2015 September

    Know When to Hold ‘Em Know When to Hold ‘Em Know When to Hold ‘Em Know When to Hold ‘Em Know When to Hold ‘Em

Reno is my go-to spot for a quick, cheap get away. I needed to get some good food, stiff drinks, and hot cards in my hands. Sunday afternoon I packed a small bag and called up the Grand Sierra. They let me get a free room and I was out the door. I made a little stop on the way up and decided to get a cream soda. I mean, who doesn’t like cream soda? It’s only one of the best flavors ever created.

Shaq Cream Soda can

Shaq should quit trying to shoot free throws and keep making cream soda. This was quite tasty. A few hours up the road and I was back in the Reno hills. Those beautiful hills make for great sunsets. I know these pictures don’t do it justice but don’t lose sight of the beauty in the world.

Sun Setting on the Reno Hills

After dropping off my things, I went over to Peppermill and jumped into the 1-2 no-limit game. It seemed like a lighthearted table and I was feeling pretty good.

Poker Chips at Peppermill Reno

About 3 hands in, I picked up pocket rockets (two aces) and there was a $14 raise in front of me with 3 callers. I decided to shove as there was enough money in the pot and got a call from 2 of them. My aces held up and I was up quite a bit from early on. I played for a few more hours but the table atmosphere definitely changed from that point on. The players were chasing and making pretty big raises pre-flop so I decided to walk with my winnings. There is no better way to end a night like this than a big, beautiful ham steak.

Ham Steak from Cafe Milano in Peppermill

Throw in a couple eggs and hash browns and you’re good to go. Great end to the first night in Reno!

I got up pretty early and was ready to take on the day. The Heartland Poker Tour was going on at the Grand Sierra and they were down to the final table in the main event. I went to check it out and trust me, poker is a lot more fun to watch on TV, when you can see the players hole cards.

Heartland Poker Tour Final Table at Grand Sierra

It’s pretty cool to see what was going to be on TV but I was ready to play some cards myself. Peppermill definitely has the best poker room in Reno and that’s where I like to play. I went down the street and needed to get some food before my poker session. The prime rib special is definitely something you should check out if you make your way to the Peppermill.

Prime Rib at Cafe Milano in Peppermill Reno, Nevada

Perfectly cooked and delicious as usual! Amazing deal and even cheaper when you use comp that you racked up in the poker room.

Back in the poker room, action was building up for the Monday night football specials. The Peppermill usually has football squares that pay at each quarter of certain games and a pretty good food spread for everyone playing. I usually pick at a few items from the spread and it’s pretty good. I was running pretty good. I hit a bigger full house over another guy who flopped a full house and ended up absorbing his chips. Later, I hit a straight on the turn, which also gave another player a set (3-of-a-kind using your 2 hole cards). He re-raised me but after I raised him back he made a good lay down. All in all, the cards were definitely working in my favor. I’ve had some rough runs and these trips just make it all better.

After wrapping up the game, I was ready to head back home and get some rest for the coming week. A long, quiet ride home with the moon shining down on the mountaintops. I picked up some In-N-Out for dinner before starting the week. I’ll be back soon Reno. You always treat me well and welcome me with open arms.

Join me out in Reno next time and we’ll share some drinks and stories around the poker table. Until we meet again, good luck!


-Delighted Wolf

5 Games to Stay Away from at the Casino

5 Games to Stay Away from at the Casino

When we go to the casino we’re always trying to get lucky and hit it big. Let’s keep in mind that the casino somehow gives out “free” drinks, food, and rooms as long as you come play their games. All of those fun carnival games set up around the casino floor are bringing in money. They don’t pay the bills by giving money away. So let’s take a look at the games on that floor that make the biggest donations to the house!

1. Ken0 – House Edge 25-29%

Casino Keno gambling

Keno is a game in which the player usually picks numbers on a card and then 20 random numbers are drawn. Pays are based on the amount of your numbers that are chosen. This game has some of the worst odds in the casino. The large payouts in keno are always appealing but the likelihood of “catching” your numbers is pretty slim. It is a very slow paced game so you’re money will last a long time. The payouts compared to the likelihood of winning is where that huge house edge comes into play.

2. Big Six – House Edge 11-22%

Big Six wheel game at the casino gambling

This big wheel is another sucker bet on the casino floor. It will make your bankroll last a little while and it’s fun to play with a few people but don’t expect to win big here. The various numbers that can be hit skew the likelihood of your choice being selected. With the payouts displayed on the wheel, you can see that it isn’t easy to win here. There are electronic and live versions of this game. If you just want to play a few spins to get a free drink, definitely keep the bets low and stall as long as you can till your beverage arrives.

3. Slots – House Edge 2-15%

Slot machines at the casino gambling

The one-armed bandits are definitely a huge money maker for the house. They don’t require anyone to operate the games and they never turn off. These machines allow you to dump your money in and take your chances privately. People enjoy not having to think or know how to play the game. Those little mini-games and themes make these games loads of fun to play. Usually the higher denomination games have a higher payback percentage (nickels pay a better percentage than pennies, quarters pay a better percentage than nickels, and so forth). They are easy to play but very difficult to win. Always a good spot to sit and wait for a drink though!

