beachbumbabs
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beachbumbabs
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April 17th, 2015 at 4:36:25 PM permalink
I went to SE Kansas for a family event the last week of March 2015, escorting my mom, and we stayed two nights at the Downstream Casino Resort in Oklahoma. We had an excellent time there in most all respects, and so I wanted to provide a write-up for future patrons.



Approach to buildings at dusk.

The resort (and it deserves the name) is located in the corner of the US where Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma meet, 10 miles west of Joplin, MO. It took 2 1/2 hours to drive via interstates from Kansas City International airport; Springfield MO is closer, but somewhat less convenient to flight schedules. Wichita and OK City are probably about as convenient as KC. It is rural and isolated, with its own interstate exit, but there appear to be 3-5 other NA casinos within an hour's drive, so there's enough choice in the area to keep them competitive in their offerings (IMO).



Property layout.

I don't know how old the resort is, but definitely less than 20 years, probably about 10 years. It all looks brand new. There are 2 hotel towers, a large spa and exercise room, both indoor and outdoor pools, an 18 hole golf course, a huge comfortable lobby with a fireplace and many conversational groupings, meeting rooms, and a convention center/showroom pavillion used for musical acts/weddings/groups on the weekends. The casino is sizeable, with a round layout, hi-limit slot room, hi-limit cards room, good sized poker room, a large round open bar in the center, and a half-moon sports bar on one side. There are 6 food options; a breakfast and coffee bar, a breakfast grill and buffet, a steakhouse, extensive bar-food menu in the sports bar, a standard buffet, and a food court with a couple choices. The food court is 24/7; the others all have hours of operation. There is also a good-sized gift shop with the usual notions, snack foods, and some clothing.



Clockwise from upper left: conversation area in the lobby, standard king room, standard bathroom, standard 2 queen room, lobby fireplace and sculpture at the casino entrance.

The initial drive-up to the property is an impressive winding landscaped drive, with self-parking on the right, the furthest spots a long way from the buildings. The resort runs a complimentary shuttle 24/7 for self-parked patrons to and from their cars. They also have valet parking, complimentary to hotel guests and higher-tiered players, $3 for basic player's card holders, $5 to the general public. There is a large portico with 5 lanes for cars that serves both the casino and hotel check-in. I mention this because we arrived in the middle of a tornado warning (the first major one in that area for 2015; Moore, OK about an hour west got hit badly with fatalities as we drove in) and the thunderstorm was in full swing. The valet lanes were full under the portico, but there was a lot of room in the other lanes. However, in what was a thoughtless move (according to the bellman, who was seriously pissed), and one of the few flaws in the trip, the valet forced us to park in the open storm and unload the trunk for check-in rather than under shelter. Wet as drowned rats, we went to check in.



Interior of the pavilion, can be set for large receptions/dinners, concerts, meetings, dance hall, etc.

You enter a beautiful lobby/common area, with marble floors, comfortable conversation areas, and a huge two-sided fireplace. Dark wood paneling shares wallspace with large display cases of NA art and artifacts, and there are several free-standing sculptures, all under high, well-lit ceilings. Valet and bell is a combined desk next to the door. To the left is the newer part of the complex, with check-in for both towers and a nearby VIP/concierge desk, then the 2 newer restaurants, indoor pool, spa, and the newer hotel tower (think that one's all non-smoking). The first tower is behind the fireplace, near the gift shop; between the 2 towers, I think there are almost 400 rooms. To the right is the casino and the rest of the restaurants. I think the outdoor pool, which is much larger than the indoor, is outside the newer tower as well, but it was not open due to the time of year. From the left exit of the lobby onward, all areas are non-smoking; the lobby itself, some of the first towers' rooms, and the casino are smoking, with exception of the poker room and the buffet and steakhouse off the casino floor.


Another lobby angle. Check-in desk.

