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Best of Star Brooks

Gaming Guru

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Farewells and Fairways

15 June 2001

It is getting to where I never know any more if I will meet a cyber-death of my web sites and the columns, or if fate once again will carry me over the hump. With "all my cards" out on the table, I have but one recourse... of patience and waiting... to see if corporate can find room to fund the efforts that have built what has been built for the past 16 months from my undying devotion to the gaming industry, to my regions... Reno and Tahoe... and to the gamblers who make the whole thing fun. With only days to salvage things and make the financial ends meet, the only thread left to hang on is hope itself.

Beyond that... a chapter of Tahoe history is about to close... metamorphosis and change lie ahead for Harveys... It is hard not to look back with so much fondness, as I have to bid farewell to an old friend... and one of the charms that drew me to Lake Tahoe in the first place.

When I came to Lake Tahoe in 1985, Harveys had an apostrophe... it was Harvey's Wagon Wheel that graced the sign... and there was only one hotel tower... and a small casino... with lots of friends... and it grew... and grew... My husband and I went to the closing night of the "Top of the Wheel" restaurant, a favorite haunt.... and the following night we went to the opening of "Llewellyn's," which adorned the top of the second and brand new hotel tower... overlooking the Lake... we sat across from Buddy Hackett...

Harveys is where the locals gathered... particularly in the keno area... as we entered from the parking garage, there was an area with 70 video keno machines.... nickel and quarter... that flanked the 'live' game... it was the social gathering place... sometimes hard to find an available machine... where visitors and locals mingled freely, and looked forward to greeting each other... and it was a place full of slot hosts... who knew our names, and looked after our every need. Player's clubs and card readers were too new, and the old charm and grace still abounded... the players were truly all important back then.

It wasn't until the grandson's era that it really changed... the keno was removed, the why part of it never really understood by the players... who migrated to different corners of Tahoe... and some unwelcome changes took place... one being the short-lived Brill automatic toilet seat covers which were put in the ladies bathrooms... something about women taking too long in the bathrooms... The only purpose ever served by these devices appeared to be that most women "when they had to go" did absolutely that... they left! At last order was restored, and the devices of torture vanished... (and the women came back to play......)

While the other casinos all did away with Bingo.... and finally, the poker rooms... Harveys kept one poker room open for the South side of the Lake.... And whether that stays after Harrah's takes over on June 21st is still unknown.... I would like to think so.... It would be so strange to not have a poker room with a lively game going on....

Off the mountain for a moment... Flamingo pops up again in the news... The Flamingo Las Vegas hosted a three million dollar win Wednesday morning on the dollar Wheel of Fortune slots... Congratulations... it was a jet fighter pilot who won... And I am sure that my friends at the Flamingo LV are tickled to pieces.... And on a closer front... The Flamingo Reno has extended their free buffet days for Club Flamingo members... so on Mondays thru Thursdays members can get a free dinner buffet just for showing $10 of tracked play for the day on their Club Flamingo card at the Club Flamingo booth. Non-members pay only $5.99 plux tax. Served from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, the buffets are specialty-themed, rotating between such tasty themes as Chinese, Italian, Mexican, and American fares.

While pausing and reflecting on the shadowy fate ahead, the fact is that for 60 weeks, I have not found anything truly negative to say about Lake Tahoe... or other people for that matter. While a plea to be paid in gaming credits at one casino went unanswered, because "they did not want to create any kind of biased reporting that might result" it was a little hard not to react a little last week, when another newspaper entertainment editor blasted two celebrities at once... one barb at Jesse Jackson... and another at noted film critic, Roger Ebert.... calling him all kinds of names... and in the same breath, stating that she pretended to be nice to him so that hopefully he would plug her area activities... which I won't name and disgrace.... Okay... I give up.... I just say it like I see it... nothing more, and nothing less.... How much damage is done by people in the name of their own ego? In this case, it was just too much information.... until then there was a positive air about the activities she directed, and an air of reality.... putting on a friendly front is not part of my nature.... and whatever happened to "If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all?" There is grace, and there is dignity.... and one can always use a little tact.... Oh well... maybe I moved to a different planet and just didn't notice.

Going on in Tahoe this weekend... Harley's at the Horizon.... A Classic Cruise over at Caesars Tahoe.... Fathers getting presents at the Flamingo Reno's Bingo on Father's Day.... just a neat time to get out and visit both Tahoe... and Reno. If I can still afford gas... who knows... may go to Reno this weekend, too! You never know!

Also, for corporations and for businesses that want to help out some worthy charitable causes in Nevada... the First Annual Joe Laub Give Back Foundation Golf Tournament is in August and allows you to reward your "heroes" like favored clients and employees with a day of world class golf that benefits several charities and includes the Ronald McDonald House, the First Tee, University of Nevada Athletic Department, the Nevada Special Olympics... etc.... You can get details by calling (877) 399 - 4733... I have known Joe Laub for years, he is one of the most respected attorneys in the area... along with his dad, Melvin Laub... they comprise the respected father/son law team... You can bet if Joe is behind this that it is going to be great!