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Standing Too Tall: Another Reno Adventure

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Joined: 14 Aug 2009
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Jun Wed 09, 2010 2:02 pm    Post subject: Standing Too Tall: Another Reno Adventure Reply with quote

Hi. Miss me? Of course you did. Very Happy

This is my fourth trip to Reno in the past year. You can find my trip reports of the other three if you search hard. It might help to go through them because I use a lot of jargon that I only explain once, if at all.

Thanks for all the kind things you guys have said about me and the information that you've given out. And now, on with the show.


This was set up in March. The Peppermill sent me an offer too good to resist - up to 4 free nights, $100 in free play, $30 in dining credit, and that wonderful Adventures in Tuscany funbook for two periods. I took them up for two nights in April on the same offer and booked this one at the same time. I got a flight on Delta for $310 RT from Detroit, which is pretty good. I prepaid for parking at my favorite off-airport lot, Airlines Parking, because the rates at Metro are still ridiculous.


This was a long, long, long day. I'll try to describe why I felt this way. First I had to work half a day at work, which was trying, but nothing I couldn't handle. Then the trip to Metro - a little slow due to construction, but thankfully not too much traffic. Then came the first flight to Denver. It was on an Airbus A320. We left and arrived somewhat late.

Let me make a note about Denver's airport. I had never been here before and I was shocked at how isolated it is. There was literally nothing around it for miles, nothing but fields. It must be by design, but I hadn't ever seen anything like it. Usually airports are either near the city or a city builds up around it.

The walk to the next gate was short, but I had to pass through a mini-mall to get to it. No, I didn't buy anything. But I did see a Peppermill poster while I was waiting at the gate. I must be going to the right place. Or am I?

My second flight was to Salt Lake City. Hey, getting closer. We took another A320 there. It got us there in little over an hour, right on time.

The final flight was the one to Reno. This one was on a 737. Another hour plus. RNO now has TAR video slots! Must resist... must resist... must... resist... good boy. In other good news, the shuttle was waiting for us. It picked up 7 of us, including me. The shuttle finally got to the Peppermill at 11 - 2 AM in the real time zone. I had been up since 7 and all I wanted to do was get to my room and rest. Not quite. There was a short line at the front desk. I was upgraded to Tuscany again - yay! Then the key making computers went down. And stayed down. I was told there would be a bit of a wait, so I went to the players club and picked up a new card (I left my cards at home, silly me). Then I swiped my new card - a coupon for a free deck of cards. Yay. I never did pick it up. Then I went back to the front desk and waited - still no key. After more of a wait, I gave them my cell # and went into the casino.

I picked up various odds sheets at the sports book. Schiavone at +350 looked good to win the French Open tennis final, but I was a little late to make that bet (they closed at 11 PM, and by now it was near midnight). I strolled over to a nearby video poker game (not STP since that was busy). Again they were trying to palm me off with $75 in free play. I went back to the players club with my postcard with my hundred bucks in big, bold letters. They finally agreed to give me what I was entitled to, but they kept the card. Fine, I guess. I didn't play it because I finally got a call that my key was ready. And so it was.

The path to the room was a lot different than the path I took the last time I was in Tuscany in August. Going up the escalator was the same, but this time I went left instead of right. I passed by Biscotti's, the pool deck, and the upstairs lounge before getting to the main bank of elevators. My room on the 4th floor was right by the vators - and also the ice machine. Double convenience, but also more noise. The room itself was basically the same as my other Tuscany Tower room, which is not bad. The double king smoking room had a total of 10 pillows - one each for me and a softball team. I didn't smell any cigarette smoke. The view wasn't much - just the apartment complex across the street. I unpacked and went to bed about 1:30, finally ending a long, long, long day.


