Interesting little trip, the first of this kind for me. I am an attorney in Des Moines, Iowa, I run my own firm, nothing large, but we are growing. In October of this year, I told the employees that if they made "x" billable hour goal I would take them and another of their choice to Vegas for MLK weekend. What made this trip difficult from a planning standpoint was choosing a place to stay that everyone could enjoy. I had gamblers and non-gamblers going, and people ranging in age from 23-35. I unilaterally choose the Orleans. As I have stayed there numerous times, and felt that the non-gamblers could watch a flick or bowl, plus the free shuttles would afford them ample access to the Strip and/or the Palms. Now for the day to day details:

Left our home Wed night, drove to KC, had to drop off our son at my parents. Spent the night at an econolodge at the airport. Clean, nothing special. I had printed off our boarding passes about 23.25 hours before our flight and scored boarding pass "a" numbers 12-13, on Southwest.

Flight was uneventful, had exit row seating, I still love that when people board a southwest flight they tend to sit near the front, leaving exit row available even if you are the 40th person on the flight. Watched Mr. Mom with my wife, still a classic in my book,"220-221 whatever it takes". Landed about as close as possible to the tram to baggage claim. Southwest had our luggage in our hands within 25 minutes. Jumped on the Alamo shuttle and had our car by 845 am, not bad for a flight that landed at 805.
Alamo was efficient, but the quicksilver lane was not open. There were not many people in line; nonetheless, it seems to me that your priority lane should be open, otherwise, what is the point? Choose a Pontiac G6. Got 4 days, for 100.00 bucks with the entertainment book coupon. The price was a little higher than I normally like to pay but learned from the wonderful customer service people, who are actually in India, that Weekend rates do not start till noon on Thursday, so we paid about 20 bucks more than we would have if we picked up the car at noon. For what it is worth, the G6 was a neat little car to drive, one I wouldn't hesitate to choose again. Ok back to the story... 2 associates of my firm were on our flight, and Vegas virgins, so I played tour guide for the morning. We first started by dropping their luggage off at the Orleans, my wife and I were staying at the South Coast for the first night before moving to the Orleans. For what it is worth if you wanted to take a smoking room, you could of checked in at 9am at the Orleans. They didn't so we dropped the bags off at the Bell Hop and went on a little tour of the strip.
We drove down to Wynn and dropped the car off. At first glance I wasn't impressed. I guess I was always in such awe of the Bellagio. Don't get me wrong its nice, and the padded carpet felt great on the feet, but it simply wasn't incredibly awesome. Table limits appeared to be about 25 bucks for BJ, 10 bucks for craps at 10 am. However, the place wasn't full. We took the monorail over to the Paris station, and walked over to the Bellagio. Even after all of the years, the place still is top notch and the measuring stick that all others should be measured against. Walked to Olives, the place I start every Vegas Vacation at, and had a Boston Bibb, and Special Flat Bread, Wife had Flat Bread, Associate One had a Flat Bread, and Associate 2 had the squash tortellini, Bloody Mary, Crown and Coke, Jack and Coke, Cost us 130 bucks with tip. Great Meal, and we got to sit outside and the weather was just perfect, we toasted the year, and pondered why it is when you can choose to live anywhere in the world that we chose to live in Des Moines, Iowa. After lunch I hit the craps table, bought in for 5 hundred and cashed out at 725.00. After a short session, we headed down to the ½ ticket stand and got seats for second city for ½. We dropped A1&A2 and made our way down to the South Coast.

South Coast Impressions:
Simply too far away. Don't get me wrong it was nice, and a flat screen TV on the wall was great, the room was impressive, and the Casino was bright and open. We dropped our bags in our room, and headed back to get A1&A2. We had planned on heading down town and grabbing some food, but most were still full from lunch, so we settled on the café in the Orleans. If you haven't eaten here, you are missing out on some very cheap and good and giant portions. I had the War Wonton Soup, which is a 6 Wonton soup with huge pieces of Pork, Chicken and Shrimp. Wife had Chicken Lo mein, A1 had Chicken Fried Rice, and A2 had Club Sandwich with Cajun fries. 4 sodas later, the bill was 38 bucks without tip. We then drove over to see Flamingo used valet and played a little. I probably lost about 280 bucks at the craps and BJ table. This is my 4th time seeing 2ndCty- It was a great show, but it the 4th best time I has seen the show. Thursday night is totally improvisational night with no prepared skits. Also this night an understudy replaced one of the leads. The replacement was very talented but in my opinion Seamus, is the best of that cast, and he wasn't performing. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the show, and A1&A2 thought it was great. We grabbed the car, dropped A1&A2 off and got lost on the way home, damn Alamo map shows roads that appear to go through but really don't. Should of just jumped on the I15 but we didn't and it took us 30 minutes to get back. Ended up playing a little and dropped 450 at the tables.

