Wild Bill Hickok was shot playing stud poker; he should have been playing the Wild Bill slots at the new Lodge at Deadwood because his odds would have been better.  There is so much room in the casino in the new Lodge at Deadwood that Wild Bill could have sat with his back to the wall and seen Jack McCall draw – and we are not talking five card stud.

Wild Bill would have been a local character at the new Lodge at Deadwood Casino and Convention Center, where the Old West meets the new.

The Lodge at Deadwood points in all directions to luxury.

In 1879 fire broke out in the gold rush shanty town and burned most of the burgeoning city to the ground.  Deadwood rebuilt with brick and sandstone and the historic perimeter of the original town still stands with most of the hundred year old buildings housing gambling halls, just like the days of yore. 

Double Queen Executive room.

According to the manager of The Lodge at Deadwood, Monte Hartl, they wanted to bring a new era to the famous gold camp, and deliberately avoided creating an Old West rendition ill fitted with the Deadwood Historic District.

And I must admit The Lodge at Deadwood fulfills its promise with modernity, spaciousness, and great views of Boulder Canyon and the surrounding northern Black Hills. Even though the lodge is within the environs of Deadwood it sits in a serene hilltop meadow in the foothills of Mountain Roosevelt.

Old Deadwood casinos are somewhat small and cramped and smoky.  Old Deadwood cigar chomping madam Poker Alice would have loved the spacious casino at The Lodge at Deadwood because it is wide open, with plentiful slots, table games, and a great poker lounge (Rounders) with regular tournaments.   Even though Wild Bill played a Deadman’s Hand of aces and eights, The Lodge at Deadwood comes up all aces with a décor of beautiful soft earth tones, modern carpet patterns, and exceptional service. 

The Presidential Suite bath.

The King Suite living area.

The comfy mountain lodge has 140 guest rooms and suites (some with a whirlpool), and one Presidential Suite, all in a four story hotel, which snowmobilers like because they can park their sleds right out side their door and hop in the saddle for a winter’s day revving around the miles of groomed Black Hills dedicated trails.

If you want to experience Old Deadwood take the free shuttle into town. Monte states the city is getting, new more powerful trolleys that can make the grade from downtown to the lofty lodge.

My chips are all in for the spacious bedroom that I enjoyed during my winter blizzard hiatus at the lodge; I had my own mini film festival with the plethora of channels on the wide screen TV perched before my so soft bed. Room service was just a call away. I could watch the progress of the storm from my balcony.  The easy access elevators were close by so I could check my email in the free 24 hour business lounge next to a roaring fireplace near the lobby that guests found to form fit themselves into the leather couches like hibernating grizzlies.

The comfy fireside area near the lobby.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

didn’t have to dig out of any snow banks, so I banked my luck on the progressive slots after I signed up with the lodge’s equally progressive player’s club.  The casino has 260 slots with room for even more, plus 18 table games, mostly blackjack at $5 minimum a hand, but there was also a mini Hold-Em poker table that drew eager players, also a handicap accessible blackjack table..

The scene of the casino action with regular tournaments.

The poker room has a high limit area, and during my stay it captured a sizeable crowd during the regular evening tournaments.  I found the embedded slots at the Rounders poker lounge bar to be the only area with video poker.  But I did best at the $5 blackjack tables.

The Pine Crest Ballroom seats 1,700.

The Boardroom.

The lodge is a perfect location for any type of event or convention because it is the newest and only convention center in Deadwood, and with over 15,000 square feet of space and the benefit of the 13,000 square foot Pine Crest Ballroom (seating 1,700).  

There are four conference rooms near the Ballroom.  Monte mentioned to me that the convention business is booming at the Lodge with bookings even coming in from Europe.  And with the Rapid City Regional Airport (45 miles away) adding new American Airlines flights, there is even easier access and more reasons to visit Deadwood.  The airport also offers United, Delta, Allegiant, and Frontier flights, with rumors that Southwest Airlines may add the hub to its routes. 

The Lodge at Deadwood resort convention sales phone is 605/584-4800.

The real grubstake is found at the Deadwood Grille.

There was no reason to blunder around in the blinding whiteout outdoors because the Deadwood Grille offers breakfast and dinner in a beautiful setting.  I admired the stone work and rustic photos and tapestries on the Grille’s walls.  At breakfast one morning chef Kevin came out and we had a lengthy conversation about Loch Leven trout fishing in the area.  The 149-seat restaurant quickly filled up with snowmobilers and skiers and hungry families coming down after a restful night in a Family Suite. 

Room to roam in a Family Suite.

Kevin slipped back to the kitchen and the waitress soon set out my order as I contemplated ice fishing. Naw — I was too comfy in the Lodge’s confines.  But there are plenty of activities in the area that includes both summer and winter fun.

Terry Peak and Mystic Mountain Ski areas are nearby and Terry offers a snowboard pipe park.  You can see three states from the summit. The groomed trail system of the Black Hills National Forest has made the area famous for snowmobilers. The George S. Mickelson Trail system offers snowshoeing in winter and trail rides, bicycling, or hiking in summer, with plentiful trout streams along the way to dip a fly.  You can still pan for gold in the summer in the Hills where the largest gold rush in U.S. history occurred, bigger than the California mad dash.

Numerous South Dakota State and Black Hills National parks offer summer cabin rentals or camping, even in winter.  The same hotel company that manages The Lodge at Deadwood also manages the four historic lodges in Custer State Park in the southern Black Hills.  Or make it a family visit to Kevin Kostner’s Tatanka (Sioux for buffalo) exhibit just across Highway 85 from the Lodge.

Oggie's for snacks and sports.

Later in the day after my indoor and in-room film festival I dined at Oggie's Sports Bar near the Deadwood Grille.  Oggie's serves lighter fare throughout the day with such entrées as soups and salads and wraps and burgers.  The U-shaped bar is hand-crafted with blond wood.  You can order at the bar or in booths.  The full bar serves wines, cocktails and beers. Everyone enjoys watching their favorite sports on the ten 50-inch plasma TVs overhead.  Hey, switch to the fly fishing channel.

The indoor playland brings the kids out of all ages.

The kids will love the indoor water playland. They can slide on Pirate ships and dolphins and a mushroom waterfall or walk across the lily pad. The zero entry play area features a big whirlpool.  The 24 hour fitness center has an adult’s only area with state-of-the-art equipment.  During warmer months the outdoor fire pit is fired up on the expansive patio.

The snowmobilers were ecstatic about the 40 inches of snow base blowing around horizontally outdoors.  Potato Creek Johnny must have been ecstatic when he found the largest nugget (over 7 ounces — on display at Adams Museum in Deadwood) in Beaver Creek in the Hills' high country, but I was ecstatic because I was winning at the casino, where the Old West meets the New West, but I kept my back to the wall. Read the Jetsetters Magazine feature about The History of Deadwood and Black Hills Snowsports.

The Lodge at Deadwood
100 Pine Crest Lane
Box 320
Deadwood, SD 57732

— Feature by Kriss Hammond, Editor, Jetsetters Magazine.  Photos courtesy of Deadwood Lodge.