Did I sleep in? Of course not. I was out and about by 5:30. The sun was already rising. I went down to play my free play on STP. That $100 turned into $127.75. I hit three multipliers (5, 5, 2) plus quad 5s (no multiplier). Kenny took a token amount from me. I then went to the blackjack table. I lost the $25 matchplay (I have really bad luck with the bigger MPs, here and in Las Vegas), but rallied to a high of about +30 before falling $78.50 down. I hate it when that happens. Then I played Cleopatra Wild Tiles. The wilds kept coming and tiles kept falling. I ended up with a 634 penny coin winne - pretty big for a 20 cent bet with no bonus. I left $3.04 ahead. I then stopped in for some steak & eggs at the coffee shop. Good stuff and fairly priced, if I had to pay. But I charged all but the tip to the room and let my account cover it.

I went up to wash the degenerate gambler off me (with little success...) and prepared for the day to come. I placed 5 baseball bets - $52 worth. I'll get to those results shortly. But first I was off to Atlantis, which is still down the road. I got a new card and found I have 206 points, which is a lot more than the last time I checked. This could convert to $2 in comps (100 pts = $1) at various places. Not now; I'm on a mission. Atlantis had 3x points on all their slots and video poker today, along with 2x at the tables. I swiped the kiosk expecting the usual nothing. But surprise, I got $20 in free play. Well all right!

The casino continues to be a maze to me, so it took me awhile to find my Deal or No Deal - What's Your Deal machine. This had been an ATM for me at Binion's; literally every time I walked up to it and stuck money in, I got more back than I started. This machine looked the same - it's a big, bad boy; one of the largest regular video slot machines I've ever seen. Let's see if I have the same luck here... At $5 a spin I kept losing & losing (the consolation is the biggest cases get bigger and bigger). Finally, on the 15th(!) spin I got a single winner. On to the bonus round. I had slightly better than average luck and my first offer was about $31. Degeneracy and greed compelled me to decline this. I had fair luck with the next four cases. The next offer was $35.34. Logic took over and I took that offer. Some model that was not Claudia tried to tempt me into going double or nothing, but I resisted that too. My case had all of 15 cents, so Howie would say that was a real good deal. But I guess the ATM only works at Binion's. Lesson learned as I cashed out down $39.66.

I still had my free play, so I used it on their full pay JoB 100x machine. I got $15.40 out of it. I drifted over to STP. Alas, Atlantis is down to two of these most excellent video poker plays, and both were occupied at this time. So I chose a JoB 5 play for quarters - a poor imitation of STP and earned tip money. Then I moved to a dollar NSUD machine. In two hands I got a full house and quads. I wanted to take this home with me, and I wanted to stay here forever, but I decided to take my $30 and run. Can't you tell I've got a restless soul? I then earned a bit at Gem Wild Tiles. It always helps to get a 171 coin score.

I then shuffled over to the craps table - a $3 minimum with 3-4-5x odds. I bet more than the minimum, and more than I should have, as I watched the table collapse with $71 of my money. So I went to play some double deck blackjack. They also had $3 minimums here. I played against Claire, Vicki, and Jian. The first two took my money slowly but surely. I finally got my hot streak against Jian, tipping along the way. I ended up ahead $71.50.

At this time I sauntered back to the Peppermill. I fought the NSUD 3x to a draw, then earned $49 at craps. I found two good shooters, one not so much. A good ratio, and I hoped it would continue. I placed my usual keno bet with coupon and got $4 out of it.

After some rest, I went back down. Old friend Deanna was dealing single deck. I'd say she was nice to me. She allowed me a diamond blackjack (only $5 out; sigh). I escaped up $25. One fun thing at this table - three players got blackjacks on the same hand. Alas, none were me. Sad

I then picked up a few pennies at a random slot, then donated $30 to a high limit dollar JoB machine. I found STP occupied, so I walked around to the craps table. I won $20 quickly, then the table broke up. I also hate it when this happens. I did some more drifting, then on to double deck blackjack. I went up and down and then got the hand of the day. I had a $25 bet up. The dealer had a 6. I had 11. I doubled, of course. She had a 5 underneath, then up popped the face card. Let's see what I got... an 8. Good, but not good enough. That was a $100 swing, but I left up $50 anyway. On to Saucy's for some BBQ chicken goodness. This was partially covered by my credit. It was another good meal and I munched on it into the next morning.

