Leaving for Las Vegas

The announcement came over the loud speaker "All aboard". My husband and I kissed each other goodbye since we only arrived at the airport one hour prior to departure and therefore didn't get seated together. We were herded thru the cattle gates and onto the plane. As I sat in my seat and greeted the people in my row, I prepared myself mentally for the 4-hour plane ride in the ½ size seat. I am not a large person, but it seems that every time I board an airplane, the seats are smaller than they were the last time. The Sun Country flight attendants seemed to be somewhat crabby on the flight out and I wondered if I portrayed that same miserable image when working at my job. Probably not most of the time, but I'm sure on my return to work Monday morning I wouldn't be the happiest of campers. There was a group of about 8 American Indian women on the plane who were ready for a party filled week. The one woman behind me was having a hard time speaking without slurring her words and we hadn't even left the ground yet. They were laughing and joking and seemed to be having a great time. I can't imagine having such a great time at 10:00 a.m. As the drink cart came around, I heard the woman behind me order 2 whiskey and cokes, which she paid for. Afterwards, we were all served a box lunch which seemed edible until later after I had consumed my sandwich and I heard the woman behind me state that her sandwich had mold on it...yuck! I wish I hadn't eaten mine at that point or had at least looked at it closely before eating it. Oh well. The drink cart came around again and the woman behind me again ordered 2 whiskey and cokes. The flight attendant refused to serve her more than one this time. The woman took her drink and every time the flight attendant walked by, she requested another drink but was pretty much ignored. Later the woman got up to go to the restroom and the next thing I know is that the crabby flight attendant is questioning all of her friends about whether the woman has a bottle of liquor with her. Apparently, the woman had fallen on her way to the restroom and had landed on the flight attendant!  The flight attendant was now really cheezed off. She told the woman's friends that they would have to go pick their friend up and bring her back to her seat. The woman was placed back in her seat and the flight attendant proceeded to lecture her and tell her that she had better behave or the airline would have to take extreme measures. As we got closer and closer to Vegas, the woman got more excited and started hooping and hollering. When we landed, security was waiting for the woman to "talk with her".

The hubby and I were finally reunited and happy to be in LV again. We proceeded to the first smoking lounge where I lost about $1.50 in quarters. No surprise.

We had to wait about an hour for our friends Lee and Sheryl to arrive and thankfully, their plane was on time. They deplaned and then told us that we owed them $850 as they were offered cash and the next flight out to Vegas if they would have given up their seats. Since they had paid $950 total for their round trip tickets, I could not believe they didn't take the airlines up on the deal. They said that they would have taken the deal if there was any way of getting a hold of us. However, it was their timeshare that we were staying in and there would have been no way for us to check in without them.

We went to Dollar Rent a Car and got a premium upgrade which was later upgraded to a luxury car. Some sort of Chrysler. Then it was off to the Polo Towers where our friends had traded for a week of timeshare. We unpacked our mountains of clothes. The Polo Towers have very nice rooms. 2 bedrooms attached to a living room, dining area and kitchenette, along with a bathroom attached to each room. I had heard that the Polo Towers were adding another tower so I told Lee to try to get on the other side away from the construction - no go. Well we think, how bad can construction be? LOL!! As we are reading the Polo Towers guest information sheets, we notice what time the construction starts each day. Monday - Thursday 4:00 a.m.!!!! Friday 1:00 a.m.!!!!! Saturday 6:00 a.m.!!! However, the information sheet states that earplugs are available at the front desk! Well, that's comforting! LOL! As we look out the window to assess how bad the noise might be, we notice that not only is all of the construction happening right on our side of the building, but then also that someone has discarded fish heads and shrimp heads and tails out of their window! We have a great view of their discards! yippee!! YUCK!

We haven't seen Lee and Sheryl in almost a year so we decide to catch up on old times with each other in the Polo Tower lounge. We head up there for a few drinks and I have my first ever Corona. It's a very tasty beer! After a few rounds of very expensive "free" drinks we decide to eat so we head on over to Fatburger (right next door). Yum, everyone loved their hamburgers. Thanks to all on the board for this recommendation!

We get up off our fatburger rears and head on over to MGM, passing the Coke museum, the All Star Café, a Denny's that wouldn't be there a few days later and and finally make it to MGM. I played some quarter slots at first. The Majestic Lions were nice to me, giving me 600 quarters almost instantly. I then went on to give most all of the quarters back playing video poker. Lee and Sheryl had no luck so they decided to head back to the hotel. I searched for the hubby and found him in the Keno lounge - he fancies himself a great Keno player for some We drag up and headed for the Tropicana since we had never been there before. We both had our free pull on the slot machine, winning a free deck of cards!! How exciting! We wandered around the Tropicana a while, playing dollar slots here and there and hitting no jackpots so we left. When we returned to the hotel room, Lee and Sheryl gave Phil his birthday present - an autographed picture of Stella Stevens (sic). The picture was autographed to a "Phil" and Lee found it on Ebay so he bid on it and won. I, along with Phil, had no idea who Stella Stevens was. Lee explained that she was playmate of the year at one time - a long time ago apparently. After the great present unwrapping, we went back up to the Polo Lounge to try our luck at VP and have some drinks. I played DBVP (progressive) and Phil played JOB. I hit 2, 4 of a kinds and had the machine up to 575 quarters and decided to play it down to 550 and cash out. Yay, no $20 beers for me this evening! After I cash out, the woman next to me hits the progressive jackpot and barely seems excited at all. While she is waiting for someone to pay her, she plays the machine next to mine and hits a couple 4 of a kinds. She says her husband will be happy as he was quite mad at her the night before for not stopping until after several trips to the ATM. Phil ends up down for the day but is feeling no pain from the martinis and we head downstairs to go to bed (2:00 a.m.).

