Anyway, the drive from Springfield to Helena was long - it probably didn't help that I stopped in Deadwood, SD (apparently famous for some outlaws from the wild west and it's 80+ casinos) to play some blackjack. I got there around 1 AM, but I'm not sure if that was mountain or pacific time. Kind of a neat little town up in the mountains - it's got lots of casinos, and it's themed to a Wild West atmosphere. The first casino I went to closed at 2, and the second (I think it was this one) I left around 3.
The casinos there were all smaller, at least compared to the boats I'm used to. The first casino had a lower room with slots, maybe 50 machines max, and upstairs they had table games. I think they had 5 tables for all the table games. $2 minimums though, which is sort of nice. Anyway, I hit the ATM for some cash, and then started playing. Continuing the Wild West theme, this place had nice metal chips for their $5 chips. I saved one of them. The chips have a nice heft to them, and they're slightly bigger than your standard clay chip. They also used silver dollars and fifty cent pieces for the lower denominations. But, the casino was pretty ghetto. The dealers were slow (well, 2 of the 3 were, the last guy was pretty decent), had trouble adding, and the table didn't have the mirror for them to check if they had a blackjack or not. I left there around 2, up $15 (but only 10 in cash since I saved a chip), and went across the street.
This was a much nicer joint. Was probably triple the size, though it didn't have that many more machines or tables. Dan would have liked it since you could play Hold'em there, though it was a $1/$2 table I think. Anyway, the tables were much nicer here, with mirrors, and dealers who could deal. The chips here weren't as cool, though I saved one anyway, figuring I'd start a collection. Standard clay chip, but this one is decorated and mentions the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (Sturgis is about 10 miles from the casino, and home to one of the largest motorcycle rallys in the country, drawing over half a million people to a town that's around 6,400). Anyway, did much better here (ended up playing with 3 guys from Cleveland), making about 200. (I bet big on the last hands - playing all the chips I had on the table [$50, the rest were in my pocket] - the first one was a blackjack, so I pocketed $75, the second I lost the $50.) The one other weird thing about Deadwood casinos was that they allowed minors in, as long as they were accompanied by adults. I guess it's part of being a tourist destination.
Anyway, I got out of there around 3, drove an hour to the next rest stop, napped for two hours, then drove to Helena. Got into town around 2 PM. I'm still pretty tired from the whole thing, dragging a bit.
Interestingly enough, MT allows casinos, but they don't allow blackjack. (This is only interesting since I remember my brother asking me something along the lines of "What casino doesn't have blackjack?") Apparently, they rejected blackjack in '91. That's too bad.