Horseshoe Council Bluffs
Horseshoe Council Bluffs
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Overview and history
It has 68,000 sq. ft. of gaming space, more than 1,700 slot machines, a variety of table games, and a World Series Of Poker (WSOP) poker room.
The Horseshoe holds the WSOP Circuit Event during August of each calendar year, and the Horseshoe Poker Championships during February in each year.
The Horseshoe was originally called the Bluffs Run Casino & Greyhound Park Council Bluffs, but there no longer is greyhound racing.
Horseshoe offers complimentary valet parking for all guests and there also is surface parking, as well as a parking garage. The garage can be very useful in the winter when it snows.
This casino is equipped with Caesars proprietary Total Touch system that allows customers to order drinks, redeem free play, check their Caesars Rewards account balances, and receive real-time offers based on play.
■ The Horseshoe no longer offers complimentary shuttle service from and to the airport in Omaha. If you need transportation, contact a host.
■ If you have leftover cocktails or wine you ordered at the buffet or Binion's, you can't take them out of the casino.
■ I'd rather pay $8 or $9 for a drink at Binion's or a casino bar and get a "real" cocktail. Unless you're drinking a rum and Coke (which actually is Pepsi), a gin and tonic, or something else generic, it's much more pleasant outside the Laurel Lounge. If you qualify, and it's open, even the General Manager's Club is a better option.
■ If you win a jackpot or cash drawing of at least $1,200 in Iowa the state will collect five percent for tax purposes. You can file a state income tax return in Iowa and might get some of that money refunded.
■ The Horseshoe has an RV Park which is open seasonally. For information or to make a reservation, click here or call 712-396-3715.
NOTE: All shows, events and deadlines are subject to postponement or cancellation due to temporary casino closings and/or safety and health measures implemented by the state.
There is gated parking for Seven Stars and Diamond cardholders on the second level of the garage, but you first need to obtain a special card to access it. This card can be obtained from the Laurel Lounge at Horseshoe (or Harrah's where it also works for reserved parking there on the first level of the parking garage).Relatively inexpensive rental cars are available at the airport, or the casino will take you to a nearby Enterprise.
Horseshoe does not have a hotel, but partners with four area hotels.
The Hilton Garden Inn is physically connected to the casino, the Country Inn and Suites is across the street, and Springhill Suites is within walking distance. A Holiday Inn Express is located two miles away and is about a five-minute drive.
The front desk at the Country Inn and Springhill Suites will call to have the shuttle pick you up.
The Country Inn and Suites, Springhill Suites and Holiday Inn Express each offers guests a complimentary breakfast buffet. The Hilton Garden Inn also has a breakfast buffet for less than $10 and Reward Credits can be used to pay for it.
Each of the hotels except the Holiday Inn have refrigerators and microwaves in the rooms, and all have swimming pools with Jacuzzis. (The Hilton and Holiday Inn also have modest fitness centers.)
If you’re traveling to this area during the winter, stay at the Hilton unless you like going outside in a blizzard. Additionally, from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays in the lobby the Hilton has complimentary beer/wine and snacks.
The casino has all the typical slots one would expect, as well as more than 50 table games, including an 18-table Poker Room spreading Texas Hold 'em and Omaha, and a new High Limit Tables Games Room. There are smoking and non-smoking areas.
Note that there are two entrances and North where you drop your car for valet parking or enter from the self-parking garage.
Alcoholic beverages are complimentary for Seven Stars and Diamond cardholders; others can use Reward Credits to pay for drinks. The casino has self-serve soft drinks and coffee at designated beverage centers.
Both the Horseshoe and Harrah's have a slot machine/location finder, right, to help you locate your favorite machine(s) or find an event. The Caesars Rewards Center and Cashier are located together and staffed by the same employees 24 hours a day.NOTE: If you're playing to earn a daily tier bonus, you'll have to manually calculate your combined tier credits from Horseshoe and Harrah's. The amount shown as your daily play on the Total Touch pad reflects only your score at the casino at which you are playing.
■ There are complimentary shuttles between Horseshoe and Harrah's. The trip takes about 10 minutes. Hope you get the full-size bus, above, and not the van, below, which is difficult to enter and exit.
The BookThe Book inside Horseshoe Council Bluffs has comfortable seating and high-definition TVs located throughout, as well as the Whiskey Roadhouse. Plus there is a kitchen at The Book preparing wings, burgers, nachos and more.
Seven Stars Lounge
There is no Seven Stars Lounge, but there is a very attractive Laurel Lounge (formerly Diamond Lounge).
Open Sundays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., the lounge has a small bar that seats 12.
You can view the current month's menus by clicking on Laurel Lounge under "Casino" on the Horseshoe's website, then "Menu," or request a printed copy when you check-in to the lounge.
■ There is a $5.99 per transaction fee to use the ATMs.
■ For Seven Stars cardholders and those Diamond cardholders who earned 40,000 or more tier credits last year (or 40,000 or more tier credits this year), there is a General Manager's Club. The ambience, food and service is much better than either the Laurel Lounge at Harrah's or Horseshoe.
■ During college football season 1620AM The Zone’s Josh Peterson and John Bishop from “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” will broadcast 2 to 6 p.m. every Thursday from The Book.
■ Pending availability, the Horseshoe will transport you downtown to the Old Market, the zoo, and other attractions. Again, pending availability, you also can get return transportation. Harrah's shuttles also will pick up and drop off at select local hotels for registered hotel guests and will pick up at AmeriStar for guests who want to game at Harrah's, but they do not drop off there. There is no charge for these services, but a gratuity for the driver would be appreciated.
■ The Horseshoe has a fully enclosed smoke-free slot area near the Poker Room and JB’s Café. The area features slots with denominations ranging from one cent to one dollar.
This is the schedule, as of April 2021:
There also are cookies and other desserts available, as well as self-serve ice cream, soft drinks, coffee, cappuccino and iced tea.There are no beverage servers, so order your drink from the bartender and carry it to your table, or just sit at the bar.
Not shaken or stirred
Don't even think of ordering a martini in the Laurel Lounge. "They use too much liquor," one of the bartenders at the Horseshoe claims. Unless you're ordering a cocktail or some sort of liquor with a mixer, the pours are minuscule – probably 1.5 oz. I don't even think the lounge stocks martini classes. A host cited Iowa state liquor law as why the lounges can't serve more than 1.5 oz. at a time, despite the fact that you can order a martini in any bar – as long as you're paying for it!
Horseshoe has a General Manager’s Club, making it the only one other than Harrah's North Kansas City. The club is much more elegant than the Laurel Lounge and has a small bar. Seven Stars cardholders may bring up to three guests, but each guest must have his or her own Caesars Rewards card – any level. Like the Laurel Lounge, there are no beverage servers, so order your drink from the bartender and carry it to your table, or just sit at the bar. If the club is not busy, the bartender not only will take your order, but make your drink and deliver it to you. Eligibility for the General Manager’s Club is based on earning 50,000 or more tier credits annually. Members also get free tickets to the concerts at Harrah’s. The General Manager’s Club is open Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 9 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 3 to 11 p.m. Food service begins at 5. It has its own separate menu and is usually a little better than the Laurel Lounge. The beverage choices in the General Manager’s Club also are better. The General Manager's Club has a computer with Internet access and a printer, but the Laurel Lounge has only a computer. Both the General Manager's Club and the Laurel Lounge have daily newspapers to borrow while visiting. In addition, the General Manager's Club has charging stations for cellphones.
Dining, Entertainment and Other Amenities
Every Wednesday guests who are 55 or older qualify for a buy one, get one free buffet (with photo ID and Caesars Rewards card) .
For fine dining there is Jack Binion’s Steak House
, as well as the Village Square Buffet. For 24-hour dining there's JB's Cafe. For indoor entertainment Horseshoe has Whiskey Roadhouse, a combination bar, nightclub and concert venue where you can enjoy dancing and live entertainment on the weekends.
For golfers there is Westwood Park and Dodge Park.
Should you choose this for your Annual Retreat?
If you're going to Council Bluffs for your Annual Retreat you must be booked at Harrah's.
However, if you do opt to travel to Council Bluffs for a different trip, you probably won't find a friendlier or more knowledgeable staff – other than at Harrah's. Keep in mind, though, that your dining choices are pretty limited – even though you can cross-charge between both the Horseshoe and Harrah's. Each has a high-end steakhouse, a buffet, and a 24-hour outlet for lighter meals and snacks. It would be nice if there were an Italian restaurant, an Asian restaurant or some other less expensive alternative, at either the Horseshoe or Harrah's.
For accommodations, the Hilton Garden Inn is adjacent – and directly connected – to the Horseshoe. I'd opt for that rather than any of the other partner hotels, assuming you have a choice.
Other pluses are the size of the casino and gaming options it offers, as well as the size and ambience of the Laurel Lounge. Plus, when it's open, and for those who qualify, the General Manager's Club is a nice alternative to relax and enjoy a cocktail. Compared to the full buffets served in Atlantic City, the Laurel Lounges in Council Bluffs basically serve one entree, then supplement it with a small salad bar, soup du jour, and cookies and some small desserts. The General Manager's Club usually offers marginally better options such as sesame chicken, grilled sirloin and prime rib.
There also are lots of things to do in nearby Omaha – the Nebraska border is less than 10 minutes away from the casino. Among the top choices are the Historic General Dodge House and the August Beresheim House, the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium (one of the best in the country) and the Durham Museum (which has its own diner and soda fountain). Also popular with visitors is the Old Market Business District of Omaha with lots of restaurants and stores, including some excellent antique shops, The Archway, the Strategic Air & Space Museum, Joslyn Castle, the Joslyn Museum (free!), the Gerald Ford Birth Site and Gardens (also free), General Crook House Museum, Historic Florence , the Lauritzen Gardens and Boys Town. In addition, there is the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in downtown Council Bluffs and Terrace Hill (the Iowa Governor's residence).
As always, when you check-in, be sure to verify that your $500 comp account has been set-up and what it can be used for. Gratuities may be charged to your room and settled at check-out with your credit card on file. Best advice is to keep all your receipts until you settle your final bill.
Where Horseshoe Council Bluffs is located
Those flying to Council Bluffs will take a flight to Omaha's Eppley Airfield. From there it's about a 15-minute drive to the Horseshoe.
*subject to change
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