Deadwood is a small town located in the Black Hills of South Dakota west of Rapid City. It was a booming gold mining town in the late 1800’s. While the gold rush dried up significantly by the mid-1900’s, there was still one large local gold mine until 2002 located in neighboring Lead. As the town’s fortunes dwindled, it started to become a ghost town.
Local residents decided it was time to capitalize on the city’s claim to fame of the Wild West and legalize gambling. South Dakota voters agreed and passed a constitutional amendment legalizing casinos in the city limits of Deadwood. Deadwood was the first jurisdiction to legalize casino gambling outside of Nevada and Atlantic City. That occurred on November 1, 1989. The bet limits were initially just $5. This made it so that most of the games offered were slots and video poker. There were some table and poker games with a $5 max bet. Blackjack was the most common house game, while Seven Card Stud High/Low was the most popular poker game spread.
The bet limits were raised to $100 in 2000 and up to $1,000 in 2012. The $1,000 max bet requires special surveillance and cash requirements that few casinos adopted. This means the max bet at most Deadwood casinos remains $100. The maximum number of combined slots, video poker machines, poker tables, and table games allowed is 250 per casino.
Within the town of Deadwood, blackjack is among the most popular games. Though the rules are pretty different from other gambling towns such as Las Vegas or Atlantic City, they still attract visitors from all over. One of the drawbacks you’ll find when visiting is that no live Deadwood blackjack games allow a player to surrender or re-split aces. There are some Shuffle Master video blackjack machines that allow surrender however.
The best blackjack game in Deadwood is spread by Celebrity Casino and Hotel. The bet limit is $2-$25 and deals two decks with deep penetration. Players may double on any two cards and after splitting. The dealer stays on all 17’s. A six-deck game with the same rules is also available. Unfortunately, these great blackjack games are only open on Friday and Saturday night. The Lodge at Deadwood offers a six-deck game with the same rule that is available 24/7.
The worst blackjack in Deadwood is spread at Tin Lizzie and Cadillac Jack’s. It is a single deck game that pays 6-5 on a natural and only allows double down on 10 and 11.
There are five major Deadwood casinos. Each of these accepts wagers over $100.
The Lodge at Deadwood – The Lodge at Deadwood is one of the newest Deadwood casinos. It spreads a four-table poker room that offers the highest limit games in Deadwood. A spread limit Texas Hold’em game with 5/10 blinds and a $1,000 max bet is available three nights a week. Other games include 2-100 and 3-500.
There are 12 table games at The Lodge at Deadwood. Seven are blackjack games with two being double deck. The minimum bet is typically $5 with a $1,000 max bet. The dealer stays on all 17’s at The Lodge. The six-deck game allows double down on any two cards and after splitting. The double deck games only allow double down on 10 and 11, including after the split. The Lodge also spreads $5 Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Three Card Poker, and Casino War.
The Lodge at Deadwood offers some of the best and worst video poker in Deadwood. The best is its Double Deuces Wild, which is available in $.05, $.25, and $1. This returns about 99% and is the best video poker game in Deadwood. These machines are located in the same room as the bar. Most of the other video poker games here are unplayable. The machines at the bar offer the same awful paybacks as the Las Vegas Airport.
Deadwood Grand – This is Deadwood’s newest casino and hotel. There are six table games available. These include three tables of six-deck blackjack, a double deck blackjack game, one Three Card Poker, and one table of Ultimate Texas Hold’em. All offer a $5 minimum bet except for the double deck blackjack game. Six-deck blackjack allows a player to double down on any two cards and after splitting. The dealer hits soft 17. The double deck has the same rules except double down after splitting is not allowed.
Deadwood Grand’s claim to fame is that it offers a concert hall where regional favorites and names from the past perform. These include musical performers and comedians.
Silverado/Franklin – The Silverado and Franklin are owned by the same family. The Silverado is the main casino between the two. It offers 16 table games. Eight are six-deck blackjack that allows double down on any two cards and after splitting. The dealer hits soft 17. Blackjack limits are $5-$500.
There are two video table games with a $1-$25 bet range. One is Ultimate Texas Hold’em, while the other is Three Card Poker. The video poker at Silverado is unplayable. Slots start at a penny and go up to the $50 denomination, the highest in Deadwood.
The Franklin offers four blackjack and two Three Card Poker tables. The limits are $5-$100 for blackjack and $5-$25 for Three Card Poker. These games are only open on weekends. Franklin also spreads video blackjack and roulette with a $1 minimum bet.
The complex’s hotel is located at Franklin. It is over 100 years old and very authentic. The rooms were used by the gold miners generations ago. It is far from luxury, but a great value.
Mineral Palace – Mineral Palace offers a higher end hotel and casino. There are six table games. There are two tables each of Three Card Poker, six-deck blackjack and double deck blackjack. The six-deck game allows double down on any two cards and after splitting. The dealer hits soft 17. The double deck game has the same rules except double down after splitting is not permitted. The minimum bet is $2, except for double deck blackjack, which is $5.
Cadillac Jack’s – Cadillac Jack’s offers the nicest hotel rooms in Deadwood at its Springhill Suites. It spreads 10 table games. There are two 6-5 single deck blackjack games, two six-deck games, a double deck game, and Blackjack War. All have $5-$1,000 limits. Other table games have a $2 minimum bet, which include Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, and Mississippi Stud.
Cadillac Jack’s also offers a four-table poker room. The main games are 2-20, 3-15, and 3-300 spread limit Texas Hold’em. It offers more than 200 slots and a handful of video poker machines. All of the video poker pay tables are ripoffs.
Saloon No. 10 may be the most famous Deadwood casino. It was where Wild Bill Hickok was shot, although its location has since changed. The chair he was sitting in at the time of his death is in the new location. There are four table games and two poker tables at Saloon No. 10. The table games include single deck blackjack that pays 3-2 and allows double down on 10 and 11. There are two six-deck blackjack tables and a Three Card Poker table. Limits are $3-$25.
First Gold is a favorite of locals. It offers more than 100 slots and video poker games. There are four table games with a $2 minimum bet. There are two six-deck blackjack tables, Mississippi Stud, and Three Card Poker.
Tin Lizzie is another locals’ joint. It has a popular diner and a small table game pit. Tables include 6-5 single deck blackjack, six-deck blackjack, and Three Card Poker.