First thanks to all for your reports. We stayed at Paris back on Memorial weekend, but played mostly at Ballys & Flamingo, so this trip we decided to stay at Ballys. Comped room for Tuesday Jan 1 - Friday Jan 4.
We got a South Tower room, little worn as others have reported but it was spacious & clean with a nice view of Caesars. Brother & sister in law went too, they had to change rooms as they said theirs was pretty bad, but no hassle from the front desk & they were moved immediately, same floor as us (4th). No mini in the room, but the little kiosk by the South elevators had snacks & beer, decent prices.

The weather was a bit cool, but no complaints. My wife (Deb) brought gloves & a wool hat with her but never needed them, just a scarf. I really like this time period right after New Years and before the big conventions roll in later that week. Another plus is all the college bowl games. As usual we did less than ½ the things we planned on, you know how it is, once you get there the excitement kicks in. No shows this time, just gambling & eating.

Here's the dining breakdown (skip down to the gambling if your like me!)

Victorian Room at Bill's Gambling Hall for breakfast, plenty of food, about $30 for two. We also ate steaks there one night (24 hour joint, even better deals from 11 pm to 7 am as I recall). We did not get the specials, but the regular rib-eye dinner with salad, baked, rolls. Very good, about $100 for 4 people (can't remember if that included tip or not). Excellent service & my wife wanted me to be sure to give kudos to waitress Nancy (said she was jolly!).

BIL & SIL treated us to Ah Sin at Paris for chinese food. Very good & decent prices. I'm going to guess about $100 for 4 people. The restaurant is street level, but try to sit in the patio, it's covered, with a view of the Bellagio fountains. We had reservations for 8:00 pm, but not needed as it wasn't busy on Wednesday night. Things seem to clear out after New Years day.

Flamingo we burned up my Total Rewards balance ($78) at Tropical Breeze Café. It's a 24 hour joint, decent prices, food & service. No wait at all on a Thursday night at 9 pm. A varied menu from steaks, burgers, chinese, you name it. Other than that, quick bites here & there. Nosh at Ballys was good as usual for a good priced sandwich or coffee & donuts in the morning…close to the South elevators also.

Gambling time! Mostly blackjack for me, slots for Deb, I'll play slots too if I see a machine I like (Elvis, he hasn't "left the building yet", but getting harder to find). For slots, we did finally make it to Strat & Sahara as SIL says she's had luck their in the past. Turns out the $10 cab ride was worth it.
Deb used to love Wheel of Fortune but rarely plays it anymore, just seems they've tightened up & when you do get the bonus it's not much. She got her thrill within minutes at the Strat by hitting the 1000 point spin on a .25 machine, I asked to take a picture of her in front of the machine and they were cool, no problem!
A few minutes later I found Elvis and hit for 500 quarters on the bonus"¦thank ya, thank ya berry mush.

It slowed down after that but still got more play than usual and we walked out winners, went across the street to Sahara. SIL hit the $1 WOF and got 500 on the spin, I got $150 on a quarter machine ( Crystal ?? by the Sopranos machines). This area is near where you sign up for the players card. Note: Sahara had some free play when you sign up for the card, but it can only be used on "special" machines. We didn't sign up as it didn't look worth it. I'd go back to Strat for sure, Sahara is a maybe. Not much luck after that and I put back my winnings at the Sahara Elvis machines.

Most of our other slot play was at Flamingo, mostly Hot Shot pennies & quarter machines. Deb did hit the $1 Seven machines for $200. Slots at IP were terrible, didn't stay there long, Ballys was so-so. Overall we both lost about $600 on slots over 3 days, but got a ton of play and good drink service. We've lost more than that in 6 hours at Louisiana casinos.

Black jack report. I've got basic strategy down pretty good, if you don't it's really not that difficult to learn (I learned from a book & practicing with real cards, now days you can search the internet). Most dealers and other players will help you too, especially at Flamingo, that's where I had the most fun. Pit bosses are friendly there too, John & Ed come to mind.
Over the years I've moved up from $5 minimum to $15 tables, can't make that $25 jump yet. I'd buy in with $300 each time. Made small profits on Tuesday & Wednesday, gave it all back plus $400 on my last night. Most of the time we had fun tables, one guy next to me hit 4 blackjacks in a row, that was crazy. Once I had 5 hands of 20 in a row & pushed them all, not good.

At 9 pm, Flamingo opens up one $10 table and a couple of $15 tables, BJ pays 3-2, but dealer hits soft 17. Avoid the party pit at the front. I also hit some bowl games for $150 profit, allright USC & Georgia!
Sorry I couldn't convey more excitement, it was a fun trip, but I'm still exhausted. If you're a slot player I'd say give the Strat a try. Downtown probably has better blackjack rules (Plaza for one), but we just didn't feel like going there this trip. Good luck & keep the reports coming!