Check-in went easily, with a nice bonus of desk bowls of extremely fresh fruit to take along to the room. I had asked for a casino rate and received a discount from online quotes as a new guest, and they had that correctly in my reservation. Rooms are spacious, extremely clean, and very nicely furnished with upscale linens and many pillows, a medium-sized bathroom with good quality soaps, huge walk-in shower and separate WC, hair dryer, lots of large good quality towels. 2 complimentary bottles of water per day, room safe, large flat-screen tv, refrigerator, iron/board, coffee/tea service, decent amount of electrical outlets. Small table with 2 chairs, as well as a small desk with outlets in a 2 queen room about 240 sqft, which I believe was their basic room, though they do have larger suites. No view to speak of, but that's more that part of Oklahoma than the hotel's fault.



Our room.


Two internet pictures of larger suites.

The rooms are in a square around a central reinforced building shaft that contains the elevators, stairs, supply closets, so there was very little noise even though we were 6 steps from the elevator (that convenience was shared by nearly all rooms, about 20 on the floor, I think). The reinforced shaft functions as a tornado shelter on all floors during emergencies, and the stairs lead to a heavier shelter in the basement of the property, so a no-warning alert was easy to manage without issue. The NA historical theme continued for the decor in both the rooms and hallways.



The spa Jacuzzi.

Some more notes about hotel amenities; the valet was either very very good, or very very bad. My mom lost her glasses in the car, and they were quick and genial about bringing the car around, letting me find them on the floor, and then putting the car back. When we checked out, they were very prompt about bringing the car up, opened doors from the lobby and on the car for us, but had adjusted the seat so far forward (and forgot to move it back) that I couldn't get in the car before adjusting it back. The worst was returning later in the week, using valet, and waiting outside (cold) over 20 minutes with no one ahead of me for no car. Someone finally asked for my stub, and checked to find that a "new employee" had brought around the wrong car and left it without trying to figure out why nobody claimed it. It was, of course, the only time during the trip where I was in a time crunch to leave and meet other people, so it left a bad taste.


The indoor pool's Jacuzzi. The indoor pool.

Bell desk services were exceptional; I tipped standard Vegas level and they were nearly floored, but they gave extremely good and thorough service both coming and going. We had a week's worth of stuff with us along with wedding presents, so it was a lot of luggage to manage.



Cabanas at the outdoor pool. Looking from the pool deck at the building entrance.

While there, we ate at the sports bar, the steakhouse, and the grille (where we had the breakfast buffet). Prices in all were very reasonable, portions were very large, food was mostly good to great. My mom also ate at the coffee shop, which had mostly fresh baking and desserts along with gourmet coffees, some pre-made sandwiches.

The sports bar food was good, with an extensive menu of sandwiches, hamburgers, chicken and fish baskets, bbq, and appetizers. It was very quick to come out. They had about 6 big-screen TV's in the area, and 3 concentric rings of bartop machines in tiers, along with a curved row of hi-top tables.

The grille breakfast buffet was about $13 and very well stocked, with an omelet station and all expected full-breakfast foods, fruit and hot offerings were very fresh, service was excellent. Did not see the regular menu, but the food quality was the best we had, so I expect the same level on the full menu.



The steakhouse. The buffet.

The steakhouse was slightly overpriced IMO, typical Vegas steakhouse menu and comparable prices to Vegas, not to Oklahoma. They had 1 Waygu Beef offering, 4 Kobe, about a dozen Prime, and about a dozen other options, including buffalo meat. Also several appetizers, salad, and soup choices. A la carte ordering, with side dishes in good-sized shareable portions. We were seated in an alcove and completely ignored for 20 minutes; had to call the busboy over to get water, finally hostess reappeared and said our waitress was working a large party and would be along. Mom had the salmon and said it was the best she ever had. I had the ribeye med-rare prime which was good but not great. Sides were good to excellent. Service continued to be slow and perfunctory at best; sat with empty water for over 15 minutes, no check-back on food after delivery (from a different waiter), steak was only warm so probably sat a while before someone bothered to bring it out. There was a bar inside the entrance to the steakhouse, so I think someone could order off the steakhouse menu without going through the formal dining experience, along with seating while waiting for a table.

Did not try the food court or buffet.



Part of the main casino floor.

