Strike Casino opened in July 2016. Unfortunately for the casino owners, the demonitisation of high value currency notes in November 2016 hit India’s casino industry real hard. Strike casino was perhaps hit the hardest. Even before that also, due to their far-off location, they were not getting too many guests. But the note-ban really broke their back. They have partly recovered but I doubt if a full recovery for Strike Casino will ever happen. One real example – right now while updating this article, I am trying to access the casino website to see the current entry packages. But strangely, I get a “Bandwidth Exceeded” error. I can’t believe those people are running a casino and still have a cheap website. Perhaps they don’t have the money to pay for a good website. Well, despite that, as per my experience, Strike Casino is still the best over-land casino in Goa. Let’s read more about them…
Why Over-Land Casinos Are Different?
Due to a legal requirement, over-land casinos in Goa cannot offer “live gaming”. That means that over-land casinos are not supposed to use actual playing cards but rather offer gaming via machines and digital touch panels. But in India, people find loop holes in every law. Some clever fusion of actual playing cards and gaming machines ensures that gambling in Strike is as live as it can get. Players still can’t touch the cards but that is not a real problem there.
Also read: Goa Casino Guide
Strike Casino Bambolim Goa Location
In one way the location is good because Strike shares its premises with one of Goa’s finest five star hotels – Grand Hyatt. But in another way, it is bad because unless one is using own vehicle, getting to Strike costs INR 400 by taxi one-way, just to cover the seven kilometre distance from Panjim Bus Station. The route is like this: the taxi takes a right turn after about six kilometres on the Panjim – Dabolim Airport Road, and comes to the road going towards Dona Paula. From there another left turn leads to Bambolim.
Coming back from the casino may cost even more than INR 400 because the choice of cabs outside the casino building is limited and one will have to pay whatever the taxi guys demand. There is a solution to this: getting a free drop courtesy the casino. They gave me a free drop on both the nights I went there but one needs to play for a while and then demand the free drop from the casino staff while still playing at a gaming table. In other words, they will watch your game and say “yes” or “no” to a free drop to Panjim. I personally think that they should give a free drop to Panjim for each and every guest. An example of this service is Casino Mahjong in Sikkim which is located away from Gangtok. Mahjong makes sure that each of their guests gets a free ride back to their hotel in Gangtok.
Staying in Bambolim may not be a viable option for many because the only hotel in the vicinity of the casino apart from Grand Hyatt is Bambolim Beach Resort. The area outside looks like a village.
The casino is open 24 hours everyday.
Strike Casino Entry Fee and Timings
Like I said, their website is down. So, this is the info I could get from the ‘NearBuy’ App:
Strike Casino Goa Entry packages
Rs. 1500 Package (Mon-Thu)
Includes government levy, unlimited house brand drinks & snacks on gaming tables, buffet dinner from 8.00pm to 1.00am, and free One Time Play Chips of Rs. 1500 that can be used on Roulette, Baccarat, and Money Wheel tables.
Rs. 2000 Package (Fri-Sun)
Includes government levy, unlimited house brand drinks & snacks on gaming tables, buffet dinner from 8.00pm to 1.00am, and free One Time Play Chips of Rs. 2000 that can be used on Roulette, Baccarat, and Money Wheel tables.
Rs. 3000 Premium Package (Everyday)
Includes government levy, unlimited premium brand drinks & snacks on gaming tables, buffet dinner from 8.00pm to 1.00am, and free One Time Play Chips of Rs. 3000 that can be used on Roulette, Baccarat, and Money Wheel tables.
Rs. 7000 VIP Package (Everyday)
Includes government levy, unlimited imported/premium brand drinks & snacks on gaming tables, buffet dinner from 8.00pm to 1.00am, and free One Time Play Chips of Rs. 7000 that can be used on Roulette, Baccarat, and Money Wheel tables.
*Please confirm from the casino before buying any entry package if dinner buffet will be there. Once during a weekday, I did not see any buffet. The casino phone number listed on Google is 0832-712 2271. I could not reach this number but maybe you can.
The reception desk at the entrance issues the entry token and then the guests are required to pay the entry fee (in cash only) at the cashier counter inside.