I got several hours of rest while following the baseball scores. I only won one of five, for -$27 overall. Schiavone won her match against Stosur, so that was a missed opportunity. I could resist the call of the casino no longer, so I followed my feet. Oh my, what a madhouse. There was activity everywhere. My STP machines were, of course, busy, so I went to a NSUD 3x game and dropped $40 there. I finally winced and squeezed into a $10 blackjack table. Again I did well to start, but then the losing came. I stayed for 2 hours, but singed my bankroll for $181. That took me from ahead to down for the trip. No worries, I thought, I'll get 'em tomorrow. I went back to the room by midnight and was in bed by 1.


I was out of my room by 5. Guess where I went? My first stop was STP, where I earned tip money. Nothing special, just some decent-good hands. I also earned a few bucks at some random slots. Wild Wolf gave me a 890 coin bonus, which wasn't half bad. Then I settled in at a single deck blackjack table. The lady dealer I faced was fair and my bankroll melted slowly. Then came Kenny, whom I previously had bad luck against. The bad luck continued as I lost my buy-in and dug out more. Then some high rolling diamond card holder came in and there came the hot streak. I must've won 10 in a row before retreating. When the smoke cleared I was up $110. Not a killing, but not half bad. I also used my spade coupon here - only a $5 bet, but that's all right.

After resting and prepping for the day to come, I headed down to the sports book to place bets on baseball. There was no way I could do as bad as yesterday, if only because I only bet on three games. I'll get to those results later. For now I took a little time to watch the French Open men's final. I liked Nadal, even at -425. Soderling is good, but a healthy Nadal on clay is on another planet. I figured Nadal should have been about -600 here. I didn't pull the trigger because I generally like to be on the receiving end of short odds. At this point, Nadal was up a set and a break. Pity; it would have been easy money. I won't keep you in suspense about this one; he won in straight sets.

I made my way to Atlantis. I gave away $20 playing bonus at Good Times Pay. Then I spotted another video poker variation - Dream Card. Allow me to explain this one - for an extra 5 coins per hand, you have the opportunity to buy a random dream card. How the dream card works is you're dealt four cards as normal. Suppose it's JJ87. If you get the dream card (it happens about half the time at JoB), you will get one of the other two jacks. With 5432, the dream card would be either an ace or 6. If you get four diamonds, your girlfriend's dream has come true - you'll get another diamond. In case you haven't noticed, there are two hitches with Dream Card. First, the pay schedule is based on 5 coins, so while you'll get some really nice hands with the dream card, you really need them to make money. And second, if you don't get the dream card, you're really up against it. Anyway, they have 9/6 JoB Dream Card at the 50 cent and $1 levels - more than I like to play, but I figure I'd fool around for a few hands. I got a couple of DC-aided trips, one of which turned into a full house. It wasn't enough to keep me from losing $10. My conclusion is that Dream Card is dreamy, and I'll definitely be back. I hope it spreads.

STP was free, so I played that. I lost $11 on one machine, then gained $16.25 on the other. Then I earned a couple of bucks at one of their 100x machines. From there I lost about a donut's worth at Cops & Donuts. Then I saw a bunch of repeating numbers at the roulette table and tried my luck. I watched my $40 vanish before my eyes. Then I took my chances at blackjack. I didn't do much against the other dealers, but against Larry the card, I got my run and finished ahead $69.50. I tried to satisfy my Dream Card addiction by playing again. This time I won $7.50. I'm still not satisfied, but it will have to do. I won $3.75 at an ordinary quarter video poker game. I now have 743 points, which is good for $7 at various places. I didn't use it this time out. I hope it doesn't expire before I get back.

