The Yukon Territory is not like other parts of Canada. Sparsely populated, there’s really only one game in town where casinos are concerned, so if you find yourself in the Yukon territory, and you’re a fan of games of chance, then be sure to make your way to Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall, in Dawson City.
Since it’s the only game in town, Diamond Tooth Gertie’s has thrown out all the stops. Sure, you’ll find other, larger casinos in other parts of the country, but in terms of sheer character and style, it’s hard to beat Gertie’s! Everything about the place screams fun with attitude.
Stepping inside, you’ll find a modestly sized 8,000 square foot gaming area, but the casino puts the space to good use. You’ll find a total of sixty-four gaming machines, broken out thusly:
• 20 Dollar Slots
• 6 Nickle Slots
• 7 Poker Slots
• And 38 Quarter Slots
In terms of table games, there are twelve tables to choose from, with the following games on offer:
• Blackjack (featuring $2 to $100 bets)
• Dealer’s Choice
• Red Dog
• Roulette (American)
• And three tables dedicated to poker.
Note that this is a seasonal casino, so it’s not open all year round. Your best bet is to call ahead when you’re planning your trip to see when they’ll be open.
The general information number is 867-993-5525 (alternate number for general info is 867-993-5575). Normal hours of operation, during the active season are Friday and Saturday, 7pm to 1am.
You’ll find one restaurant on-site, Big Al’s, which serves classic American cuisine. Although there’s no hotel on the property, there are a number of great hotels elsewhere in Dawson City, so you won’t have any problems finding suitable lodgings for the duration of your stay.
If you’re headed to the Yukon territory, then gambling isn’t the only thing you’re going for. The area is vast, remote, and sparsely populated, but fortunately, there are tons of fun things to do when you’re ready to take a break from gambling. Be sure to check out the Danoja Zho Cultural Center and the B-Line Racing Kennels, for an adventure of a different sort.
If you’re ready for gambling of a different sort, don’t forget to check out the Goldbottom Mine. In addition to being an interesting place in general, they let you pan for gold and keep anything you find. A good way to augment your winnings from the casino. If you strike out there, you can do the same thing over at Free Claim #6, also in Dawson City.
While there’s (sadly) no gambling on the Yukon River, no trip to the region would be complete without taking a cruise on the Klondike Spirit, which is an old style paddle wheeler. A great adventure and a fun way to wind down the day in Gertie’s. After you do that, you may also want to check out the Paddlewheel Graveyard (bad luck to do it before, so make sure you do it after).
Finally, for something a little different, when you need a change of scenery, you can join the Sourtoe Cocktail Club. To become a member, it’s a bit of a process. You’ve got to find the Sourdough Saloon, and ask for Captain River Rat. Purchase a shot (most folks prefer a Yukon Jack, but order what you want). Pledge the “Sourtoe Oath.” Watch in mild horror as a real dehydrated toe is dropped into your drink. Drink it, and you’re in.
The toe club has its origins in the 1920’s, when a rum runner named Louie Linken got frostbite trying to direct his dog sled team out of harm’s way delivering a supply of rum to the territory. Prolonged exposure caused his toe to become frozen solid, and they performed an impromptu amputation with some rum and a wood cutter’s axe.
To commemorate the moment, the brother’s preserved the toe in a jar of alcohol. Years later, the toe was discovered by Captain Dick Stevenson when clearing out an abandoned shack. He confirmed the story with locals and soon after, founded the Sourtoe Cocktail club. And now you know the secret, so when you’re in the territory, be sure to join the club!
There’s lots to do and see in the Yukon territory, and Diamond Tooth Gertie’s is a big part of the character and charm of the place. Start planning your trip now!