A visit to Reno is in the cards

August 27, 2002 2:36 AM
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In case you don’t get out very often, Nevada has a lot more to offer than Las Vegas. Even though I do not live in the Silver State, it is hands down my favorite in the Continental U.S.

I’ve known many people drawn to Nevada not for its beauty and recreational activities, but for answering the call of the slot clubs and video poker machines. This happens to be one of the two reasons why I remain in Arizona, even though I’m a professional gambler.

The other reason is because I have a wife who has a career of her own in Arizona, and I wouldn’t think of asking her to quit while forcing her to play a game that she could care less about.

Although I don’t live in Nevada, I make it a point to enjoy as much of the state as I can get to each year. We always make two trips to Lake Tahoe ”” once in the summer and once in the winter. For my money, there’s no prettier place on earth.

But when I play for profit I limit that to three locations: Laughlin, Las Vegas and Reno ”” and I always go alone. Since I always drive to my destinations, the 800-mile journey to Reno may seem a bit much. Not so. I’ve just returned from one of them. Few highways are as wide open and sparsely traveled as the run from Las Vegas to Reno.

I’m never in a rush and I’m never on a schedule, so little else offers so much relaxation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped for a picnic at Walker Lake, and looked around for miles seeing nothing but wildlife in the distance. And the clear desert sky at night? No words can describe it.

On this most recent trip up north I left the Phoenix area at 8 p.m. for an overnight drive. I arrived at Atlantis ”” which in my opinion offers the best combination of hotel/casino in the Reno area ”” later the next evening because I actually slept for seven hours at the lake. Because of that I didn’t ask for a room, but went straight to the seafood bar for entirely too much chowder and other specialties.

Afterwards, it was off to their excellent selection of video poker games. One thing I have always liked about this place is their collection of both low and high-limit 10/7 double bonus poker games ”” some even with progressive royal jackpots. Even so, two of my seven session losses have been here. You never know.

This trip started out in the red. After 400 credits played on dollars I had just one cash out of $45 in my pocket. I was hoping to hit something big on dollars because they don’t have single-play $2 machines at Atlantis. I went into town for that ”” but not for long because I lost all 400 credits without even a full house to show for it. I returned to Atlantis to do battle with the $5 machines. After one cash out for $225, my $2,000 disappeared faster than the visibility in an approaching Arizona dust storm. It was beginning to look like I’d have to be satisfied with a nice peaceful ride home on a warm summer night one more time. Not bad, but I hate losing sessions.

So it was on to the $10 machines. After some back and forth I was dealt Ah Qh on 10/7 DB. Of course I was hoping for the difficult royal, but when three more Aces filled the screen, I was briefly stunned.

After being paid $8,000 I do what I always do after reaching my goal ”” I got up and left as quickly as possible. Middle of the night? So what. No staying in a comfortable bed? Who cares? When you play a short-term, goal-oriented strategy such as mine, the only real issue is did I win or not. The sooner I get into the car and start driving, the sooner I’ll be away from the call of the machines. This is the reason why I drive instead of fly. To win, a player must have extreme discipline and unwavering determination. As much as the structured progression is a part of my Strategy, so too is an immediate departure.

On the easy ride home I had plenty of time to contemplate what had happened. No, I really did not have much success this week ”” with the exception of one single hand. I was lucky, but anyone who ever wins anything is lucky as well. In my case, if I had simply sat down at a dollar 10/7 DB game and played as the math experts advise (which is to play as long and fast as possible without making any mistakes), that wonderful system would have seen me down approximately $500 after hitting the four aces! Yikes! Why would anyone do that? It makes little sense. You play and play and finally hit a jackpot hand ”” just to be behind? I think gambling needs to be a little more exciting than that. No wonder casinos love advantage players.