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North vs. South - VA St, that is.... LOOOONNNNGGGG....

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PostPosted: Aug Thu 05, 2010 8:14 am    Post subject: North vs. South - VA St, that is.... LOOOONNNNGGGG.... Reply with quote

After resolving a few packing issues and The Dog finished at work, we headed up the road to Reno on Friday afternoon. They're repaving a part of the road through Grass Valley so that delayed us about fifteen minutes, but we arrived at JA Nugget - I had $20 in freeplay - right around 6pm.

There was a blackjack tournament scheduled to start at 6:30pm, so The Dog got in line to sign up and I doubled my $20 on Hoot Loot. By 6:20, the line had barely moved (and there were only about twelve people in front of us), though it seemed like they were signing people up?? It seemed to require A LOT of paperwork per person and we figured ENOUGH! We left and got through the traffic of the baseball game to arrive at Harrah's.

We swiped for the HSN Friday promo at Harrah's (we wound up with scratchers for an HSN $5 gift certificate, meh!), played a few slots, and then headed out to Virginia Street.

This was Friday night and it seemed fairly quiet everywhere. We walked over to Cal-Neva for their hot dog & beer deal, but The Dog opted for the "John Madden" Turkey Leg & Beer option - $4.50. He scored TWO turkey legs (the deli guy said they were small today) with a mess of cranberry sauce on the side. The legs were mediocre, but my hot dog was juicy and hit the spot.

We played a few slots on Cal-Neva and eased back to Harrah's. It was an up and down night for me there, though I did win $125 on a spin from the Reel Winners slots near the Keno area. Off to bed and then we were up early on Saturday.

Harrah's is now actively advertising their free buffet policy for players - 100 points in 24 hours and you can have a comp for two free buffets (or $20 in credit at Cafe Napa if the buffet is closed). So that's $500 in coin-in for slots... I know this because Harrah's has a handy count-down timer on their slot machines. Your buffet comp does not come out of your points, either....

Saturday morning was very quiet around Harrah's and we headed to go swipe at Eldo and SL for their promos. Free microbrew from Brew Brothers for The Dog and a free keychain (this would be my third or fourth one if I actually went and got it) for me. SL was also having a big promo that night for $10,000 in freeplay and the guys from that crab fishing show were on hand to sign autographs, too.

In spite of SL's crummy offers (read - NONE) to us and the host's offer of a "casino rate" for rooms, The Dog likes SL's atmosphere and dealers and I find the chairs comfy and I like the idea of winning a car - I really want that Mini Cooper convertible or maybe that Harley.... I played the slots and The Dog went to blackjack. He managed to get the pit boss to comp us two buffets for that night after playing for a while (again, no hit to our points or accrued comps - this is significant for the South portion of the story).

I was down at this point from the slots - big surprise there - and I finally got up the guts to go play craps. Off to Cal-Neva for their $3 craps table!

Yes, y'all were right... craps isn't hard. I still have no real idea of how to play it or what I was rolling or cheering for (other than a hard-six bet everyone seemed to be making), but it was a fun $200 into the coffers of Cal-Neva. Well, $145 to Cal-Neva - I took my last $55 in chips and cashed those in. (Side note: The note about not taking checks or chips from Siena that was behind the cashier has been taken down...)

We went back to Harrah's for a nap and a few slots (going down each time, oy) and then off to SL for their big drawing. We scored nothing from the drawing - again, big surprise.... <grin>

We had the buffet at SL and I still really like their buffet. And the chocolate cake - OH MY GOD. IT WAS AMAZING. Some of the very best cake I've eaten in my life. (and honey, I have eaten some cake in my life...)

After dinner, we played a few more slots and then I decided that the light was right to go shoot some photos. The Dog went to Eldo to get his a** whipped in poker and I grabbed my gear from the room and proceeded to shoot.

There are more photos, but I've not processed them just yet.

The Dog joined me out on Virginia St not too much later and we shot a few more pics. Virginia St was pretty hopping (finally!) and we saw a fight between a group on the street and some guys in a car, a guy popping wheelies on his bicycle down the street, and a beginning trickle of the cars to come for HAN.

