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January 16th, 2017 at 10:26:09 PM permalink
This is a review of the casino known as Inn of the Mountain Gods in Mescalero, New Mexico, which is near the larger town of Ruidoso, New Mexico. Pics are included.

I'll get straight to the point: this is the worst casino I have ever visited.

Almost all of the casinos' positive reviews on Yelp and Travel Advisory state that the casino and the scenery is beautiful. Alternatively, almost all of the negative reviews state that the staff are rude and unfriendly, and the amenities, such as the restaurant, are terrible.

Tourists go to Ruidoso, New Mexico because it is the closest ski area to Texas. We went skiing there for a weekend and decided to visit Inn of the Mountain Gods casino. The Mescalero Indian tribe owns and operates both the ski resort, known as Ski Apache, and the Inn of the Mountain Gods.

The casino and complex is relatively new, completed in 2004. The ski resort is not so new; it's actually quite beat up and run down.

Rates for the casino rooms were rediculous, quoted at $250 per night. Various review sites stated that rooms were terrible, citing various problems with the rooms. We stayed at the nearby La Quinta for an average of $100 per night. All the nearby hotels were sold out, but the casino had plenty of vacancy.

Upon arriving at the casino, I went to the craps table. Here is a layout of the craps table. The field is super stingy at double/double. Odds are 3,4,5x with a min of $5 ($10 on Saturdays). There are two craps tables, with only one open. When I first approached the craps table, it was empty. This is on a Friday night at 8pm.

The casino's webpage bio says it is 38,000 square feet. I think the 38,000 square footage includes the poker room and the soon-to-be-open bingo parlor. By comparison, the main slots and table games gambling area looks to be about the same size as my favorite casino in Las Vegas, which is the Casino Royale, listed at 17,500 square feet.

The casino has one table games area with two aforementioned craps tables, about a dozen blackjack tables, one Mississippi Stud table, one poker carnival game of some sort, and three roulette tables, with only one open on both Friday and Saturday night.

Most of the blackjack games are dealt from a CS, and the min is $5 and max of $1000. There are 3 six deck shoe games with a min bet of $10. The tables all went to $10 on Saturday. BJ pays 3 to 2; no 6 to 5 BS.

Like most casinos, most games are slots of various types. The slot machines appeared to be very tight, and anecdotal online reviews agree. There were not too many players on the slots.

I walk up to the empty craps table and buy in. I asked the boxman to rate my play. He said that I had to go over to the players club and get a players card. I asked if he would make me a card, as every casino I have ever patronized, the pit can make players cards, especially if the player makes a relatively large buy in. He reiterated that only the players club can make the cards.

I ask if he can rate me just by my ID. He says no. He tells me to go to the players club. I'm the only player at the craps table, and they had dumped the bowl for me to start the game. So I give the dice back and head to the players club.

I don't run a casino, nor do I claim to know anything about casino management, but it can't be good business practice to tell your only player/customer to leave the table, for any reason.

As I am walking to the players club, my friends comment that the casino is pretty dead, especially for a Friday.

Here is a pic of the floor. Notice the lack of players. The pic is of a Friday night.

This is a pic of the players club.

My friend asks the players club attendant why the casino is so dead. The attendant says that management is wondering the same thing themselves. She says that it's been really slow and management has no idea why. Maybe some mystery shopping would provide some answers to the owners.

Upon sign up, we were each given a $10 sign up bonus. The new player can chose to use it at table games, slots, or dining; I put it on dining. The patron can not use the credit for alcohol. On the issue of alcohol, there is no alcohol allowed on the gaming floor. There is also no alcohol comp. The casino provides free soda and coffee drinks in the form of a self serve soda fountain.

One of my friends put the $10 on slots. She lost the entire $10 very quickly, reinforcing anecdotal online player reviews. Ownership likes to shear their sheep quickly, apparently.

I go back to the craps table about 10 minutes later. Still no players. They dump the bowl for me and I start the game. As I'm am playing, I notice the dealers doing lots of animated cross talking, talking about what they did last night, their kids, how a day shift employee was freaking out over something, how someone died (no joke), more gossip, blah, blah, blah. The worst part of the cross talking were a couple of disparaging comments about the patrons walking by or at other tables. These dealers had contempt for their customers and did not try to hide it. Finally some observers walk up and ask about how to play. One of the dealers temporarily shuts up and starts explaining the game to the newbies.

After about 15 minutes, there are about four players at the table. There's still annoying, irrelevant, and animated cross talking amongst the dealers. Very little attempt to engage the players. The cross talk was getting to be unbearably annoying, but then I noticed that my dealer forgot to take down a losing come bet that had a point of four and had sevened on a come out roll. I was now a fan of the cross talk. The box, stick, dealers were apparently more interested in cross talk than paying attention to the game. So I started to peanut gallery the cross talk. Sure enough, later the dealer forgets to take down a losing come bet that had gone up to the ten. On another time, the dealer forgot to travel a come bet that rolled a 9.

