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Just Back from Reno

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Hotels & Casinos' started by marksind, Jan 31, 2016.

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  1. marksind

    marksind Low-Roller

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    My wife and i just returned last night from a four day trip to Reno. Random observations/events/thoughts/opinions follow.

    Curse you, Southwest for ending direct Seattle/Reno service last year. Now it's via Vegas. Yes, Alaska flies direct, but we fly essentially free on Southwest. Turns a two hour flight gate-to-gate into a six hour adventure. Hard to complain about the price though.

    We stayed at the Eldorado on a three-night comp offer, paying a casino rate for Friday night. They've upped their "resort fee" to $15 a night, plus about $2.50 in tax (not applicable to the comped nights). Seems it was under $10 a year or so ago. Anyway, you don't get much for that. Internet for two devices is about all. Still, we like the upkeep of the property, friendly staff, good table and video poker service, and top-notch drink service of both the Eldorado and the Silver Legacy.

    Last year the Carano family (owners of Eldorado) purchased the rest of the Silver Legacy (they already owned about half) plus Circus Circus, so they own the entire three-property complex. We have always considered the Eldorado and Silver Legacy to be about on par (Silver Legacy may have a slight edge), but Circus Circus is definitely not. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, they do with it.

    Changes we noticed since our last visit in the spring of 2015 are the increases in resort fees (Silver Legacy is now also $15), an abundance of 6/5 blackjack at both casino, and worsening of some of the video poker pay tables. The good news is that there are still plenty of good options both places. The four 100+% Dueces Wild machines at the Silver Legacy are no more. I'll submit an update to VPfree2. There are now no 100+% quarter level machines at either casino. And of course why change the pay table if it's only going to be a bit? They took them from great to not worth playing. Still, there's a good selection of other 99% or so machines of various types and denominations both places. The progressives at the Eldorado were truly impressive - over $1600 on 99.8% DDB (we contributed to that), $1350 on 9/6 JOB (contributed there too), and over $1500 on TDB (with the bad luck we were having elsewhere we didn't dare try this!).

    At the $5 level, the Eldorado had one shoe game and a whole bunch of 6/5 single and double deck games. Weekday day time there was a 3/2 double deck game, but it disappeared when things got busier. Same at the Silver Legacy. Friday night they had a bunch of $5 blackjack tables going, all 6/5 single and double deck except for one 3/2 shoe game, which of course was always full. During the day they had more $5 3/2 shoe games, none that were single or double deck. We played the 3/2 shoe exclusively and pretty much offset each other in the end.

    The Silver Legacy remains the mecca for $5 Pai Gow Poker. They must have ten tables or more, with most open on Friday night. Even then they didn't raise the minimum. Still a great way to push money while drinking, and they have an excellent beer and mixed drink selection. Served in real glasses by friendly and attractive servers too. The $2 bill is still a conversation piece in Reno. Got a lot of appreciation and attention from servers.

    We are cowardly low rollers. That behavior is reinforced by tragic results when we've tried to be otherwise. I'll up my base bet to $10 when it appears a hot streak is on. But I'm the guy who always gets the two aces to split in blackjack when I really press and then gets two 2s on the draw, or the Pai Gow hand when I press the base and Fortune bet playing Pai Gow Poker. So the people with real stones always impress me. One night a guy sits down at our $5 Pai Gow table and lays out $2000. He proceeds to play two hands, making all three bets (they've got the progressive pot bet as well), putting out $600 to $1000 total each round. Thirty minutes into it he's down to his last two hands. And of course! He gets four of a kind on one hand and a full house on the other. Now suddenly he's about even. Thirty minutes later he's up $1200. Thirty minutes later we leave and he's way down again. Cojones grandes! This guy was pretty normal and friendly too. He carried on social conversation with us little people at the table the whole time.

    It was an incredibly slow week. It hadn't occurred to us that this weekend there are no playoff games and next weekend is the Super Bowl. Also, there weren't any big tournaments going on at the nearby bowling center. The big thing was a women's Christian conference at the civic center a block away and Donnie Osmond performing at the Silver Legacy Friday night. Needless to say, while those may fill some rooms they don't fill the casinos.

    The lack of patrons and (fairly mild) winter weather gave downtown Reno even more of a post-apocalyptic feel than it normally has. I usually enjoy that, but it was enough it even made me a little ill at ease. During the weekdays it seemed like most of the people in the casinos were homeless people wandering around or hanging out to keep warm. I quickly figured out which men's room at the Silver Legacy they hit to take care of business.

    We couldn't get anything going this trip, but avoided what could have been a major ouchy. When we checked out yesterday I left the suitcases and my backpack with my wife while I went to the desk. When I was done I walked back over to the bench where she and our stuff were, we grabbed things and went to the airport shuttle. In an unbelievable brain fart I didn't realize until we got to the airport that my backpack wasn't there. It had about $1000 in it in addition to my tablet and some other electronics.

