Hours, Tables, Location
Open 24/7, but poker shuts down if not enough players are interested. Effectively, poker is only available from about 8am to about 3am every day. Phone: (707) 857-2777
3250 Highway 128, Geyserville CA. 75 miles north of San Francisco. Perched on the side of a mountain in the Alexander Valley.
Limit hold 'em: 3/6, 4/8. They claim to spread 6/12, but according to one dealer, it never goes due to lack of interest. (Also, they don't have the California-standard $2 chips to spread 6/12 with, so they'd have to use a mix of $5 and $1 chips).
No-limit hold 'em: 50-200 buyin, 1/2 blinds, $5 to come in.
A reasonable casino with a decent sized main room and a nice, though very small, poker area in a separate non-smoking room in the back. Very pleasant employees and a nice play to gamble.
The rake on 3/6 and 4/8 is $3+$1 jackpot for 5-9 players, $2+$0 for 2-4 players. The rake is taken from the pot before the flop. On no limit, they use a time charge of $6 per player per half hour ($5 for 6-player games, $4 for 5 or fewer players). No flop, no drop. Chopping is allowed.
Blinds on all games were standard: 1/3 for the 3/6, and 2/4 for the 4/8.
Posting: New players need not post. New players or returning players who have "missed a blind" may choose to "buy the button" by paying both blinds in the position to the left of the button; if they do so, no other player needs to post, and the player who bought the button gets the button on the next hand.
Shuffling: Shufflemaster machines are standard on all tables.
Ranges dramatically, since the number of tables is so small. Wait can be zero if there's a seat open at the limit(s) you want (though that doesn't appear to be often likely), or can be an hour if there's not. Luckily, there's other stuff to do in the room to pass the time (see Atmosphere below).
Jackpots and Promotions
- Bad Beat Jackpot: AAAQQ or better beaten = $77,000 (May 06)
- Royal Flush Bonus: $250, only one hole card need play.
- Aces Cracked: Wins $100, but only during the graveyard shifts: 4a-9a Sat & Sun, 9a-12n Mon-Fri. Only valid if at least 5 players are at your table.
- High Hand Jackpot: Highest hand during the two hour window wins $100, Mon-Fri 2p-4p. High hand wins $200 Tuesday and Thursday between 6p-10p.
- Bargain Buyin: $40 buys $60 worth of chips between 8:30a-9a Mon-Fri.
- Lucky Seat: Wed 7p-9p, one randomly chosen seat wins $100.
They say that if you play with your Player's Club card, you can earn food comps, but the staff seemed disorganized and couldn't seem to figure out what was going on enough to tell me more about it.
The casino itself is a giant Quonset hut, with its interior painted black in order to look a little more upscale and not be so industrial. The exterior has some nice "natural wood" additions to also disguise the basic cylindrical nature of the hall.
River Rock was a standard indian casino for years and only recently (Dec 2005?) decided to start spreading poker. But they did a nice job of it! They cleared a section of their no-smoking room (called the Dry Creek Room) in the back of the casino and put in five tables, with nice spacing. Even nicer, you're snuggled into a kind of "mini-casino" there in back, with no smoking in any of the room. The largish room contains its own set of blackjack tables, three-card poker tables, and slot machines, so you can play blackjack at a non-smoking table right next to the poker tables while you're on the wait list. But the number of slot machines is only about 20, and there aren't that many players who come to this back non-smoking room to play, so it's not noisy at all - the room is very very pleasant in terms of poker atmosphere. Low-key but effective lighting, and upscalish and dark decor add a touch of class to the room. When the brush calls people on the wait board, he announces it over the PA for the whole casino, so if you leave the back room to go play baccarat or something, you just need to listen to the casino PA for your name to come up.
Since it's so new, they do have some teething troubles with staff, who seem to have some amount of trouble noticing and filling empty seats at tables, handling chip purchases, or dealing with the various casino promotions (entry in the drawing if you play 4 hours, etc). Their bad beat jackpot has never been hit (as of May 7 2006), so is currently at $77,000 and climbing.
The poker area of the room has four nice plasma televisions hung on the wall for you to watch while playing, if you like.
Neighborhood: As with most indian casinos in California, River Rock is remote. Nestled in the Alexander Valley (just north of the famous Napa Valley) among the vineyards and farms, River Rock itself is located on the "Dry Creek Rancheria" (the reservation) for the Dry Creek band of Pomo Indians. You take CA Hwy 128 and then turn off at the sign that says "Dry Creek Rancheria" (they now also have a sign saying it's the "Home of River Rock Casino"). You then drive up a steep, steep road that curves around the side the mountain you are climbing. By the time you get to the casino, you're perched on the side of the mountain looking down over the gorgeous Alexander Valley, filled with vineyards and farms. There is nothing else even remotely business-y around for miles in any direction. (ALERT: I mean it! No gas stations, no restaurants, no hotels, no anything! Since there is no hotel at the casino, if you want to stay here, you have to stay miles away and drive in each day).
The typical route to River Rock is to take the Geyserville exit from 101 and head south. See the River Rock website below for detailed directions.
Parking: LOTS of parking: a huge five-floor parking structure can probably hold over 1000 cars.
Tables and Chairs: Standard 9-player tables. Tables have clean, newish felt and padding, though the felt feels a bit plasticky (is it because it's so new?). Felt has a clear commit line. Chairs are nice, low-backed padded chairs, but do not have wheels. The floor has some slightly uneven parts which can then make it hard to scoot your chair out from the table, but it's all right, really.
Service and Comps
Sodas and other non-alcoholic drinks (Red Bull, coffee, etc) are free. Full menu available from the Quail Run restaurant there in the casino; food and entire meals can be served at the poker tables. Prices seemed on the highish side, but not outrageous (chicken caesar salad = 8.50, chicken quesadilla = 4.75). I assume the food is only available while the restaurant is open. The food itself is actually extremely good, very tasty, nice-sized portions, and presented very well. Waitresses bring you cloth napkins with real silverware with your meal. There is now a "Poker Menu" for seated players.
Service was relatively prompt and cheerful.
Visited by MarkT in May 2006.