How to Enjoy a Trip to Reno (or any Other Gambling Town) Without Losing Your Shirt
Tips for gambling in Reno (or any other gambling town) without spending all your money. Stay cheap, use club cards, save money.
Reno has much to offer its visitors and residents. Sure, there's gambling, and let's be honest, isn't that what you're reallycoming to Reno for? As a Reno resident for six years, I have learned much about how to do it right. I offer you my advice and assistance in How to Enjoy a Trip to Reno (or any other gambling town) Without Losing Your Shirt!
Read my advice for tips on getting the most for your money in Reno.
Skimp on a Room
If you're just visiting, and don't know anyone in town, you'll need to find a place to stay. There are thousands of hotel rooms in Reno and Sparks, and prices vary widely. If you have your heart set on a fancy suite, then that's what you'll pay for. But check out motels (some offer rooms by the week, if you're staying that long). It's easy to get around in Reno, even on foot, so don't think you have to have a room in one of the downtown casinos. This is the easiest way to save money during your trip, giving you a larger gambling budget.
Winter is cold, there's lots of snow, and there are bargains galore on rooms. Yes, summer is nice and warm, and there are events nearly every weekend. Hot August Nights, the big celebration of classic cars, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors. For this event, rooms are booked a year in advance, and you will definitely pay the highest price all year.
Establish a Relationship
Casinos love to reward loyalty, and there's lots of competition for the all-mighty tourist dollar. There are ways to become a preferred guest at any casino. The first thing you need to do is sign up for a player's card. This is essential, no matter where you choose to play. Nearly every downtown casino boasts “the best comps in town,” and comps vary, so don't be afraid to ask what comps are offered to player's club members. As always, it depends on the amount of play on your card. If you find a casino you enjoy, play there. The more you play, the more comps you will be offered.
Don't be afraid to compare comps. For example, some casinos offer 2x comp points on certain days of the week, or 5x, or even 10x. If you can get 10x points for the same amount of coin-in, that is a much better deal.
When you sign up for a player's card, be sure to ask about any couponsbeing offered. Many casinos will give you a two-for-one buffet, for example, or match play at table games.
Also, be sure to get on the casino's mailing lists. Many casinos will mail you offers after you get home, offering everything from free rooms to free meals on your next visit. Take advantage of these offers and you can almost pay for your trip. Give them your e-mail address and check for frequent e-mail only offers in your inbox. Be sure to check dates, as most of these offers are good for certain dates only. Also, be sure to ask when your comp points might expire. At some casinos, if you don't use your comps, you will lose them.
Once you have a card, be sure to use it. Don't forget to insert it each time you play. If you lose it, simply return to the player's club desk and get another one. NEVER play without your player's club card in the machine!
Choose Your Games Wisely
The variety of games available in casinos varies as much as the casinos themselves. Some have much better odds than others. While some of the newer games offer a lot of bells and whistles, they may not be the best way to win. Be wary of “penny slots.”These are big, loud, colorful games being touted in almost every casino. They boast signs such as “play longer, play pennies,” or even, “win a million for just a penny.” This is deceiving. In order to win a “jackpot” on penny slots, you must bet the maximum bet, which in some cases is as high as 300 pennies, or $3. For my money, on slots, you're better off playing that $3 on the dollar slots–the rewards are much higher in many cases.
When choosing which games to play, always keep your budget in mind. You never want to risk more than you can afford to lose, but you can increase your odds by choosing the right games. When selecting a denomination, remember to always play maximum bet on each machine. If your budget is very limited, nickels are always a good choice, and the rewards can be substantial.
Most gambling experts agree that the best odds in any casino are on Blackjack. While this can be fun–and substantially rewarding–you must know how to play. If you haven't studied Blackjack and don't feel comfortable playing, I would suggest you stay away from the table. If you're a beginner, other players may lose patience with you, and some dealers move very quickly, making it difficult to concentrate. If you want to learn Blackjack, there are many good books and study courses available, but learn it before you actually sit down to play.
Another game with very good odds is Video Poker. This also requires a bit of studying, and there are several different versions available. If you're a beginner, choose Jacks or Better and play nickels. Maximum bet will vary from machine to machine and casino to casino, but most are 10 nickels max. That's just 50 cents a bet, and the return is higher than on most slots.
Of course, there are other games in the casinos as well. Everything from live poker to roulette to sports betting. Just be sure to choose what you are most comfortable playing.
Drinking and Gambling
While you are gambling, you will be offered “free” drinks. This is part of the money-saving strategy. Why pay for drinks at a bar when you can get them free while gaming? The choice of whether to drink while playing is strictly up to you. Just remember, the more you drink, the more it will affect your decision-making process. Why do you think the casinos offer free alcohol to gamblers in the first place? And always remember to tip the bartender or cocktail waitress…$1 per drink is acceptable, more is appreciated.