Ukrainian Girls Dancing at Strike Casino Goa – Watch YouTube Video – Click this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-2iPSI8-pg&t=47s
The weekend night-time entertainment in the restaurant (9.30pm onwards) is offered by a Nepalese dance troupe, some singers & musicians, etc. Earlier some Ukrainian ladies used to dance in the restaurant everyday, but I don’t think that happens anymore. I recorded the above video during one of their performances. When not dancing, these ladies used to be on the gaming floor, sometimes chatting with the guests and sometimes even dealing cards at gaming tables. Now entertainment happens only during weekends and I am not sure if any ladies from Ukraine are there or not.
Use of Credit / Debit Cards & ATM
Credit / Debit / ATM cards can be used inside for buy-ins but there is a catch. The card swipe machines used in the casino are of HDFC bank and my Citibank Credit Card got declined there. The casino staff were not able to say why the card got declined or which banks’ cards would be accepted. So if you planning on using only your credit card for all buy-ins in Strike, better beware. ATMs are installed in the casino but there is no guarantee that cash will be there in those machines where you go there. Better carry a lot of cash with you if you plan to play at Strike Casino.
Quality of Food and Drinks
The quality of snacks, buffet (when it is there), and the drinks is really nice, much better than anything that Deltin Royale throws at its guests. The service is also very good except for the time taken for serving the snack orders. I was told that they make everything fresh so the guest is required to wait for 10-15 minutes after placing orders for the snacks to be served at the gaming tables. Drinks are served in proper glasses and the cocktails are prepared nicely, according to the recipes. Try ordering a Virgin Mary in Deltin Royale and you will know what I mean. The Virgin Mary I got in Strike was just perfect.
Gaming in Strike Casino
This is the relevant part as to why I say that Strike Casino is the best over-land casino in Goa.
Let us start with the ambiance. It looks awesome, particularly if one is tired of fighting for a seat at the gaming tables among the railway platform type crowd in Deltin Royale. Gaming in Strike takes place on three different floors. The main floor, right behind the entrance, is the low bet floor where bets start at INR 200 on card games and INR 100 on Roulette. At the back-end of the hall is a majestic staircase that goes down to the luxuriously appointed basement where there are high-limit tables (INR 500 – 1000+) and also the restaurant / entertainment, etc. There is another VIP level in-between the two.
The casino started with almost all the basic card games – Blackjack, Baccarat, Mini Flush, Andar Bahar, Roulette, Sic Bo, Money Wheel, Casino War, and Teen Patti Indian Flush. Later, a few tables of Three Card Poker and Five Card Poker have been added on the high limit floor. Slot machines are expected later as are some other card games. They have enough floor space to start whatever they want.
There were four slot machines in the casino last time I went there. Out of those, two had Baccarat and the other two a multi-line video slot game. The slot machines pay very little and are best avoided. Actually, slot machines do not pay well in any casino in Goa.
How Live Is The Gaming?
I am afraid to say it but the gaming in many of the over-land casinos in Goa is not fully honest. The automatic card sorting machines and the fully digital gaming machines being used in many of the overland casinos do not appear to be random but instead seem programmed to guarantee a cushy profit for the casino. There is no fully digital gaming machine in Strike Casino and no automatic card shuffling either. All card shuffling here is manual. However, to satisfy the regulation of mechanised gaming in overland casinos, Strike uses card shoes with built-in card sensors that send an image of the card being dealt to the video screen in front of the player. Card themselves are dealt face down. Bets are placed with actual gaming chips but decisions like ‘Stay’. ‘Hit’, ‘Double’, and ‘Split’ are to be executed by touching buttons on the video screens.
The overall atmosphere in Strike Casino was very lively as I saw it but that was a weekend. During weekdays, it will be better to go there during peak hours – after 7.00pm. I played there upto 2.00am and the upper floor was still almost full. But if you do not like too much crowd in a casino, Strike is wonderful at any hour. Only serious players will likely go all the way to Bambolim to play in a casino and therefore, the annoying spectators who stand behind the players in popular casinos are missing in Strike, thank God.
Casino gambling is very expensive and risky way of getting entertained. Do not gamble beyond your means. Leave the casino when you are not in a good mood. You can always come back another day.