6:51 a.m. I awake for the 3rd and final time of the morning due to all of the construction noise. I decide to treat everyone to Krispy Kremes so off to Excalibur I walk. Before going to the Krispy Kreme place, I play a few slots. I won $80 on a dollar slot and $50 on a quarter slot so I'm happy. Also, when I was waiting for my 80 coins to spill out of the machine, I see a woman hit the $10,000 jackpot on a Red White & Blue slot - sigh, wish it was me...but I'll take what I get and be happy. I get to KK and the donut buzzer is going off so I get fresh donuts. Now I've got to stop in their café and eat one while it's hot. Gotta have milk with my donut so I buy some of that at what is probably a most outrageous price. Yummy!!! Wow, what a great donut and talk about a sugar rush! I was INSTANTLY awake!!! Feeling as though I could run all the way back to the Polo Towers, I leave and head back. As I pass the All Star Café and the Coke Museum, some man stops me and says "There is no way you're getting past me with those Krispy Kremes. Uh oh, I think there's going to be a We chat for a while about how yummy the KK's are and then, he lets me pass - whew! lol

When I get back, the hubby is the only one in the room. Him and I sit down and I eat another KK while he has two. I bought the Kruller (SIC) donuts too because they're Phil's favorites but he doesn't care for KK's kruller's. Oh well. He has an original glazed and says that it's much much better. He says it is a good donut but nothing he'd walk a mile for. I told him that had he had a hot one, he'd walk more than a mile for them.

After we are finished getting ready for the day, Lee and Sheryl have still not returned so Phil and I head off to the strip on our own. We decide to go to Paris. Walk walk walk to Paris. Really not that far, but sometimes it seems like it is. WOW, we love Paris. It's so pretty inside. It didn't appear to be cheaply made to either Phil or I, but then we didn't look real close. We loved it!! The video poker selection is bad - a lot of machines but all short pay, but we enjoyed our little visit anyhow. We joined the players club and then wandered around. Everyone at Paris seemed so friendly. The craps dealers even said bonjour and asked us if we'd like to play. Although Phil and I do like to play craps, we didn't play much at all this trip.

After having our fill of Paris, we head over to Bellagio. The glass display in the lobby is very pretty although I do not think I would want it in my house. The conservatory smells lovely with all of its mums. Now it's off to find their VP machines. We find 2 DBVP and sit down. I hit for 400 quarters but Phil quickly loses his $20. We then decide to play a quarter pinball machine. I play and almost instantly hit the pinball part of the game and get another 100 quarters. Everyone had told me that the slots bells and whistles were turned way down at Bellagio but they sure as heck weren't turned down on this pinball game - it was LOUD!!! Bellagio is a lovely hotel but a little too fancy for Phil and I. I told Phil about the tram and we decide to take that over to the Monte Carlo so that we can get some lunch in the brew pub.

The tram ride is fun and allows you to see Bellagio's pool area. They have what looks to be a great pool area! Upon arrival to MC, we head to the cigar shop and Phil buys a cigar. He was going to buy a case of 10 cigars until the gentleman behind the counter told him the price and it was $20 higher than Phil pays at home. I guess that's how he pays the cigar shop rent. Now it's off to the brew pub. We get a great table looking out at the wave pool (closed) and each order the sampler beer platter. The beer is really great. I trade my stout for Phil's las vegas lite beer. Now, what to order?? Well, Phil settles on the meatloaf sandwich and I order the filet mignon roll up and onion rings. Oh wait - Phil also wants to try a bang bang. Phil explains what it is to Terry and that helps her decide NOT to order one. These concoctions are either a raw clam or oyster in a shot glass with a bit of cocktail sauce and a shot of liquor. Phil picks the Cuervo clam bang bang. It looks really nasty when the waiter brings it to the table but Phil slams it nevertheless. He says that it was great and wants another one and is also trying to get me to have one...ummm, no thanks Phil. Phil's sandwich and my roll up were both very very good. Note that if you go to the brew pub and you order a roll up, it comes with fries even though the menu doesn't state that. I had ordered onion rings and then had fries with my roll up. Needless to say, I couldn't eat all of my lunch. I ask the waiter to wrap my sandwich up and then make Phil carry it since I've got a bucket of money to carry ;o) All the beers were great. I had a favorite but now can't remember what it was.

