found at These Machines

The rules are single deck with the dealer standing on all 17’s. Blackjack pays 3-2. Players can double down on 9, 10 and 11. Double down after splitting is not allowed. Pairs may only be split one time. Split aces may be hit.

The player automatically wins on six-card Charlie. If the dealer hits six cards, he must stand. This last rule is quite odd. If you stand on 13 and the dealer makes 16, you lose. On the other hand, if you stood on 17, you’d win. It doesn’t come up often.

Getting Total Rewards Points

This video blackjack machines only pays one Total Rewards point for every $45 wagered. That’s 4.5 times worse than the rest of the machines. However, the game triggers mailers for free play. The bet range is $2 to $50. It’s possible to achieve Diamond from daily tier point bonuses. It’s far more difficult to do it without these. Dedicated players can make Seven Stars on about 15-20 visits.

This video blackjack game is lightning fast. It’s possible to play about 1,500 hands an hour. Each hand only takes two to five seconds.

Popular Table Games

Blackjack – There are two live blackjack games. Both permit double down on any two cards and after splitting. The $10 game hits soft 17. The $50 game in the high limit room stands on it.

Roulette – The roulette is double zero. Craps is 10 times odds. The Field only pays double on 12.

Here is a list of all table games at Harrah’s Cherokee:

  • Six-deck blackjack H17: $10-$1,500 (26)
  • Six-deck blackjack S17: $50-$3,000 (3)
  • Double Zero Roulette: $10-$300 (6)
  • Baccarat: $25-$5,000 (8)

  • High Card Flush: $5-$200 (3)
  • Craps: $10-$3,000 (4)
  • Three Card Poker: $10-$300 (4)
  • Mississippi Stud: $5-$25

Video Table Games:

  • Big Wheel: $5-$700 (1)
  • Blackjack: $2-$50 (10)

  • Double Zero Roulette: $5-$100 (1)

The Game Kings in high limit have two reasonable games. One is 8/5 Bonus Poker. The other is 9/6 Double Double Bonus. The denominations are $2 and $5.

Original Harrah’s Cherokee

Harrahs Cherokee Casino FloorThe original Harrah’s Cherokee is about one hour east of the one in Murphy and is a different world. It has exponentially more tables and machines. It also offers a bowling alley, spa, entertainment complex, spa, poker room, buffet, and higher-end restaurants. The blackjack rules are the same except that there is one double-deck game in high limit.

Harrah’s Cherokee Table Game Inventory:

  • Six-deck Blackjack H17: $10-$1,000 (54)
  • Six-deck Blackjack S17: $50-$2,000 (11)
  • Double Deck Blackjack H17: $50-$2,000 (1)
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’em: $5-$200 (2)
  • High Card Flush: $5-$200 (2)
  • Mississippi Stud: $5-$25 (4)
  • EZ Pai Gow Poker: $5-$1,000 (1)
  • Big Wheel: $10-$100 (2)

  • Double Zero Roulette: $10-$300 (11)
  • Craps: $10-$3,000 (9)
  • Baccarat: $25-$5,000 (5)
  • Three Card Poker: $10-$300 (8)
  • Let it Ride: $10-$300 (8)
  • Crazy 4 Poker: $10-$200 (2)
  • Stadium Baccarat: $25-$1,000 (1)
  • Stadium Double Zero Roulette: $5-$300 (1)

Video Table Games:

  • Stadium 6-5 Blackjack: $1-$100 (1)
  • Stadium Double Zero Roulette: $.25-$100 (1)
  • Double Zero Roulette: $0.25-$325 (1)

  • Craps 2x odds: $1-$2,000
  • Blackjack: $2-$50 (20)

One Final Victory Before Leaving

I booked another moderate win at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River. It came from the video blackjack game and a $400 royal flush at Shamrock 7’s.

John Mehaffey

John Mehaffey Expert on Las Vegas Casinos, Games, and Travel

John Mehaffey is a poker and casino expert who has been playing online games for money since 2001. He knows how to find the best video poker and table games and writes about casino players' clubs, promotions, and things to do in Las Vegas, where he currently resides.

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