Day 2 -

Packed up and used our free buffet coupon. Buffet was very similar to the Orleans but smaller, however, as of our meal, they hadn't figured out the whole hot food should be and fruit should be well...cold. We then headed over to the Orleans, checked in and was able to get a room at 930 am. Wife and A1 had plans to hit the outlet mall off Charleston, so on her way out there; she dropped A2 and me off at the Frontier. My plan was to play a little and then try to get tickets to Howie Mandel at ½. Went over and said good-bye to the Stardust, and donated 150 bucks to the employee pension plan. Was able to get 3 tickets for A1, wife and myself for Mandel at ½. Ended up calling some friends who also happened to be in town, to pick us up. F1&F2 A2 and myself headed downtown. F1 really wanted Zippys Chili from the GN snack bar, so we dropped the car off at the Plaza's valet and walked down to GN, only to learn the N doesn't serve zippy's any more. So we walked back to the Plaza and jumped into their 35-buck sit and go. Just love this poker room, best secret in Vegas. Quiet, awesome drink service, and soft games, a perfect combo. 1st place paid 225 2nd paid 125. I ended up Chopping the pot 3 ways in game one, 2 ways in game 2, and out of the money in game 3. Luckily F1 and F2 were in the money every game. We all had a great time, and ended up heading back to the Orleans. Where I promptly took out a marker and had lost the 500 at the craps table before I could even sign the damn check, perhaps this was going to be that kind of trip.

Everyone else from my firm was arriving and we had a firm dinner, and meeting at Sazios at the Orleans. Good, but nothing-special Italian food. Used the coupon in the Orleans coupon book and saved 10%. Total bill for 8 with some booze was 145 bucks. I decided to give away 2 black chips to my employees in an auction, to try to change me luck. More on this later. Wife, A1 and self, then headed over the MGM to see Howie Mandel, I really use to hate this place, felt like it was just too damn big, this time however, I knew where I was going, and enjoyed the non-smoking pits. I played double deck and doubled up, and felt that my karma might actually be changing. Saw the show, and something strange happened, the opening act was a very good comedian, and if I could remember his name, some of you would recognize him, Comedian went through his set and set up his last joke that got very little reaction. As a result you actually saw him back peddle on stage trying to come up with material to end with that for me was the funniest part of his set. To put things in context he ended with Bush/Kerry Material. Then Howie came out, and did 90 minutes, He was very funny, and very quick on his feet, and he did a lot of audience participation, and had some hecklers that he dispatched very quickly. I was amazed how quickly he thought on his feet. As a trial lawyer myself, his speed in comebacks was amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed the show, and we headed back to the Orleans. I ended up playing some baccarat, not sure why this game calls me, but it does, so at the baccarat tables, it was 1 short fat bald white guy and 24 Asians. Ended up 300 bucks and then doubled up at Craps to buy back my marker from earlier and end up even at the Orleans. Ended up going to sleep around 230 am.

Day 3 - Wife had a massage scheduled, However, before hand we headed over to the high limit slot area and threw in a 100 into a 5 dollar, 2 coin double diamond machine, and hit for 5k, our first w2, what a great way to start the morning. It the words of Nuc Laloosh, "winning is like totally better than losing”. I ended up meeting up with F1&F2, played some 2/4 at the Orleans, man are the players there great poker players, and then headed back to the Plaza, this time A2 met up with us, and we introduced him to sit and go poker at the Plaza. Had a blast as always, and watched the football games. Ended up going back to the Orleans to shower and pick up the wife, dinner reservations at the Center Stage at 7 and Downtown Gordie Brown tickets at 930. Dinner at Center Stage was nice, wife had filet, I had a jack and coke and the two lobster tails. The lobster was great but pricey, 68 bucks, meal with salads were in the $140 range. I had wanted to see Gordie Brown for a while now, probably after I saw the show on TV where his agent convinced Tim and Tom to give him a contract sight unseen. I was a little disappointed that you couldn't get tickets at ½ but they stickered at 50 bucks to start with so I wasn't that upset about paying full price. The place was only 2/3rds full and after the show started the staff started moving people forward. Mr. Brown had a cold and really struggled with his set. He was drinking hot water and popping some sort of hard candy the whole time. I'm not sure how much better the show would have been if he would have been 100% healthy. It was ok, not great, better than Larry G. Jones, but not nearly as good as Danny Gans. However, I did appreciate that Brown put on his show despite not being at 100%, unlike over at the mirage where we have tickets for Gans, only to have him cancel. Ended up getting out of the show around 10:45 pm and ended up back at the Orleans and played some craps ended down about 400 bucks and went to bed.