I downed a Slurpee from the local 7-Eleven and headed for the Peppermill. Now begins the degenerate portion of our program. I saw a craps table and stayed too long, dropping $153 there. I went to the roulette table (busy busy busy), stayed far too long and dropped $120 there. Wherever I bet, the ball just seemed to stay away from. Then I went to play craps again, where I did a little better - only minus $112. That about cleaned me out, so I took a short rest and came down with more money to blow. I earned $10 at blackjack, then another $10.25 at a finally free STP game. This time I took a more extended break and went out for another Slurpee. Two of three bets won, so that was about $10 net for the cause. Then I won $61 at craps, then sat down for 3 hours at a single deck table. The first hundred went ridiculously fast, the second took a little longer, but the third I made last. I finally caught a hot streak and took off down only $164. Only? I must be a degenerate. At this table a husband & wife team both got 10s and both decided to split them. I don't remember what they finally ended up with, but the dealer hit to 21. I hope they learned their lesson... I also got a spade blackjack with a $25 bet out, but unfortunately I was out of coupons. I left the table at 1 AM, and went to bed about 1:30, because I had to be up by...


4 AM!!!! What kind of insane person schedules a 6:15 flight out of town? Well, 4 AM in Reno is 7 AM in Michigan, so it wasn't THAT bad. But still, I was short on rest and food and kinda feeling all of it. But still, I got everything packed, checked out, and headed out. But first, one last swipe - oh goody, 4 dining points, each good for $1. Maybe I'll use it on my next trip. I earned 202 points on this trip, for a grand total of 775. I'm probably going to lose my bronze card in September. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Meanwhile, three others and I took the shuttle away from the hotel. Nothing special there. I got my boarding passes at the gate for Alaska Air/Horizon. Nothing special there. I passed by those Amazing Race machines again, and... I gave in. Yeah, I KNOW they're absurdly tight, but I didn't see them anywhere else, so I had to take my chances. One spin, 110 coins. 50 cent gain. Thank you, RNO! I walked a little farther and melted when I saw TPIR - Punch-A-Bunch. Well, let's stick this ticket in and see what I can do. The first few spins were about even, then I accidentally hit the max bet button. Oh well, $4 down the drain; it won't kill me. But what's this? I hit a scatter for 800 coins. I left that machine $3.50 ahead. That reduced my losses for the trip to about $440. Not too good, but that's the chance you take when you degenerate. Ha ha, I kill myself. Smile

There was quite a long line at screening, longer than I'd ever seen here. It did move fairly quickly, though. No bombs were found on me or anyone in my immediate vicinity. The flight to LAX was eventless and on time. This time I followed instructions and went to Gate 39 and waited for the shuttle. I was led outside and the shuttle came after a short wait. I was the only one on for a few minutes, then others joined me. We drove around the airport, passing perhaps a little close to those moving planes for comfort. Finally we got to our destination. Up a few stairs and we were in Delta's section of the airport. No further screening necessary. Good. I used my Reno-Tahoe winnings on some candy. I munched along and soon enough it was time to board. On the flight I slept a little, snacked a little, sipped a little, read a little, and listened to a little music. Soon enough I was back in Detroit. Yada yada yada, shuttle, yada yada yada, freeway, yada yada yada, construction (grrrrrr), yada yada yada, detour, yada yada yada, back home.

