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Best of Star Brooks

Gaming Guru

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Lake Tahoe Reflections

29 December 2000

Looking back at the past year, it seems like Lake Tahoe paid off more jackpots in the past year than in the past 15 years that I have been observing the gaming scene. Megabucks hit at the Horizon, as did Quarters Deluxe... Harveys gave away one on Nickels Deluxe.... Caesars Tahoe gave away a $400,000 Royal Flush, and someone won that fabulous yellow Lamborghini Diablo... the lucky winner taking the cash over the car. Harrah’s gave away that fat dollar sequential Royal Flush, well over $200,000... and they had to put in a new Harley Davidson motorcycle after someone won one and took the bike home! Lakeside Inn gave away several progressive keno jackpots, and many other sizable chunks of change. The gamblers visiting Lake Tahoe had it good... real good.

The past year saw many changes in the slots of Tahoe... a wave of new Aussie-style nickel slots invaded the mountain, giving gamblers choices of amusing games crammed with bonus features that not only paid off pretty well, but also amused the gambler more in the process. Interactivity became the theme. We saw games like Texas Tea, I Dream of Jeannie, Leopard, Double Jeopardy, the Addam’s Family, Jackpot Bingo, Jumble, Double Diamond 2000, Cleopatra, Gopher Cash, Fishing Buddies, the new versions of the already popular Reel ‘Em In... Casting For Cash, new versions of Monopoly, and Fortune Cookie.... the list is nearly endless. My favorite still is "Swingin’ in the Green" with its four-part bonus feature... total ingenuity in my book. Also new around town are the increasingly popular multi-denomination machines... play your nickels, dimes, quarters, fifty-cent pieces, or dollars on the same slot machine, and have a choice of games to boot. And happily, the increased popularity of the coinless slots. There are certain slots that are very hard to get the coins out of... digging deep into narrow wells, picking up handfuls of nasty dirty coins all covered with germs.... Happily it is now possible to play for nice little slips of paper that can be redeemed at the cashier, without digging your hand into some pit that has been used as an ashtray by some previous discourteous slob.

New Year’s Eve will be wild... it always is. It does not matter if it is below zero, windy, or a blizzard... thousands of people pack the casino corridor to whoop in the new year. The news last night said that this year we can expect close to 50,000 revelers... which is basically mind-boggling. It is a sea of bodies even with half that number... and I try to carefully avoid placing myself anywhere near the vicinity! My now grown children have been sliding down there for years, and seem to enjoy the sardine-like sensation.

Other news to wrap up the year... My daughter had a boy on Saturday, and I witnessed the whole event... which was amazing to say the least.... Congratulations Cheyenne and Andy on the birth of Joshua Lee!

I couldn’t be more thrilled. The is entering sincere negotiations to finally get the backing it deserves... I might get there yet.... Look for more news in the future.... The GONDOLA is now running from a block west of Harrah’s up to the slopes of Heavenly.... it never ceases to amaze me when I see it silently gliding up the mountain, with gondola after gondola whizzing up and down from a very beautiful turn-around and loading station... complete with copper roof and clock tower... I just wish the City of Lake Tahoe had used a little foresight and thought about where people could park before they jumped into the project... instead of trying to strong-arm the local long-time grocery chain (Raley’s) out of their parking lot, by using terms like eminent domain. No wonder I chose to live way out of the city limits.....

Things will be quite after the New Year, with the exception of President’s Day and Martin Luther King’s birthday.... if you enjoy gambling, like winter scenery, long for an Alpine adventure, want to ride the new gondola, and want to have a winning shot... think Lake Tahoe... Any questions? Just email me... answers are guaranteed!