Phil and I head out to the casino where my bucket of money QUICKLY disappears. Lance Burton must be in the casino doing his magic! I usually have the best luck on dollar slots so I cashed my quarters in for dollars and then tried to win something that way. No luck again so off we go - to see if Lee and Sheryl had ventured back yet. WOW, it's really windy today in Vegas and I'm almost blown straight out of town! We fight our way against the wind to the PT and find Lee and Sheryl up at the bar.

We drink a few more $20 beers and then decide to go back to the room to have a short nap and then go to the MC and see about getting Lance Burton tickets. We head over there and get tickets for Wednesday night's early show. We all donate a little more money to the Monte Carlo and then decide that we're all hungry again. Phil and I recommend the brew pub so that's where we go. I have the MC pizza this time and it's very good. Lee had steak, Phil had some seafood pasta I think and Sheryl had a salad. Again, all of the food was great as was the service. Monday night football is on the big screen TV and I hear a woman sitting a few tables away screaming the ?F? word often and realize she must be a Dallas fan. We then look at her jersey (Pittsburgh Penguins) and decide she can't really be from Pittsburgh if she's a Dallas fan. LOL

The rest of Monday night is a blur. I don't really remember what we did. At one a.m. I know Phil and I were back up in the Polo Tower lounge but since we had left the MC at about 9:30, I don't know what happened in between. When we were up in the PT lounge, we were chatting with Lenny the bartender. He was on duty earlier that afternoon and was now spending his earnings on VP. He said that he had almost spent his day's pay but didn't seem too distraught over it. I won about 400 quarters and cashed out and Phil lost - again. Poor Phil has NO luck with video poker or slots. Lenny then announces that he's done playing for the day. I ask him if he won and he says "yes, I hit the royal". I'm so jealous! He hit the royal playing the triple play quarter machine. I'm happy that he hasn't worked for free though. He then buys Phil and I a drink. We toast him, tell him to take tomorrow off work and then go to our room for the night.


Today was the day we were going to go see the Resort at Summerlin and sample their buffet. Phil had the map and Lee drove. About 10 minutes into the drive, Lee asked which way he needed to turn to get to Summerlin and Phil said "you need to make a U turn as I thought we were going to Henderson". Oh well, we'll go to the Reserve instead I guess. We're all starved when we get there so we decide to eat at Congo Jack's. I had the biscuits and gravy breakfast, Lee had the steak and eggs and Phil and Sheryl shared some chinese and thai food. Everyone said their food was great and the service was very friendly. After losing again at Keno (and after me again announcing to everyone that the house odds are upwards near 28% on this game) we headed to the player's club sign up. The people at the Reserve were so friendly. It was a great place to be. I signed up for the club and went off to play some video poker. I put my $20 into the quarter DBVP machine and waited for my credits to appear. Nothing happened, hmmm. I turn on the change light and wait for someone to help. A lady appears and I tell her that I put my money in the machine but nothing happened. She laughs and tells me "that's gambling, honey". LOL. I told her I now knew why they called it the Reserve. I got a new $20 from her and played the machine, cashing out at 320 credits. Phil went off to play dollar craps and Lee and Sheryl were playing slots. I took my $80 in quarters and cashed them in and played a double diamond slot, hitting for $160. This made me happy. I then took my $160+ dollar coins over to a DBVP dollar machine and plunked some of them in, hitting 4 of a kind almost instantly! Now I was up over $400!!! I played the VP machine till I was at $240 and then cashed out. I walked over to the craps table to find Phil losing . He didn't seem to mind though. We looked for a Let it Ride table - finding one but it was closed. We then proceeded to play some more video poker and slots. Lee had hit a $240 jackpot on a $0.50 machine and then proceeded to rob Betty Boop of $100 in quarters. I played a few 50-cent machines with Lee proceeding to play right behind me, taking out of every machine what I put in. I then decided that I would play a few hands of blackjack on an Odyssey machine. I played on the 4 quarters for about an hour, cashing out at about $10 profit.

We left the Reserve, thinking that we would be back again someday and headed to Sunset Station. The sign out front stated that they had the "best pancakes" and if I hadn't still been full from breakfast, I would have eaten some of them. Looking back, I should have eaten them. I played several slots, hitting for about $50 in quarters on one and then proceeding to hit nothing nothing nothing for what seemed like forever. Phil and I decided to play Let it Ride for a while. The bonus buck bet here wasn't that great of a bet but since this was my first time playing the game, I decided to go for it. I hit zero bonus buck bets and managed to play on my $100 for a couple of hours. When I was down to $10, I left the table and gave my two five-dollar chips to Phil. Phil ended up about $50 and he left. YAY!! Phil actually won!!! OK, give me back my $10 now Lee and Sheryl had decided that they'd rather spend their money on food so they ate the buffet, which they raved about for hours, making me highly jealous! I played a few more dollar slots, losing my limit for the day and watching lots of people win. We then headed back to Vegas. Phil and I were now starved since we hadn't partaken of the great SS buffet so we headed over to Fatburger. The line was too long for me so I got something at Pizza Hut Express. I never thought I'd go to Vegas and eat so often at fast food places but this trip was weird that way. We ate and then headed over to MGM for a little VP, winning a little and losing a little. We all decided to check out Mandalay Bay, so off we trekked to Excalibur. We got on the tram and were there in no time. Mandalay Bay was a nice casino and I thought for sure I'd be lucky there. Funny thing about their slots though. Every time I hit the play max coins or the spin button, the machine didn't do anything. I had to hit it twice every single time! This was strange I thought. It threw off my great RNG timing too! LOL! I proceeded to lose lots of money on both quarters and dollar slots and blamed it on bad timing, after all, they don't call me the slot queen due to me losing at slot play. Everyone else lost too. Phil, however, didn't play so we all declared him the BIG winner at MB! We were there a few hours and I never saw anyone win a jackpot - even a small hand pay.

