Sunday, October 24, 2004

Reno Day 2: We find out that slots suck.

Tamara and I slept late and she didn’t want to eat breakfast, but I did. So I got a coffee and a Danish and we explored the mall that connects the El Dorado to the Silver Legacy and Circus, Circus. We found tons of slots, two buffets, a couple of coffee shops and a kids arcade at Circus, Circus. At the Silver Legacy they had a huge dome with a silver mine replica inside. They also had fake weather going across the dome and would periodically change it from night to day. They had total control over the mediated environment. And they had a good screen for laser light shows – the one I saw was more of a "coming attractions" show so it was pretty lame.

We went to the "Brew Brothers" café where I tried a couple of their micro brewed beers. We also had two huge hamburgers that neither of us finished. We saved them in case we were hungry later but ended up throwing them out when we discovered them the next day. After lunch we went out to the airport to meet Elisa and hook-up with Deb and Sam; who were also already in Reno. We were talking about renting a car for a day or two and after discussing this with Elisa we ended up renting a 2005 Chrysler Town and Country mini-van. We had a discount coupon so it really wasn’t that much.

After we got Elisa checked in to her room we all went downstairs to lose money at slots. We mainly tried the nickel and penny slots. Tamara lost her money quick. I started with five dollars and when I left the machine I had $6.85. At one point I was up by over $5 but the started getting the better of me. I took my ticket (because most of the cheap slots give you a ticket you take to a cashier) and went to another area with the group to play more slots. Luckily most of the slots are ticket-in/ticket-out so I was able to roll my money over to the slot machine – where I promptly lost it all.

We ate dinner at Circus, Circus's Americana Grill. This was kind of like a Denny’s with keno. I asked, "What’s Keno?" and Deb said, "It’s like reverse bingo." You pick your numbers and if you get a lot of matches on the round you win. This restaurant had a special brand where you pick three and if you hit you win $35 and a meal ticket worth $15. Deb and I played. She won and I lost. I really had no more desire to play Keno but I’ve heard the odds are pretty good. With dinner behind us we lost some more money on slots and decided to switch to Blackjack.

The El Dorado only has five dollar minimum tables. So Tamara was pretty aghast when I sat down with Elisa, Deb and Sam. I started out with twenty in chips (4 five dollar chips). I actually won enough to stay even for most of the time we played. It was much more fun and interactive and both the dealer and the other players were very helpful with our hands. Later I discovered that bad or selfish players can mess up a whole table so they had an interest in helping us play up to a certain (although still low) level. I lost my twenty the first night. I think we all did but I’m not sure. The only thing I remember for sure is that the cocktail waitresses come around much more often at the Blackjack tables. And while it’s not cheap entertainment I had so much more fun (and comp’ed drinks) at the Blackjack tables, I didn’t really ever want to play slots again during the trip.

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