It was like a little gossip party at the craps table, and the dealers, stick, and box were clearly not paying attention. The severe cross talk ended as more players came up to the table and started buying in.

At this point I've bought in for about $3000, which is by far, the largest stack in the entire casino. I'm betting $10 with max odds, comprised of one pass bet and always two come bets. After about two hours of this, I ask the pit if I can have a buffet for my friends and I. Pit outright says no, without an explanation as to the reason. In amazement, I ask 'why'? I was expecting something like, 'you need to play longer', etc. This was his answer, verbatim: 'we're a monopoly', and laughs.

Well, since he's right, and there's no nearby competing craps action, I continue playing (there is another nearby casino that is a slot parlor, but no table games).

Here's a pic that a friend took of one of my rolls.

After about another hour, I then hear one of the dealers ask another dealer, 'has anyone tipped us?'. Yea, it's that kind of casino with those kind of dealers, who are managed by who knows what. I'm quite disgusted, and I'm about to cash out, but...

I go on a really hot roll and win about $2000. After hitting right at $2000 and hitting my last come bet, I take down my odds on my pass bet. I'm done. After I cash out, the stick man says to me really loudly and very sarcastically, 'thank you very much for all those tips you gave us and all the bets you placed for us'. Yea, it's that kind of casino with those kind of dealers, and they wonder why it's slow.

My friends go to play roulette. Here's their roulette pit on a Friday. They find a lone roulette table that is open, and has two players.

Here's one of their roulette tables next to their blackjack pit.

As I'm watching them play roulette, I notice that a lot of the casinos clientele appear to be 'poor' (this casino is built in a relatively poor part of New Mexico, which is already a poor state to begin with). I won't go into what 'poor' looks like, as I'm not going to blatantly stereotype, but I make an educated guess that some/many of the customers shouldn't be gambling. I see a guy walk away from a game and leave a receipt of some sort. Out of curiosity, I look at the receipt.

My first thought is that this person probably should not be gambling. But then again, maybe this is his gambling account and he segregates his gambling money from his rent and expenses. Maybe; but if you're paying $3+bank ATM fees to withdraw $80 from an account that has $250, it most likely is your only account.

I really debated posting this pic. In the end, I understand that we're a free society, and people have a right to engage in legal behavior, even if it's self destructive. I decided to post a redacted version of the pic. The pic is relevant because this pic is demonstrative of the type of local player that this casino attracts as its base.

Behold, probably the average player at Inn of the Mountain Gods...

My friend says that he's been on the poker list for two hours and wants to play poker before we leave.

They have a poker room. This is their poker room, which is next to their bingo hall.

Bingo hall wasn't yet open as of this review.

As I am waiting for my friend, I saw something incredible, but expected at this casino. There was a large bettor at one of the blackjack tables. This player was the largest bettor in the entire casino. He was probably betting $100-$350 per hand on the shoe game, playing two hands at a time. The guy was losing badly, too. He had good basic strategy, but wasn't counting, as he steamed and upped his bet significantly after a bunch of aces and tens were burned in the first five hands. The guy continued to lose badly. Up walks a relief dealer, ready to replace the current dealer. The relief dealer sees the guy lose a big hand that had a losing double down on one of the hands. The player also has a big stack in front of him, comprised of black and green. First thing the relief dealer says to the player is...'do you really have to do that (smoking)? I'm wearing contacts'.


After my friend plays poker for 30 minutes, we leave the casino.

On the second night, we came back to eat at the restaurant, and because of the first nights' experience, none of us decided to play craps or gamble. At first we were going to try the weekend seafood buffet, priced at $25 (-$10 credit) per person, but then again, various reviews warned us to stay away from the buffet. We decided to go to the restaurant for beers and dessert only. We reasoned that this casino probably buys prepackaged/pre-made desserts, so it'd be impossible to mess up a dessert.

This is a pic of their bar. You can not take a drink out of the bar and onto the gaming floor.

Here's a close up of the bar. You can not use your $10 sign up credit at the bar, however, you can use the credit for food.

I went back to the players club because the floor accidentally gave me someone else's players card. I gave the players club attendant my ID and asked her for a new players card. I asked her how to redeem my $10 new players credit, and she then asks me, 'why did you get $10?' I told her that the last attendant gave me a new players credit. She then tells me, 'I've never heard of it', and gives me a new players card. She tells me to go check the machine next to the players club, as she's not giving me $10. I run the players card in the machine and it prints my $10 credit.

My friends and I then go to the restaurant, which is attached to the bar. Upon going in, security checks my ID and pulls out a stamp to stamp my wrist. I'm thinking they have like a club stamp that washes away or an invisible ink ID stamp. No, its some thick looking stamp that looks like it's made with permanent marker.

