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Trip Report 6/28-7/2

 
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llkraus



Joined: 28 Dec 2005
Posts: 103
Location: Tyler, TX

PostPosted: Jul Mon 13, 2009 7:00 am    Post subject: Trip Report 6/28-7/2 Reply with quote

Recently, I posted a request for information about Harrah's junkets and received several helpful responses. My wife and I ended up accepting the offer and I thought I would share my thoughts on how the junket went.

The junket was a round-trip charter flight from Shreveport, LA, (about 100 miles from my home), beginning on Sunday, June 29, with four nights at Harrah's in Reno. That was all that was mentioned in the offer; however, when we arrived, we found that there were also coupons for each of us for some discounts on food and shows. (We took advantage of the food discounts, but did not see the show.)

Our flight (on Alligient) departed Shreveport about 20 minutes early (one of the advantages of a charter) and touched down in Reno about 30 minutes early. Nothing special about the flight itself, except for the fact that the MD-80 we were on did not have windows on the last two or three rows (where we sat) and was very loud. The flight attendants were all very personable and played a variety of games with us to make the time go a little faster. (At least, they did this on the way to Reno; coming home they let us sleep.) With the exception of the windows not being there, and the noise, it was a good flight.

We were met at the baggage claim at RNO by a Harrah's representative, who gave us an information packet and the keys to our room. Harrah's took care of the luggage, promising to have it in our rooms within two hours. (I think they were successful. Ours, at least, appeared in our room within an hour.) We boarded a bus and were taken directly to Harrahs.

Kaye and I walked around downtown for a bit (she had never been to Reno, although I have been probably 20 times). We also grabbed a bite to eat. There was a Reno Aces game in progress when we arrived and we could hear the public address system relatively well from Virginia Street. Kaye noticed that "Menopause: The Musical" was playing at the El Dorado and told me that she wanted to see it. (She also graciously said I didn't have to go, but she was going.) We went to see about tickets and found that the ticket office had closed.

The next morning (Monday) I got up early and took the shuttle to the airport to pick up the rental car I had reserved. It didn't take long and I was back at Harrah's to pick up Kaye and head south. We started by visiting Virginia City for about an hour, then headed for the South Lake. After eating lunch at a "Grille" (we discovered that the "e" added substantially to the price of the meal), we started out around the west side of the lake to Emerald Bay. After what seemed a thousand pictures, we took the highway along the west side of the lake up to I-80 and came back in to Reno. We tried again to get tickets for Menopause, but found out that the theatre was dark on Mondays and that the ticket office was closed.

We decided to grab a bite to eat and discovered that Harrah's buffet was not open every night. I had never experienced a casino, particulary a large one, that did not open their buffet every night. We ended up in the coffee shop, which was good, but a bit more expensive. After dinner, Kaye decided she was tired and ready to go back to the room. (She's not a gambler, so did not hear the call of the tables or slots, like I did.) I walked her to the room, the headed out to the Sienna and, later, to the Sands.

The next morning, after getting tickets for Menopause that night,we headed for the North Shore. North Shore is my home-away-from-home and it felt good to be back. Our son and his wife had spent their honeymoon at the Cal-Neva Resort in Crystal Bay and, of course, that was more than enough to get my wife enthusiastic about going. We had lunch at the Cal-Neva (where no table games were open, but about three people were playing slots), and then drove around looking at the beautiful scenery.

We returned to Reno mid-afternoon and went to Harrah's, where Kaye decided to take a nap before seeing Menopause that evening. While she rested, I went across the street to the Cal-Neva in Reno and played for a couple of hours. I did go with her to Menopause (I'm a good husband who has learned that "you don't have to go, but I'm going" really means "If you want your life to be anything even approaching pleasant, you will attend this function with me.") It wasn't horrible, but she enjoyed it more than I did.

After Menopause, we went to the casino bar at Harrah's, where she had her nightly wine while playing video poker. I had told to put a couple of dollars into the machine and her wine would be comped, which was true. What I didn't count on was her winning over 20 dollars (playing one quarter at a time). I finally was able to get her away from the machine and back up to the room. I decided to head out for Western Village to play a little blackjack, and eventually ended up back at Harrah's for a while.

Wednesday was spent visiting the new shopping mall at Sparks Marina. Kaye seemed more impressed that I was. After lunch and being drug around a staggering variety of women's shops, we finally went back to Harrahs. Kaye wanted to roam around and I wanted play Blackjack, so we split up for a couple of hours. After meeting back at the room, we went to dinner and then down to the park at the river and Arlington, where we saw thousands of people and Richie Havens. It was a free concert, part of the Reno Arts group's event, and it was pretty good. It was really cool down by the river (especially after the two weeks of 100+ weather we had been having at home) and we enjoyed the evening.

After the concert, Kaye went to the room to go to bed and I went across the street to the Cal-Neva for my last night. After an hour or so there, I crossed the street and played for a while at Harrah's.

Thursday was a travel day. We had to be in the lobby of the hotel with our luggage by 6:15 a.m., for our flight back to Shreveport. Again, everything was a little ahead of schedule and there were no surprises. We arrived back in Shreveport and headed home.

As promised, a few comments on the Harrah's junket. First, I was impressed with how organized it was. From the moment we hit the airport in Shreveport until we returned, there were no problems. The only time I saw the front desk at Harrah's was on Thursday, when I brought our luggage to the bell station. It was about as hassle-free as any place I have ever stayed. If I get another offer (probably unlikely due to the fact that I played most of the time at other places), I will not hesitate to accept it.

