Well, this is just a little scary for Reno - on July 7th at 1pm. If you don't know the scene, this is Virginia Street with the Eldorado on the right (Circus Circus behind and Silver Legacy forward). Many moons ago I spent my first night in Reno at the Thunderbird Motel, and I was happy to get a room.
Why was I happy? Because the town was full of gamblers. No, it wasn't Hot August Nights, or a Bowling tournament week, or any other event - it was just a weekend in Reno during the summer, long before California and dozens of other states offered casinos and poker games.Things have changed.
I will admit that there were some rainstorms around the Forth of July this year and that may have had an impact, but the empty street is so sad to me. I learned to play Texas Hold'em in Reno, starting at Mr. C's casino attached to the Sands on a 25-cent to $1 table. At the time there were lots of places to play and more than 100 tables in town. Today, just a few clubs still have live poker.
Your best bets are the games at Grand Sierra (formerly the MGM/Bally's/Hilton), the Peppermill and the Atlantis away from downtown. Right downtown there are games at the Club Cal-Neva and the Eldorado. This particular day the games at the Eldorado included what they said was the last 7-card stud game in town and a couple Hold'em games. They were $3-6 limit and $1-2 blind no-limit and that was that.
On the other hand, there are still plenty of good blackjack games in town, whether you want to play $3 or $100 a hand (many clubs still hold the upper limit at $500, but several offer $5 to $1,000 games). And, for those of you who want a game to yourself, there were plenty of empty tables all across the downtown corridor.
As for myself, the best games I saw were at Circus Circus, mostly because I won, and because my girls were having a great time upstairs in the Big Top arcade. Eventually they had a plastic bag filled with stuffed animals and candy, and the gaming paid more than the arcade games cost. Yup, you can still make money in Reno!