La Center, WA
Nestled among the pastoral views of Southern Washington are some of the most convenient establishments for Portlanders to squander their money or reap their fortunes. Four casinos sit within spitting distance of each other, each offering slight variations on game selection and ambiance. The Palace is the swankiest of the four, and features a salt-water fish tank with strange and beautiful anemones, stingrays, and seahorses (!) to soothe the eyes and spirit after a few grueling rounds at the tables. Each casino is equipped with a lounge and restaurant. Distance from Portland: 20 miles, or 25 minutes North on I-5

The Palace: 318 Old Pacific Highway, (360) 263-2988, 1-877-855-DEAL
Hours: 8 am-4 am
Restaurant: Pan-Asian Cuisine
Games: Blackjack, Poker, Pai Gow, Let It Ride, Pull-tabs

Double Down: 318 Old Pacific Highway, 1-877-855-DEAL
Hours: Noon-8 am
Restaurant: Surf and Turf
Games: Blackjack, Poker, Pai Gow, Let It Ride, Pull-tabs

Last Frontier: 225 W. 4th St., (503) 281-0932
Hours: 8 am-4 am
Restaurant: Burger/Sandwich Joint
Games: Poker, Blackjack

New Phoenix: 225 W. 4th St., (503) 281-0932
Hours: Noon-8 am
Restaurant: Asian (Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean)
Games: Blackjack, Poker, Pai Gow, Let It Ride

Longview, WA
Cadillac Ranch: (360) 501-4328, 1125 Commerce Ave.
Hours: Sun-Thurs 11 am-4 am Fri-Sat 11am-7am, DJs and dancing Wed-Sun
Distance From Portland: 47 miles, or one hour North on I-5
Restaurant: Italian Pasta
Games: Poker, Blackjack, Pull-tabs

A common problem with casinos is that the compulsive gamblers want to play for hours, and the rest of the group is forced to get shitfaced and complain in the bar. At the Cadillac Ranch, this problem is solved. The cozy Ranch, staffed by cute locals, offers a dance bar, a pseudo Caesar's Palace restaurant, and about 15 tables populated by the nicest people you'll ever meet.

Willamina, OR
Spirit Mountain:
1-800-760-7977, 27100 SW Salmon River Hwy
Hours: Open 24 hours
Distance from Portland: 74 miles, or one hour, 38 minutes West on Hwy 18
Restaurants: one fine dining, four additional restaurants
Games: Poker, Blackjack, Slot Machines, Bingo

Spirit Mountain is an 80,000-acre spread that looks like Vegas has been dropped into the middle of Oregon's wilderness. The biggest casino in the Northwest, Spirit Mountain simply has more bells and whistles than the other casinos, offers fast-moving poker games, rows of slots, and off-track betting.

Rochester, WA
Lucky Eagle Casino: 360-273-2000, 12888 188th Avenue Hours: Sun-Thurs 10 am-4 am, Fri-Sat 10 am-6am
Distance From Portland: 100 miles, or one hour, 47 minutes North I-5 to U.S. 12
Restaurant: Buffet

Games: Poker, Blackjack, Slot Machines, Video Bingo (new bingo hall under construction). Since Lucky Eagle is way the hell out in the middle of nowhere, they'll pick you up. There are shuttle stops all over Portland. You'll be driven to the casino, dumped there for four hours, and then driven home.

Lincoln City, OR
Chinook Winds: 1-888-244-6665, 1777 NW 44th St.
Hours: Open 24 hours
Distance from Portland: 104 miles, or 2 hours, 18 minutes, 18 West to S. 101
Restaurants: Buffet, fine dining, and deli.
Games: Blackjack, Poker, Keno, and Bingo.

Chinook Winds is one of the biggest and slickest casinos in the state of Oregon, and with all the hotels around, it would be easy to stay there a week and blow a few trust funds without even realizing it.

Olympia, WA
This casino is a bit farther out of Portland's neck of the woods, but if you can afford the extra gas, you might also take advantage of the higher stakes betting available (up to $500!) at Little Creek, 91 W State Rt. 108, Shelton, WA, 1-800-667-7711. If you don't quite trust yourself around the high drama and white knuckles, wander over to nearby Hawk's Prairie, located in pristine and breathtaking Lacey, WA, where you can play it safe.

Hawk's Prairie: 8318 Quinault Drive NE, Lacey, WA, (360) 528-8888
Hours: Noon-8 am, poker 5 pm-3 am Mon-Sat
Distance from Portland: 120 miles, or 2 hours North on I-5
Restaurant: American and Asian bar menu
Games: Blackjack, Poker