Poker is alive and well in Arizona, and if you haven't checked out Gila River Casino's Wild Horse Pass, the property is located along I-10 leaving Phoenix (Chandler) and heading towards Tucson. The facility is brand new, having moved closer to the highway in late 2009 from the original casino that was set-back about 10-miles from the interchange.
The casino itself is pretty standard with slots and blackjack, but Arizona doesn't allow dealer-dealt craps or roulette.
The poker room used to be crowded and unremarkable, but the new room is quite nice. There are 25 tables, and like most rooms these days the standard game is hold-em, but stud and Omaha are usually going too.
There are a variety of limits offered, but Arizona does not allow no-limit games. The state allows a maximum bet in poker of $500, so spread-limit games are available with blinds of say $1 and $2 with betting limits of $5 to $500.
Yeah, now with that said, this ain't your granny's old pot-limit game. When the pot is $2000 and the limit is $500, the game does not play like pot-limit or no-limit. To me, it's like a no-limit that turns into a solid limit game after the flop.
You can start with a more sedate $5-150 game if you want. Did I say sedate? Well, the limit's lower, but you won't be able to protect your pocket aces after the flop with that little old $150 bet if there was some good action pre-flop. Watch and learn my children, watch and learn.
Oh, and enjoy. The drinks are half-off the poker menu price if you are playing, and likewise the meals are half-off also. The Asian menu (all I ever eat) is available from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
As for other amenities of the room, well, there are a ton of TV's going and the tables rake a standard drop plus a bonus. The bonuses include: aces and faces cracked, hot seat drawings, splash pots and high hands.
If you are in the Phoenix area, the casino offers a free shuttle from several locations. You do need to make reservations, but they give their player's club card holders $10 in bonus play. Not a bad way to get to the casino and back home.