We then took the tram to Luxor. I had been pretty lucky in past trips at the Luxor but not this trip. Our main goal for the Luxor was to get a cocktail. This never happened as we didn't see any cocktail waitresses. There was a large group of Asian people trekking through the casino and the person in front of the group carried a flag, which he held in the air. I guess he held the flag so that the large group could stay on track and keep together. We decided this was a good idea but since we didn't have a flag, we decided that we'd have to use a coin bucket instead. I held the bucket in the air and instructed the other 3 of our group to follow the empty bucket. I led our group to the dime slots. This is the first time I've ever seen dime slots. We all decided to play these for a while. Turned out to be a losing idea.


Up again this morning at 6:51 a.m. due to the construction noise. Weird I think to be getting up every morning at the same time. We are all up and decide to get ready and head over to the Rio for a while. The Rio is our normal stomping grounds in Vegas. We get there and have to sign up for new slot cards. I tell Lee and Sheryl about the free buffet deal and they use their Harrah's cards from Tahoe for the deal. I search and search and search for my Harrah's card but of course I have left it at home - sigh. Phil and I pay the $9.95 for lunch. GRRRR. The Carnival buffet was very good. I ate salad and enchiladas, saving LOTS of room for dessert, as I love their desserts. I then go to the dessert station and order two mini eclairs and a mini creme puff. YUMMY!!! I would eat the carnival buffet just for the desserts. I talk Phil into getting me two more eclairs as I feel bad asking the dessert lady for so many even though it is ALL YOU CAN EAT. Turns out Sheryl brings me two more eclairs so Phil is off the hook. Lee brings one more éclair back and him and I split it. I could eat ten more but make myself say no to more! Keep in mind that these eclairs are mini eclairs - about 3 inches long and an inch and a half wide so it's possible to eat lots of them. Also, these are not the same eclairs that they have in the bakeries at the Rio. The custard filling is lots better in the little ones.

Now it's off to play the slots. The Rio slots have always been good to me in the past, but not today. I spent about $200 on them, and the largest hit I had was $30. I decided that I wasn't going to be lucky at the Rio this trip so I cashed in my player's card points from all the other trips and took the $100 and ran. Phil played Let it Ride and won about $50. Lee and Sheryl also cashed in their player's card points and then we all left. I have information on the Rio's new slot club point system. If anyone would like it, just ask.

We then headed over to the Orleans. We had never been here and after our beatings at the Rio, decided to all sit down and have a nickel VP tournament. Lee won the tournament, hitting 800 nickels so we declared him the nickel champ and then left him at his big paying machine all by himself waiting for the hopper fill. Phil and I went off to play Let it Ride. I was dealt 3 7's and hoped and hoped that the 4th was in the community cards. Unfortunately it wasn't but it was still a nice hand. After the 3 of a kind, I was dealt a straight. I didn't play the bonus buck though . I was now up about $100 so I left the table and played some slots, winning another $60 on a Red White Blue slot. Funny thing to note here. I signed up for a player's card at Orleans via their website. When I put my card in the slot at the machine, it said "Welcome her again". We all got a kick out of this.

Oh, funny thing to note regarding Sheryl's VP and slot play...she never plays full coin. She is happy with small jackpots and says she would go through all of her money too fast if she played full coin.

We left the Orleans feeling happy about winning some money and headed back to the Polo Towers to get ready for the Lance Burton show. After having a few more $20 beers in the lounge, we got dressed for the show and left. We decided to Jay walk across the street since the light seemed way too far to walk to in heels - big mistake! There was little traffic so we crossed half of the street with ease. As we stepped up on the median, we noticed that the grass is VERY WELL watered here and proceeded to sink sink sink in the grassy mud. We then made it across the other side of the street and into the Monte Carlo. Since we were early, we decided to sit down and play some Video Poker again. I hit 4 of a kind for $100 and then had to wait for a hopper fill. The slot person was very quick and soon I was seated in my spot ready to watch Lance Burton. The show was great. I can't figure out how they do this stuff. The juggler for the intermission was very fun to watch. Lee had seen a lot of shows on how illusionists do their tricks and was ready to share them after the show until I told him that I didn't want to know. I thought it would be kind of like learning as a child that there wasn't a Santa Claus. We then decided to find a steakhouse to have dinner. We wandered over to Blackstone's only to find that a jacket was required. Sheryl and I browbeat the men for not wearing jackets and we then proceeded to the Café. The food at the Café was very poor. Our steaks tasted like rubber. The service was great but we won't venture into the café again anytime soon.

After dinner I pointed out a blazing 7 slot for Lee to play as he has incredible luck with these machines. He debated playing it and then decided that he would. As he walked over to it, another man sat down in front of it and hit the 3 blazing 7's with his first pull. Lee was extremely bummed. We left the Monte Carlo and took the tram to Bellagio. I stopped in the ladies' room and found the bathrooms to be just gorgeous! I then went to the player's club and signed up for a card, listening to the woman tell me that they only rate $0.50 and higher play. That's ok with me. I play mainly dollar slots anyhow. I played a few dollar slots and on one 5X machine hit 5X, 5X, BLANK...UGH on the blank. That made for a $50 payout. Always a bridesmaid! Not great, but hey, I'll take it. I then proceeded to play the $50, hitting nothing much but playing for a long time. As we were leaving to go watch the water show, I found a dollar coin on the floor. Thinking that this would be my lucky dollar, I pooled it with another dollar and pulled the slot handle hitting.........NOTHING...oh well. We watched the water show. The first one was Luck Be a Lady and it was my favorite. We then watched two more shows - singing in the rain was my second fave. The dancing water show is definitely a ?must see?. We then headed over to Paris. We decided to sit in the lounge in Paris as there was a very good female singer there. We had a few "normal" priced drinks and were entertained for an hour or two. After Paris we headed over to Bally's. Lee and Sheryl were not going to go with us but then decided that if they didn't, they would not be able to bear all of the exciting stories we'd have for the next day (yeah, like that had happened yet). Phil and I sat down at a Let It Ride table, finding that their bonus payouts were very liberal, paying even on high pairs. Me being the cheapskate that I am, I played the first hand with the bonus dollar - losing the hand. The second time I had ordered a drink and since I didn't want to not tip the cocktail waitress, I decided not to play the bonus dollar. Of course, I got a straight. Nice hand but it would have been nicer to have played the bonus bet. The next hand (still no cocktail and again worried about tipping), I again didn't play the bonus dollar bet. This time I was dealt 2 queens and a King. I let my bets ride and watched the dealer turn over a King and another queen. Full House pays 11 to 1 with $75 for the bonus bet . The people at the table were so friendly, all cheering when I got the full house. Then they all poked fun at me for not playing the bonus bet and whining cuz they didn't get to hear the bonus music. I was way up dollarwise now so I played one more hand, got my cocktail, tipped the waitress (finally) and left the table. I decided that the slow cocktail service had cost me about $100. Lee had hit for a second time this trip on a blazing 7 machine. He was up $600 on that machine now. Phil won about $20 on Let It Ride. We cashed out and took a cab back to the Polo Towers where we all said goodnight and hit the sack.

Thursday - downtown

We decided to spend the day downtown today. Initially, we were going to stop at the Venetian but Lee missed the entrance so we decided we could hit the Venetian later. Stopping at the Sahara so that Sheryl could play dollar blackjack, we decided to eat some breakfast. We ate in the coffee shop, which was fair. I had pancakes. They were fair but nothing like homemade. Phil ordered eggs with an english muffin and the waitress told him he'd have to pay extra for the muffin so he changed his order to toast. When the food came, the waitress stated that she had melted and decided to give him his english muffin anyhow. He was happy - until we got the bill and saw that we were charged $1.50 for the muffin! LOL!

I had a feeling about winning at Keno despite all the preaching I did to everyone about avoiding the game so Phil and I sat down for a few games. I played 8 numbers, hitting only one each game. Oh well, so much for my feeling. Guess I'll go back to preaching the woes of Keno. Phil won $10 playing and we declared him to be the Big Kaheno man. I then ventured off into the video poker room where all the machines (every one of them) had lights flashing on top. I think they had just installed them or something. I played for a while, and hit 4 of a kind, winning 400 quarters. Feeling lucky, I ventured off to play dollar slots and lost $40. Easy come, easy go I guess. Lee and Sheryl were up a few dollars, although they never got to play dollar blackjack as the tables were all full. We decided to head downtown.

We parked in the Golden Nugget lot and ventured on inside. It was rather crowded there for some reason. I went to join their slot club and was given a temporary card. I think the GN slot club system is terrible. It seems like it takes forever to get a point and it irks me that they don't allow you to get a permanent card until you have so many points. I grudgingly played using the temporary card, racking up about 15 points total. I hit for $120 on a triple cherry machine, $100 on a VP machine and then we decided to go outside and walk around.

Next stop was the Fremont Casino. I don't think I've ever been in there before. Phil won $60 on Let It Ride and I lost about $100 on slots and then we ventured over to 4 Queens. Another casino I had never been in. Here I won $120 on a slot and then played nickel reel em in and won about $40. I did their scratch off card thing but of course didn't match the numbers. Does anyone ever really win the $50,000? Somehow I doubt it. I liked 4 Queens a lot and despite losing at the Fremont, I liked that place too. Their 99 cent margaritas were great. - Sheryl won a tote bag in the 4 queens drawing.