The major reason I didn't play more at Harrah's was the table limits I found. Our first night, Sunday, I walked through the pit and saw one fifteen dollar table, one twenty-five dollar table, and five 100 dollar tables. As a low roller, it is hard for me to play at a fifteen dollar table, when there are three and five dollar tables across the street. I wonder how they can hope to get significant numbers of people through the door with limits like that.

The room we had was in the East Tower, which I'm told is not as nice as the West Tower. However, we had no complaints (other than no coffee maker) about the room. It was clean and comfortable and I would have no problems staying there again. Maid service was prompt and courteous.

I was surprised, as mentioned earlier, to find the buffet at Harrah's not open more. We also noticed that other resturants in Harrah's also had strange hours and days they were open. It seems to me that the buffet at a large casino, if not a profit center, would at least be seen as necessary to keep the patrons in the building.

So concludes my second of three trips to Reno this calendar year. I have started the count-down till the next one, in November.
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Larry L. Kraus
Tyler, TX
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RenoLady



Joined: 23 Feb 2006
Posts: 316

PostPosted: Jul Mon 13, 2009 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for the trip report, you really got around, AND to the best places Reno/Tahoe has to offer.

I agree on your commentary of Harrah's buffet. So you're not making money on it through the week, why send your customers next door?

do you ever go into Vegas? or do you choose Reno over the "other" town, just curious.
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llkraus



Joined: 28 Dec 2005
Posts: 103
Location: Tyler, TX

PostPosted: Jul Mon 13, 2009 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comments.

I usually go to LV in April for an annual meeting. The week that I'm there usually is enough. Although there are some places in LV I like (the new "M" really impressed me), I just feel more comfortable in R/T. I like to play Blackjack and am more interested in having an enjoyable session than I am in making money (although that's nice). The dealers in R/T are consistently more personable and provide a better experience than the dealers in LV.

llk
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Larry L. Kraus
Tyler, TX
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remano



Joined: 20 Dec 2005
Posts: 716

PostPosted: Jul Tue 14, 2009 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the TR, I enjoyed reading it. Glad you got down to Wingfield Park on the river. I would encourage more people to do it when they want a break from the casinos. When the weather is nice it's a great place to people watch with some days hundreds of swimmers and sun bathers, the kayakers and often concerts or special events in the park. It's just a short walk from downtown. and if you get tired there are several restaurants and watering holes along the way including in the new West Street Market. It's not in the "must see" category but it's a nice way to spend an afternoon.

The bars in the area also sponsor a popular "beer crawl" on the 4th Saturday of each month that will help you get acquainted with the area. Here's a description of one in March copied from RGJ:

""March Madness" Reno Beer Crawl
Friday March 27, 2009

Reno Beer Crawl, downtown Reno, Nevada.
Photo Stan White For a little adult fun, the Reno Beer Crawl is held on the fourth Saturday of each month. The "March Madness" Reno Beer Crawl on March 28th will be from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. in downtown Reno. To participate, get glasses and a map to participating bars for $5 at Amendment 21, 425 S. Virginia St., or The Waterfall, 134 W. 2nd St. Each of 16 participating taverns will pour a six ounce glass of specialty beer for $1.
To help avoid DUI issues, a free shuttle will circulate along the tavern route. Crawlers can enter a raffle for a grand prize collection of $25 gift certificates to all participating drinking establishments. To win, you must turn in your raffle ticket by 5 p.m. and be present at Amendment 21 or The Waterfall at 6 p.m. For more information, call (775) 996-1811 or (775) 786-0808. To learn more, check out the Reno Metromix Beer Crawl Guide."
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llkraus



Joined: 28 Dec 2005
Posts: 103
Location: Tyler, TX

PostPosted: Jul Tue 14, 2009 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The park really did seem nice. Richie Havens did a pretty good concert (especially considering that it was free). On the way back, Kaye and I discussed how we could get a river park in downtown Tyler, so that we could enjoy events like that. (The first step, of course, is creating a river in downtown Tyler. We currently lack one. The next problem is that no one would want to come to any event when the temperature is above 105, like it has been the last two weeks or so. However, we still thought it a good idea.)

Thanks for the information about the beer run. I'm not a drinker, but I have some friends who will appreciate the info.

llk
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Larry L. Kraus
Tyler, TX
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ErininSD



Joined: 19 Dec 2005
Posts: 265

PostPosted: Jul Thu 16, 2009 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm big fan of Harrahs junkets. I love the charter flights as everyone (at least on the way out) is in a good mood and it's a "party" atmosphere.

I've had those seats once, in the back of the Allegiant plane, and they are loud. You can avoid them by getting to the airport early...LOL

Unfortunately with the economy the way it is, everyone is cutting costs, hence the reason the buffet was closed. It's just a fact of life right now and I can't blame them.

I love Wingfield park and I'm happy Reno has made an effort to revitalize the downtown area, hopefully it will continue.

I'm glad you enjoyed your trip and thanks for the report!
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llkraus



Joined: 28 Dec 2005
Posts: 103
Location: Tyler, TX

PostPosted: Jul Thu 16, 2009 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did enjoy the junket. However, getting to the airport early was not the solution. The seats were already assigned and they were not willing to change them.

I also understand that the economy is suffering at the moment; however, closing the buffet seemed short-sighted. There are simply too many options near Harrah's. For example, when the buffet was closed and the line at the coffee shop was long, we went over to the Eldorado. Once there, we also spent time playing a bit. The limits were more tolerable and we were already there.

Same argument with table limits. Why have your lowest table $15, when across the street, at the Cal-Neva, there are $3. And, at Eldo, you can find $5. I don't play high limits, but I do play long sessions.

Bottom line, though, the Harrah's junket was a pleasant experience. Given another chance, I will do it again.

llk
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Tyler, TX
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