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From Pleasanton, CA

 
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john
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Joined: 17 Dec 2005
Posts: 1158

PostPosted: Jan Sun 01, 2006 10:08 am    Post subject: From Pleasanton, CA Reply with quote

Sorry to keep you waiting, but I just didn't have the energy to compose this yesterday after getting back, for some reason...

Departed after lunch Monday from Pleasanton, CA, using 580 out to 5 and up to Sacramento to connect with Route 80. Couldn't have asked for nicer driving conditions, and with the extended daylight, there was no risk of having to drive the last 50 miles in the dark. It really is a lovely drive, if you can clear your head of the neon visions that tend to swirl as the anticipation level rises.
Arrived a little after five at the Silver Legacy, where upon check-in I was given the long-lost holy grail of coupon books, thanks to our new "Corporate" reservations account. Apparently, you can sign up for this if you're coming into town once a month, though I don't know how carefully this is tracked. Though we have the same basic deal with Atlantis, it seems as though they are always full or close to it when I need to go up there, so I've lately switched loyalty to Silver Legacy. And yes, Atlantis and Pep are nicer, etc., etc., but there's something to downtown Reno that keeps drawing me back. Really, where else can you find such a fascinating study in sociology, architecture, commerce, and so forth?
So it was up to the 32nd floor, where my view this time was directly towards the notorious "Speakeasy", which we've recently examined in this discussion board. According to our venerable moderator, this facility is apparently in the process of getting a new gaming license after the property was sold. Interestingly enough, the marquee over the hotel entrance was turned on both nights I was there, suggesting that they are keeping the hotel running to generate some cash while they slog through the licensing process. My curiosity wasn't deep enough to actually walk over there this time, though.
This brings me to a question for our moderator, though: since a license is required to run a casino, what do the supermarkets with video poker have? I can't imagine they apply for full-fledged licenses, and yet I doubt they can simply order machines, install them, and turn them on...
Anyway, after a modest repast in the SL Coffee shop (pretty quick service), it was time to go to the real action - Cal-Neva and their three-dollar blackjack tables.
Stopped in at the Fitz on the way - they've got a deal where they'll give you a dollar if you have their club card, but are staying at a different hotel. I won $1.25 - woo-hoo! Net profit: twenty-five cents.
The three-dollar tables were in place at Cal-Neva, and not crowded at all. Played for a long time, but just couldn't catch a winning streak. If you've played blackjack for any length of time, you're probably aware that it's not difficult to lose eight hands in a row - it was that kind of night - several down, a couple up - see-sawed like this with a progressively shallower swing each time. Got a few free drinks out of it, anyway.
After peeling off a third bill and watching it float away, it was time to quit. Net loss: about sixty bucks. Oh, well, that's gaming! We all know that it's more fun when you're winning, but you've got to play to win, and we have to be realistic about the odds. Anyway, decent action - the act of picking up the cards, placing bets, and such are a type of ritual, I've decided, and one which the serious player imbues with intense meaning.
Thus it was with me; while my bankrolls are generally quite modest - this was the biggest one I've had in a while, and probably will not see the likes of for longer still - I had my fun.
Cocktail waitress visits were pretty regular at Cal-Neva, I should mention, although one lady moved so fast you had to really act quickly to intercept her!
Walked back to the SL via Golden Phoenix - can never resist looking at a car wreck, after all - which again seemed pretty dead. Difficult to imagine investors getting excited at the prospect of taking over this place when Hilton saw fit to quit, but then again, that's what makes the economic world turn.
Had to work the next day - always my least favorite part of these trips, but rose to the task - then got back to the action.
Oh, yes, the coupon books: at the Silver Legacy, anyway, here's what you get: Free admission to the Health Club, 10% off stuff from the hotel shop, a free newspaper, a free coffee from their Starbucks wanna-be, and a free drink at the bar - well drink or domestic beer only, and a seven-and-seven does NOT count - they'll give you what they call a "Bourbon and seven" - I never thought I'd see the day when Seagrams seven would be too "Good" to be given away for free...
There are NO gaming-related coupons in the book - no ace in the hole, Keno discount, or anything else, interestingly enough.
Health Spa is okay, tried out the Jacuzzi, but the Sauna room had literally and figuratively run out of steam.
I had nine dollars left for gaming, and decided that a couple of hands of real blackjack was preferable to a semi-elongated session of penny slots or whatnot, so it was back to the Cal-Neva.
Interestingly enough, table limits were now REDUCED to two dollars - this was Tuesday night - so the Fitz was no longer the provider of "Dirt-cheapest" blackjack, and none of that "Super Single Deck" 6:5 blackjack payout shenanigans that are touted so prominently at the Eldorado (and probably the Silver Legacy as well - I'll play their slots, but my blackjack dollars go straight to the no-frills facilities).
So with my nine dollars, I could now afford four hands as opposed to three, and still have a buck left.
Played a little bit, got ahead three hands, and quit - now I had fourteen bucks, and with this, I could finally feel as though I'd walked away a winner.
Threw away a few of those bucks on slots back in the Silver Legacy, and that was it for gambling. Cable t.v. provided the rest of the night's entertainment, as I'm just not young, single, and crazy enough to do much more than that anymore. Still, it's interesting to speculate what I would have been doing later that night had I made a big killing at the tables...
Well, that's for some other trip, I guess.
Took off Wednesday morning against an intense wind - the few people walking around outside in the downtown looked bundled up and none too happy. Though it made the driving a little more difficult than usual, it was brilliantly clear and very fresh air, which I'm sure I sorely needed by that time!
Back next month, hopefully with more exciting results to post.
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