We went over to Fitzgerald's and played a few slots. Lots of the slots had signs on them stating that they had paid out over 100% last week. Phil said it's too bad we were a week late. Phil and I ventured out onto the balcony. This is a great place to people watch and there's even cocktail service up here. We had a cocktail and then ventured back into the casino to search for Lee and Sheryl.

It was almost 7:15 and time for the money grab at the Fremont. Since we all had one ticket in, we decided to venture over there and see if we would be chosen. Of course, we weren't chosen but decided to watch the woman who was chosen. For those of you who have never seen this, the plexiglass box is large enough for someone to stand in and there is money in the box, which is blown around and around by air. The woman got in the box and her thirty seconds started. She grabbed a bunch of money and then proceeded to try to stick it through the tiny slot that goes to a box outside of the big box. She is guaranteed to win at least $50 even if she doesn't manage to get $50 into the box. She tried to cram too much money through the slot at one time and only managed to get $23 dollars into the box by the time the buzzer went off. She seemed happy with her $50 win.

We then walked down to the Lady Luck. The Lady Luck has a promotional thing outside of their casino enticing people to sign up for the slot club with the promise of free daiquiris or pina coladas, plus other gifts. We sign up for the slot club and then get
scratch cards for prizes. I scratch mine and get a free T-shirt. Phil scratches his and gets nothing...poor Phil. Sheryl also gets a T-shirt and Lee gets nothing. Phil proceeds over to the Let It Ride table and I go over to the Video Poker. I didn't win any money but played with my $20 investment for a long time. Seems like most of the VP machines here are full pay from what I recall. The only thing I didn't like was the double up feature being turned on on most of them. I don't really play the double up. I wished I could figure out how to turn it off but I guess a slot host had to do that. Sheryl checked out the coffee shop to see if we wanted to get a snack there. She came back with a less than glowing report so we moseyed on.

After the Lady Luck we went to the Golden Gate. Lee and Sheryl weren't sure they wanted to go there since the shooting had only happened the day before. I assured them that it wasn't really an everyday happening and we absolutely had to have a 99 cent shrimp cocktail. We all went in and consumed a shrimp cocktail. They were very good I thought. The shrimp are small but still seemed pretty yummy. We played a little here but I don't recall any big wins. Then we went over to the Las Vegas Club and had a four person quarter video poker tournament. Phil went through his 20 dollars in no time so then him and I played my $20. I hit one of the progressive jackpots here, winning $60. Sheryl then hits 4 Aces with a deuce kicker!! The progressive for this jackpot was $260!! Oh noooo!!! Sheryl only played 2 quarters!!! We all verbally abuse her since now she has only won $80. She doesn't care and says she's happy with $80. Phil and I put another $20 in the machine and play that for a while, again hitting a $60 jackpot. We make Sheryl play off her 4 Aces with deuce kicker with only 2 quarters so that she isn't talked about by future LVC visitors. I like the way the cocktail waitresses, dressed in cheerleader outfits ask if you?d like a drink by saying ?Can the LVC buy you a drink?? Of course we let them buy us one - or maybe two, can't remember.

After this we went to the Plaza. We had never been here either. Where is the casino in this place??? Sheryl and I went to the ladies? room. There was a very sick woman in there. The bathroom here is somewhat sleezy with ants on the floor and the aroma of vomit and urine. Sheryl and I decide that after experiencing the bathroom, we don't really care if we play in the casino and since we can't find it immediately, we leave.

Phil sees a guy playing blues music on the street so he is immediately over there, listening and forgetting all about the other people he's with on this trip. I talk Phil into buying himself the CD and then we FINALLY go over to Binion's for the late night steak special. First we go take our picture in front of the million dollars and then we go to the coffee shop. The line isn't too long and we are all starved. The coffee shop is warm and we begin to feel the effects of our long day downtown. The steak special is a great deal. The steaks are great and the rolls, salad and baked potato that come with the meal are great too! After filling up, we REALLY start to get sleepy so we decide to play a few slots just to get the obligatory souvenir coin but then agree that we should head back to the PT. I find a Blazing 7 machine for Lee and him and I decide to go in half to see if we can hit a jackpot. He plays the machine and I watch and cheer him on. We get our $40 buy in up to $160 eventually with me cheering and cheering and Lee asking me every time he hits ANYTHING whether we want to cash out. We cash out and Lee and I hug and kiss for the great $60 each win.

Now it's back to the Golden Nugget to get our car and head back. This day downtown was by far my favorite day. The Fremont Experience is a great show and I love the fact that all the downtown casinos are so close together that you can hit all of them without totally wearing yourself out. Before leaving the Golden Nugget we went to see the largest golden nugget in the world. This nugget weighs 64 pounds if I recall correctly.

We get back to the Polo Towers and all pass out.