The casino slots and VP are Class II. They had all the newest slots available as well as many classics. The VP was mostly IGT machines, but I think there were some others as well; did not see Quick Quads, but they had many Game Kings, STP, UX, Dream Poker, Hot Shot, some others, .05 to $5 on the main floor. I would guess about 1000 slots and 150 VP of some sort. They also had electronic blackjack, and I think electronic craps and roulette. .01 to $1 slots on the main floor, $1 to $25 in about 50 machines in the hi-limit room. The hi-limit slots had their own bathrooms, and there were some snacks and fruit on a table.



Exterior and Interior of Poker Room. Hi-Limit room is similar in both respects but against a different wall.

The hi-limit tables were 6 blackjack tables, 2 DD and 4 6-8 deck shoes, saw almost no traffic. Can't remember the rules, sorry, but hi-limit was all 3:2; my impression was reasonable rules, but they were different for DD and shoe games and I can't recall (should've made written notes). The poker room was 14 tables and smelled of flop-sweat (glassed-in area off the main casino). About 6 tables were in play mid-Friday, looked like about 10 tables in play Saturday early evening. Main game is 1-2 NL, reportedly some 2-3 in busier traffic, not sure what else. Max buy-in of 200. They have a poker tournament that is worth a WSOP seat to the winner. There is a Bad Beat Jackpot, but I don't know any details.



The center bar, surrounded by rings of game consoles. A detail of the casino ceiling, repeated throughout.

The main casino is built outward from a large round bar with a beautiful string-sculpture above it (made of steel or aluminum) that kept changing colors with the lighting. Both it and the sports bar had inset VP games, from .25 to 1.00. They run slot tournaments often and have a special bank of 10 machines that they key with your Q card, and the top lights up with your name (first) when they reset the machines for each round. The promotions club is near that, called Q club, and there are minimal promotions available to new players (currently $10 free play, $10 food credit). The club has at least 3 tiers. There are kiosks to swipe for promotions like giveaways, tournaments, gifts, senior days, etc., where you can also check points and get freeplay chits. The freeplay was on the card, and you went through a normal key-in at the machine of your choice to play them. You accumulate points at an unknown rate, and it was too recent for me to give any idea what may come from playing rated.

There were 3 main pits in the casino, radiating out from the center. One appeared to be all blackjack, the other two a mix of games. I saw UTH, Crazy 4, 6 card PGP, 3CP, minibacc, and blackjack with sidebets (21+3 that I noticed). Weekday minimums on all tables was $5; two of each game except only 1 minibacc. IMPORTANT PERK: State of OK requires all players to pay .50/per hand on all house-dealt games. This casino (and they claim they're the only one doing this) pays the .50 for the player if playing rated (with a Q club card) of any level. The player must be checked in to their system (by the PB) to avoid that tariff, and have a current card (they expire every 6 months). The dealer tracks the tariff with dummy chips and drops them in the drop box as they accumulate. So the EV is not affected by the per-hand cost, and most games appeared to have paytables and rules consistent with Vegas odds. UTH and Crazy 4 both have progressives on them. Players can play 2 hands on all games except UTH.

Was my first time playing 6 card PGP. I didn't much care for it. 5 cards in the back hand, singleton top. There was an interesting aspect, though, that if you liked your hands well enough you could double your base bet. Dealer had to have pair8's or better in the back hand to pay the double, otherwise that part pushed if you won. Also, in the top hand, joker beat aces against the dealer, and ace/ace in the top hand deferred to the result of the back hand. There was also a bad-hand sidebet, paying odds for A-high paigow or worse. And a standard table Fortune sidebet.

Could not get on Crazy4 poker, though I tried several times. It was a locals game, with multiple hands allowed, and though it was not the same people, when someone new tried to sit down (not just me) someone would bet the open hand real quick to keep the game to themselves. Was mildly irritating.

Nearly all dealers were good, with the day-shift exceptional, and some on the main evening shift more worried about visiting with customers/friends than dealing the damned game. Many more mistakes/hand on the main shift as well. Dealers carried their tip-boxes around, so I'm assuming no pooling of tips. At least 1 main casino pit open 24/7, though they seem to close down to a single BJ game by early am, and don't start re-opening games until 9-11 am. By noon on weekdays, 1 full pit open, possibly 2. The Saturday night I went back, all 3 pits were open and slots were very crowded. Hi-limit slots were 3 deep and extremely crowded in the room.

