Category: 2001
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** Day 1 ** Just Warming Up

This was my 4th trip to Vegas. I left Chicago at 8:30am on Wed. with plans to meet my brother-in-law and other friends later that night. No problems getting there, checked in a the Park Place reserv. desk by the baggage claim (one of many great tips I got from this board). There was very little wait, I would recommend this to all staying at a Park Place property. Went out door#5 and got my token for the limo. Waited only 5-10mins and got in with people going to Paris and Terribles. So a pretty quick ride. Another good recommendation. Unpacked and came down to check out Paris. I really like the layout of this hotel and the "feeling" of it. The casino is a little small, with usually only 4-6 craps tables open (that's my game). Since it was the first weekend of the NCAA tourney, table limits were a little high. Went across to Bally's then next door to Aladdin. Neither impressed me much. Aladdin is ok, but a little cheesy. I guess it's hard to do the Ali-Babba thing with class. Then back to Paris for my first session of craps. Basically all my gambling stories this trip are the same. Up and down for a while, then end up losing it all. Walked the strip a little and checked out Monte Carlo and the brew pub. Very nice. I wanted to check out the hotels I had not seen. Went back to Paris to chill. Got a call from B-I-L. He missed his flight, won't be in until tomorrow. So I'm on my own for the evening. Decide to stay at Paris and gamble. Had a long session at craps just staying even. Along come two girls in Pink tops and black slacks who looked like they just turned 21. Table turns around a little, then I lose it all. Again the theme of the trip. Have quite a few refreshments at the table, so call it a night around 2am.

** Day 2 ** Where's Z ?? Are they Pros ??

The first day of the tourney and need to meet B-I-L (Z) and friends at Treasure Island. Not my favorite place, but they like it. After making my hoop bets at Paris, off to Treasure. I stop at Flamingo just to check it out. I got about 30 yards in and decide I've seen enough. Maybe I should have checked it out at night, but it was tacky, dingy and kind of smelled. Oh well, on to TI. Could not find Z anywhere in the sportsbook. The place was packed. After much walking around I decide to head back to Paris. On the way back I saw Mon Ami Gabi with its outdoor seating on the strip. Very nice. Make mental note to self to try this place sometime. Found out he was at Barbary Coast. Went back there and met up with him. Barbary is really small, but liked the tables there (for some reason). Z has friends who are professional gamblers. These guys had thousands on the games. They were all pretty well juiced up by the time I got there (around 3pm). We watched some games and went back to Treasure to play some BJ. Another bad session, but Z won about $500. We split up with plans to meet at Red Square in Mandalay Bay. Get there around 8pm and immediately stand in line at the bar while I waited for Z and others. The place is nice, a little small, but it has a big strip of ice that runs down the middle of the bar. Very cool. We order up some russian vodka recommended by the bartender and proceeded to numb our senses. We noticed many "pretty people". MB is really the place to be seen if that's what you're into. All the hipsters from LA I guess. We also noticed one particularly pretty woman who appeared to be enhanced as well talking to some guys at the bar. We thought she was a pro and the debate among us continued for several minutes. Also, one of the guys with us - BW, was meeting a friend there. She shows up and to make a long story, less long, she turns out to be a stripper at one the clubs. BW met her a year ago or so and sees her every time he's in vegas. Needless to say it was an interesting night as we all went on to MGM, Venetian, and then back to our respective hotels (around 2:30am). By the way, check out the unisex bathrooms adjacent to the China Grill in MB. They are pods that either Men or Women can use. They have little TVs in them and the attendant has every type of cologne known to man. My favorite facilities in all of vegas.

** Day 3 ** Paris breakfast buffet and time to go.

Alas, the final day. I promised myself I would try the buffet at Paris. It was outstanding. I just wish I could have eaten more. After some people in line cause a bit of a scene, I sat down to eat. Everything was top quality and the service was excellent. Crepes,croissants,fresh fruit, you name it. Unreal. The "outdoor" seating was nice as well. What really grinds my gears were the people who cut in line and then caused a scene when the hostess called them on it. I don't understand people...I really don't. They then manufactured some story about how the hostess was rude and blah,blah,blah. Some people just think that the rules only apply to other know, the peasants. But...I digress. Check out was a little lengthy, but it was Fri. morn and the place was packed. Check in looked like it could have been 45min. Leave my luggage and on to Barbary again. We play the tables and watch some games. Get bored there and go onto the Venetian. Definitely one of my favorite hotels..and for you guys who are cocktail waitress afficionados - this is the best it gets. Go to a craps table with all women dealers..a first for me. They are lots of fun and with all of us on the same table it turns into a party. One of the guys (T-bone) ridicules (in good nature) the bettor next to him who doesn't lay odds on his pass line bet. Also, for you Seinfeld fans, one of the dealers had hands bigger than me (mine are big enough to palm a basketball). She definitely had "man hands" and after I pointed it out to some of the boys it was the running joke of the evening. Back to Treasure and more Bball games. My red-eye flight was approaching fast. Several more drinks and off to the airport I go. Tough flight home, as sleep was hard to come by.

Final conclusions:
Although this was not like past trips - I usually check out more hotels and eat at nicer restaurants at least 2 or 3 meals, it was still fun. A little too much time spent watching basketball and too little checking out the hidden gems of vegas. I guess it was the younger crowd I was with. Also, wanted to get downtown, but never did. Losing my shirt at the tables didn't help either.

*The good*: Paris. I would definitely stay there again. Great bathroom, very nice rooms. The buffet was top notch. The bakery for coffee in the morning was great and sandwiches were good for the price. Brew pub in Monte Carlo. Just a nice big place to hang out. Red Square - kind of trendy, but great selection of vodka if that's what you like. And a good meeting spot. Unisex bathrooms - sorry just a weird thing with me (you gotta check em out). The Venetian. Class and elegance all the way. The gambling is good there too. All the boys were in agreement on this one. Airport check-in and LVL for $4.

*The bad*: Treasure Island. Kind of got sick of the place, but I guess that's my own fault. It tries to be the Mirage, but a cheaper version. Just didn't like the feel or vibe I got. Met an old timer and we talked for a good half hour about his experiences coming to vegas for the last 30 yrs. Very entertaining. The Flamingo. Just nothing there that makes me want to go back.

*The Ugly*: Check-in at Paris on Fri. at noon. Avoid at all costs. Probably faster to get a cab back to the airport and check in there. The guys handing out dirty ad mags on the strip. Can something be done about these guys.? It is really tasteless and they have no selectivity. I saw them try to hand this stuff to a pair of 50 yr old women. Come on....

Thanks for reading...hope you weren't too bored.