Although I am a married mother of 3 grown children and a grandmother of one, my husband has never been bitten by the Las Vegas bug. So, instead of wishing I were in my favorite city, I travel there alone about 4 times a year to play in slot tournaments and take advantage of special hotel offers. This trip was my longest stay, and I loved every minute of every day.

11-30 to 12-2--Flamingo Hilton. Was given two free nights because I had stayed there for a tournament in July. Took the shuttle bus at Barbary Coast each day to Orleans. Found an extremely friendly Reel 'Em In machine which paid me over $500 in less than 30 minutes--3 jackpots and over 4,000 nickles in credits. Played less than $20, so was thrilled. Went to a movie in their well-designed theater (stadium seating) and ate Cajun food at the reasonably-priced buffet.

12-2 to 12-4--Harrah's. Won a small jackpot last Dec. and was given certificate for 2 nights free plus 2 entries into their daily slot tournament. The first day I played my daytime round at 3:30 p.m., and did well, but didn't know until 9:15 p.m. that I had made the playoff round (the top 16 scores for the day). My machine was pretty dead, but I managed to come in #12 and was given $100. The next day, I used my 2nd entry and had a very good score, putting me, once again in the top 16 for the playoffs. This time, my machine started off very slowly and I was thinking that $50 (the minimum awarded) would be just fine, when it awakened and gave me the highest score of the night. I won $2,500 (which I took home in check form).

12-4 to 12-6--Excalibur. I really like to play in Excalibur tournaments. They are well run, reasonably priced, and always fun. My room had been recently redecorated and had a strip view. Coupons for meals allowed me to eat very well, indeed, at their Sherwood Forest coffee shop and at Lance A-Lotta Pasta. The tournament had a western theme, so players were given stylish denim shirts, plus an useful set of bar-b-que tools. One night a special dinner for tournament players was held. Country musicians entertained. There were 4 rounds--2 each day. My total scores were not high and I ended up with the minimum cash award--$100, but my team (there were 4 teams) had the highest overall score, so was given another $100. Visited the new M&M Academy and bought those unusual colored M&M's only available there, and played VP at MGM (hit 4 aces on bonus machine for $250) and Tropicana (cashed out another $100).

12-6 to 12-9--Caesars Palace. This is another place that I enjoy tournament play. Their December tournament is reasonably priced, and I love the luxury of their Palace Tower. With my food allowance, I ate several meals at their buffet, always eating way too much. That's why I only eat 2 meals a day in LV and do not snack! I saw their Omnimax movie about elephants, which is very memorable in content and photography. Found Gold Mine VP machines which were quite profitable. Spent a little time in Bellagio, and happily took away $30 more than I left. Saw the conservatory, but will have to see the art work at another time as the line was quite long. This tournament was actually 2 tournaments in one. Each day had separate winners. I came in 28th on day 1 (out of 360) and 48th the next for a total of $575, plus was handed $100 by Caesar himself when the number of the machine I was playing was drawn. The banquet held on the last evening was beautifully done. I forgot to mention that each player was given a warm red or green fleece jacket with Caesar's logo.

12-9 to 12-11--Riviera. Took advantage of their $20 a night special. My room was again, newly redecorated, with refrigerator. I was in nickel heaven with their Nickel Town and numerous other nickel slots and vp. Even quarter Reel 'Em In, played with one coin per line was generous, giving me 800 coins on one spin(again with less than $20 spent). I also visited nearby casinos and had lots of fun with nickel Monopoly at the Stardust. Other new games I liked were Jackpot Party and Life of Luxury. These games can take money very quickly, but also can be quite profitable.

This was a most amazing trip for me. I usually manage to bring money home as I follow strict money management "rules," but never had this much success. I am a low-roller who still manages to get comps and am treated like a VIP.