In my private time, I enjoy hanging around local gaming spots that are not crowded and present the feeling that the smaller you are the better the chance of finding the right machine.
A favorite haunt of mine in terms of finding video poker nirvana is the Lift, which late last year became a Wildfire property under the ownership of Station Casinos.
The Lift had the reputation of being a “roadhouse-type lounge.” After six months, that image has clearly been “uplifted.”
“I wasn’t a part of the Lift, but I did hear stories from our patrons about how it got scary from time to time,” said Tim Huff, the security officer the past six months at the newest Wildfire (3045 S. Valley View Blvd.). “Knock on wood, we have seen an increase in business.”
Changing from what was a Mexican restaurant to a more traditional bar/restaurant package has been well received, especially having it in operation 24 hours on all days except Sundays and Mondays. And plans are in the works for all seven.
“We converted to the Wild Grill like the rest of the Wildfires,” Huff said. “We offer burger specials at just $2.99 and show UFC fights for free.
With the Ronda Rousey main event bout this past weekend, that was a major attraction here. Just as future plans to install a sports betting kiosk.
“I have heard a lot of talk about having a kiosk,” Huff said. “When it will happen I’m not sure. What I can tell you is we welcome all sports fans.”
And the games are more than fair. I saw someone hit big playing keno, and video poker games were producing four of a kinds at a greater rate than in many of the other sites I’ve visited.
Parking is convenient and easily accessible plus utilizing the large outdoor sign from Lift days makes this venue quite easy to spot.
“I think not being tied to any one pro team is a benefit for us,” Huff said. “Also, players being able to use the Station Casinos cards in our machines for points, food discounts and cash prizes here is a big plus.”
And if there is a particular game you want to see, this Wildfire guarantees that will happen.
“If Manhattan faces Canisius and you are an alum of Canisius, we will find that game for you to watch,” Huff said.
For Manhattan guys like me, that game will available as well. Even St. John’s fans will be accommodated if they wish to watch the Red Storm.
“The word is getting out and with Station behind it, we’re very hopeful of seeing continued improvement here,” Huff said. “Stations just does things right.”
Mark Mayer has over 35 years covering sports events and is the sports editor at GT. Reach him at [email protected].