Grand Casino, Hinckley, MN

Because we’ve both had the gambling urge lately, we made a brief road trip to Hinckley, MN (about an hour north of the Twin Cities) to visit Grand Casino. The drive was bleak and wintery. We live in a very flat state and it’s colorless when the snow on the ground and the gray sky blend together. You feel like you’re driving in an endless dirty cotton ball. Luckily, the sun came out on the way back to help ease my Seasonal Affective Disorder. 

We saw some interesting billboards on the way: 

  • Pinehaven Farm promises Pumpkins and Fun (technically not a billboard, but the side of a barn, which is even better) 
  • The Pump & Munch filling station
  • Babies everywhere, in almost every other advertisement (apparently there’s nothing to do in northern MN except have sex)

When we arrived at 11:00 a.m., the casino wasn’t terribly busy. We were able to park ourselves at a bank of Deuces Wild machines with reasonable pay tables and play for a while. 

The casino smells of smoke and desperation. Although they had lots of slots you’d expect to see in Vegas (Star Trek, Dean Martin’s Wild Party, Happy Days, Gold Fish, eBay), demand was high because they only had a few of each type. People were especially anxious to play the eBay machines, hovering around until a seat opened up. I remembered from my last visit (in 2000) that this occurs frequently. Because there aren’t other casinos nearby, you can’t just walk to the next gambling hall to see if those machines are available. It creates a culture of lurking, which creeps me out a bit. 

I noticed (but did not play) some Miss Kitty slots with a “sticky wild” bonus. If  you get free spins and a wild symbol appears, it “sticks” in the same place on the screen until the bonus round is over, giving you more winning paylines.)

We took a brief break for lunch, enticed by the signs that promised a redesigned buffet, although Tim commented that he didn’t see much difference from the last time he was there.

The buffet’s tag line should be it’s not worse than the Flamingo buffet,” which isn’t saying much. It featured several stations: Salads, Asian, International (serving fried chicken and ribs– how international is that?), American Bounty, and Desserts. Most of the entrees gave “mystery meat” a new meaning. Several of the beef and pork items looked almost appealing, but I was afraid to try them with an hour-long car ride awaiting me. I stuck mostly to salads and non-meat items, although I did give the meatballs a try and they were good. To round out my plate, I had “some of the yella,” au gratin potatoes that had a Velveeta-esque sheen. 

My next round was interrupted as I waited 5 minutes for the elderly man in front of me to figure out what the ice cream machine was for. I think he was confused that it didn’t accept slot tickets.

For dessert, I tried some of the chocolate pudding cake, which was warm and gooey and good. I also had a couple bites of apple pie with ice cream, but it tasted a little off, so I left most of it on my plate. The best item on the buffet by far was the bread pudding with whiskey sauce. It was warm and somewhat firm, not soggy as I would have expected, and the sauce was sugary but not overpoweringly sweet.

After lunch, we resumed our gambling (or, if you prefer, losing) for another hour (Tim on Deuces Wild again, me mixing up my losses between Deuces Wild and Gold Fish slots), then we headed home.


Tags: , ,

4 Responses to “Grand Casino, Hinckley, MN”

  1. Grand Casino, Hinckley, MN « anitamartini’s lounge | Says:

    […] Grand Casino, Hinckley, MN « anitamartini’s lounge […]

  2. joe sedita Says:

    Another great review. It reminds me of Winstar Casino in Oklahoma.
    Did they have free Beverage stations there with coffee and soft drinks ?
    The buffet at Winstar Casino was on par with Imperial Palace.
    Happy New Year-joe

  3. Michele Says:

    I totally forgot to mention that. Yes, they did have free beverage stations with coffee and a variety of soft drinks (including Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and raspberry tea). I think orange pop was represented as well.

    One other thing that was moderately alarming was the check-cashing station. People could cash checks for no charge, but the rates for getting cash from a credit or debit card bordered on extortion. It started around $5 for amounts up to $25, then went up to 3% for $5,000 or more. But I’m sure they get enough people who are willing to pay the fees.

    Happy New Year to you, too!

  4. joe sedita Says:

    ATMS in casinos should be illegal…it’s like having a full service bar at an AA meeting. By the way-just booked two nites 1-12 to 1-14 at Planet Ho for $49 a nite with 40 in free play ( on special machines I would bet). can’t wait-joe

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: