Gambling in Council Bluffs

If the world’s greatest poker players would ever choose to form a secret society to take over the world (or at least playing some really awesome games without having to wear overly sponsor-branded team uniforms..), they ought to mark this spot as the best place for their global headquarters: Council Bluffs.

Council Bluffs is located in southwest Iowa, along the east banks of the Missouri River. And although it could have been an excellent story, its lovely name does not commemorate any summit of legendary card players, although it has been coined by a man who was never afraid to take a chance. Back in 1804, while the famous explorers Lewis and Clark made their expedition along the river, they had a council meeting with the native tribes of the areas, the Otoe. Since the council was on a high steep bank (also called bluff), Captain Clark gave the area its interesting name, and it was generally used to refer to both the east and west river banks.

In its first phase, the city on the east bank was a home for a large Mormon community, and first got settled in the 1830s. It was first named Miller’s Hollow after the Mormon Bishop Henry W. Miller who was one of the first settlers. It was the area on the west bank that was known as Council Bluffs, and the name was used by a Nebraska Post Office located there. In 1848, the town of Miller’s Hollow was renamed Kanesville, this time in honor of the military officer Thomas L. Kane who was a valuable friend of the church leaders. Despite the honor, the place bearing his name didn’t bring Kane much luck – he caught tuberculosis while visiting there and suffered from it severe consequences for the rest of his life.

In the 1850s the Mormon community made its way Utah and was replaced with eager gold diggers, where the new folks on the east bank of the river decided that the town needs a new name. Cunningly, in order to put their hands on the mail that was reaching the west bank, they change the name to Council Bluffs City. The might have been bluffing the post services, but it worked and their post office eventually caused the one on the opposite bank to shut down. In 1953 the two towns got incorporated, and since then there is only one Council Bluffs.

In an amusing example of irony, the most famous guest to ever set foot in a place that goes by the name of Council Bluffs, was Abraham Lincoln, who is, of course, known as Honest Abe. President Lincoln visited Council Bluff in 1859, chose it as the eastern limit of the Transcontinental Railroad, and got a nice monument in return, as you can see here:

And where does one play cards in Council Bluffs? Ameristar Council Bluffs is a riverboat carrying a 38,500 square foot gaming floor along the Missouri River with over 1,500 slot and video poker machines and over 30 tables on board. That’s a pretty big boat right there, but an addition of 60,000 square feet is already in planning. The watery casino resort offers a fitness center, live music, bars, shopping, and other attractions for all the family like trips to the aquarium located on the banks of the Platte River, and the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge. Ameristar Council Bluffs is the very first AAA Four-Diamond riverboat casino in the U.S.

Harrah’s Council Bluffs, which is conveniently located on 1 Harrah’s Boulevard, has more than one thousand gaming machines including unique World Series of Poker Video Poker Slots, along with table games. Horseshoe Council Bluffs is the host of an exciting 3-day Circuit Championship World Series of Poker Event on February. The casino is running satellite poker tournaments where players can qualify for the WSOP event and win an entry to events at higher levels. The gaming space features over 1,900 slots and 62 table games, and it also offers live and simulcast greyhound and thoroughbred racing.

May 29, 2012 - Offer valid as of date published. T&Cs apply.