Unusual Games Found at North Carolina Casinos

The Harrah's Cherokee casinos in North Carolina have some unusual games. Find out which ones you will find there.

There are three North Carolina casinos. Two are owned by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. The other is owned by the Catawba Nation. Caesars Entertainment operates the Cherokee casinos. Catawba Two Kings is operated by Delaware North.

All of the unusual North Carolina casino games are at Harrah’s Cherokee and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River. Catawba Two Kings hosts about 1000 machines. There is nothing unusual about the games at the property. It has no video poker and only a few dozen electronic table game terminals with common games like baccarat, blackjack, and roulette.

Pot of Gold machines

Some of the most unusual games found at the two Harrah’s Cherokee casinos are on Pot of Gold machines. These offer video poker and keno. Blackjack is no longer found on Harrah’s Cherokee Pot of Gold machines. In the 1990s into the early 2000s, these machines were all over the South in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina gas stations and bars. Today, they are only found at Harrah’s casinos in NC. 

Pot of Gold Keno

The keno games on these devices require skill. This is a relic from the old days before the 2012 gaming compact when all games required skill. Today, North Carolina casino games may be based solely on chance.

In Pot of Gold keno, players make a wager, and then 10 balls drop. At that point, players have the option of doubling their bet or keeping it. The other 10 balls drop and the game is paid if it player picks enough numbers to win. 

There are two types of keno games on these machines. There is Toucheasy, which is a typical version of the game. The other is Superball Keno. If the 20th ball hits a number the player picked in Superball, and enough numbers were picked correctly, the win is quadrupled. 

Harrah’s Cherokee and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River offer progressive jackpots for Pot of Gold Keno. In another unusual feature, there are different ways to hit it. It requires $4 to trigger on a seven-spot. It is only $2 for eight, nine, or ten-spots. The jackpot is triggered on a ten-spot when nine numbers hit on a bet of $2 or more. A $1 bet allows a player to hit the progressive by covering a 10-spot, an 8.9 million to one shot.

The double-up part plays a part of the bet if a jackpot hand hits. That means if $2 is required for the jackpot, and $1 is wagered to start the hand and it doubles to $2 at the raise point, the player qualifies for the progressive. 

Pot of Gold Video Poker

There are two unusual video poker games on Pot of Gold machines. Shamrock 7’s is the most popular. This is a Joker Poker variant. The minimum winning hand is two pair. There is a progressive jackpot that triggers when a player makes five of a kind. A royal flush pays less than five of a kind. The payout is the same whether it is a natural or wild royal.

What makes Shamrock 7’s so unusual is that it has a bonus round that hits when a player makes three or more 7’s. The player picks one of three pots of gold offered. The size of the win ranges from six to 30 times the bet in addition to the hand’s normal winnings. This means if a player hits five sevens, they win the jackpot and whatever the bonus round pays. Eight coins are required to trigger the progressive at the quarter and half dollar denominations. At the $1 and $2 denominations, four coins qualify the five of a kind for the progressive jackpot.

I own one of these machines. This is how the Shamrock 7’s Bonus round works:

8 Ball Poker works just like Shamrock 7’s in the same sense that three eights trigger a bonus round. However, 8 Ball Poker’s is a little different. The player tries to make as many billiards shots as possible to continue the bonus round. No skill is involved, even though the game gives that illusion. 

At quarter and half dollar, eight coins are needed to trigger the five of a kind progressive. At $1, it is four coins. 8 Ball Poker is not available in the $2 denomination. 

Other Pot of Gold poker games

The other Pot of Gold video poker games are normal. The options are two traditional Joker Poker games, one where a pair of aces is the bottom hand, Jacks or Better, and Deuces Wild. The pay tables on all these games are atrocious. You should play the Game King version of these titles instead. 

The $5 Game Kings at Harrah’s Cherokee have pay tables that return up to 99.73%. The best game is 16/10 Deuces Wild. There is also 9/6 Bonus Poker Deluxe and 9/5 White Hot Aces. These games are nearly impossible to find anywhere else at the $5 denomination.

Video Ultimate Texas Hold’em

Video Ultimate Texas Hold’em is another unusual game found in North Carolina. It is available at Harrah’s Cherokee. The Valley River location removed the game due to construction. 

While the live Ultimate Texas Hold’em games have a $15 or $25 minimum bet, it is only $1 on this machine. The bonuses here are that players earn Caesars Rewards Credits and Tier Points at a rate of one for every $20 wagered. The game also qualifies for the players club’s multiplier days. Another perk is that all player cards are dealt face-up. 

Video Three Card Poker

Harrah’s Cherokee also has a video Three Card Poker machine. It has a $1 minimum bet when the live tables start at $15. Caesars Rewards points are earned at a rate of one for every $20 in coin-in. All cards are dealt face-up in this game, too.

Lock and Roll Slots

At last check, there were still five Lock and Roll slot machines at Harrah’s Cherokee. The casino once had hundreds of these games. Before 2012, North Carolina casino slots either had to have a raffle or skill requirement. Lock and Roll slots are skill-based single-line video slots that play like old-fashioned reels. It has an element comparable to video poker. 

The game deals three reels. The player chooses which to keep by locking them. There is a respin of the reels that are not held. The payout is based on the ending hand. 

There are thousands of other machines and over 100 table games at North Carolina casinos. However, most of the rest of the games are standard for most casinos. If you go out of your way to visit a NC casino, make sure to try one of these unusual games.