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Best of Star Brooks

Gaming Guru

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Victorian Christmas in Nevada

7 December 2002

The roots of Nevada are showing with Victorian-themed Christmases abounding. December 7th is the day the Victorian Christmas comes to Sparks, with the tradition and flair that comes with the spirit of the season... Hometowne Christmas is a big affair; an annual event, and includes a parade.... while up in the nearby hills, Virginia City, rich in the heritage of what makes Nevada a great state; home of the Comstock Lode; rich in silver; and in gold; steeped in the history of the old west also comes to life, and brings life to a Comstock Christmas... many can associate Virginia City with the Cartwright Family of TV’s long-running series Bonanza, and it is a delightfully rich piece of history. Every trip up is full of fun and surprises

It’s been cold in the mornings.... below freezing kind of cold. Friday is a looked-forward to day; the day I get my car heater fixed day. If you’ve ever had to do without yours, you know what I’m talking about. Driving, and trying not to breathe, so your breath doesn’t freeze on the windshield is hard to do. Driving with the windows down manages to freeze one’s eyebrows, but results in heavy shaking and teeth-chattering. Tomorrow I will turn on the heater; and something will happen. What a warm thought!

Hot food for chilly nights? It’s hard to stay away from a place with such good food. As I write, it is Thursday, and it’s been getting cold. It’s also Thursday, as in "Gold Ranch casino has a Mexican special every Thursday" and that worked well for me. Gold Ranch is a small casino with a great restaurant, The Sierra Café, and every Thursday is worth waiting for.... Tonight I feasted on shredded beef tacos with refried beans and rice, and guacamole I look forward to.... so for under $6 this platter bearing two huge tacos stuffed with shredded beef and cheese, and surrounded by large portions of the beans and the rice..... yummmm....That’s the good thing about Thursdays.... the eyes have proved larger than the stomach more than once at Gold Ranch. The special varies each Thursday, but it is so worth the trip out of town for the taste.... they serve from 11 AM... so if you want a big fat lunch... it’s out at Gold Ranch.... And speaking of Gold Ranch, the hours of the "Winning Wednesdays" drawing are now from 10 AM to 10 PM every Wednesday. Drawings every half hour for $50 cash. Winners need not be present, but have until midnight only to claim their prize.

Boomtown Hotel and Casino’s Family Fun Center will wrap guests in the holiday spirit with pictures with Santa December 7, 14, 21 and 22 and a special 3D Christmas movie December 22.

The Fun Center will set a winter wonderland of candy canes, glistening snow and lushly-decorated Christmas trees. Santa will be in front, greeting children, gathering gift ideas and taking pictures. The photos will be placed in a commemorative Christmas frame and presented to guests.

The Christmas pictures will be available December 7, 14, 21 and 22 from 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM. The holiday mementos will be free with purchase of a Fun Center wristband. Or, single photos will be $3. Two photos can be snapped for just $5 and additional photos are $2.50 each.

Driving around the lake the other day, I was sad to see the Crystal Bay Club still closed and painfully vacant in appearance, but noted that the news is that it was sold, and that the deal should close by New Year’s Eve. Happy day ahead when that re-opens. But meanwhile, across the way, sits the Tahoe Biltmore. If you remember the stark appearance the lobby had for years, and years.... well, forget it! They underwent what looked like remodeling success.... the lobby is now cozy and inviting with a fireplace to sit around.... and great coffee.... it was a big "wow" that blew out of me when I opened the door and the new lobby greeted me....I wish it had been a trip that allowed me more time, because it looked so inviting, I wanted to sit down and have a cup of joe, wanting to pretend that I had nothing better to do with my time than sip good coffee and get warm by the fire. The casino looked like it had many new games offered since my last visit, and I decided to try and make a special stop devoted to "checking out the gaming...." on the schedule in the next few days.

The Holiday Specials section of the Reno Gaming Guide will be close to completion by Sunday morning, though large chunks of it should be appearing sooner. It’s been something I’ve been begging all the casinos to provide me with promptly, or at least regularly.... I’m looking for all the holiday deals on rooms, food, and entertainment, plus whatever gaming action is going on special for the holidays.

I’m also adding a message board for people who have come to Reno, or are coming to Reno and want to share tips, advice, and comments.. An interactive environment designed to allow the gamblers to also communicate with each other... and I am still pestering every human on the planet to drop by the web site and stick a pin in my guest map. A few did already, and I’m sure everyone has a reason... but at first everybody stuck in a pin, and now they aren’t. If you can help me remedy this situation please drop by the guest map on the Reno Gaming Guide.... and stick me, stick me, as in STICK ME! (Thanks....)

All kinds of deals are out there.... great two-fers for registering at player’s clubs.... some instant cash.... but nonetheless, every casino in Reno has a special something... to eat, to play, to entertain. Let me know what your trip to Reno was like... what you did, and how you did. Everybody likes to hear the stories....

And when you really want to gamble, and have fun... come to Reno. It'll happen. I'm telling you!