4. Roulette – House Edge 5.26%

Casino gambling roulette table

Roulette is that game where you get to put pretty little chips all over the board and hope the ball lands on the spot that corresponds with your bets. You can bet on pretty much everything, including even or odd, black or red, blocs of numbers, or specific numbers. The house edge comes into play when they add those green 0’s in there. Those 0’s skew the odds of you hitting your numbers for the bets and that’s how the house takes a little extra. The straight up bets usually pay 35 to 1 when you have a 1 in 38 chance of hitting. That little “commission” that the house takes is what messes up your odds. Although the odds aren’t terrible, they are still pretty favorable for the house. If you can find roulette with only one “0” on the wheel, you can shave the house edge down to about 2.7%. This is a social game and you can have fun with it. Just don’t get carried away and think you’ll take home the farm!

5. Let It Ride – House Edge 3.51%

Let It Ride casino game gambling

Let It Ride is a pretty popular casino game that involves the player being dealt 3 cards and making wagers according to the strength of their hand. The player puts out 3 bets at the beginning of the hand and can take 1 of the bets back to reveal another card. The payouts look enticing in this game (1-1 for pair of tens or better, 2-1 for 2 pairs, 3-1 for 3-of-a-kind, and so on). With three bets out there to begin, the player has a chance of being paid their initial bet 3 times in relation to the hand they make. People like their odds at making a winning hand but it’s much harder than it sounds. There are also side bets to this game that have a pretty hefty house edge. The casino is always looking for more ways to put more of your money on their tables. This game will run you dry pretty quickly unless you get pretty lucky.

I hope this little guide has helped your beautiful bankroll survive the vicious casino floor. Always remember to have fun when you’re playing. I know you may see your favorite games in this list and you can still play them, but know that the odds are against you. Bet with your head, not over it. Have fun and good luck!


-The Wolf

For more information about odds in the casino and house edge, check out the Wizard of Odds. Great information about gambling and gaming!

    All Work and No Play All Work and No Play All Work and No Play All Work and No Play All Work and No Play

I’ve had a drought out here in California and I don’t mean with the rain. I had to take some time, buckle down, and put in some work in the past couple weeks. I finally found an opportunity to get out of dodge so I made a run for it.

It was Labor Day so I packed a bag and started heading up 80. I packed enough for an overnight trip but I didn’t even have a room yet. I made a quick stop at Thunder Valley to use up a little freeplay and grab something to eat. When I didn’t know what to eat, I decided to have it all and just hit the buffet. The food is nothing to write home about but it will keep you full for a long time. The carving station offers a small selection and no prime rib during the weekday lunch times. The desserts are always on point though and you just can’t end a buffet without something sweet.

Thunder Valley Feast buffet desserts

I got back in the car and continued my trip into the Sierra Nevada. I could see all of the vacationers on their way back from their little getaways. It also occurred to me that Burning Man was just ending and I would see a lot of the Burners (people that participate in Burning Man) up in Reno. After a couple hours of Atmosphere and Hozier, I had arrived in Reno.

Reno skyline in afternoon downtown

I needed to make a few calls and see what the casinos were offering me. I didn’t want to drive up there, play a little, then have to make a long trip back. After no luck and just a couple discounted offers, Harrah’s said they’d put me up on the house. I took the offer and went to dump my stuff. I took a little breather and prepared for the evening.

Ready to play in downtown Reno sunshine

I felt the excitement to get back on the floor and try my luck. First stop was Grand Sierra to use up my freeplay, hopefully build my bankroll a little, and have a drink. I sat at the bar and tried some video keno with my freeplay. I felt like an ice cold Stella would be a nice accompaniment. No luck at the machines but the beer was just what I needed to start the evening off.

Beer and Keno at Grand Sierra in Reno, Nevada

Now I was off to the Peppermill to see how the action was in the poker room. Peppermill is definitely one of my favorite poker rooms and it’s always nice to see the friendly dealers there. I sat at a 1-2 no-limit table for a couple hours and folded garbage the entire time. I know I should have loosened my range a little but these guys were betting large amounts and there was just too much action with the cards I was getting. I decided to call it and head downtown. I wanted to have a few more drinks and stay within walking distance of where I would be sleeping.

I made my way to the Eldorado and jumped into their 1-2 no-limit game. The action was a little loose and I picked up a couple small pots but there was one that made the night. I was dealt pocket 8’s on the button and there were a bunch of limpers in front of me. I decided to call it and see a cheap flop. The flop came 8, 6, 4 rainbow (no coordinating suits). This was an amazing flop for me and people began to bet and build the pot. There was a 10 dollar raise early on and a couple callers. Then a 30 dollar reraise right in front of me. I called the reraise and then another guy shoves for about 300 dollars. Everyone folds to me and I call (mind you, I only had about $110 behind). The turn comes and it’s another 4 giving me a full house. The river is a blank and we turn over our hands. He had flopped a straight and I cracked it with my full house. I raked in a pretty hefty pot and sent him racking up his chips in defeat. It was one of those hands that get your heart and adrenaline pumping. It felt good and I decided it was time to call it a night.

Poker Chips at the Eldorado Reno, Nevada

I made my way back to the room and quickly knocked out. I had to come back to reality in the morning but this was just the fix I needed to hold me over. I’ll be back soon enough Reno, keep the light on for me.


-Satisfied Wolf