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Best of Star Brooks

Gaming Guru

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Weather Still Holding in Reno

8 February 2003

The weather in Reno, considering that it is winter, has been holding on the good side for weeks now. December was the stormy month and, so far, January and February have been more like spring. Oh, it is still cold in the morning, below freezing many days, and the days have been chilly, but it is nowhere like last winter. Last winter, I was selling the Tahoe house in the winter, and winter it was. The weather was below zero in January, punctuated with blizzard conditions. It was a fight to keep the snow cleared to show the house. Lucky us, we found a couple of contractors in the blizzard who adored the house, and nine days after listing it, the "Sold" sign was headed to the front yard. I stand and stare at the mountains, looking at the bare spots where snow usually stays, and then I smile. It’s a winter worth living through. I’ve had to keep the wardrobe to the layered look. So I can peel like a grape as the day warms up. And for those who haven’t been to Reno, I encourage you to make the trip soon. While the weather holds. You won’t be sorry that you did!

I spent Tuesday night at Boomtown on an e-mail room offer, as in "free room night." I have to say that I really enjoyed the property. I used to go to Boomtown about 18 years ago, when it was a mere truck stop on the Interstate (I-80) coming to visit from Nevada City. It always was a funky and fun place to go, always had slots that others didn’t, and always had great food with big portions. Now, it is a Pinnacle Entertainment property, it’s been built up, remodeled, but yet, it still has that funky and fun aura that it always did.

The rooms are done in a western decor, cowboy boots on the bedspreads, cowboy boots that match the spreads trim the top of the walls, western lamps, and no sparing of comfort or elegance. There are western movie posters in the hallways and lobbies... with old time accents that lend to the general elegance. I parked outside the South Tower in the lot that enters the casino by a tunnel under the road, and found the tunnel equally matching, as they made it look like an old mining tunnel, complete with flashing red "mining lights" lining it. It made access easy, and was pleasant to look at as well.

The staff everywhere at Boomtown was friendly and nice, and always smiling. When the card printer at the player’s club failed to print my card, I was told to come back in a few minutes, and it would be ready. Naturally, I got "busy" testing out new machines, and forgot. Well, they didn’t, and when they spotted me on the floor, they came right over and delivered my card. I like little measures like that... that and the fact that everybody seemed to remember my name, and addressed me by my name. It’s the little touches... it’s what makes a difference to me when it comes to making those decisions as to whether I will return, and how soon it will be before I return.

Gold Dust West on Fourth and Vine in Reno has more new slot games. I swear they bring in a truckload every other week at least, or so it seems. This time it is the newest in the IGT "Game King" series. So what’s up with that, it’s just another Game King, right? Well, this time, "wrong..." These Game Kings are multi-denominational, from one cent, two cent, five cent, on up to $5 bets. After you pass the dollar limit, you lose the keno games and it boils down to poker games only, but everything has a new look. On top of four-card keno, there is now twenty-card keno, and everything old has a new look. I was fascinated by the ease... and by the way, for those of you who missed being able to change the speed of the game... that little feature is back too. I noticed that the pays were slightly lower on the keno... the version of the Game King I usually play gives $5 back per nickel on a four spot on the keno. This one gave back 85 coins. For the improved look, feel, and having the speed settings back, I’ll sacrifice the difference in the pay. And playing with the player’s card at Gold Dust West pays off all month during February in the form of triple points all day, all night, every slot. That’s not too shabby. And I enjoy the Gold Dust West so much, because it does have the penny slots that are multi-denominational. You can switch coinage mid-stream and not have to move. Whatta thought!

So if you are out, about, and bored...and have the means to come to Reno, by all means, come! It is the friendly choice, and the only choice if you are serious about your gaming. You don’t have to stare at all the cutesy, fun, and/or costly attractions... you can simply come, gamble, get great food and rooms, and have more bang for your buck.