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Best of Star Brooks

Gaming Guru

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26 April 2002

Well, I got out of Tahoe, and headed down to Reno... so what happens? It snows in Reno.... go figure. I woke up this morning, looked outside of the RV at the car, and shivered. Four inches of snow buried the car, and it was still ricocheting snow flakes.

Life at Gold Ranch Casino and RV Resort gets a little more hectic in bad weather, it is the last, and I mean, LAST.... stop for gas, munchies, or gambling before heading up towards Truckee and Sacramento. When the chain controls go up, people pull off at Gold Ranch... to check the weather and road reports, eat, and bide the time until conditions get better. There has been a lot of activity for several days... and it has been fun. It doesn’t stop the slots from hitting... and Gold Ranch has plenty of hot slots to play...and the staff is nothing short of fantastic. I’d mark it down as a must if you are in the area... seldom do I walk through and not seeing someone getting a hand pay.

I know now why I like little bitty casinos. For one thing, you aren’t herded like cows... there is no player’s card... your merit comes from being alive and breathing in their casino.... you aren’t judged on some multi-tiered player’s system.... if you get comped... it is because you were noticed.... just for being. Yesterday, "Sam" came over and introduced himself.... he is, I believe, the Casino Assistant Manager... and for being noticed, I was given lunch for all three of us. That is, when I could tear myself away from the hot slots.... Lunch is tremendous at Gold Ranch.... best darned hamburger I ever put down, some double meat cheeseburger with the works... and the price couldn’t come better! Of course, if you can chow down like that, it is good to have a place to retire to for a nap... and I still haven’t found anything better in the way of an RV park that meets all my needs!

Hottest Gossip from Gold Ranch.....The Sands Regency in Reno purchased Gold Ranch and the Sands is slated to take over on June 1. You remember the Sands... from past columns... they are the ones that purchased the land in Minden, NV and plans there include a casino and RV Park too... along with housing developments. Looks like the Sands Regency is expanding.... They say the Sands bought all the buildings, including the California Lottery Store in the back.... but the present owners are retaining the land. Gold Ranch sits on the state line, and has the number one retail sales of California Lottery tickets in Northern California, I believe that they are number three in the whole state. In the short time that I have been parked happily here, they have had a couple of huge wins... first week it was a man winning part of $84 million, I think one of three winners, and last week, I heard someone hit another $29 million here. You can sort of tell if you are outside when someone has hit the Lottery.... security streaks by like they are headed for a disaster... people pour outside the Lottery office, cameras appear.... it sticks out. Wouldn’t it be nice to win something that big?

Oh, and I have to tell everyone about the best, and I mean, BEST buffet.... it is at the El Dorado in Reno.... go on a Friday night.... the seafood is outrageously great.... shrimp enchiladas.... crab legs, peel and eat shrimp, calamari.... it goes for what seems an eternity.... and the price is so cheap for what you get.... try $14.95.... you won’t have to eat for two or three days after chowing down there. The gaming is pretty darn good there too.... looking through the Reno Gazette Journal I noticed that they do have a lot of big winners... and looking around, they had all the newest games available, and there was no lack of action on the casino floor. The El Dorado makes itself easy to visit... self parking in their garage is right across the road.... and a skyway makes it so you don’t even have to cross the street. I like that..... and it is hooked to almost everything nearby..... So you can just meander your way through more than one casino without having to experience the weather.

For those of you who haven’t been to Reno for a while, why not consider it next time you are looking for a place to gamble. You have everything you need to play and win, and it isn’t as big, or as confusing as Las Vegas... plus you don’t have to feel guilty if you stop "looking" and start gambling. Reno is still built for gamblers.... I’m not sure Las Vegas really is.... too many "must-see" tourist attractions. You know, Reno has its own Hilton, its own Harrah’s.... its own Fitzgerald’s.... and if you really want to see some sort of tourist attraction.... well... there’s the mining machine that stands several stories tall under the domed "weather-changing sky" at the Silver Legacy, amongst other things to look at.... and for those who don’t know... Mandalay Resort Group owns Circus Circus here too! We just don’t have sharks to pay to look at.