Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Casino & Resort Review
Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River is a casino located just outside of Murphy, North Carolina. Though it is owned by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, it is operated by Caesars Entertainment through a partnership agreement. The property is fairly new, having opened just a few years ago, on September 28, 2015. It is one of two North Carolina casinos that are operated by Caesars Entertainment and owned by the Cherokees with the other property being about an hour away in Cherokee, NC.
Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River is about one hour closer to most parts of Atlanta than its sister casino. This helps attract players from northern Georgia and Chattanooga that can make a day trip work better with the closer casino location.
The property is home to 300 hotel rooms, a food court with six dining options, a Diamond Lounge and two casino bars that serve cocktails. One of the bars is in a non-smoking part of the casino.
Casino at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River
There are 55 live table games, 13 electronic table games and 700 gaming machines made up of video poker and slots. Most areas of the casino permit smoking, but there is a handful of table games and a small slots section located by the food court that are non-smoking.
Pot O’ Gold Machines
Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River and its sister casino in Cherokee are one of the few casinos in the country that still spread Pot O’ Gold video poker machines. The most popular game on these devices is Shamrock 7’s; a Joker Poker game with a bonus round for making three of more sevens. The machine goes to a bonus screen where the player chooses a pot of gold. The winning pot ranges from 6x to 30x the original bet. The jackpot for this game is any five of a kind. A royal flush, whether natural or with a joker, pays the same.
Being multi-game machines, Pot O’ Gold have several other options. These include Toucheasy Keno, Powerball Keno, Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild and Wild Jokers. The pay tables on these games are typically lower than the Game Kings found throughout the casino. However, the jackpots for these games are much higher. Keno players hit the jackpot by making 8 out of 8 or 9, 9 out of 9 or 10 or 10 out of 10. The video poker jackpots of Pot O’ Gold machines require a royal flush, except in games with a joker where it is four of a kind.
There is a bank of 10 heads-up video blackjack machines on Pot O’ Gold Devices. These are the best video blackjack games in the country. It is single deck that reshuffles every time. The dealer stands on all 17s. Players can double down on 9, 10 and 11 on the first two cards but not after splitting. Pairs may only be split once, split aces may be hit and the player automatically wins if making a six-card hand that does not bust.
If the dealer makes a six-card hand without busting, it must stand with whatever it has. These games require $45 in coin-in for one Total Rewards point. The betting limits are $2 to $50. All bets on this game must be in $2 increments. That is because the original software is programmed to use dollar coins.
Game King Machines
There are several banks of Game King machines. These devices spread video poker in the 97 to 98 percent range. Keno is also on them. Some have Ultimate X. Otherwise, the remaining games on the floor at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River are slots.
There are 55 table games at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River. Blackjack is the most popular game. All blackjacks pays 3-2 (this applies to live and video games).
There are 26 $10-$1,500 tables that use eight decks. Players may double down before and after splitting. The dealer hits soft 17.
There are four six-deck blackjack tables in the high limit salon. The limits there are $50 to $3,000. The dealer stands on all 17s here. Otherwise, the rules are the same as there is no surrender or re-split aces at either Harrah’s in North Carolina.
There are six double zero roulette tables with $10 to $1,500 limits. Eight tables of baccarat have $25 to $5,000 limits. High Card Flush is spread on three tables with bets from $10 to $200. Four tables of Three Card Poker take action from $10 to $300.
One table of Mississippi Stud is available. The minimum bet is $5. The maximum is $25.
There are four craps tables with 10 times odds. The Field pays double on 12. Bets from $10 to $3,000 are accepted.
There are three multi-player video table games. There is $1 to $700 Big Wheel. A double zero roulette machine takes bets from $5 to $100. Multi-player video blackjack is offered with $5 to $500 limits. The dealer hits soft 17 on it. Players may double down before and after splitting, as well as surrender.
Total Rewards Player Program
While not owned by Caesars Entertainment, Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River still uses its Total Rewards players club. Players earn one tier credit and reward credit for every $5 played on slots and $10 on video poker. Video table games require $45 in coin-in for every point. Table games use a formula that computes the average bet size, length of play, speed of game and house edge.
New players receive $50 in free play at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River. This offer is only open to customers that have never had a Total Rewards Card.
Players start at Gold in the Total Rewards program. After earning 5,000 points in a calendar year, Platinum is achieved. This gives players line passes at the cage and players club, and for those that travel, free parking in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
Diamond is where the benefits substantially increase. These guests receive access to the Diamond Lounge, though in some markets players with fewer than 25,000 tier points may be required to pay $10 in points for entry. Diamond players do not pay resort fees and get line passes in larger Caesars Entertainment markets. There is an annual $100 birthday celebration dinner that can be used at any Caesars Entertainment property.
Seven Stars is the top tier in Total Rewards. This is achieved at 150,000 annual points. These players always get the best rooms and never wait in line. There is also early check-in and late checkout. The annual birthday celebration dinner is $500 that can be used at any of the company’s properties. There is also an annual $1,200 Caesars vacation available with a $500 dining credit on that trip. Seven Stars players can transfer the status to one friend, too.
Active players receive mailers with free play which are sent as tickets that slots accept. However, they can also be printed on the Total Rewards kiosks. These typically are equal amounts available two or three times a month. There are special free play days, typically on a Sunday or Monday, where guests can double their free play. There is often a day or two each month with bonus tier or reward credit bonuses.
There is a way to speed up the Total Rewards ladder. A player that earns 500 tier points in a day receives 125 bonus ones. A player that earns 1,000 in a day receives an additional 1,000. Players that reach 2,500 in a day get a 5,000 tier bonus, while 5,000 tier credits in a day get 10,000. This last example is what Total Rewards calls “Diamond in a day.”
Dining & Restaurants at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River
The dining selection at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River is small. There is just a food court. Minors are permitted in it.
The options are Earl of Sandwich, Panda Express, Starbucks, Papa John’s Pizza, Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips and Nathan’s Famous. Guests looking for a full-service dining experience will need to travel to Murphy, which is five minutes down the road.
Venues & Hotspots at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River
There are no amenities at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River beyond two bars and the Diamond Lounge. There is a bar in the smoking area and another near the food court. There is also a beverage station by the bus entrance.
The Diamond Lounge is located between the casino cage and food court. Diamond players receive half off drinks in there. Beer is generally $2, well drinks are $3, with calls and top-shelf liquor being $4 or $5. There are many high-end liquors for sale in the Diamond Lounge where the discount also applies. It is open from 3 PM to 10 PM on weekdays and 3 PM to midnight on weekends. Food is served from 5 PM to 9 PM daily.
Hotel at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River
There are 300 hotel rooms at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River. The available rooms are one king or two queens. The trims are luxury and premium. The premium room includes a sofa with a pull-out bed. All rooms have a safe, mini-refrigerator, hair dryer and television. Wireless internet is available for purchase. Nightly rates start at $99 per night on weeknights and $299 on weekends. It is worth noting that unlike properties in Las Vegas, there is no resort fee at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River.