In late October, Kristina and I took an early flight from Las Vegas to Denver. We rented a car and drove to Cripple Creek. We stayed two nights in Black Hawk, covering there and Central City. These are some of the best regional casino markets in the country. Ten times odds at craps is normal. Some offer 20 times odds. All but three Colorado blackjack tables pay 3:2. Nearly every casino offers at least one 99% or better video poker game.
This blog post covers what we played and other observations.
This article was originally posted on Colorado Advantage. Posts and pages from that site have been relocated to US Casino Advantage. Additional archived posts may be found here.
Day trip to Cripple Creek
This was our first visit since bet limits went up in May 2021. Table games in Cripple Creek were closed due to pandemic restrictions during our 2020 Colorado casino visit. This was our first time seeing those games open.
We stopped at Wildwood Casino first. It is about a quarter of a mile away from the other Cripple Creek casinos. We noticed some changes to the table game pit. The most noticeable was the addition of baccarat. We also discovered that craps is now 10 times odds, down from 20 times odds.
After that, we drove to Century Casino. We walked for the rest of the afternoon.
We did not see many changes on that side of the street. The Midnight Rose poker room is permanently closed. There were a few more electronic table games. The video poker games seemed to be the same as it was during our previous visit.
We went down to Double Eagle, crossed, and headed back towards the car on the opposite side of East Bennett Avenue. I knew the machine that I wanted to play was over there.
Johnny Nolon’s has two triple play machines. These are quarter coin games. This casino has many coin video poker and slot machines. Video poker is all quarter denomination. The coin slots reels have that and $1, $5 and $25.
Kristina and I played the best game there for about 20 to 30 minutes. It is Not-so-ugly-deuces. There are several 99% or better games on it. The game that shows as Bonus Poker is actually Bonus Poker Deluxe.
Our last stop was Bronco Billy’s. It is in the middle of an expansion. The last part of the property is gone. Sadly, that is where I found 10/6 Double Double Bonus last time. I did not find it anywhere here on this trip.
I played some blackjack at Bronco Billy’s. It was Thursday. All its table games at Bronco Billy’s have a $5 minimum bet on that day weekly. After this, we took the 2.5 hour drive to Black Hawk.
Our previous trip in September 2020:
My wife and I stayed in Black Hawk in late September. We also drove to Cripple Creek to check it out on that trip, and we also walked around Central City. The drive from Black Hawk to Cripple Creek takes about 2.5 hours without traffic.
Cripple Creek is a small casino town. Its main feeder market is Colorado Springs. Table games were still closed under state order due to COVID-19 during our visit.
Cripple Creek’s casino and tourist areas follow the “Wild West” theme. The scenery is of an old mining town’s downtown area.
Our Cripple Creek experience
All Cripple Creek casinos are along the main road. Wildwood Casino is the first one you encounter when entering town. It is a couple of blocks further to reach the other casinos. Wildwood has a wide casino floor with several video poker games, including multi-hand and variants including Ultimate X and Spin Poker. The table games pit had the normal variety.
We ate lunch at the Wildwood Casino café. It was cheap in terms of price, and it was as expected.
We drove down to the main casino area. We parked at Century Casino and headed there first. Century Casino is home to two video poker bars. The first one had only Deuces Wild Bonus on it. The other had a wider selection, but the pay tables were poor. This bar was tied to a progressive bank of machines on the floor. There was also video and live roulette, and some blackjack tables. The blackjack games stand on all 17’s, a rule that is rare outside high-limit games in large casino markets.
The next stop in Cripple Creek was at the Triple Crown casino group. This includes McGills, Midnight Rose and Brass Ass. This is essentially one casino with three different names. The casinos take up a block.
McGills has a large video poker selection on its second floor. There is video poker at its bar. Midnight Rose offers a larger version of video poker with a wider variety of games. Brass Ass is home to the table games, which include video versions of baccarat, roulette and blackjack. It also has live blackjack, craps and roulette.
At this point, we had not played yet. That changed when we found Johnny Nolon’s Casino. If you follow my Las Vegas work, you will know that I enjoy the throwback feel that old coin-pay games offer. This place had several such games. There were linked progressives on $1 8/5 Double Double Bonus. These had payouts for four aces, four aces with a kicker, and royal flushes.
The game I played was a quarter-coin Triple Play. It included some full-pay games on it such as 9/6 Jacks or Better, with some 98 to 99 percent games. We left $20 behind and moved to the next casino.
That turned out to be Double Eagle. I found some of the worst video poker I have ever seen there. The only exception I found was on two machines at the downstairs bar, where the games included full-pay Jacks or Better and Bonus Poker Deluxe. We did not play here.
We headed on to Colorado Grande. We found more coin games over there, like $1 9/6/5 Double Bonus and quarter 9/6 Triple Double. We played a quarter Triple Play that offered 9/6 Jacks or Better and Bonus Poker Deluxe. At $1, these games are also available at the bar in ticket-in/ticket-out. We left another $20 donation there.
The last stop was Bronco Billy’s. This seemed like the largest and most popular casino in Cripple Creek. The casino is also planning to expand further, though it seems COVID-19 has delayed those plans.
Bronco Billy’s is a maze of storefronts. It was busy and had a crowded feel to it. It was home to the only Spanish 21 table in Colorado that we found. It also had Cajun Stud, which is basically Mississippi Stud, as well as blackjack, craps and roulette.
There was a wide variety of video poker and slots. We found many newer machines and games. For video poker, Bronco Billy’s had Ultimate X, Ultimate X Bonus Streak, and multi-hand games. The best video poker we found in Colorado was at one of the bars.
It is worth a trip
Cripple Creek is an amusing Wild West casino town. It is worth a stop. It offers enough value to be a great part of the rotation for casino players. Colorado Springs residents and others in the region should appreciate the good games with low limits that are found here.