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Reno - Casinos

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Photo Courtesy (Nevada Casino History)

Old Reno Arch

Photo Courtesy (Nevada Casino History)

The city of Reno sits at 4,400 feet above sea level, so the city's air can be crisp and cold with an average low below 30 degrees for five months out of the year. Summer months bring an average high of 88 degrees.

As chronicled in The Roots of Reno, Nevada legalized open gambling in 1931 and the city of Reno started to boom. Now, with over 220,000 inhabitants, there are plenty of jobs outside the casino industry. Slot manufacturers IGT, Bally Technologies, and Game Tech have large facilities in Reno.

Once considered Sin City by much of the United States for its easy, quick divorce laws and open gambling, Reno, the "Biggest Little City in the World," really was the gaming capital of the world until it was surpassed by Las Vegas.

Reno Casinos

Reno was the birthplace of world famous casinos like Harold's Club, the Riverside and the Bank Club, but only Harrah's remains in operation. Those casinos were all clustered in the downtown area. Now some of the most successful casinos such as the Grand Sierra, Peppermill and the Atlantis are far from downtown.

What to Expect in Reno's Casinos

The casinos of Reno offer reasonable table limits as low as $3 per hand. Most casinos offer single deck blackjack: dealer hits soft 17, double down is allowed only on hard hands of 10 or 11, split pairs up to four hands except with aces.

Craps can often be played for a minimum $2 line bet, $5 minimum place bet ($6 on 6 and 8), and some clubs offer up to 10x odds. Keno payoffs go as high as $150,000. Parking is free at all Reno area casinos. Valet is also free - tipping optional. Free airport shuttle service is available at many of the casinos.

Restaurant prices are reasonable. Most casinos have at least one restaurant with daily steak specials or breakfast deals. Hotel rooms, although higher during holidays and the busy summer months, are lower than most cities. Expect to see plenty of $49-$69 rooms and some lower. Also ask about discounts for golf or ski packages.

Downtown Casinos

Harrah's remains a downtown fixture with a 600-room hotel and several restaurants, but the number of table games and slot machines have dwindled over the years. In the late 1970's, Harrah's Reno had more slot machines (2000) than any other casino in the world. They now offer less than half that number (900).

Harrah's table games include single-deck 21, baccarat, craps, Three-Card Poker, roulette, and Pai Gow Poker. Live poker is available after 10 a.m., located in the Center Street building next to the Race and Sports book. Keno is available in all buildings and restaurants.

Across Virginia Street from Harrah's and a block away sit three co-joined properties: The Eldorado, Silver Legacy, and Circus Circus. Each offers a full compliment of the usual table games like blackjack and craps, plus other casino games. Keno and poker rooms are found at each property as well as a nice compliment of bars and restaurants. Each has their own hotel and parking garage.

Across Second Street from Harrah's sits the Club Cal-Neva. Opened in 1962, the casino is now the second oldest in Reno. The property merged with the Virginian and now has plenty of hotel rooms to go with their downtown parking garage, full casino and sports book. The casino also has a very nice race and sports book and a poker room.

The Sienna, formerly the Holiday Casino, is behind the Club Cal-Neva on Lake Street. It has been completely refurbished and offers itself to the public as a boutique spa resort. The property boasts four restaurants, 200 nicely furnished rooms, and a spa. Inside the casino gamblers will find video poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat, a sports book and plenty of slot machines.

The Sands, located a block away on N. Arlington is now a "Terrible's Casino Group" resort. It has 800 guest rooms, six restaurants, five bars, and like most properties in Reno, convention space. The casino offers blackjack, craps, roulette, Three Card Poker, Let It Ride, and Pai Gow Poker, as well as bingo and a live poker room.

Reno's Premier Properties

With all due respect to the clubs downtown, there are three properties removed from the older section of town that offer full resort amenities. Each is easily reached and only minutes from the Reno airport.

The first property built, the Grand Sierra, came to life in the late 1970's as the MGM Grand. Since that time it has been named both Bally's and the Reno Hilton. The high-rise property houses 2,000 guestrooms, a spa, bowling alley, Fun Quest kid's arcade, indoor projection golf and miniature golf. Plus, the resort has ten restaurants and seven bars. Outside, vacationers can enjoy the driving range, go-carts and the Ultimate Rush Thrill Park. There is also a nice RV park.

The Grand Sierra's casino has Keno, a poker room and a race and sports book. Across the vast gaming floor are 1000 slot and video poker machines and 45 table games. The table games include blackjack and baccarat, craps and roulette, Pai Gow Poker and Pai Gow Tiles, and Three Card Poker.

Reno's other two premier properties, located a few miles down South Virginia Street from the downtown area, are the Atlantis and the Peppermill. Both have several high-rise hotel towers, plenty of parking, and offer spa services and convention facilities.

Driving from Plumb Lane and the airport, the first property on the right is the Peppermill. With an Old World Tuscany theme, the hotel has over 1000 rooms, a dozen restaurants, another dozen bars and lounges and the EDGE nightclub. The casino has the usual mix of slots and video games, a poker room, dozens of table games with blackjack, craps and roulette as favorites, plus other casino games like Keno and a full race and sports book.

The Atlantis, one more mile down South Virginia Street and on the left side of the street, has nearly 1000 rooms, plenty of parking on either side of Virginia Street, and an oyster bar in the huge walkway over the street. Inside are 10 bars and lounges, seven restaurants, children's arcade, pools, waterfalls and live music playing in the cabaret facing the table games.

The casino has 1000 slot and video poker machines, a poker room, Keno, and a race and sports book. The 39 table games include blackjack, craps, roulette, Three Card Poker, Pai Gow, baccarat, Texas Hold'em Bonus and Crazy 4 Poker.

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