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Best of Star Brooks

Gaming Guru

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Putting Tahoe on the Gambling Map (Again)

11 May 2000

When I got an e-mail from John Robison saying that Frank Scoblete had asked him to see if I cared to contribute Lake Tahoe gaming info to their Gaming Pages I was elated. You see, Lake Tahoe isn't taken very seriously by the rest of the gaming industry, even if it does have all the popular games available. And while you might encounter a hectic pace and large crowds in other areas, you will find that most of the time our pace is slower and the crowds just aren't here! (Plus we have that great big beautiful lake, the mountains, skiing, boating, camping, fishing, golfing, and everything else you can think of.)

Let me introduce myself a little first. My name is Star Brooks, and I run a little business, the TahoeGamingGuide.com. Every day I gather the progressive jackpot amounts on the South Shore of the lake, and put them online by 6am. While I realize that some of the figures are going to change as the day goes on, my site is designed so that you truly can tell "what's up at the lake!" You can also find road, weather, and golf information. On Tuesdays and Fridays, I update the progressive jackpots on the North and East shores by noon. This little business has me inside the casinos around the lake on a "frequent flyer" basis. It also gives me a lot of time to observe what is and what isn't going on, what is new, what works, what doesn't. And it has given me the opportunity to meet some very wonderful people. Players and casino employees both have given me the support and encouragement to carry on and allow me to dedicate myself to making things better for the people I play with.

On top of that little venture, I also have the UnitedGamblersAssoc.com, which is a place where I would like to accumulate a great number of gamblers and employees in the chat area. It is my feeling that if enough of us get together and form a collective voice, we can eventually help shape our own gambling future. For example, I am a little bored with all the new novelty games that eat coins like there is no tomorrow. Why settle for the games the casinos give me, if I can ask and receive better?

Anyway, right now is a sort of off-season time in Tahoe. It always slows dramatically between the last snow and Memorial Day. Sundays through Thursdays are really great days to explore the casinos around the lake. Rooms and meals are cheaper, and you won't have to deal with large numbers of people, traffic, or any of the other problems that go with traveling in the cities.

Points of interest can be found everywhere. As for calendar events, May 24th is the Lakeside Inn's 15th birthday celebration and they have a lot of special things going on. Caesars Tahoe has a Lamborghini Diablo worth $302,000 parked in the middle of the casino. All it takes is three bucks to play on this carousel, and even if you can't use a Diablo, it is certainly the most impressive slot carousel that I have seen in the Reno/Tahoe area. Harveys has a promotion that allows you to enter to win a chance to play on them for a year ($100,000 worth). The Horizon is gearing up for all kinds of late Spring and Summer activities and has small slot, keno, and blackjack tournaments that are fun to do every week. Harrah's Tahoe has all kinds of entertainment, a really nice race and sportsbook, and has recently been remodeling the upper floor restaurants.

The California side on the South Shore has gone nuts with redevelopment, and is developing a large area adjacent to the Stateline clubs with a village-type atmosphere that will include ice skating, theatres, shops, restaurants, hotels, and eventually Harveys will have a convention center on the other side of the line from them. Currently under construction is a gondola that will run from a couple of blocks west of Harrah's to the top of the Heavenly Valley Ski Area.

While all of this is going on, keep your eyes peeled for all kinds of specials and offers that will keep you coming back. I hope to personally be able to offer deals from all of the casinos online here and also on my other sites in the very near future. Let's just say that negotiations are in progress on this end.

Coming Next: Slots that are hot, and slots that are not. What my area is doing, has done, and what it means for the player coming to Lake Tahoe. If you find a slot that you think is really hot, or one that you think is the most pathetic creation known to man, I would really love to hear from you. What works in your area? What doesn't? And opinions about Player's Clubs...do you like them, do you hate them? I will publish the results!