The World Series of Poker Circuit, otherwise known as the WSOP Circuit, stops at Harrah’s Cherokee three times per year. These stops take place in April, August, and November. I look forward to these stops all the time. It’s a relatively short drive from home, and it’s peaceful and quiet with plenty of poker. This includes cash games, Sit & Go tournaments, and ring events. The latter is the most exciting of the three, but they’re all fun.
In regards to the cash games, this is one location where you want to play 1/2 No Limit because of the scared money. It’s not like a regular 1/2 NL game where people gamble. Unless you’re at the wrong table due to bad timing, simply attack and your opponents will usually fold. I would recommend isolating pre-flop and placing a continuation bet on the flop. If they call, something is afoot and slow down. If not, great. It really is that simple.
The ring events are obviously tougher, and you need to approach those tournaments differently. You want to really tighten up and wait for the best spots. You also want to buy-in late to these events, which will save you buy-ins, avoid risk early in the tournament, and put you closer to the money. If you win 1-2 big hands, you’re probably going to cash. It might not sound like the ideal tournament strategy, but it’s going to give you a higher success rate than buying-in early.
Harrah’s Cherokee Dining Secrets
Moving away from strategy and toward hotel and casino secrets, if you want to avoid lines for food, use the hotel corridor and go down the escalator, then make a left. You will find a Starbucks counter, where you can buy bagels and fruit cups for a fraction of the price of what you find upstairs. If you want a buffet, then opt for the downstairs buffet not far from the Starbucks counter. This will save you at least $10-$15 compared to the upstairs buffet.
If you don’t care about how much you spend and want a great meal—including exemplary service—go to the Noodle Bar, which is next to the high-limit gaming area in the casino. Pretty much every dish is tasty, but I was recently very impressed with the Chicken & Lo Mein. This isn’t on the menu; you just have to ask for that combination. Most dishes here cost $19, which is insanely high, but you get good portions.
If you want good pizza, DO NOT go to the food court. You will only find pizza that tastes like cardboard. Instead, go to Brio. Since Brio is always crowded during the WSOP Circuit events, walk behind the bar. You will find three high tables with seats on each side. Most people don’t know this, but you can order food there. It’s an ideal location for ordering a personal pizza. Brio used to just have margarita pizza, but they now offer traditional pizza, and it’s excellent. You will also be served bread prior to the pizza arriving.
As far as parking goes, you can park in the garage, but it’s usually a good idea to get some exercise prior to playing. If you agree, then turn left when coming in through the main entrance. You will find a wide open parking lot. Park your car and take the quiet and peaceful walk to the casino on the sidewalk.
Perhaps the most important tip for Harrah’s Cherokee is if you happen to traveling from I-77. If this pertains to you and you get on 74 (Great Smoky Mountain Expressway), DO NOT follow the sign that reads “Cherokee.” This will lead you through Maggie Valley and then up and down a single-lane and narrow mountain road. It’s dangerous. Even if you’re the best driver in the world, you can’t control other people. If they’re drunk, texting, or simply a bad driver, you could find yourself in a head-on collision. If it’s raining, then you’re really in trouble. Instead, when you see that sign for “Cherokee,” stay to the left and head toward Sylva. This route will take about 10-15 minutes longer depending on how you drive, but it’s wider (two lanes), much safer, and more scenic. You will see a sign for “Cherokee” about 15 minutes after passing Sylva. Follow those signs and you will be less than 10 minutes from your destination, which is a monster cash in a WSOP Circuit event.
Two other tips about Harrah’s Cherokee.
One, if you wait until 4 a.m., rooms are complimentary until 11 a.m. That doesn’t leave much time for sleep, but it’s better than nothing if you have no accommodations. The hotel needs to make sure no late check-ins arrive, and 4 a.m. is their cutoff. Go to the front desk and inquire. They will have a room for you.
Two, if you ever need some time alone by the river to unwind, follow the sidewalk that continues past the outdoor dining are for the Starbucks counter and cross the street. You will pass under some trees by the river and soon find yourself at four picnic tables with a river on one side and gardens on the other.
Hopefully, these tips will help you on your next poker journey to Harrah’s Cherokee.