Here's a pic of the stamp on my wrist, AFTER four days, eight showers, and numerous hand washes. If you're thinking that this is just poor attention to detail, the Mountain Gods would like to remind you...'Details? We're a monopoly, we don't care about no details.' LOL.

It was a Saturday night, and the restaurant was relatively empty, with lots of open and available seating, so we sat ourselves.

So we sit down and order two strawberry cheesecakes and several beers. After five minutes, the waitress comes back and tells us they're out of the beer we ordered. So we order a different beer.

After ten more minutes, our cheerless, smileless, and sullen waitress delivers our beers and tells us the they have no more strawberries for our cheesecake. These were $6 for each cheesecake. For $6, we were expecting grand Cheescake Factory type slices. Out comes the strawberry-less cheesecakes. First, the cheesecakes comes out on a little styrofoam plate. Secondly, the cheesecake is the size and height of the cheapo Walmart type cheesecake pies. Thirdly, the cheesecake looks melted, like it was sitting out at room temperature. I take one bite and spit it into a napkin.

We pay for the cheesecake with the casino credit. We pay cash for the beers.

Usually, I wouldn't have written a review of this casino. On its face, it's a typical, nondescript casino that's like every other small casino with crappy odds and tight slots. I usually only write up reviews of really awesome casinos or awesome promos (see my really old review on this site of a couple of other New Mexico casinos). Also, I don't gamble much, nowadays. I'm usually a lurker on this site. But this casino needed a review because it was so spectacular in a bad way. Businesses sometimes have good staff and bad staff; sometimes there's friendly staff and there's rude staff. The employees, dealers, and staff at Inn of the Mountain Gods were different, and my friend described the staff perfectly with this word: hostile.

The effort put into this casino is very low. For a really good example, search Yelp for Inn of the Mountain Gods. Recent negative reviews do not have a response from the casino; however older negative reviews (at a time when they maybe cared) all the have same cut and paste response. Check out this screen shot of a review with the tone deaf cut and paste response to a rather egregious claim. It's almost unintentionally hilarious.

I'll end with this screenshot that sums it all up...

Joined: Nov 14, 2009
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January 16th, 2017 at 10:40:12 PM permalink
Great review.
"Dice, verily, are armed with goads and driving-hooks, deceiving and tormenting, causing grievous woe." -Rig Veda 10.34.4
Joined: Feb 13, 2010
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January 16th, 2017 at 10:57:17 PM permalink
I don't get it: you're a big bettor, you played craps for hours, the boys "forgot" to take away some losing bets, and YOU NEVER TIPPED THEM?

Heck, if I were the dealer I'd treat you with polite disdain as well.

Good report.
Last edited by: MrV on Jan 16, 2017
"What, me worry?"
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January 16th, 2017 at 11:34:42 PM permalink
Eh, easy mistake. You ended up at "Inn of the Mountain Goats" apparently. Anyway, must be some lousy gods.

Nice in-depth review!
Quasimodo? Does that name ring a bell?
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January 17th, 2017 at 12:57:51 AM permalink
The Land of Disenchantment is bad enough, add in the perpetual 'manana' attitude and no wonder you couldn't get a pit clerk sent to the Players Club to get you a card as you played at the craps table. Its never been done before and it ain't gonna be done now attitude prevails.

Hostile employees of a monopoly and players who are hostages to poverty.
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January 17th, 2017 at 4:18:31 AM permalink
Sounds like a horrible casino but great place to play craps. Dealers like that will forget to take your come odds on a come out 7 often. I would definitely be tipping at least something.

If a floor said that to me I would turn and say thanks for the buffet.
Expect the worst and you will never be disappointed. I AM NOT PART OF GWAE RADIO SHOW
Joined: May 21, 2013
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January 17th, 2017 at 8:23:04 AM permalink

Welcome back, and thanks for the in - depth review. Sorry the place sucked. I'd enjoy hearing more from you as you play other places; we don't have a lot of info on NM and AZ casinos. Also , I suppose, in LA and OK, assuming you get there on occasion.
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
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January 17th, 2017 at 8:40:42 AM permalink
Great detailed review. Thank you! And I can see why you didn't tip when you had bad service right from the start.

Even if management doesn't care, there is no excuse for employees to not as well, especially in an industry where you are working for tips. Personal pride seems to be lacking there.
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January 17th, 2017 at 9:04:31 AM permalink
Why no, "You are so very welcome for all the tips & bets I placed for you!" ?

I am disappoint.
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January 17th, 2017 at 9:49:56 AM permalink
Great review klimate. Even if it was a poor (and deserved) review. It definitely sounds like the casino gets they're a monopoly and try to run over their players in the process. The karma that comes from that though is even if they're a monopoly, they can't make people come back and play again... aka dead slow on a Friday night. Hopefully they get the real karma of being out of a job they're doing so poorly. Just think, if the dealers are that bad, how bad/clueless must the upper management be?
Playing it correctly means you've already won.

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