WEST VIRGINIA BLACKJACK REPORT:
MOUNTAINEER AND WHEELING ISLAND CASINOS
by Mark Gruetze
Mark Gruetze writes the weekly "Player's Advantage" gambling column for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in Pennsylvania. He has been a skilled recreational casino player for more than 30 years, focusing on blackjack, video poker, and poker. E-mail questions or comments to:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mountaineer and Wheeling Island casinos have suffered since they stopped being the only table game options in the Pittsburgh region. Traffic has fallen since Pennsylvania added table games in July 2010. The more recent opening of casinos in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati gives players newer and glitzier options.
My wife and I spent her birthday traveling from suburban Pittsburgh to Mountaineer and Wheeling to check out the blackjack and other offerings.
Mountaineer Casino, Mountaineer Circle (Route 2), Chester, W.Va. 26034
Gamblers who play at Mountaineer must really, really want to go there. Itís not close to any other attraction, except maybe the Fiesta dinnerware factory and outlet shop, nor is it on the way to some noteworthy site. A two-lane highway widens as drivers approach the casino, which includes a 258-room hotel tower plus a spa, entertainment center and horse track, where five-day-a-week live racing resumes March 1. Golfers can play at nearby Woodview Golf Course.
Past the hotel lobby, the casino is designed to have a warehouse feel. The theme is supposed to evoke 1920s-era Chicago, with stops such as the Speakeasy Bar, Big Alís Deli and Pizzeria, and the Gatsby Dining Room. A buffet is available.
The blackjack is...
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