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Ilani Resort - SW Washington Mini-Report

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Trip Reports' started by remmerde, May 1, 2017.

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  1. remmerde

    remmerde VMB's Resident Cigar Sommelier

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    My Trip Report

    Decided to make the short trip up to Ilani Resort and Casino on Sunday afternoon. For those who don't know the area, it's a new Indian casino just off the main highway (I-5) between Portland and Seattle. This will be the closest (by far) casino to the Portland metro area, so it's likely to steal away a lot of business from places like Spirit Mountain and Chinook Winds, which are about 1-2 hour drive away from Portland.

    No hotel (yet), but looking at the layout of the lot, they are planning for one down the road. Total build out was $510 million, 368,000 square feet of gaming.

    Not a slots player, so can't comment on them. But they didn't scrimp on the table games. At least two dozen blackjack tables, half dozen baccarat, 2 roulettes, and 4 craps tables.

    Blackjack being offered is pretty decent. $10/$15 minimum available on a Sunday afternoon. 6 deck hand shuffle, 3:2, S17, DAS, even late surrender! I surprised the dealer with how excited I was to get late surrender anywhere outside Vegas/Reno. She promptly rewarded me by dealing me two more 15/16s in a row.

    Clearly a rookie dealer, made several hand reading and payout errors (all except one in house's favor, hmm) that I politely corrected. She was nice about it, but if you play here, watch the payout.

    Craps dealers also mostly rookies. You'd have one guy on the crew who knew what he was doing, but the other two would miss a lot of pays if you didn't call it out yourself when they rotated around to your end of the table.

    Video poker is that crappy non-video poker you get in Washington. Only one DDB-like game offered, and only at the bar by the live band area. That bar is non-smoking, the center bar allows smoking. Smoking allowed on most of the floor, but there did appear to be large sections of the slots areas marked No Smoking, although there is no partition. But overall clean air in the place, this ain't the smog-riddled Muckleshoot.

    No buffet, but in addition to the somewhat high end steak and seafood restaurants they have a food-court like area with a variety of non-franchise eateries.

    They still have lots of staffing issues; cocktail waitresses were very scarce. Had a discussion with a floor, she said they knew they would be short handed, but they just couldn't hire to the level they wanted yet. Waits at the bars were very long, even though the place wasn't completely packed to the gills.

    Cashing in was also a long wait. All of the TITO pay machines were out of order, so you had to cash at the cage. Took me 20 minutes of waiting to cash from my craps/BJ session.

    Overall the place gives a good impression. They spent some money on nice fixtures and it has a nice slick look. Reminds me of a place like Thunder Valley in Sacramento or Northern Quest in Spokane. They are trying to give you a Vegas-like experience rather than just sardine-packing in as many slots in a low-ceilinged warehouse.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
  2. remmerde

    remmerde VMB's Resident Cigar Sommelier

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    [​IMG]
     
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  3. remmerde

    remmerde VMB's Resident Cigar Sommelier

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    Bar near the concert stage. Best place to catch a game when there isn't a live band playing. I think they only have a band in the evenings, and maybe not every day of the week.

    Good beer and liquor selection. VP game is terrible however. Just 25c DDB-ish 3 line game. Stupid Washington gaming regulations.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
  4. remmerde

    remmerde VMB's Resident Cigar Sommelier

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    Still never had the guts to try and *not* hold a big winning hand at the Washington games, just to see how you would still get the predetermined win.

    You'll notice the top two lines are completely independent of your hold on the bottom line.

    Yes, Washington VP really sucks.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
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  5. remmerde

    remmerde VMB's Resident Cigar Sommelier

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    Lots of first time players and first time dealers at the craps table, but still a lot of fun (helps to be winning).

    [​IMG]

    Very good 1 hour craps session. This off a $300 buy in.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. remmerde

    remmerde VMB's Resident Cigar Sommelier

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    6 deck BJ table. Did not see any BJ tables with the ShuffleMaster machines.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. uli_1515

    uli_1515 Low-Roller

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    Hey! I live in Vancouver and have been wanting to drive up. I am going to Vegas next week so I have been holding out. Thanks for the review. Ill be hitting up that Michael Jordan steak house next month though so ill be able to see it all in person.
     
  8. GamblingGolfer

    GamblingGolfer High-Roller

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    I stayed in Woodland a month ago while en route from Palm Springs to Vancouver, BC. I don't remember seeing it, although I had just driven over 500 miles ... ;).