Decent service at the cashier window, with 4 available. VIP/credit office near cashier, and numerous ATM's around. Fee $3 for ATM withdrawals. Alcoholic drinks including beer and wine are cash, even at the tables; water/soft drinks/coffee/tea comped while playing. Not sure about fruit juices or energy drinks.

With the exception of valet follies and a couple rude/bored dealers on the main night shift, flawless attitudes and customer service from all employees. I highly recommend the place for a multiday trip; lots to do, good food, good games.
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
aceofspades
aceofspades
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April 17th, 2015 at 4:49:22 PM permalink
Great description - are they affiliated with any of the big casino companies so as to be able to use comps/points…?

Pictures?
EvenBob
EvenBob
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April 17th, 2015 at 7:46:05 PM permalink
Because of the Trail of Tears, OK has far
more casinos than any other state. But I
don't believe they have roulette or craps
or many other Vegas games.
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal
pokerface
pokerface
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April 17th, 2015 at 7:57:20 PM permalink
"The casino slots and VP are Class II."

You mean they are kind of bingo based?
winning streaks come and go, losing streak never ends.
pokerface
pokerface
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April 17th, 2015 at 8:00:31 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

Because of the Trail of Tears, OK has far
more casinos than any other state. But I
don't believe they have roulette or craps
or many other Vegas games.



Some have card-based roulette and craps, which are really crap!
winning streaks come and go, losing streak never ends.
beachbumbabs
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beachbumbabs
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April 17th, 2015 at 8:13:06 PM permalink
Edited and added to OP, including numerous pictures.
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
beachbumbabs
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beachbumbabs
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April 17th, 2015 at 8:18:14 PM permalink
Quote: pokerface

"The casino slots and VP are Class II."

You mean they are kind of bingo based?



I'm not sure if it's bingo, lotto, or some other player-pool mechanism, but it's player-banked. I saw a few banks of machines displaying some kind of bingo-like cards, so went and asked at the player club and was told all machines are Class II, no matter what they look like.
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
beachbumbabs
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beachbumbabs
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April 17th, 2015 at 8:21:20 PM permalink
Quote: aceofspades

Great description - are they affiliated with any of the big casino companies so as to be able to use comps/points…?

Pictures?



Pictures added. They appear to be independent of any affiliations, as the Quapaw tribe. They share architects with Seneca Niagara, some very similar construction aspects, but there appears to be no other common element with other companies.

I received a hand-signed individualized letter in the mail today, thanking me for my visit and for taking the time to provide a comment card. Nice follow-up.
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
aceofspades
aceofspades
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April 17th, 2015 at 9:09:53 PM permalink
Quote: beachbumbabs

Pictures added. They appear to be independent of any affiliations, as the Quapaw tribe. They share architects with Seneca Niagara, some very similar construction aspects, but there appears to be no other common element with other companies.

I received a hand-signed individualized letter in the mail today, thanking me for my visit and for taking the time to provide a comment card. Nice follow-up.




Thanks BBB

A hand signed note is a nice touch

I wonder how many players they would lose if they didn't pay the 50¢ surcharge per hand...?
tringlomane
tringlomane
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April 18th, 2015 at 5:39:31 PM permalink
Quote: beachbumbabs

I'm not sure if it's bingo, lotto, or some other player-pool mechanism, but it's player-banked. I saw a few banks of machines displaying some kind of bingo-like cards, so went and asked at the player club and was told all machines are Class II, no matter what they look like.



I have a feeling the employee was at least partially wrong. I would be really shocked if "Hot Roll Poker" is Class II. Even more shocked if "Ultimate X" was Class II given the game's Class III behavior. IGT doesn't bother to make lots of their VP variants for Class II units. And the paytable in your pics is a standard 8/5 DDB game (96.79%), if it's a Class II game, it's most often 9/6...misleading jerks.

And nice report!

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