Rehab Is For Quitters : Casino Morongo Review

If a quick tribal fix is all that is available, I'll take it.

Posted by Miss Monkay

There are plenty of table games. 3 and 4(?) Card Poker, various incarnations of Pai Gow and some California Craps, but Blackjack is the name of the game here. The tables are set up in a horseshoe fashion, following the shape of the casino. The entire outside ring is blackjack, with minimums from $5 to $100. The floor is mostly dominated by the higher limit tables, $25-$100 with a reasonable amount of $15 tables. There are only two $5 tables, leaving not much chance of a seat, but I manage to spy an available one in the back. I check out the dude next to it and he is drunk and loud and being argumentaive with his friend. The dealer looks fed up. Forget it. Bad vibes all around. I seek out another table and find a relatively empty $10, pull up a chair, lay out my loot and wait for the dealer to shuffle. Just as the dealer slides the cards into the shoe, players start flocking to the table. Suddenly, my near empty table is a full house. I place my bet and the cards hit the felt. I lose the first hand, push the next, and lose the following. I hit a couple in a row eventually, including a blackjack that wins back some my losses to the slots. Then, the lady to my right stands on a soft 17 against a dealer 3 - another player makes a 'tsk-tsk' sound - the dealer questions her actions and she stands firm. The rest of us stand and the dealer flips the cards to reveal a 4. He hits and it is a 4, hits again and of course, it is a face card. Everyone looks at the lady in disgust and the table energy makes a tectonic shifts - the cards continually flow against all of us. Everyone is losing. My stack starts to dwindle, the dealer is tapped out and after losing through the rest of the shoe, I pop her a tip and walk away, cold.

I take a quick pass of the floor to check on Jackpots. I can't find her. Navigating through the banks of machines is tricky, the navigational flow is not very fluid. I give up and head to the coffee bar in the rear. I get a croissant and a hot chocolate, both delicious and call Jackpots. She has found herself a 25 reel sustainer and is camped out in front of it, happy. I find a similar one close by and feed it $80. It sustains me for 30 minutes. Jackpots finds me, having made her way down to the 0 credits mark as well. It is close to 7:00 and we decide it is time to head back to L.A. But first, Jackpots has to have a go on this one machine she has had her eye on. It's the 2x|5x|10x bar $1 machine and it is occupied. She waits. She spys another one a bank over, also occupied. She stands between them, eyes darting back and forth, waiting for one of them to become vacant. Eventually, the second one opens up and she stuffs $40 into it. Nothing. She tries another $20 to no avail. She gets up and as we leave, we see that her first choice machine has a new player at it and the reels are lined up with 2x|5X|bar. She curses the luck and we head out.

Saturday, 7:00 pm

We hit the road and immediately launch into our impressions of the new joint. She agrees that it seems hard to navigate and finding each other was a difficult task. We attribute this to placement of the 'craps' tables which separate the banks of slots and the horseshoe shape of the casino floor. Aside from that, I think the place is beautiful, aestetically. The colors are warm the decorations are tasteful. It is airy and reminds me somewhat of a miniature version of the Palms. I love what they did with it [the old Morongo was crowded to the death of it, plus it was a real dump - Ed] and the desert backdrop lends to it's beauty. Most of the surrounding land is untouched and I think of how the Flamingo must have had a similar view when it first opened. The place is beautiful, that is undeniable.

Jackpots exclaims that just as she said, she never wins at Morongo and this trip affirms it. As we head back to the city, I compare the trip to a methadone shot. I got to scratch the itch for sure, but overall, it was not incredibly exciting. I'll take a rum & coke and video poker at O'Shea's over this anytime.

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great article - interesting read.

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