Took a drive up to Milwaukee yesterday, and among the things I did was stop in at the updated Pottawatomi casino. They've done a lot of expansion there in the last two years, and have a much larger poker room and a small OTB section. The big draw there is Bingo, for some reason.
Anyway, the players card (Fire Keepers) appears to give some reward for poker, table games, slots, and video poker. Cash back is at half the value of food, beverage, bingo, and gift shop as I was told I had $17 worth of points for my current balance of 1781. Their web site
, however, gives cash back at 2000 points = $10, etc.
It appears that earning is 100 points/hour for poker, but the bigger reason to have the card if that's your game is to be able to get on the waiting list by telephone: you get two hours to show up, and if you get to the top of the list before you arrive, you stay there for the full two hours. If you're driving up from Chicago, calling from the 94/294 merge on the weekends gives you plenty of time to stop and get gas and a snack, find a parking space, and, get to the room. On weeknights, I'd probably wait until Gurnee Mills/Great America. In the old room, the wait for 2/4 or 3/6 could be 3 hours on a Saturday evening.
Because I am not 100% sure that poker earns, and because my points were expiring at the end of the month, I put $5 into some video poker and manage to not lose it until I earned a point. $4 coin in = 1 point, so 0.25% for food/beverage or 0.125% for cash. The game was 9/5 DDB (97.87%), but it had a 20 coin max instead of 5 - so it's essentially really a $1 game if you want the full odds. Given that they're the only game in town, I'm surprised that the odds were that good.
They also claim to have Pai Gow poker, but a large section of the table games area on the first floor was under rehab, so there was no game active.
All in all, they've really improved. The first floor original casino needs some work, but my guess is that those improvements will be made in 2009. The best time to go for the casual player in my opinion is 10-5 on Saturday, then get out before the crowds and go have a nice dinner or go to a Brewers' night game.