The next day (our last full day in Vegas). I wake up early and tell Sheryl and Phil that I'm going to go over to the Holiday Inn Boardwalk for a little Video Poker while everyone gets ready. I played for a long time - at one time I was up $100. I eventually get suckered into playing slots and lose the $100. Oh well. Phil comes over and says that he lost Lee and Sheryl. We look for them for a while but can't find them so we leave and head down to Barbary Coast. Phil and I play a little Video Poker here. I won about $80 then we left. Our ultimate goal now was to eat and we wanted to try out the Grand Lux café at the Venetian. Wow, the Venetian is a LOT further than I thought it was. Phil and I both think the Venetian is a great hotel/casino. The paintings on the ceiling are beautiful and the casino seems very open. We took a walk through the shopping mall, watching the gondolas. Phil buys a cigar from the cigar shop and we try to find the café. We finally spot the café and it's great timing cuz we're absolutely starved. I ordered the Grand Lux Burger (I think) - some burger on toasted bread with cheese, grilled onions and thousand island dressing. I forget now what Phil ordered but he said it was very good. The portions are huge here just like everyone reported and we leave feeling like we need a nap. Too bad our hotel is about a mile away. We signed up for the slot club and then played some video poker. Winning nothing, I venture over to the slots. I hit for $80 on my first pull, cashing out and moving on. Playing another slot, I quickly lose almost $20. With only one coin left, I play the slot again, hitting double diamond, double diamond, single bar. Phil wants to know why I didn't get a big jackpot and I tell him I only played one coin. He frowns at me but hey, it's $50 - better than nothing.

There was a little bit of construction going on in the shopping mall at the Venetian but nothing major and from what I recall, the hotel doesn't appear to be ?under construction? as some have reported.

We left the Venetian - having a very hard time finding the correct exit. I asked Phil if he wanted to see the wax museum but he said no. Harrison Ford (the wax one) is outside the museum so I have my picture taken with him - almost knocking him over. I didn't realize that the wax figures were so light. We then leave and see the union people protesting the lack of a union at the Venetian. They are chanting 'no union, no peace?. Some guy tells us that they are storing food in the bathrooms at the Venetian and Phil and I wonder whether a union would keep things like this from happening. We joke a bit about whether our Grand Lux food was stored in the bathroom and then we continue on.

Next stop was the Imperial Palace. We had never been here before. I went to the bar to have a beer and wait for a spot at the Let It Ride table. I played a little Video poker, drinking my $20 beer. No spots at the Let It Ride Table so we play some slots. I won about $120 here, leaving with almost all of it too! We get the obligatory dollar coin and coin bucket and then move on to the Flamingo, another hotel we had never been in. I played the flaming sevens by the registration desk that everyone said were loose. I have no luck on flaming sevens or blazing sevens ever so I just lose again. I then played a fifty cent RWB machine hitting WILD WILD double bar for a $25 payout. The Wilds were nothing but Wilds. I was a little saddened by this as I thought my payout would be tripled or doubled or something. Oh well. The pool area was closed so we didn't get to see it.

We then ventured over to the Barbary Coast again for some more video poker. I quickly lose $20 so we leave. As we're crossing the street to Bally's, we see two cars that have just been in an accident. There is a policeman there on a bicycle who is yelling at the one driver. The driver who is getting yelled at is a foreign man and he appears to be trying to get his paperwork out of the car. Obviously, he is not moving fast enough for the policeman so the policeman gets angry with him and then the foreign man starts trying to defend himself. He is telling the cop to wait but the cop isn't in the mood to wait I guess so he pushes the guy up onto the sidewalk. The cop then grabs the guy around the neck and causes him to drop all of his papers. The cop then handcuffs the guy while some other guy picks up all the guy's papers. Phil and I feel sorry for the guy and can't figure out why he's being treated so mean. There must be more to the story than what we've witnessed I guess. The light changes and we continue on down the street back to the Polo Towers.

Question here regarding the people who pass out the escort service magazines. Do these people get paid per piece they hand out? We never take any of the stuff they're handing out but wonder how they're paid. Does anyone know? Just curious.

We get back to the room and Lee is there but Sheryl has gone to Lake Havasu to visit her mom. Tonight is the night that Lee has to buy me drinks all night from a bet we made on the Michigan/Michigan State football game. He also is supposed to wear the winning team's shirt (MSU) but I let him slide on that. We start off at the Polo Tower lounge. Phil and Lee play video poker but I don't. I have a corona while they lose all their money. We then head on down to the All Star Sports Café. This place is cool with all the big screen TV's and different sports things hanging from the ceiling. The special tonight is a 20 ounce Foster's with a souvenir glass. I get the special and Lee and Phil have martini's. I eat most of their olives - gotta have some food when you?re drinking you know. After drinking 3 of the specials and getting two souvenir glasses, we then go to the MGM. We find 3 seats at a bar and play some video poker. A man sitting next to me wants to know if he can buy me a drink. Not wanting Lee to get off too cheaply on his bet, I decline the man's offer and let Lee buy me a drink, explaining the bet to the guy. The guy is from Sweden and he's a sportscaster who is there for tomorrow night's fight. He's very friendly and very drunk. Of course, I was feeling very little pain as well after 4 beers. We have a very fun conversation and then the man's friend tells him it's time to go. They leave and I go play some nickel video poker just knowing that I'm going to win the progressive jackpot of $1500. Of course, I never come close so I go back to the bar, let Lee buy me another drink and lose some money at the Video poker on the bar. It's ok this time though, cuz Lee has bought me a roll of quarters so it's not my money I'm losing. I decide that since the guys are drinking martinis that maybe I should have a martini. I don't like regular martinis so I order a cosmopolitan martini. It's very good. Probably not one of my smartest moves though to switch from beer to martinis. But it's ok cuz we're walking. I leave the bar to go to the ladies room and on the way back I spot a RWB dollar slot. I put my $20 in and on the first spin I hit 3 7's and win $160!! YAY! I cash out and turn the coins in for dollars and head back to the bar. I'm so happy to have won money and most of all to have hit 3 7's as I haven't hit them all week. After another drink or two (memory gets a little fuzzy here), I go back to play the RWB machine again. I again hit 3 7's and win another $160!! YIPPEE!!!
I again go back to the bar and brag about my good fortune. By the way, Dave the bartender at this MGM bar is the friendliest of guys. He makes a darn good martini too, in my opinion.

