Flight on Southwest (SW) from Salt Lake to Las Vegas was okay, but I wish SW would clean their planes before the next flight. I know SW prides itself on quick turn-around, but getting into a dirty plane does little for my confidence. In addition, the upholstery and carpeting was ripped and the plane was in general need of refurbishment. This was the first time I had flown on SW, normally fly Delta. Since Delta usually matches SW in price, I'll stick with Delta in the future.

Arrived in Las Vegas about ½ hour late, which is really no big deal, but it was a 50 minute flight. Hopped on a CLS shuttle and off to the LV Hilton. The LV Hilton was not my first choice, but as I was attending a conference at the Convention Center, thought it would be more convenient. Beat the conference rate of $110/nt with an Internet rate of $34/nt. Check in took all of 2 minutes. Wanted an upper floor, but at the $34 rate, received a room on the 8th floor. Nice room, not fancy like the Bellagio or Golden Nugget (two previous stays), but more than adequate. Very clean and well laid out. Tipped the maid a couple of bucks every night, simply because I agree with others on this web page, the maids are probably the hardest working/least appreciated/least likely to be tipped people in Vegas. The room was a little odd in that it was much larger than normal. I think this was to make the room fit in the curved part of the Hilton, where expansion had occurred. Anyway, room was nice and had a great desk for work. I like the bay style windows - as I looked out my window at all of the other rooms, I can't imagine how much it would cost to put in bay style windows on a 3,300 room hotel.

Went downstairs to get something to eat. Picked up a Baron's Card, and began to become curious about how much gambling it would take to win anything. Plopped down in front of a nickel VP machine in the Sports book and started playing. Had fun watching a few basketball games and listening to the people scream when their horses would win. By the end of the night, I had won $14. Asked the Baron's Card folks what it took to get something, and they responded that at 100 points, you received $10 back. I had sat at this machine for 2 hours and had something like 19 points. I'm assuming that means that $1,900 went through the machine, but wasn't sure.

I am not a big gambler (obviously). My rationale mind has already figured out that you don't build $1.5 billion dollar hotel/casinos, offer low room rates, and expect people to show up and win. I know that all of the odds on every game lean towards the casino. It is a business, after all. But it is a lot of fun to try to beat the house or at the very least, entertain yourself and stay even. In addition, I would probably be a little more interested if their were non-smoking casinos; but there aren't and I wouldn't build one either.

Did conventioning on Wednesday. Convention Center isn't exactly AT the LV Hilton, but they are in proximity to each other. The conference had a shuttle that took you from the East Tower over to the convention center. The walk was over a mile. Played a little more that night, and won about $25 more. Had a couple of four of a kinds, which was sort of cool. Ate dinner at Quarks with an old friend. Don't know what I was thinking of, we hadn't seen each other for about 5 years and wanted to talk, so we plop ourselves in the middle of a Star Trek episode and try to communicate. Food was okay, but sort of pricey for a turkey wrap and pasta salad.

Couldn't sleep Wednesday night, so I got up early and went on a walk-about. Walked from the LVHilton down past the Aladdin. I had never been in the Venetian, it was quite impressive, but very quiet. Walked past the Desert Inn, it looked sad all boarded up. I always wanted to stay there, but was never able to (I don't think I was the only one who never stayed there). There were some construction folks working on the parking façade; I thought it was going to be imploded? The Bellagio was as nice as usual. Didn't care much for the Aladdin, it was nice, but not impressive. Ate breakfast at the Bellagio buffet, which was very good. Lots and lots of choices, with fresh fruits and juices. The Bellagio (as well as the Golden Nugget and I assume the Mirage and TI) serve Coca-Cola products, which I prefer. I thought that Pepsi had some sort of monopoly on Las Vegas and the state of Nevada. Lost some dollars in several of the casinos as I walked back to the convention center to do some more conventioning. This was probably a fairly long walk, but there is a bunch of stuff to look at, and it is hard to tell how long you walk, because the casinos are so big and far apart.

Thursday night I found myself back in the sportsbook. I have played quarter and nickel machines for years and always wanted to get a royal flush. Since I was up a little, and hadn't dipped into my spending money, I was bound and determined to get a royal flush. Sat at a nickel VP machine for about 2 hours, and slowly lost what I had won. Came really close to getting a royal, but was always one card off. On several occasions, had a 10, J, Q, K, and A, but one of the cards was of the wrong suit. I was about $40 down, but had 92 points on my stupid card. I made an impulse decision to start playing a quarter VP machine so that I could get up to 100 points (what goes on inside a persons mind that makes you think that this is a good, rationale decision). Anyway, put $20 in a quarter machine, played for a little bit, hit a 4 of a kind, then a couple of full houses. Now I'm sitting with about $75, and I say to myself, I'm going to take this down to my original $20 and now lower (still trying to get that elusive payback of $10). I play for another hour or so. The group sitting behind me hits a royal flush (on a multi-play nickel machine) and I'm starting to think it'll never happen to me. I run my good luck of $75, past my $20 stopping point, and down to $2.75. I play 5 quarters, am given a 10, J, K, and A of diamonds, and a 2 of clubs. I discard the 2 and get the Queen of diamonds.

NOW, for those of you who write to this website, and talk about your wins, I have been there with you and have rejoiced. I know that this was only a $1,000 win, and many of you win and lose this kind of money at the airport. But for me, it was pretty damn exciting. I played for a few more minutes, stopped at exactly $1,000, and pushed the button. The nicest change person came over and congratulated me. She went and got the money and told me to hold out my hand as she counted out 10-100 dollar bills. I gave her a $10 tip (she really was very nice and excited for me). Walked over to the Baron's card folks, had 130 points, cashed out 100 for my $10 pay-back, and gave that to her, too.

Got up early Friday, had room service, CLS shuttle driver was at the Hotel right on time, and made it to the airport with time to spare. SW flight was once again, ½ late, and the plane was just as dirty (first flight of the day), so it was good to get back to business as usual.

If someone has read this whole report, sorry that it was so boring, but someone out there might say, Hey, that's kinda cool. Have fun in Vegas and remember to bring something home; cash is preferable.