There are still plenty of places to play poker in Reno, but this isn’t an early-bird town. Sure, the poker rooms say they open at 9:30 or 10am, but that doesn’t mean you’ll find any action that early. Don’t be surprised, it’s been this way for a long time, I’ve got to take a look around.
Harrah’s used to have three 7-stud games kick-off at 10am, but the 2-10 Hold’em game didn’t start until noon. Of course the room stayed open all night when there was good action. There’s no action now, there's no poker room.
Circus Circus used to have 10am tournaments and week-long events to make sure the games were cracked at 10am. Their room is gone now too.
Next door at the El Dorado, the room opens at 10am, but I’m here and there are just three players milling around drinking coffee. Maybe the Sands a block away is going, but that’s unlikely because they only have three tables. It’s cold outside, sensible people are in cars. I’m walking. The room is empty. Now I’m forced to go back to Virginia Street.
The Hilton downtown used to have a great room. There’s no Hilton anymore. The next room (I don’t count the Legacy, which has electronic poker, and only after 6pm) downtown is the Club Cal-Neva. The room opened at 9am and they have tournaments everyday starting at 10am. Not today, the room is dead. It must be Thursday.
Poker at Night
I should have slept in. Poker is a nighttime gig in Reno. Right now there are really only three places to play if you want any no-limit action and that means the Peppermill, the Atlantis, and the Grand Sierra. All three are a long ways from downtown. A car is necessary, especially in the windy, 36-degree weather.
Now it’s after eleven and there are three games going at the Peppermill, a 3-6 Hold’em, a 4-8 Omaha, and a 1-2 No-Limit game. There are seats available at each game. More than one. I’m ready to play, but I can’t do it. I have to check the rest. I’m out the door.
A mile away the Atlantis waits. I find three games going there too: $3-6, $1-2 No-Limit, and $3-5 No-Limit. There’s also a $40 Deep Stack $300-added tournament going. I can still buy in. I still can’t do it. I’ve got to check the Grand Sierra.
It takes 15 minutes to get to the poker room across 395. They have a $40 tournament going too; 6000 chips and 2000 more for a $5 dealer appreciation. In 40 minutes the blinds are $200/$400. The room has a soup/snack buffet for the players. They pay a buck an hour in comps. I already spent more than that in gas. I’ll stay and play, and tomorrow, I’ll sleep-in and play till 2am like most poker players do. Reno’s still open late.