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Best of Star Brooks

Gaming Guru

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Brew 'n' Balls

29 September 2002

I've spent a great deal of time developing new things for the web pages... this week I added a section that covers all the Monday Night Football parties in Reno. WHEW! After all the time spent dealing with the few casinos up at Lake Tahoe... it gave me new insight into just how much is going on in Reno at any given time. Appropriately called "Brew n' Balls" it is a section sure to grow, in size and in popularity. To top it off, when I was done, I went over to Gold Ranch, where the Monday Night Football party was in progress. Appropriately, after dealing with that much football, I entered the game time drawings, and when Tampa Bay scored their first field goal against St. Louis, they had a drawing, and I won a little NFL Buccaneer football. I thought that was pretty cool... Maybe I'll win those 49er tickets next!

Speaking of things going on in Reno... Street Vibrations starts on the 25th and runs through the 29th. About 15,000 motorcycles are expected, and I plan on setting up a chair with my camera(s) and snapping away at the motorcycles as they come into Reno on Interstate 80. I've always had a penchant for the sound of a Harley-Davidson, so I'm sure my ears will be delighted time and time again. The event is the sixth largest motorcycle event in the country, and is an official Northern California Harley-Davidson Dealer's Association event. There isn't a corner of town that isn't having something special going on. I'm headed for the El Dorado about 9:30 on Friday night, purely to admit my age, and go see Canned Heat, just to see if the old boys can boogie like they did in the late 60's. Harrah's will have bands in their plaza on Virginia Street, as well as a motorcycle stunt show. Out at the Lawlor Events Center, they are having flat out, anything goes, Flat-track Motorcycle Racing. The event sprawls out of Reno, into Carson City, and up to Lake Tahoe. Poker runs, races, "Chrome Alley" to find all the parts and "stuff..." and there are bands about everywhere scheduled, as well as food and drink specials. It's the two-wheeled equivalent of the ever-popular and ever-growing Hot August Nights for classic cars and street rods...

Following the special events is one thing, but try to keep up with the number of drawings and tournaments that go on at this time of the year. There is an awful lot of money up for grabs in Reno. John Ascuaga's Nugget out in Sparks has a biggie going for $125,000 worth of win, and Peppermill has lots of things, I could go on and do a whole separate section for them... as well as the Atlantis, Fitzgeralds is giving away a Land Rover, every casino in Reno has something going on that yields cash or prizes worth entering for. On top of the drawings, free pulls, and what-not, there is Bingo, and Poker tournaments, and Blackjack tournaments, and Keno tourneys. Reno doesn't sit still for 10 seconds... looks like I'll be busy... which means I'll be happy... and hopefully not quite as close to skid row as I am now in the financial department! And soon. I can't begin to tell you how soon... last month would have been fine with me.

The biggest news that everyone is talking about is the approval for the Tribal Casino in Auburn, California.... just over the mountain on Interstate 80 from Reno.... just a hop out of Sacramento... on the road from Sacramento and San Francisco to Reno... and Tahoe. Station Casinos is partnering with the Auburn Rancheria tribe in a casino that is set to rival casino floors like the Silver Legacy. Not competing in hotel rooms, but try the slots and table games. Some things Reno can't compete with, but they will still have to deal with... like the number of employees who are still telling me that they'll move to California due to the higher minimum wages as well as the promised 24-hour child care for employees. Station Casinos says it will be good for Reno, that people will travel beyond. Station Casinos has never crossed the Sierras much in the winter, I guess. If my motive was purely to gamble, and not to ski or indulge in winter sports, I'd much rather skip the long road over the mountains. It's a good road, don't get me wrong, California is building a new Interstate between Truckee and Reno... and it is going to be one great road when it is done. But if you have ever been stuck on the Interstate, during a blizzard, when they have closed the road due to no visibility due to blowing snow... it is no picnic. I've been up there a few times, and a couple of times was the last car to cross before closing... and only because I knew the road, and they promised to look for me if I didn't emerge at the other end. On the other hand, it is one of the prettiest (and eeriest) drives I have ever made. But, Joe and Martha Tourist don't have as much "fun" during those conditions as I did. It's kind of interesting, because that highway is "Donner Pass..." and you remember the Donner Party... it is rugged, and it is beautiful... but given the choice to gamble with Vegas-style gambling in major metropolitan areas of California vs. having to try and get across the mountains... well, one has to realize that it will hurt. It can't help but hurt Reno.... and Tahoe too. Skiers gamble, but not as much as gamblers... if you get my drift.

Turning from all that... I've noticed what appears to be a slow down on new slots coming out... could it be we have expired all of last year's Gaming Expo creations? Have the Tribes taken them all? Anybody have any ideas what the slot player's can expect in the near future? Personally, I hope it isn't more "Clue" or "Elvira" stuff.... I haven't found a soul that actually comes back really raving about "Clue.." unless it is to rave about dumb trivia games that don't yield a good payout. "Elvira"... well, I found the designs on the reels not so attractive, and try as I might, the bonus round was so elusive that I still don't know what it was... and the one's that are closest to me are never played, at least when I am around, so I can't even ask anyone... so I'm leaving it to you readers... anybody tried Elvira and liked it? Or hated it? If you know of new ones that I don't know about, your comments are more than welcome. I'm kind of like that movie robot named "Johnny Five" who ran around telling everyone he "needed input..." I'm an input junkie, go ahead make my day... my e-mail is All responses will be answered... in the column, or my newsletter, or both, and personally by email only if you so desire!

I'm still putting out the weekly Reno-Tahoe Gambling Weekly newsletter... it is free to subscribe to, arrives in your e-mail every Saturday, and covers the gaming world in both areas. Please stop by the and subscribe. I don't think you will be sorry... at least I really hope you won't be sorry!