So as a side note, I'm drawn to the seedy and trashy in life. I wanted to shoot photos of live hookers on the street. However, I couldn't figure out who was a hooker and who wasn't. I decided that hookers wear high heels with tight and short dresses/clothes and regular girls wear more modest shoes or flip flops. I thought for a moment that I had found a gaggle of them walking out from Harrah's - really short and tight dresses, crappy handbags, spiky high heels - but it turns out they were having a bachelorette party. <sigh> Girls these days just naturally dress like hookers, I guess.

The Dog was done for the night after the Eldo poker, but I needed to feed the machines some more. I handed off my camera gear to him and proceeded back to the slots at Harrah's. Scored a few buffets and decided I had lost enough for the night.

Sunday morning, we had been invited to the Sock Hop Slot Tournament at Harrah's and we queued up for our 9:40 play time. Two rounds and the scores were combined for your final. Not even close to the top. Meh.

Harrah's has gotten rid of the two Star Trek machines that were down by the Zone 21 downstairs and replaced them with Lord of the Rings. It seemed fun, so I promptly spent $100 trying to have fun with it.

After that, I wandered a bit more and fed a slot here and there, but decided it was time to head South to Peppermill for our comped rooms. We checked out and started our drive down Virginia St.

It was noon-ish and we figured since we were already all the way down the road, we might as well check out Atlantis. We signed in for the slot club and we were told for signing up, if we earned 20 points each in 24 hours, we could get a free buffet. Nice.

Atlantis has a lot of slots I've not seen before, including Super Jackpot Block Party. I didn't manage to make the bonus round on it, but stayed even before cashing out to go try their buffet.

Now here's where it gets petty. We swiped at the machine to get the buffet comp, walked to the buffet and handed over our comp tickets. Turns out the Sunday buffet is $18.99 and the comp was only good for $12.99, so they wanted us to pay the extra $12 "...because we have crab and champagne today." In the short hour or two we had played, we earned almost enough comps to cover the extra $12 (we had to pay 65 cents in cash after the comps). Still, very petty of Atlantis. If you're going to give a buffet, give it.

However, the buffet was tasty with good service. They had Oysters Rockefeller - a favorite treat of mine. The desserts were nothing special. After lunch, it was time for Peppermill. We retrieved our car from the valet (why can't Atlantis spring for a few more benches for those of us waiting for our car? There was ONE bench.)

The check-in desk at Peppermill was out of control. The line was at least ten groups deep, but PM does offer a handy self-check-in. We used that, with a bit of assistance from the employee posted there and headed to our room in the PM Tower, 17th floor.

It was a standard room, but had some fancy flourishes, including black-on-black zebra carpeting, a full wall of mirrors, and perimeter mood lighting on the top of the room. The bathroom, however, featured kinda grungy linoleum. WiFi was included - nice. The provided toiletries were a lovely orange-scented something. They were so good, I actually took a bar of soap and the lotion and shampoo when we checked out.

So enough of the room, time to get to gambling. It was - well, just go read my note "Parched at the Peppermill" under Reno Comments. In the meantime, The Dog scored a couple buffets (he didn't have the same drink issues in the poker room). However, this buffet comp took all our points to get (we didn't learn this until we checked out on Tuesday) and we didn't even use it for dinner that night.

We did use the comp the next morning for their Island Buffet. The buffet was quite extensive, but no grits. (Isn't this the Southern area of Virginia St? <grin>) I loaded up on beverages during breakfast due to the previous day's problems. Alison - the omelet station had at least twelve "mix-ins" for the omelets, but I usually don't get an omelet at the buffets so I didn't notice what exactly was there for options.

There was music piped in to the dining room - easy reggae and Jimmy Buffet - and then, all the sudden, jungle/rain forest sounds would come on and a strobe would flash. I half-expected it to start misting rain in there. I debated falling out of the booth in an epileptic fit (there was no warning outside the restaurant that there would be strobe lights), but figured I should just eat my breakfast and get on with my day.

It was quiet early Monday morning in the casino and I played for a while, slowly going down. We retreated back to the room at some point and decided to check email and screw around with Mafia Wars on Facebook. I wanted to go scope out some of the shops along mid-Virginia St, so we attempted to use the dedicated "Valet" button on the phone in the room.