We then decide to stumble on over to the Tropicana for a drink before bed - like we needed another one! The time spent at the Trop is fairly fuzzy and all I recall here is the crabby bartender. I don't remember his name but he was not at all happy serving drinks to people. Oh well, we're having fun!

After having way too many drinks we then stagger out of the Trop on our way back to our room. We are all starving so we go to Fatburger and take it back to our room. I love these hamburgers! After eating, we all pass out.

Saturday - our last day 

I wake up later today. My head is screaming despite the fact that I took some aspirin before going to sleep. I take some more aspirin and fall back to sleep for a while. I'm really really hungover and I'm so bummed to be feeling this way on our last day. Shame on me. I end up getting sick, taking more aspirin and then taking a nap, waking up at 1:00. Our plane leaves at 6:30 and we still have souvenirs to buy. Phil and I go over to the T-shirt shop next door and buy the obligatory gifts for all those poor souls left behind. Phil buys several cigars from the Las Vegas Cigar company and then we get another pizza from Pizza Hut Express. The pizza hits the spot. We then decide to go to the airport and check in early so that we can sit together. We get there 2.5 hours early and check in, handing over our luggage and then grab a cab back to the MGM for an hour or so of gambling. When we get back, I'm searching and searching for the money I won the night before but can't find it. I ask Phil if he knows what might have happened to it and he says he thinks that I wasted it in another machine. I find it hard to believe that I've spent $320 without remembering but since I can't find the money, I figure I must have. Oh well, easy come, easy go.

I take another hundred out of my wallet and try my luck at Megabucks. The hundred goes quickly so I go find my favorite RWB machine from the night before. I win a few dollars on some machines here and there but eventually give it all back. Phil plays his friend's money on number 34 on roulette as he was instructed to do. The number 34 never comes up though. Lee is helping me feed the hungry dollar slots.

I then decide to play the big RWB machine before we leave, hoping to hit the big $10000 jackpot. My $20 goes quickly and I win nothing at all.

Our trip is now over and we get in line for a cab back to the airport. I'm sad to leave Las Vegas and to leave Lee. We hug goodbye with promises to visit each other soon and then we are off to the airport. On the way to the airport, I am digging in my coat pockets trying to find some stray quarters and lo and behold, I pull some paper out of one pocket - it's the $320 I won the night before!!! I am so happy that I didn't spend it and now will leave Vegas with some money!

I find a few stray quarters and play them in the machines at the airport, winning nothing of course. We then board our plane and have an uneventful flight home.

Thoughts from the trip:

The Polo Towers is a nice place to stay (they should do something about the fish and shrimp heads outside of the windows though). The bartenders in their lounge are very nice and their VP machines aren't as tight as I thought they would be. Also, the offer of ear plugs in case the construction noise gets too loud seems kind of lame.

We loved the Venetian and Paris Casinos. Bellagio water show is wonderful.

Downtown LV may be old but it has charm. We are considering staying downtown on a future trip. There are still a couple of casinos downtown that we haven't been to. We never felt unsafe downtown.

From the few restaurants that we visited, we think that the Venetian's Grand Lux Café was the best.

It always seems that no matter how long we stay in Vegas, we never get to see and do all we planned on. We never made it to Laughlin, the Red Rock canyon, the M&M Store, The Coca Cola museum, various restaurants and buffets, etc.

Our choice of restaurants this trip was weird. We usually try to eat at finer places but it seemed that this time we dropped the ball on all finer establishments. But hey, we love fatburger and Krispy Kremes!

Thanks to all on this board for the tips that we were able to take advantage of and even the ones we didn't take advantage of this trip - we'll do those next trip.

I regret not making either of the meets that were scheduled. It's hard to get a group of 4 to agree on what to do it seems. Also, I, like Walker in TN, thought that the meet at Luxor was at Nefertiti's so I wouldn't have met up with anyone - well, maybe Walker! Next trip I'll be at the meet for sure.

This report is long and I hope I didn't bore everyone to death! Also, please forgive all spelling/grammar errors.

I ended up coming home with about $500. I brought more than that with me but did pretty well since I never visited the ATM or used a credit card. Phil brought home about $200. He paid for most all of the food and incidentals. We still vacationed on less than we would anywhere else in the world.

Good luck to all who are going to Vegas anytime in the future!