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Best of Star Brooks

Gaming Guru

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Hot August Nights Coming Up!

1 August 2002

Reno is getting ready for the biggest of the annual street events as Hot August Nights returns August 3 - 11. It's a major event for car lovers everywhere, as thousands of people and hundreds of cars converge on Reno with events ranging from cruises and car shows to sock hops. Fifties bands will be in style and poodle skirts can be found.... as Reno goes back in time and celebrates the glorious automobile. If you've never been to Hot August Nights... you really are missing one of the main events.

Harrah's Reno kicks off the festivities with a free concert in the Harrah's outdoor plaza on August 2 at 8 PM featuring Chubby Checker and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. The best in street rods and classics of all shapes, sizes, and colors will be flooding the streets.. If you liked the fifties, don't miss this year's festivities.

I was lucky, thinking that the RV park was well booked in advance for Hot August Nights, and had been looking for a home for those eight days within a one-day drive.... it was looking bleak, but a few days ago I was approached by the front desk with an offer to stay.... taking a cancellation.... only thing is they won't take any weekly payments.... and for eight days it will be $40 a night... I have no idea how I am going to be able to come up with that much... but said "yes" anyway. Miracles happen.... sometimes. It's going to be just as bad anywhere else.

If you wonder why I've been so quiet... it's because I have been compiling reams of info about Reno casinos.... entertainment, dining, and outdoor activities... and have been burrowing deep within my computer reviving the www.RenoGamingGuide.com in hopes that the casino execs in Reno are more in tune with the needs of the gamblers... as Tahoe proved that they were not. It's a massive effort.... so again, I ask... keep your fingers crossed. I still don't know how to quit, so I guess I won't!

Sands' newest acquisition, the Gold Ranch Casino and RV Resort in Verdi says, "Move over Boomtown...." as they are adding a new sportsbook to the casino... making it the first and last place inside the Nevada line to offer sports betting. On top of that, they still have the California Lottery offices in the back.... The sportsbook is being built and should be ready soon.... and if you've never been up to the Gold Ranch.... it's a great place to eat and gamble and relax. Think about it next time you are in Reno. It's worth the drive, the food is extremely reasonable and the portions are very large. The gaming is great, they are always seen paying large jackpots to lucky players. Oh, and they have drawings all day Wednesdays for $50... and a second chance lotto drawing coming up in August for a shot at $2500. Maybe it's the size of the place, but I sure notice a lot of smiling people with clumps of cash in their fists.... and I sure don't notice it as much in the bigger casinos. Maybe it's just me... and then again... maybe it is just the way it is at Gold Ranch.

Recently, I noticed reports of less payouts going on at the Vegas strip.... the casino hold was greater than past years. Did they tighten every slot? No.... they simply replaced great numbers of slot machines with the new nickel guzzling versions... look at it this way.... it saves them money. It saves them a lot of money in more ways than one. The quarter and dollar slots that are being replaced had higher payback percentages than the new nickel machines. On top of that, most still award players club points on a system that gives less points per dollar(s) played on nickel and penny machines than they do their quarter and dollar or higher players... no matter how many nickels or pennies you play. Sure, some slots eat a max of $9 in nickels, or several dollars in pennies... but the players clubs don't seem to recognize that as a valid reason to give out points on an even basis. Some dollar slots offer a point per dollar award, and some offer as high as 3 points for every dollar played... where the same casino may award only one point for every twenty dollars played on nickels... and if you pull your card out to see what is wrong with it after played $19.95 of that twenty, you will lose every nickel played and the countdown will start back over at $20.00. So the casino saves on the payback percentage and they save on comps. It's kind of a screwy system of working the patrons over one more time, but it works volumes for the casinos.

I'm going to try and work something out that will allow me to post pictures from Hot August Nights through a link from this column. That is if I can figure out how to make enough income to carry me through to once again live the dream and get the www.RenoGamingGuide.com fired up and running. I'm working on it. Day and night, I am working on it. My survival this time hinges on it. I don't want to park the RV on the street... and I surely don't want to quit.

If all goes well, then I can return to producing the weekly newsletters and keeping people posted with all the events going on around Reno... it is a busy and fun-filled town. Unlike Vegas, you don't wind up a dehydrated sweaty mess... and you can actually enjoy the events.