"I'm sorry," said the answering person on the other end. "We can't take your number over the phone for your car. You'll have to come down and scan your ticket." Then why in the world would you have a valet call button on the phone????

We still had a ton of comps at SL and Eldo, so we went there for lunch and some more gambling. Cars were arriving in droves for HAN, even though it didn't officially kick-off 'til Wednesday. Lunch was at Fairchild's in SL. Oh my, tasty!! The Dog ordered the pan roast with crab and scallops (they gave us the recipe) and I had roasted sea bass. The Dog definitely had the better dish, but mine was dang good. He also ordered the Black Cadillac margarita on the rocks and it was well-worth the $7.50.

I almost forgot - we valeted at SL and were pleasantly delighted to have our doors opened by Gordy, wearing a full top hat and fancy uniform. How very cool.

When we went to pick up the car from the valet, I noticed at the business desk, SL will print your boarding passes for a $2 charge. Seriously? Not player/traveler friendly, in my opinion.

Oooh, and I almost forgot to mention that Saturday night, Cal-Neva had a show - Mini Popstars! Yup. Little people dressed up and performing as Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, MC Hammer, and more. We were too late to get tickets...

Anyway, we headed back South after lunch and stopped in at the local hippie emporium (all kinds of cool stuff in there and when the guy saw The Dog was in the military, he gave us a discount...) and we discovered The Tinderbox all the way past PM and Atlantis - very nice cigar shop.

On our way back from The Tinderbox, we swung back through Atlantis and found a new Deal or No Deal machine. It was one of those BIG slot machines that seem to be popping up all over Reno. Anyway, this machine was "No Reels, All Deals". You put in some cash, select your bet amount and then a wheel spins on the screen. It either lands on an increase button and the suitcase amounts go up or it lands on bonus and you get to pick suitcases.

We settled in on the double seat and put in $20. Lots of fun and we cashed out at $80. Drink service - excellent at Atlantis.

From going up, we then proceeded to go right back down in other machines at Atlantis. Oh well. The place was packed inside and HAN had taken over the across the street parking lot with lots of cars.

Back to PM to go shoot a few pics at their pre-HAN event and then off to the slots for me. Down, and then down. I gave up with only about two hundred left in my pocket. (I won't say how much we started the weekend with.... suffice to say, oy.)

We got breakfast the next morning in the coffee shop. Decent food, but a long wait to get seated.

I lost $40 more that morning and we decided to get checked out and head home. We had charged about $50 in stuff to our room and I asked if we had any comps to use to cover that. Nope. Not one comp point or comp dollar. The desk girl said something about comps being credited later... Later? We had been there for three days and gambled at least as much as we do "up North".

An open note to Harrah's and our other Northern friends - We are very, very sorry we strayed from you. We will not do this again. We are really, really sorry. Please forgive us.

At this point, we have about three hundred bucks between the two us. We thought about going home, but instead, we decided to go for broke. When our car arrived from the valet, we aimed it North. En route, I spotted Wig World and we whipped in there. Hehee. I'll post pics later.

Anyway, we decided to hit Eldo and their bank of machines near the big water fountain sculpture. I played the Triple Red Hot Sevens progressive that had a $13,000+ jackpot. The Dog went to blackjack. He blew through his cash there and joined me at the machine I was playing. I played my hundred-ish bucks in that machine for almost FOUR HOURS, never hitting anything big, but having a grand time. I debated cashing out with a hundred after the first two hours, but at this point, we were so down from the trip, I decided it was $13,000 or nothing.

We went home with nothing. I barely had a few spare dollar bills for the valet.

Well, we actually didn't go home with nothing. We now have two fancy wigs, a few books from Borders, and some photos, plus some delicious orange toiletries. And of course, a few books of matches...

The Dog's children are coming back from their summer vacation and so our Reno trips will come to a halt for the next couple of months, but I'll keep checking in on my favorite message boards for news and views.....
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PostPosted: Aug Thu 05, 2010 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LilyJDragonfly -

Thanks so much for the awesome, detailed report and pics. Looks and sounds like you all had a lot of fun.