    To make a long story short, the shuttle driver was amazing. He radioed back to the hotel, took me directly back (finding out along the way that they had it), escorted me to Security and then the casino cage to get my money, took me back to the shuttle and made a special trip back to the airport. I tipped him well, but he hesitated to take it. He said it was just what he does. I insisted, saying he'd done much more for me than I could reasonably expect. I have already sent a commendation to the Eldorado. That's one of the reasons we like Reno. We've always had good interactions with the casino staff at the Eldorado or Silver Legacy. I can't imagine if it had been Vegas.

    We continue to enjoy the relaxed and low-limit environment of Reno, and it's still a great deal compared to Vegas. But given the choice of either paying to fly directly there with Alaska or just going to Vegas with Southwest for free we'll continue to go to Vegas more often. Next trip there is the first rounds of March Madness.
     
  2. kankan53

    kankan53 Low-Roller

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    You were extremely lucky that they found your backpack and that they were gracious enough to make a special trip for you. Nice customer service for sure.
    We would like to fly directly to Reno too but at Dallas Love Field they don't have a nonstop flight either.
     
  3. TXactuarial

    TXactuarial Low-Roller

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    Wow that's not good about the 6:5 proliferation. Any report on $10-$15 tables?
     
  4. Krh2o

    Krh2o MIA

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    In Nov, it was not the single deck and double deck at $5, then $10 at night that were 6:5. I've never seen a $15 table in Reno. I don't look that hard however. It's usually $5, $10, then $25 for the tables.
     
  5. win4me

    win4me Low-Roller

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    That was probably about the same time they stopped their nonstop Oakland-Reno service. I am close enough to drive up though.
    Downtown is a bit sad unless they have events going on. I am a CET player, so I stay at Harrah's and that property needs a complete renovation and makeover. I was very surprised to hear they are holding the CET Millionaire Maker finals for 2016 at the Reno property (in April 2017).
     
  6. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

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    Interesting to hear the update on the "Big 3" in downtown Reno. I gambled for the very first time at Circus Circus on a ski trip with friends. I'll never forget that trip because my friend lost our gas money to get home at the roulette table. :nono:

    I used to switch between ElDorado and Silver Legacy when we lived in the Bay Area. I like the food and gaming better at SL, but the rooms seem slightly larger at ElDorado, so we started staying there a lot until I moved us to Atlantis.

    I do remember that Reno can be a bit dismal in the winter time. Cold, dry temps and lack of tourism events like in the summer can make it feel very post-apocalyptic. Thanks for the TR and the little stroll down memory lane.
     
  7. Julie888

    Julie888 High-Roller

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    An honest person who found your backpack and exceptional driver. Those folks made your biggest win of the trip.

    Sad to hear they're downgrading the games when times are tough. Reno has many variables going against it and some very nice things. If they want to keep functioning as a gambling town, they have to have something extra to get us there.
     
  8. marksind

    marksind Low-Roller

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    Sonya,

    So how was hitchhiking home? Nowadays you could take the Mega Bus! We talked to a guy at a table who had just come in from the Bay Area on a $5 ticket. Amazing deal.

    Oh, one thing I should add about the $5 shoe blackjack at the Silver Legacy - not only is it 3/2, but you can double down after taking your first hit. I don't know what that does to the overall odds, but I won on that a number of times. I've not seen that allowed anywhere else.
     
  9. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    I like hooking in a few days in Reno on a Sierra roundabout. Put in at Mammoth, drive one of the my fave roads anywhere the rest of the way on up to Reno, then up the hill for a few more days, hit the southern Gold Country wine scene, home.
     
  10. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

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    Wow! $5 seems really cheap. I am pretty sure we had to scrounge together more than that for gas home and we still coasted into Sacramento on fumes where a friend was waiting for us with money to get back to SFO.
     
  11. hottwhls

    hottwhls Low-Roller

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    Thanks for your trip report.Resort Fees are getting out of control
     
  12. mkcoroner

    mkcoroner Low-Roller

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    ...thanks for the update on Reno. The wife and I would do at least one trip a year up to Reno over the past 20 years...usually for our anniversary. I've been on a Vegas kick for the past 2 years so Reno has been an after thought. Love the small town feel and the proximity of the casinos (guess that's why I am a DT Vegas person) but it has been sad at how the place often looks like a ghost town, especially when we would go midweek. Hope the suits at the Eldorado can make a go of the three properties, a great layout and lots of options under one roof.
     
  13. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    I hear you on the Reno/Seattle direct flight. I've been in Seattle a bit of late on business and you're spot on! I'm really looking forward to Southwest reinstituting the Reno/Oakland flights, as I hope it will at least improve the connection "thing" a little bit. I hate flying south for an hour with an hour or 2 layover, just to fly north an hour again to be essentially right back where I started. Four hours gone by and I'm in the air over the same place I started out at!!! UGHHHH
     
  14. Gomar

    Gomar Low-Roller

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    I had the same opinions about Laughlin. Low amount of college kids and tourists, no drunks, nice casinos, won big at slots.
     
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