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Best of Star Brooks

Gaming Guru

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Road Ramblings....

12 May 2002

Mother’s Day still finds me parked in the RV at Gold Ranch’s RV Park/Casino/Jack-in-the-Box/Arco in Verdi, Nevada... just ten miles outside of Reno.... eye-balling a house offered to me in Nevada City, California.... about a two-hour drive from Reno over the mountains.... but then again.... it’s a good time of year to migrate back and forth.... the house has room for the RV.... in fact, it has room for a lot of things... and sits on two acres. It is also a shorter drive to the planned Tribal casino in Auburn, California... y’know... the one that is a joint venture with Station Casinos as one of the "joints."

Alas, there is so much to see and do in Reno... can’t find an excuse to be bored.... went downtown last Sunday for Cinco De Mayo.... Virginia Street was closed to traffic for blocks and blocks, and gaily adorned vending booths lined the street, along with mariachi bands, and Latino bands... and of course, the food specials.... I saw everything from whole coconuts with straws sticking out of them to tamales.... It was sensory overload at its best.

New machines are rolling out, I’ve seen penny versions of many games... new and old... unfortunately, they have racked the bets up to where I may as well play quarters or even dollars and forgo the hard to get to bonus features for the real point.... winning. Also terribly inconvenient still, as many do not have a pay by voucher system, and so you sit, and sit, and sit.... waiting for two people to come make one of the dumber hand-pays of the day.... I like the games if I ever get to the bonus features.... but on some I tried at the Gold Dust West, on Fourth and Vine in Reno.... never got to a bonus feature once.... and the few that did yielded extremely disappointing results.... hey, when your bonus win is less than your bet, what are you supposed to do? Get up and dance?

Also noticed in the wanderings.... arcades games for kids exhibit more coins than the adult casinos... even though they usually pay in prize tickets.... remember the old "Tilt" quarters... try and launch the quarter into a cup for money or knock ‘em off the shelf.... they are in the kid’s arcades... only a couple of casinos had replaced the quarters with arcade tokens..... And meanwhile, the adults are in the "real" casino popping coins into games attractive to the kids... like "Popeye" and all the other cartoon-oriented games.... it is kind of strange to think about. Maybe the adults should take a better look....

I had to stop and think about all this, after wandering through so many casinos, and so many arcades.... and looking at the volumes and volumes of new high-coin slots..... fifteen lines, twenty lines, twenty-five lines... bet up to 10 nickels, bet up to 180 nickels..... c’mon.... it is TOO much.... Keep it up, and I’ll understand even more why people gamble using their credit cards and their computers...

There is an impending culinary/hotel strike in Las Vegas. Visitor beware.... if the strike happens you are going to see service levels bottom out.... Thirty-three Las Vegas casino/hotels have union contracts expiring on May 31 of this year. Thirty aren’t union, and three have contracts that will not expire this year.... save some time for you... the three are: MGM Grand, New Frontier, and the Rio. Some guess the actual strike may not happen until the Fourth of July.... for maximum impact.  Also pending in Vegas is a bus (CAT) strike...won't that be fun?

While I am in Reno.... and since Tahoe wouldn’t/couldn’t support the Tahoe Gaming Guide even after two years of extreme reporting in their behalf and to their benefit.... I thought I would give the Reno Gaming Guide a chance to emerge and give it a shot before I kill the site..... so you can look for some pretty major changes in the in the next week or so..... I’m not dead yet, and neither is "the dream" of getting the casinos to put their info in one nice and easy place to find on the web. So... as in shades of the past.... could y’all keep your fingers crossed for me.... one more time?