Trip Report: Hollywood Casino and Mardi Gras

This trip report covers Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and Mardi Gras Casino. We visited these casinos on our way back to Cincinnati, after we visited Mountaineer Casino and Wheeling Island a week earlier. That blog post is here.

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races was our first stop after a late night at MGM National Harbor. We were, admittedly, running on empty.

This was the largest of the four West Virginia casinos that we visited. It hosts the only West Virginia poker room that has reopened since the worst of the COVID-19 restrictions. Poker hours are 10am to 2am Wednesday through Sunday; the room is currently dark on Mondays and Tuesdays. The room runs no-limit hold’em cash games at this time. Poker tournaments have not yet returned to Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.

Poker tables here currently seat a maximum of seven players. There are plexiglass partitions between the seats.

The video poker at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races was on the better side for West Virginia. I played some 7/5 Bonus Poker that played like a normal machine. (I broke about even.)

I tried to put the ticket into a $5 live-stadium roulette game. It didn’t work; there is an obvious sign — that I’d missed — saying that the slot tickets could not be used here. That seems to be because the slots are taxed differently than stadium games that have a live dealer, so they are technically different departments.

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races has the largest selection of table games in West Virginia. It offers baccarat, blackjack, Spanish 21, craps, roulette, Big 6, Cajun Stud, Four Card Poker, Heads Up Hold’em, High Card Flush, Let it Ride, Pai Gow Poker, Spanish 21, Three Card Poker, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em. The poker games were typically $10. Craps, roulette, and 3:2 blackjack were $15. Pai gow poker and baccarat were $25 during our visit.

I could not find any ticket-cashing kiosks so I waited in line to get my cash. It took so long that it was then time to leave for Mardi Gras Casino, which is about five hours away. 

Mardi Gras Casino

Kristina and I arrived at Mardi Gras Casino on a Tuesday morning. The casino had just opened an hour before, and it was not 24 hours later when we published this. Mardi Gras is at a greyhound racetrack in Cross Lanes, just west of Charleston, though there were no races during our visit. 

West Virginia casinos were doing ID and wellness checks when we visited. Our first impression at Mardi Gras Casino was a friendly security guard that was happy to see two people visiting from far away. We chatted with her for a bit before entering. She wished us luck with a smile.

We’d had a rough day before this, though I wish we hadn’t. I would have enjoyed playing some table games during this visit. It seemed like exactly the type of friendly place where tables would be fun, even if luck was not on our side. 

Several tables games were open. The minimum bet was $5 at all except blackjack, which was $10. The $5 games included roulette, Criss Cross Poker, Mississippi Stud, and Let it Ride. Blackjack here pays 3:2. Players may double down before and after splitting, and the dealer stands on all 17’s. Mardi Gras Casino offered the best value for blackjack in West Virginia

Craps was $10. It has 10 times odds. It was not open during our visit.

We played video poker and slots. The video poker requires 10 coins for a royal and clicking max bet makes it 20 coins. That was a surprise when playing. The machine auto holds. I figured (but did not confirm) that the machines were connected to the state’s video lottery. I saw the same at other West Virginia casinos.

We ended up losing $9. We needed to make up time on our trip so we left after being there for about 20 minutes.