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When bingo meets free shots: Station’s Rock Shot promo clubs up grandma’s game

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A conga line during “Baby Got Back”? Yeah, that happens at Rock Shot Bingo.
Photo: Tek Le
Sensory overload: This is what happens when bingo meets free shots.

Sensory overload: This is what happens when bingo meets free shots.

“Where’s all my party people? Where are my alcoholics?” the DJ asks. As the crowd screams in response, and begins clapping to the beat, I realize this isn’t a typical night at the bingo parlor … and that’s before the dude in a tie-dye T-shirt, mirror-ball button-up and white feather boa leads a conga line to “Baby Got Back.” That all really happened. In the bingo room. At Green Valley Ranch.

Station Casinos launched its Rock Shot Bingo night—which rotates between GVR and Red Rock Resort—last year, describing the clubbed-up installment of the retiree favorite as “not your grandmother’s game.” Having heard about my nana’s Friday nights on the town, I can attest that the advertisement is accurate. For $25, every player gets two drinks, 10 games and up to 30 cards—but that’s really just where the fun starts.

Yeah, that's a DJ. In the bingo parlor.

Yeah, that's a DJ. In the bingo parlor.

Trading in typical daubers and paper packs for electronic machines—and the usual silence for a boisterous soundtrack that includes everything from the whipping and nae-nae-ing of today’s hits to throwbacks like Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It”—this might not be the ideal 9 o’clock bingo for the blue-hairs. Which made it even more awesome that I was seated across the room from an octogenarian who had her hands in the air, wavin’ them from here to there—like an O.G. mack or a wannabe player.

“We do all the work for you. You just have to sit back and relax,” says GVR’s bingo manager, Tom Parker. He’s right; the electronic machines, which feature “wacky” bingo patterns like a tidal wave, the sun and a smiley face, count down how many numbers you need for a winning card. That’s a very good thing, too, considering how tough Rock Shot Bingo’s sensory overload makes it to concentrate on whether you have B6 or O69.

Rock Shot Bingo might not be ideal for the blue-hairs, but you can still score a lot of cash just like grandma.

Rock Shot Bingo might not be ideal for the blue-hairs, but you can still score a lot of cash just like grandma.

True to its name, Rock Shot also features social lubrication in the form of free shots for everyone seated at the winning player’s table. Really, though, the liquid encouragement isn’t exactly necessary when people are already getting down in the aisle all throughout the game. I might have even done the “YMCA” myself—and I never do the “YMCA.”

My table didn’t win, but that didn’t even matter. Watching the crowd let loose during grandma’s favorite pastime was easily worth the hour spent in GVR’s parlor. I’ll just have to remember my feather boa next time.

Rock Shot Bingo Next installments: November 19, 9 p.m., $25, Red Rock Resort; December 10, 9 p.m., $25, Green Valley Ranch.

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