Just got back from my first trip to Reno to play in the ACC Open Cribbage Tournament at the Sands Regency, and had a great time! I flew Southwest from Des Moines with a connection in Las Vegas. As a regular Vegas-goer, it sure is hard flying into Vegas without making a stop on the strip, but a 55 minute layover allowed me just a couple hands of deuces wild before catching my connecting flight. The flight from Vegas to Reno is about an hour. I was travelling by myself this time around, but if I come out to the tournament again next year with my wife, I'll probably fly into and out of Vegas and just rent a car for a week, driving to/from Reno just for the long weekend. There's another tournament in Topaz, NV right after the Reno tournament, so I might make an appearance at that as well. For you non-cribbagers I'll keep this part brief. The cribbage was good, but not great. This was my first live tournament, and I came really close to cashing (literally one lucky draw on my opponent's 4443 to an 8 cost me my qualification). The good part is, the min-cash was only $100, so I didn't miss out on much. The Sands is one of the lower-end casinos in Reno, but it has everything you need. Most of the time if I was playing the table games it was the double-deck pitch game, H17, RSA, DA2, for a $5 table min! They were running a promotion wherein if you get 15 blackjacks you get a t-shirt that says 'I love BJs'. Unfortunately, despite doing well at blackjack, I could only amass about 12 blackjacks. I also played a bit of the $2-$6 spread limit holdem, but quickly grew bored of that after a $15 investment. As an aside, the thing I like about places like the Sands is that even though I am a red-chip player/ 25c VP player, I am treated like a premium player. I had all of my meals comped, super fast drink service, and expect to have some room offers down the road based on what I've heard from other players. The VP bar right by the main pit area attracts a lot of $10 buy-in types who slow-play to eek out that free beer. I bought in for $100, and couldn't even select a game before I had a fresh pint of Sierra Nevada draft accompanying me in my amateur VP play. One of my weird situations of the trip happened at the Sands craps table. In what was probably my only negative experience at the Sands, I was playing the come bet up to 3 points. I throw my bet up there, and the shooter rolls a 7. The dealer then pays... the guy next to me. I told the dealer that the come bet was in fact mine, and he said 'you guys figure it out'. Well the guy next to me thought the come bet was his. I really don't think he was trying to shoot an angle, since he had sometimes been betting the come, but I was absolutely sure this come bet was mine. I told him to get the floor, and he says "why? I'm just going to tell her that it wasn't your bet". Now I'm pissed. I said "well go look at the tapes and I'll bet you a $25 chip that that was my bet". The floor didn't even hesitate, and immediately after I explained the situation, she threw me my $10, and I immediately walked away with my chips. Even if that hadn't been my bet, that was just a poor way to handle it. So the guy I was rooming with out there was a super-low gambler. We heard about some $3 BJ over at Cal Neva and decided to check the place out. The place itself is kinda shady... but damn are the cocktail waitresses easy on the eyes. I recommend the grilled hot dog for some cheap eats. Grilled chili dog + 16oz beer for $4. The blackjack rules aren't the best, but hey, $3 is only $3. We plopped down at the $3 DD game, Double 10/11 only. Unfortunately the cocktails were as weak as Kanye's ethics at the Grammys. I asked for a vodka + redbull and got some weird tasting well vodka + generic energy drink. My $5 bribe did not help the cocktail situation, so we moved on. Before leaving the Cal Neva, I tried teaching my friend Pai Gow Poker. About three hands in and I get 7788AQx. The dealer flips over her cards with AKQQxxx and I tell my friend that I pushed. Well I missed the two-pair that the dealer had (AKQQ33x), but the dealer gave me the push anyway. She starts looking at the other hands on the table, spreading the hands and taking the money, before she realizes her mistake. She then proceeds to back out every single card in the discard pile to show that I actually lost. I've never seen that done before, but I guess it was the right call. On Saturday night, a bunch of us went over to the Silver Legacy for some BJ. The rules were excellent. Four of us from DSM sat down at a $10 6-deck shoe game, RSA, H17, and Double down at any time, even after 3+ cards! Needless to say, these rules were the siren's song for the four of us, as we proceeded to dump $1k to the house in under an hour. If I wasn't playing cirbbage at the Sands, I probably would have stayed at the Silver Legacy. Cocktails were awesome, casino looks new/newly remodeled, and the drinks were plenty. The pit is also huge. I'm not sure if there is 1 or 2 pits, but it looks like the table games go on forever. We actually went back to the Silver Legacy on Sunday. I had always wanted to try pai gow tiles, so I seized my opportunity at an open table. Shortly after I started, these two guys around 25 years old came up to the table and were really cool about helping me out with hands. Banking in pai gow is awesome. You can stack the tiles however you want, tell the dealer how to distribute them, and even shake the dice. I lost a bit of money, but it was worth the experience. I did go to the Eldorado briefly on Friday night. Now, one can never be 100% sure, but this place looked like hooker central. This semi-attractive lady in her...30s? kept looking over at me while I was at the BJ table. She was dressed in a white tanktop and white sweater, with gratuitous amounts of cleavage, and fishnet stockings. Unfortunately for her, the gettin' is good at home, so I packed up and left after only half an hour at the Eldorado. Overall, Reno lived up to my expectations. It's not Vegas. If you're into the best clubs, fine dining, and a strip-like aura, you won't find it in Reno. If you like good gambling rules, liberal cocktails, and good values on food/hotel, (and I would guess good rates on escorts) Reno is the place. I'm sure there are plenty of recreational activities up there too if that is your cup of tea.