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Best of Star Brooks

Gaming Guru

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Growing.... By Leaps and Bounds

23 November 2002

Well, I sure can't say that things on my end aren't growing by leaps and bounds! A couple of weeks ago I got my newsletter from Mr. Vegas 98.... Everything Las Vegas... which is one of the most detailed newsletters I get about Las Vegas. You can subscribe by writing him at: While I was reading it, I noticed that one of his subscribers was coming to Reno... and needed Reno information. So I happily replied, noting that the hotel he was staying at wasn't opening its casino until the day after his departure. When he got back to me, he had moved his reservation over to the Silver Legacy in Reno, and was looking for a couple of dice games that Reno doesn't offer... So I wrote Mr. Vegas, explaining that as far as I know, the Reno Gaming Guide is the only website about Reno that offers all Reno gambling information... that is created by a gambler for gamblers... and also offers a free weekly newsletter by e-mail with all the Reno info in it... and Steve (Mr. Vegas) ran my letter with the appropriate links in last week's newsletter... and my subscribe list has been zipping along ever since! So a big thanks to Mr. Vegas.... I'll really have to toe the line on the newsletters now!

Last week I went out to one of the newer Reno casinos.... way down at the end of South Virginia, off the DelMonte exit on US 395... Tamarack Junction. It's a neat, new, friendly, smaller casino with a great restaurant and sports bar. I loved the decor.... large trains up above on the wall.... train station look, fresh, and unique.... ah heck, it's one of those must see things. I sat down and played a little on a penny version of Dick Clark's Uncensored Bloopers ... heck, some of these games seem to only come in penny versions these days. It didn't take long to get to the bonus feature, and I had to pick three like-colored tiles out of a block of tiles to win... and lucky me got three like colors in four picks, and scored a nice little bonus. It certainly wasn't like the Lone Ranger game where I made over $20 right away.... more like $10.... but it'll do! Money made is money made....

From there I wandered over to Reno's other new casino, The Siena for a first-time look-see. It's large, full of slots, looks great, and has a little something for everybody. First time I have seen TV screens above banks of slots, ice skating competition was going on... and it was intriguing to say the least. I think I stood for about five minutes staring at the gorgeous wood floor in the hotel lobby. It looked a little "upscale" to me... but then again... it is supposed to be...

And from there.... I wandered down to Second Street and Virginia... to the Club Cal Neva. That is a tour of Reno's history.... bring your walking shoes, and your reading glasses. Over the years, they have acquired many other Reno casinos that had better days... buying the old Onslow Hotel/Casino... turning it into the Virginian Hotel.... sucking up the Nevadan... turning it into yet another casino... with their very large Sports Book, Race Book, and the Poker room.... the always crowded happy Poker room... and all those marvelous unique slots... their own.... traces of the old Reno, mixed with the new. In the hotel lobby are wall-sized photos of days gone by in Reno... the lobby is in an old bank building, and you can step into the old vault... and get a feel of what used to be. I remember as a teenager having a special dinner at a place called the Waldorf on Virginia Street. Being so many years ago, it was always a hazy memory, and I was beginning to think that maybe that wasn't the name, until I looked at one of those huge photos and spotted it in the photo of a long gone Virginia Street.... wow! And the dollar slots.... well... they have more slots unique to only them.... you just have to go if you want to see what Nevada gambling was all about before it all got "new."

And after that, it was on to Fitzgerald's... to try out Max Baer's new slots.... maybe I should say IGT's new slots.... Beverly Hillbillies... which is the first ever penny progressive Mega-Jackpot.... 150 pennies to win over $200,000 on the meter. It isn't the first ever penny progressive in history though... hate to break it to them... years ago, probably mid-eighties... there was a huge penny progressive that was at the Tahoe Biltmore, I don't remember if it was then the Nevada Club or if it was the Biltmore then... and it was at the Sands Regency in Reno, and the old Nevada Club adjoining the now-gone Harold's Club. I played it, but it was all old then.... no bill acceptors, you had to use real pennies, and the coin slots jammed a lot. But it was fun.... and if I remember right, the bet was either five or ten cents.... I didn't get much on the new Beverly Hillbillies slots on the bonus features, although I went there a few times... and I wasn't playing 150 pennies either.... but I did get five "grannies" and that was worth about $15 on my bet. Now, the Beverly Hillbillies are all over Reno. You can't miss them, they are over 9 feet tall, sporting either Granny rocking in her chair with her shotgun, or Jed with fistfuls of cash... and the meter last I looked was about $207,000.... so it "ain't nothin' to sneeze about, I reckon...." Max Baer, by the way, was Jethro Bodine on the series, and is a resident of Lake Tahoe sometimes... a friend of mine works out with him at the gym when he is in town.

As far as the Reno Gaming Guide goes... I'm adding a winner's section out of necessity... I have had so many winners coming out of the Silver Legacy, that it is needed. They just had a $10,000 blackjack tournament winner during their two-day tourney on the 9th and 10th... so congratulations go to Lawrence Rabidou, of San Jose, California... and I will be adding a special holiday section, so that visitors can figure out where to whet their appetites and quench their thirsts while in Reno.

So keep looking... you can visit the and you can sign up for a free newsletter, look up the Reno casinos, find out how many slots and table games each has, how many restaurants, or you can check "Brew n' Balls" to see what gives at all the Monday Night Football parties inside the Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Minden, and Lake Tahoe Casinos. Like I said... things have grown. Again.

Next time you think about going someplace in Nevada to gamble... why not check out Reno? You might just be glad you did! (And if you have any questions, ask me, and I will try to get all the answers you need! You can write me at and if that doesn't work for any reason, still works too.