Seems like there's always a fight or some type of real live entertainment right in that little section between Harrah's and the Eldo right under the arch.

Thanks for the info on the coin-in to get those free Harrah's buffets - I've received a couple of those and was wondering exactly how they calculated it.

Glad you got a chance to check out the Atlantis - I haven't had one red cent of luck there yet, but it's a cool place to head to when the others get old. Seems like a lot of free play offers come from there without having to play a lot to get them.

Oh my God - it sounds like you might have actually scored an original Tower room at the Peppermill?!? I thought they were all gone! Good to know. It's awesome they finally decided to provide free WiFi to guests - last time I stayed there, I think I paid $15.95 a day just like at all the other places. Mafia Wars sounds like a cool way to spend some off-time. And it's good you were able to utilize the check in kiosk - the Pep has to have one of the most out of control front desks I've ever seen (always including at least one out-of-it worker), but unfortunately that kiosk is ALWAYS out of order every time I've tried it.

And going home with no money - yeah, that's been my winter and spring so far!

Thanks again for the report!


Last edited by Mammothgambler on Aug Thu 05, 2010 8:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Aug Thu 05, 2010 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing. Great trip report. Seeing the pics is making me miss Reno even more. Thats a pretty good deal at harrahs. Earning 100 points is not much. Thanks for letting me know about the Peps omlet.station. Sounds likes theres actually some variety. They kinda should warn people about those strobe lights huh? Lol....they kinda suprise ya. So is it safe to say you wont be staying at The Pep again? I do know the desk can get crazy at the Pep. Luckily now there is a seperate check in available if you are staying in the tuscany tower. Hopefully that helps some. I dont know though if many people know that or if theres anything stating that. Since i am a gold.passport card player, staying on a comp, i always.check in at Vip. No line!!! I would go nuts waiting thay line.
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PostPosted: Aug Fri 06, 2010 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, they typically send down a slot host to give you the buffets while you're playing, but if you shift machines a lot, they sometimes don't get to you.

You can go to the High Limit Slots area in Harrah's and ask the counter person to check your card if you know you've hit 100 points for the day (and at Harrah's, you know because all the machines have a counter...). They'll have you slide it in a machine in the slots area and voila, your points pop up on their computer.

I don't know if this deal is at the other Harrah's properties around Reno (Harvey's, Lake Tahoe) and I imagine it isn't happening in Vegas, but hey, when in Reno....

And the WiFi in the PM technically is part of the $10 resort fee, but we didn't get charged the fee. We kept meaning to go swimming in the pools, but we forgot to bring sunblock and in the evenings, we just forgot! Harrah's has WiFi, too, but we haven't accessed it. There's a fee of some sort at Harrah's, but I can't remember what it is.

In spite of all the losses this summer, we did have a total blast doing Reno and are trying to figure out how to get back there before Christmas or next summer. I know many people bring their children to the casinos, but neither of us feel that's appropriate. And yeah, CC has the games and all, but they'd blow through money faster than us!!
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PostPosted: Aug Mon 09, 2010 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Out of curiousity, and anyone who has been to the Pep recently can answer this. Does it seem they have any new slots?? Or same ol same ol?
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PostPosted: Aug Wed 11, 2010 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PM seemed to have different slots from what I usually find, but it may be the same ole, same ole for them.

Our favorite new find was the Jumbo Deal or No Deal - All Deals, No Reels in Atlantis right near the table games as you come in the door.
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PostPosted: Aug Sat 14, 2010 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you or the Dog are into cigars you gotta check out Fumare at
907 W Moana Ln. Its right around the corner from the Atlantis and is owned by the maker of Illusione cigars. Great selection and a very nice lounge to smoke in.
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PostPosted: Aug Sat 14, 2010 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not a cigar gal myself, but I gladly indulge The Dog's vices.... <grin> Thanks for the heads-up!
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PostPosted: Aug Wed 25, 2010 11:04 pm    Post subject: Thanks! Reply with quote

What a wonderful trip report! Thank you so much for taking the time to post it. I really enjoyed it and the pictures topped it all off!
Glad you had fun!
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