Just got back today and already thinking about when I can go back. Me and hubby went to Vegas for our 20th Anniversary. Had 4 nights comped at Harrahs up front, along with 2 free tickets to both Clint Holmes and Scintas at the Rio. Both shows were terrific, especially Holmes - what a talented man, and his entire band were all excellent singers and musicians themselves. What was really cool was sitting in the booth right behind us was Mr. Tony Bennett. He and Clint had just played tennis together that morning. That was very exciting. Earlier that day, we were at The Venetian doing a little shopping when this big crowd started moving towards us. With security guards clearing the way, here came Michael Jackson with his two older children. His little boy walking in front of him in his little plaid short suspenders had his head draped with some sort of cloth so you couldn't see him (as usual). The little long-blonde-headed girl (which I assumed was his daughter) was clinging to him, but her head wasn't covered. He passed within three feet of us. He was in town for the Radio Music Awards at the Alladin that night. Oh, we also went to the Improv at Harrah's, which was hillarious. Three comedians - a little on the vulgar side, but very funny. I have a Diamond card at there, so I can buy 4 tickets a year to any of theirs or Rio's shows at 75% off.

I don't go to Vegas to eat, I can do that at home. I go to gamble. Only reason I actually went to any of the shows was to keep hubby entertained (since it WAS our anniversary). We did enjoy the buffet at MGM. I got a players card and played for maybe 1-1/2 to 2 hours - $25/hand blackjack, and asked for a comp for two at the buffet. Wasn't sure how strict they were with their comps, but it was not a problem. The pit lady was very sweet and even gave me a line pass, so got to avoid the long line as well. After a great lunch, played another hour of BJ there. Ended up winning $400 from MGM. I hope they send me some kind of free room offer to stay there. I like that end of the strip, and especially the quantity of tables that they have. Being comped for my room and tickets at Harrah's, I felt obligated to play there most of the time, but their new Total Rewards Program that they put in place this summer really sucks. I think they make it too hard to earn enough points to earn even a stupid buffet. Plus, I didn't really like their selection of blackjack tables very much this trip. Living in Houston, I'm only two hours away from Lake Charles, LA, which I frequent probably way too much, which is why I get the comps. Anyway, back to gambling. First night at Harrah's I ended up $210. Then the MGM vist got me $400 more. That night at Harrah's, another $400. Nothing out of the ordinary blackjack play, just an occasional idiot splitting tens or busting his hard 14 hand against a dealer five card. You kinda get used to this stuff if you play enough. Those players usually lose their money faster than others and move on to the ATM's until they call it a night. I was now up $1000. The next day, I ran into the three BJ tables from hell. You players know they ones. The dealer has a permanent face card for their up card, and of course you have the basic 14, 15 and 16. You finally get the pretty matching colored cards for a 20, and the dealer pulls seven little cards for a perfect 21. First table, lost $200 in about 15 minutes. Go to a show. Come back with a little determination for a second go. Second table, fought back after an hour to only lose another $150. Sigh. Next table, ten minutes, another ($150). OK, $500 lost for this day so far. Still in range of turning this ugly tugboat around, but starting to get late. I'm NOT going to have a loss for this day, so now around midnight I go to work at the 4th table. Slow and steady go I until 5:00 a.m., and I fight back to be up $57.50 for the day! Had to do a little shopping the last day and meet sister-in-law and hubby for show and dinner, so never got back to the tables. Probably a good thing. I was dead tired anyway. Only got about seven hours of sleep in the first three nights there. So, had a super duper time in my favorite playland and they ended up paying me about $1100 to do it. No place like Vegas on earth!

Sorry for rambling on, but one final note. Go to the Rio and go up to the top (51st floor or so) to The Voodoo Lounge. Grab a drink at the bar and walk outside on the balcony for a 180 degree view of Las Vegas. It was a mild night, no wind, and an unobstructed view of the entire strip was laid out in front of me like a panoramic postcard. UNBELIEVABLE!