Tribal Tripping: Trump 29 Casino - Coachella, CA

Are you up to the Chicken Challenge?

Posted by Chuckmonster

Miss Monkay and I had been talking throughout the week about taking another trip to the Tribal casinos out towards Palm Springs. After some discussion and research we finally decided to visit 'the Donald' at the Trump 29 Casino in Coachella, California [ ]. (Since this story was published, the 29 Palms band of Native Americans have fired the Donald and re-named their joint "Spotlight 29")

We set out towards Coachella (10 miles east or so of Palm Springs) at 8pm or so, traffic on the I-10 was pretty light for a Friday night, and we averaged speeds of 65-70mph the whole way out there (save for a botched 30-minute off-road adventure in search of some Starbucks coffee crack.) We made the 120 mile trip in 2.5 hours... on the way we discussed how sucky the Trump29 website is (the Enter button leads nowhere, and Google cache searches revealed zero backdoors or other usable information) how sucky the Trump29 roadside advertising was (no directions, no real exciting promos until just before the Dillon Road exit). We really had zero idea what this place was going to be like, but based on all things Donald we expected it to be something. What that means, we don't know.

About 3 miles out we spotted large BatSignal/Hollywood Premiere/Luxor-in-Motion style floodlights, piercing the evening sky in a large trippindicular pattern... jackpot? After zipping past the equally glitzy Fantasy Springs Casino we spotted the Trump29 light show and the Dillon Road exit to the right. The exit winds past a Travel America truckstop, around a coupa corners on a bumpy road then into the ample-sized uncovered parking lot (which will probably roast your car during scorching desert afternoons.) We parked the car and walked for 90 seconds before we got to the front entrance... upcoming events: David Sanborn, REO Speedwagon, and 70s Soul Jam featuring Jimmie 'Dyn-O-Mite' Walker, comedian and star of the old show Good Times.

The vibe outside somewhat reminded me of Bally's Vegas... possibly the blue neon mesh towards the left of the building. There is a quaint fountain outside and a very well lit and shiny entrance way (humble by Bellagio standards, but quite grand by Tribal Tripping standards). Outside the three main doors were large Trump 29 Casino outdoor industrial throw rugs... a carpet joint indeed.

We walked inside and directly in front of you is the Cafe Capitato - a basic diner joint, to the hard left a floatilla of slot machines and table games, to the right more slots plus The Food Court gift shop and their brand new Poker Room. We took a short walk to the soft left, around the slots towards the Chairmans Club sign up booth above which lies the Blue Bar from which the loud sounds of latin styled pop music played by a live band (!) eminated. Miss Monkay visited the ladies room (small but clean - no valet) while I oogled the Pac-Man video slots (never seen em before) and studied the large Chicken Challenge advertisement. Basically from noon-8pm you can take your chances beating a chicken at Tic-Tat-Toe and if you win you win some kind of prize. Donald Trump himself beat the chicken and won $250 bucks when he visited the Trump 29 last year.

The designers of the Trump 29 layout deserve special commendation. They are very well aware of the flow of traffic, place cheaper slots to the further edges of the casino (you have to walk through the 25 cent and dollar machines to find them) and use carpeting and lack of carpeting to guide the visitor towards the gambling areas (carpets) and away from non-gambling areas (no carpets). The Food Court features a chinese wok joint, a taco joint a coffee joint and a McRonalds. We were hungry after the long drive and after scoping the joints realized that the least sketchy joint of 'em all was in fact McRonalds. Food came quick, standard McRonalds fare. The dining area is hard cold white tiles, with wood and metal chairs and metal umbrellas overhead (inside - no skylight) one can't help but think that they designed this place uncomfortable on purpose... it worked, we ate and bolted.

The smaller Food Court adjacent gaming area was mostly penny and nickel slots and to the back was a 6-8 table poker room - two tables of which were filled with Hold 'Em players. We also saw a bank of Jeff Foxworthy 'You Might Be A Redneck' penny video slots which make a sheeps noise when you hit some kind of progressive jackpot. Another weird slot machine from the nice folks at Aristocrat Technologies.

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Comments & Discussion

I would agree generally with this article’s assessment, with one caveat. The change in management from the Trump organization to the Indian tribes has lowered the class and professionalism of the management staff. The Trump organization did create a nice casino and hotel, and for the average person their stay should be fine, as long as you spend your money and don’t win too much.

Speaking from experience, when I tried to cash out, I had a manager and three security guards show up and threaten not to pay out, because my signature was supposedly not legible on a declaration form; this was in spite of showing identification and explaining it was my signature. Also, even though I was in the process of leaving, the manager and security verbally harassed me on the way out. Needless to say, the average experience should be better, as the basic work staff is responsive and helpful. All things being equal, I would prefer not to support a casino, whose management is so utterly lacking in professionalism and class

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