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Best of Star Brooks

Gaming Guru

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Christmas Season in Reno

30 November 2002

Thanksgiving Day is almost over as I write; a perfect weather day for all the turkey eating and pumpkin pie devouring... and the Christmas lights are already appearing. The tree is lit downtown, and the outdoor ice ink on the site of the old Mapes Hotel is in full operation. It is one of my favorite times in Reno. On Monday, Sparks lights up, as they kick off their "Hometowne Christmas" in Victorian Square. The casinos are all decorated; as well as the residences in the surrounding hills. It’s a cheery sight on cold nights, colorful and inviting.

Wednesday was a special day in downtown Reno.... the Golden Phoenix opened the doors of its casino. The hotel and restaurants had been open, but they just got their gaming license on November 6th. Reports coming back were all good. I met a man who told me that he had the most incredible run of luck on opening day, getting four cards to the royal on a quarter progressive; throwing away a pat flush, and getting the needed card for the royal. He said winners were all over the place. That’s good news for gamblers.... Formerly the Reno Flamingo, the Golden Phoenix fills a needed gap in that corner of downtown.

I was running through the Reno Hilton again the other day... had to drop in to see if my name was going to be called in the "Big Fat Paycheck" promotion... it wasn’t... but I have to say I was impressed by the promotion....they draw five names each Thursday and five more every Sunday, and each one gets a Big Fat Check for $500, and their names go on a board to qualify for the final drawing on December 22nd, when they hold the final Big Fat Check $100,000 Giveaway grand-prize drawing for a 2002 Nissan Frontier truck.

While I was wandering around, taking in all the sights offered on the casino floor, I noticed some nickel slots that I hadn’t seen before; or maybe if I had, I didn’t pay as much as attention for one reason or another. So many seem to appear these days as penny games, so it was a relief to find some nickel slots... they had Sigma’s "Full of Sheep," and "Amigo Road...." both looked interesting, and were 9-line nickel machines, maximum coins was 45. Close by, they had a bank of Bally progressive’s... 2- coin quarters, "City Scape"... the progressive was up to $8,472.38; and they beckoned me to play, but I didn’t have time. There are a lot of progressive jackpots at the Reno Hilton. I want them. I want them all.

I played a new game the other day, it was a penny version.... "Tabasco" by IGT.... it was a 12-line machine, that had a couple of bonuses that were fun, as well as lucrative. I found the versions I played in the "Gold Dust West" casino on Fourth and Vine in downtown Reno... the bonuses paid well and I walked with triple my money invested, plus a sense of being entertained as well. Also, the chairs were comfortable.... something that casinos need to think about... some have stools that are "way up there" or "way out there" as far as the contortions you may need to go through in order to play the machine. These didn’t leave me squirming. I found the game almost relaxing, it didn’t seem impossible to get to the bonus rounds.

I added a most interesting little feature to the Reno Gaming Guide the other day.... an interactive guest map. It’s in with the links on my links page. It allows you to visit the site and stick a pin in the world map indicating where you are! It’s a lot of fun, and easy to use, and I’d be thrilled if you dropped in and took a moment out to stick a pin in the map on your way through. I find it interesting to see where everybody comes from, in their search for Reno gambling information. And while I’m at it, I made one more change.... I realized that possibly not everyone could view all those graphic links, so I made a page with lower graphics use. If you had a problem viewing anything on the original page, please try again by clicking on the little banner under the Reno Arch picture. This site is for everybody, and I didn’t want people with lower RAM or older computers to feel left out...so if anybody has a problem seeing something, please let me know and I will be working on it immediately!

Please note that if the "Holiday Specials" section goes missing on you for a day or two, that it isn’t gone forever. I have to pull all the Thanksgiving food specials, and replace the section with the upcoming Christmas specials, as well as a room night price comparison. If you have any questions about Reno gambling, drop an e-mail my way. I’m always happy to help! There are all kinds of room deals filling in the holiday gaps, I hope that you will decide to give Reno a try!