    I did pop into a small casino in Woodland and won a small amount at Blackjack. Similar, two decks, favourable rules.

    GG
     
  9. idtwins

    idtwins Low-Roller

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    Thank you for posting this remmerde. Great information and answered many questions I had about this place.
     
  10. Multifarious5

    Multifarious5 VIP Whale

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    Thanks so much for the post remmerde! I am not big on local casinos, I really only gamble in Vegas....but sometimes I like to hit a local one with the inlaws when they visit.

    BUT, I had been looking it up, and saw NO HOTEL and thought I was bonkers.

    For me, I just can't play without the chance of getting a room comped. Im ok spending money when its paid back in room or food comps...but no rooms to be comped? I'm nixing Ilani since you confirmed NO HOTEL. Half the fun for me is being a teenager, being up way too late, then going back to a comfy room.

    Does "no hotel" bug anyone else, or am I just a total degenerate?
     
  11. nostresshere

    nostresshere Mr. Anti Debit Card

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    It is a big negative for me/us. Part of the degenerate in my wants to walk a few feet from the casino to the elevator. No shuttle. No car ride. No long walk outside. Just not the same.

    Comp or no comp is somewhat of an issue, but an in house room is the real issue.
     
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  12. remmerde

    remmerde VMB's Resident Cigar Sommelier

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    The no hotel thing I think is a function of the tribe no wanting to get too extended on debt with no other means to maintenance that debt than the casino revenue. A lot of the Northwest Indian casinos went in the same way. Build out the gaming floor first, establish profitability for the first few years, then do the hotel/convention space expansion later. Lucky Eagle and Tulalip in Washington did a similar thing.

    Snoqualmie (just east of Seattle) went for an all in one build-out, as they did a hotel for the initial opening. But the consortium of companies/investors that helped Snoqualmie build ended up having to file for bankruptcy. They probably had poor macro-economic timing, as it opened in 2008, just in time for the big recession. But in any case, I think the Cowlitz Tribe took a cue from Snoqualmie and decided to go a little more cautious with a two-phase build.
     
  13. remmerde

    remmerde VMB's Resident Cigar Sommelier

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    Forgot to mention one thing - no poker room at Ilani. Pretty disappointing for us poker players. The existing card rooms just a few miles over in La Center are still going (maybe barely), but I've never liked those venues much for poker. Too many nits there.
     
  14. Multifarious5

    Multifarious5 VIP Whale

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    That actually makes sense...and seems like a wise approach. I personally need a bed to lay my onside for me to really enjoy the trip, but I think I'll be in the minority. PLUS like I said, Vegas is really to only place I love playing.

    The two-phase build sounds really savvy, and judging from traffic jams that are already happening, I'm sure it'll thrive :)
     
  15. Echo27

    Echo27 High-Roller

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    Crazy! I had no idea Snoqualmie ever had plans for a hotel.
     
  16. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

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    Hotel will come at some point, I'm sure. Our local (Clearwater) started out in a quonset hut in a dirt lot when we moved here. Now has hotel, spa, meeting rooms, concerts, etc. Still crappy VP, but all the other bells and whistles.

    Even the little one, The Point near Kingston, has a hotel now.

    Thanks for sharing. I'll try to check it out next time I'm through that area.
     
  17. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

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    We may be heading out to Washington for next summer's family vacation.
    (My bride has cousins out there.)
    Bookmarking this for future reference! :thumbsup:

    Thanks for the TR!

    RICHARD
     
    The Alperts Take Polo Towers!
  18. boxofbirds

    boxofbirds Royal Flushless

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    Thanks for the report! I was curious about this new casino. Way too far to drive from Seattle just to gamble, especially when I can get to Snoqualmie in 30 minutes, or some card rooms in 15-20, but might hit it up on my way to/from Portland.

    The BJ rules are awesome, S17 is very rare in Washington as well.
     
  19. remmerde

    remmerde VMB's Resident Cigar Sommelier

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    Yes, I remember that! Only been there once, which was probably 15 years ago now. I'm going to have a find an excuse to get up the peninsula to see how the place looks now.
     
  20. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

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    I'm not sure if make the trip just for Clearwater. They have some good food and some decent summer concerts by the water. But the VP is still awful. ;)
     
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