Day 4 - Up fairly early drove over to the Bellagio with wife. Ended up dropping almost 100 bucks on breakfast and some fairly small amount of chocolate and almonds at some fancy French place (chocolate fountain). We then headed over to the M&M's store and picked up some gifts for the little ones in the family. I then left the wife and made my may back over to MGM to play some 3-6 at the MGM. It was pretty neat we sat at table 3 which is right against the rail, and a bunch of us acted like we were on TV, making comments to the gallery. I had a blast. Made about 240 bucks in 3 hours or so. For those who play I live strattled 6 times, and won all 6 hands the final time with 10-2 off suite. Everyone of the table, except for the guy I rivered on that hand to make the boat was having a great time. All in all the dealers at the MGM were top notch, and the table was great. I was hoping a 4-8 ½ kill game would start but it never got enough interest. I then got a phone call from a pissed off wife as she was back at the Bellagio trying to get the car; however, I had the valet ticket in my pocket. My wife ended up having to sign away her life in waivers and then after about 30 minutes they got the car for her. Important tidbit, always know the license plate of your rental car. And even though she was allowed to drive the rental car since we are quicksilver members, her name wasn't on the paper work, something that was distressing to the valet. Ended up catching a cab back to the hotel, where I was educated on the current costs of hookers in the Las Vegas area, and the way to make sure you are not picking up a cop. Now though I find this information interesting, it wasn't something I asked about it. The guy just offered it up, I guess assuming that at 2:30pm on a Sunday, I might be interested in. Ended up watching the Bears and the Panthers and betting on Horses. Had a lot of fun, then ended up going up to the room and taking a nap. Awoken by the wife, who had gotten us tickets for Avenue "Q”. We ended up hitting the Mexican Restaurant at the Frontier. Always have loved their fajitas. Ended up using self park, (do they even have valet?) and got a table without any wait. We had a great meal, I ended up having the carne asada and wife had a beef enchilada, both had Pepsi and the bill was less than 30 bucks with tip. We ended up driving over the Wynn, what a cluster f*ck that parking situation is. Nonetheless we eventually got the car to the valet. I ended up giving the guy 10 bucks and asked him to keep it close. He looked at the 10, and said; we see where I can put it. Keep in mind; 10 bucks everywhere else got the car keep within 20 feet of the front door. Oh well, this is the Wynn. We walked around the place to get a feel for it, and ended up getting our red cards. We were told we needed 500 points for the buffet, (I thought it was only 50) oh well. I ended up playing .25 slots for a while hit a couple of nice lines and made my way over to the $5 dollar slot. Ended up hitting my first spin for 960 bucks. Cashed out, showed my wife and reinvested it, only to lose 300 bucks. Had a good time though, made our way over to the show and had a great time. If you are 18-35 this is the best show in Vegas, hands down. THIS IS NOT A SHOW FOR KIDS!...Puppets have sex, there are songs about porn and having a gay roommate that is in the closet, however, we thought the show was talking to us or more accurately to our generation. The stuff about having a useless degree and not knowing what to do with your life was right on point. Tickets were pricey at 100 bucks a piece, but I will be going to this show from now on. After the show we made our way to the car... no car on the lot. However, maybe the 10 actually worked, because we walked our way down to the little room that is heated that you stand to wait for your car. There were probably 40 people waiting for their cars. But low in behold, our car was the next one brought out. We went back to Orleans and I played some craps, it was awful, I should have just lit the money on fire. I ended up dropping 400 bucks fairly quickly. I ended up meeting up with my wife, and we made our way back over to the $5 slots. Threw a 100.00 bucks in and hit for 320.00, ticketed out and put it the 100 dollar machine. It wouldn't take it, so I put 2-100 bucks in the machine and then broke my number 1 rule, I didn't play full credits. I thought this would give me 2 spins. Stupid/Stupid/Stupid. First spin hit for 6 units. Cashed out for 800 hundred. Went to sleep.

Left the next morning at about 5 am. Frontier through Denver into KC. I didn't want to take the crack of the morning SWA flight. Had ok flight, both totally packed, however they both left on time.

All in all had a great trip. Ended up playing a lot more slots than I have ever had in my previous 8 trips combined. Will be back in March for a legal continuing education, and then August for my 30th birthday party. Think I will stay at the MGM for August, already booked at the Orleans for March.