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Monday, October 14, 2013

Casino Sikkim Gangtok

Casino Sikkim was the first casino to open in the Indian State of Sikkim, hence the name. This little casino is a part of Hotel Royal Plaza, a 5 star hotel in Gangtok, Sikkim. Its a lot smaller than its newer competitor - Casino Mahjong which is part of Hotel Mayfair situated a little outside of Gangtok city. A taxi can take you to Royal Plaza from most parts of the city for Rs. 100. One can also take a share cab up to Deorali (Rs. 10 or 20) from where the casino is at a walking distance. Return trip from the casino to your hotel is courtesy of the casino provided your hotel is not very far. It is better to confirm about the free drop to your particular hotel at the reception before buying the entry ticket. Entry to Casino Sikkim costs Rs. 3500 which includes Rs. 500 government tax, limited drinks (soft and hard), snacks, buffet dinner, and Rs. 3000 worth of casino chips that can be used to play any of the table games. Entry fee once paid is valid for 24 hours which means next day's entry is free but the casino may charge a token amount to cover food and beverages. Credit cards are accepted. Choice of drinks and snacks is good but service gets slow when tables begin to fill. Dinner is available up to 1 a.m. but drinks and snacks can be ordered any time. Keep reading...

Casino Sikkim at Hotel Royal Plaza Gangtok

Gaming Area

Stairs you see in the above picture take you to the casino lobby where entry fee is to be paid. Inside, there are a few slot machines (mostly ignored) followed by table games. Roulette, Blackjack, Mini Flush, Baccarat, and and Kitty (see below) are the five games played here. There are 2 Roulette, 2 Baccarat tables, and 3 others of Blackjack, Mini Flush, and Kitty. Buffet counters are in one corner of the gaming hall.

Gaming Rules

Minimum bet on Roulette is Rs. 50 (on a number) and Rs. 200 (outside bet). All other games need a minimum bet of Rs. 200 and maximum bet of Rs. 10,000. Side bets like Insurance in Blackjack and High/Low in Mini Flush can be Rs. 100. No surrender is allowed in Blackjack. Dealers don't accept cash at the tables. The player needs to exchange money for chips at the Cashier's counter, though the player himself doesn't need to leave the table for this. The casino employs plenty of charming girls designated as Guest Relations Executives (GREs) who stand around the tables to take care of the players' needs like exchanging cash for chips or finding the waiter to get you a drink, etc. The casino is open daily from 4.00 p.m. to 6 a.m.

How to play Casino Kitty (Tri-Flush or Russian Flush)

I had never seen or heard about Kitty before. Obviously I need to see many more casinos. A maximum of four players and the dealer play Kitty each getting nine cards. The players and dealer then make three sets of three cards each and place the sets on the table according to the rank 1, 2 and 3. The players' rank 1 cards are compared with the dealer's rank 1 cards and similarly rank 2 and 3 are compared with the dealer's rank 2 and 3 cards. 2 or more sets need to be won by the player or the dealer. If the player or the dealer makes a mistake in placing cards in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place, the mistake cannot be corrected when the cards are opened. Thus, its a game of skill as much as luck. A commission of 5% is to be paid by the players on top of the bet amount. The casino uses Rs. 10 slot coins for commission. One coin is needed for a bet of Rs. 200. The initial bet is the only bet placed. No additional bet is needed to see dealer's cards like in Mini Flush. There is no qualifying rule. So the dealer plays every hand. Due to the element of skill involved, Kitty is the most popular game here followed by Mini Flush, Roulette, and Baccarat. Blackjack table is often empty in both the Gangtok casinos.  

My verdict

Casino Sikkim offers gambling without entertainment, hence it may not be a good place if you are seeking an evening of fun. For entertainment along with gambling, better head to Casino Mahjong. Casino Sikkim's advantage is its location which is almost in Gangtok.



Posted by Narinder Singh

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Blog by: Narinder Singh