For good value, try Laughlin casinos

May 1, 2001 12:17 PM

As a player who visits nearly every major casino in Nevada each year, traveling to different locations within the Silver State is an enjoyable experience for someone who makes their living such as I do. And as much as I love playing at the many diverse properties in Las Vegas, sometimes it’s relaxing just to get in the car and head north to Reno and Lake Tahoe”¦or even south, to what I consider one of the best venues for players and vacationers who are looking for value - Laughlin.

No, contrary to what you’ve probably heard, it’s not a requirement to be retired in order to enter the city limits. In fact, because of such an optimal bang-for-the-buck, families find it the ideal place for week long vacations or short weekend getaways. For those looking for low-budget but entertaining shows, water activities along the refreshing Colorado River, or a less crowded and very clean environment with low-limit gaming, Laughlin is the place for you.

But what about the video poker selection? Years ago, when I used to play long-term strategy with reckless abandon, Laughlin was a frequent destination of mine. It’s easy to get to from Arizona parking is easy, and check-in times are very pleasant. All of the casinos have plenty of video poker, and if you’re the type who has a difficult time staying away from higher-limit machines after hitting a royal, you’ve come to the right place. At majority of the casinos, the highest denomination is $5, and it seems that is merely for show in several of them.

Some of the most common concerns among players are where to find machines offering full-pay schedules, what denomination they’re in, and if they are plentiful. And everybody always wants to know about cash-back programs - who has the best. I don’t really follow these things, but I do know there’s constant competition going on between all the casinos to lure patrons in with more attractive cash-back programs and comps for the already very low-priced, excellent rooms and top notch restaurants. In Laughlin, you’ll find that the same play that might net you a free buffet in Las Vegas will likely reward you with a room and food at the restaurant of your choice. Your gaming dollar goes a long way along the river.

By far, the most attractive item for video poker players in Laughlin is the quarter machines. If for some reason you will only play Full-Pay Deuces Wild or 10/7 Double Bonus poker, the Golden Nugget, Pioneer, Ramada Express, Colorado Belle, Edgewater, and Royal Palms all have one or both of these games. Several hotel casinos even have the 10/7 games in dollars; $2 and $5. If you’re on a mission with these games, it’s easy to locate them - sometimes even easier than in Las Vegas.

There are times when we all want the high-energy feel of being in a casino along the Strip or in Downtown Las Vegas. There’s other times where we want to be in a more comfortable, more relaxing and slower-paced setting, and Laughlin has been that kind of place for me. Sure, at times it can be nerve-wracking driving behind elderly couples in those giant motor homes trying to get into town, but if you funnel that frustration into an understanding that their contributions throughout the years are what has made it possible for exciting destinations like this to exist, it’s really no wait at all.