Comments and little notes:

* The casinos were busy most of the time, a lot busier than my last visit. Weekends make all the difference, I guess. I'm of two minds about it - I do like the energy, but hate fighting for my favorite machines, and can't stand the higher minimums.
* The Peppermill had their big Pepper Millions drawings. I was present for most of them, but didn't win anything.
* They had a poker tournament featuring minor sports stars from the past. There was some chatter about this player and that at the tables. The one person I spotted was "Too Tall" Jones. He was hovering over the table like an unreal spectre. I was playing blackjack at the time. No, I didn't ask him for an autograph. That's not my style. People should be asking ME for MY autograph.
* There were a lot of bowlers in town and I heard some chatter about that too.
* One of the reasons I chose this date was the Belmont Stakes. The very best 3 yos weren't there, but the race was interesting anyway. I didn't bet on it.
* I would be interested to know from someone who's been in LV's Big Five (Venetian/Palazzo, Wynn/Encore, Bellagio) how they compare to the Tuscany rooms. My instinct says that the Peppermill is close, but not quite at that level, but I don't know, because I don't pay that much for rooms and they wouldn't comp my pitifully small play anyway.
* I didn't see JAWS at Atlantis. Last year's model, I suppose.
* I didn't see QUEEN anywhere. Quite a few places have it in Las Vegas. Just sayin'.
* When is my next trip to Reno? Good question, one that I don't have an answer to. The reason that I gambled so much this time out is so I don't want to think about another gambling trip for a long time. I'm heading to Vegas in November, and probably again in February. I could sneak in another trip late this summer or early fall, but I really should go somewhere that doesn't have casinos. Then again, I don't always do what I ought to do.
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PostPosted: Jun Sun 13, 2010 2:07 pm    Post subject: yeah, I missed you Reply with quote

Nice report, Alpha. I seem to have missed this earlier. Perhaps others did too or else our board is "in repose" just now.
Anyway, I enjoyed the details. Felt like I was tagging along with ya. Had to give it up after a bit though because of the "smoke".

I have stayed in Wynn and actually I think the Tuscany rooms are better. Not the rest of the ambience or surrounding property, of course.
Unfortunately, I am off of the Pep's preferred Tuscany offfers list. As a result, I have started spending most of my time elsewhere.

My philosophy: Whoever offers me the best perks gets the benefit of my very consistent losing. It eases the pain a bit.

Thanks for taking so much time on the report. Keep in touch with the board.
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PostPosted: Jun Mon 14, 2010 11:47 am    Post subject: Details, details... Reply with quote

Thanks, also, for the generous level of detail - I try to observe when I'm there, but all tends to blend into a big whirl of neon, electronic-chimy noises, and smoke - so thanks for keeping track of the little things for the less-observant among us!
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PostPosted: Jun Mon 14, 2010 9:11 pm    Post subject: Re: yeah, I missed you Reply with quote

Thank you, hawk and stan_allen, for your kind words.

hawk wrote:
Nice report, Alpha. I seem to have missed this earlier. Perhaps others did too or else our board is "in repose" just now.
Anyway, I enjoyed the details. Felt like I was tagging along with ya. Had to give it up after a bit though because of the "smoke".

I have stayed in Wynn and actually I think the Tuscany rooms are better. Not the rest of the ambience or surrounding property, of course.
Unfortunately, I am off of the Pep's preferred Tuscany offfers list. As a result, I have started spending most of my time elsewhere.

My philosophy: Whoever offers me the best perks gets the benefit of my very consistent losing. It eases the pain a bit.

Thanks for taking so much time on the report. Keep in touch with the board.

Ha, I've never been on the Tuscany preferred offers list. Perhaps they ought to start, because both times I've been upgraded there I've gotten pounded. Evil or Very Mad
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PostPosted: Jun Tue 15, 2010 12:53 pm    Post subject: De End is in De Tails Reply with quote

Yeah, Stan, I gotcha. I don't how people remember all this detail on stuff. My trips seem to be much of a blur.

I do like reading the details of others trips though.
Even if I wrote it all down to share later, I would likely lose the notes or forget where I put them for safekeeping.
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PostPosted: Jun Tue 15, 2010 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The key, my friends?

Go with enough buddies that when you are in the airport on your way out of town, you start to rehash "I still can't believe that you _____ on Tuesday. What were you thinking?"

Before you know it, you've spent six hours reliving the vacation and you have enough to post a mongo-blog!
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