After our rather successful September engagement trip my parents surprised Lulu and
I with a last minute trip to Vegas Dec 19-23rd. I usually save up for months for a
Vegas trip, but I only had a 20-day window on this one, so it was the ultimate low
roller trip.

Usually I make my own reservations, but Pops was paying so he booked us on an
Expedia package trip - Continental Austin to Houston to Vegas on the 19th staying at
the Las Vegas Hilton for 4 nights.

Flight was no problem, although I hate not having a direct flight. Only trick was they
told us our luggage would be on carousel 14, and it was on 13. So after standing
around like morons for 30 minutes Lulu sees our bags on the other carousel and we
are off to the cab-line. In the cab line I knew I recognized a very well dressed
gentleman, but didn't place him until I saw a commercial with him the other day. It
was Anthony Anderson
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0026364/ Just hanging in the cab line with regular
old me. Jeez get a limo you are a movie star man!

We did not arrive at the LV Hilton until around 11pm. Asked for a high up room with
a strip view, in a central tower. Got a high up room with a downtown view in the east
(read far) tower. But they were expedia rooms, I think for $113 for 4 nights, so I
didn't expect much. Didn't even try the $20 trick, as I was on a strict budget. Threw
the clothes in the room and looked at the meager bankroll. I had about $190 total
for the 4 days. Lulu had moved some savings around and had $500 plus some back
up funds.

Headed down for a drink at the sports book bar. As Lulu and I are playing the .25
machines, we look up and Anthony Curtis is about 5 machines down and has just hit
something pretty big on a $1 machine. No hot ladies around him, just some loud
drunk, so we moved on to the Crystal Bar to lose some more.

We found a bunch of 9/6 job and Full Pay Loose Deuce machines. But I got hooked
on the pick 'em poker. They have these machines at the Sports book bar tops and
the Space Quest casino bar tops, in .25 and $1.00 forms. For those of you that don't
know they game, it is a version of video poker, you get 4 cards up, but behind the
last two cards there are piles of 2 cards down. You have to pick between the last two
cards up, and you get the pile of 2 cards down behind it. It has a 99.5 % payback,
so it isn't full pay, but it was somehow soothing to play. More on it later.

All of a sudden we felt trapped way out at the Hilton, so we caught a cab to the
Venetian, which we had not seen before. Lovely place, but either they had just
cleaned, or they pump a perfume in there, that was making me sneeze something
fierce. So we walked over to the Caesars, had a nice stiff drink at the Shadow Bar and
enjoyed the show. Then moved on to some machine gambling. Lulu loves the I Love
Lucy slots, I played more video poker, but mostly just watched Lulu play. It was
pretty late and we were way back in the Casino so I couldn't find a waitress. So I
headed up to Cleopatra's Bar to buy a couple of drinks. I whipped my last $100 and
asked for an Absolute Peppar Bloody Mary for Lulu and a Sapphire and Tonic with
lime and two olives. While I waited w/ my money on the bar not one but two women
asked if I was drinking alone. I was thinking I must be looking pretty good tonight,
for a second, until I remembered the working ladies sometimes frequent Cleo's bar. I
wished them a Merry Christmas and went back to gambling with Lulu.

Ate at the LV Hilton Coffee Shop around 5AM, Lulu enjoyed the ever-present T-Bone
special for $4.95, I had pancakes and bacon.

Got up around 10AM in time to watch my Horns lose to Arizona on TV, glad I got in
too late to bet on them, we need a point guard. Went down to make some bets on
the football games and played the pick-em poker again. Now I was down to about
$60. Lulu loaned me $100 and we set out to gambling. That night we went
downtown and played $3 blackjack at the Golden Gate, then I showed Lulu how to
play Craps at an empty table. Beginners luck didn't take hold as she 7'ed out pretty
quick. I had a nice run of about 20 rolls and the table got more crowded. We left to
check out the Plaza then worked our way through Main Street Station and the Fremont
and California. Walked right past the Megabuck machine that was to payout $8.9
million to a nice lady from Hawaii about a day later.

The drinks were getting to Lulu, so we headed back to the LV Hilton and played
awhile at the Crystal Bar. She went up to bed and I had $60 in my pocket. I decided
my problem was that I was gambling scared, and moved up to a dollar blazing 7 slot
machine. I was down to $4 bucks, and thinking Lulu was gonna being pissed, when I
hit $200. Whoohoo! Then I started thinking maybe this machine is hot, I better keep
playing. I was down to $150, got up got a few more Sapphire and tonics, and
decided Lulu would be mad about me losing the $50 so I better win it back. So I
sauntered over the roulette wheel and screamed out Money plays, and slapped my
$50 on black. The croupier said, 'no money plays,' and replaced my $50 with two
green chips while the ball was moving, which of course made the ball land on red.
The bastard.

Now I'm down $100 and need to win it back, so I head over to the $1.00 JOB
machines and play it down to about $30 while consuming several additional Sap &
Tonics. Well, I figure, I better just not tell Lulu about the $200 win. When bang, a
Straight, a Full House, another Full House, and then 4 - 5s. I'm up to $275! I figure I
am on a roll so I walk over to the Champagne Slots and thrown $40 bucks into a $10
slot machine. DAMN! I get nothing, as I am about to feed a $100 into the machine, I
catch a little snap and head up to the room. Lulu was happily surprised the next
morning.

The next day we have an appt to check out the Stratosphere Wedding chapel and Top
of the World Reception facilities. Man what a view, but the rooms may be too small
for us. We play a little there, then move on down the strip checking out the Sahara,
and Harrah's along the way. We head back to the LV Hilton to meet my parents and
granddad who are flying in today. It was my granddad who first brought me to
Vegas, and although he has a little trouble getting around now, he still loves to
gamble. Unfortunately, he was down about $600 on the first day. I was worried
about him, but the next day he hit 1600 quarters then while standing in line hit
another $200 on a dollar slot.

My father doesn't gamble much, he mostly plays nickel video poker in the sports
book, catching the games while listening to his I-pod. I won $150 off my Texans
covering against the dirty traitor titans, and hit a 3 game $10 parlay on the Cowboys,
Ravens and Miami. I wish I had bet $100.

That night my grandfather treated the family to Benihana's at the LV Hilton. It was
excellent, I had a Drunken Buddha drink, which as far as I could tell was Scotch and
Everclear mixed with a little lemon. They serve it to you in a porcelain Buddha and
you drink it through a hole in his belly. Before I knew it I was sloshed. Split up with
the folks and headed back to the Spacequest casino where I hit several full house and
a four of a kind on $1 pick em poker.

The next day we took a $60 cab ride to the Little Church of the West to check out
their facilities. What a cute place. But again, so small. They said they could fit as
many as 80 in there, but they couldn't fit 80 of my family and friends, we are big
people. We were supposed to go check out the chapels at the Flamingo and
Caesar's, but Lulu wasn't feeling well so we went back to the LV Hilton. I hit another
4OK on the Pick-em poker. By now I had paid Lulu back and took care of all our
drinks and cab rides and expenses off my winnings.

My mother and aunt treated Lulu to a facial at the LV Hilton spa, she found it
enjoyable.

Later, my Aunt and Uncle had arrived and the whole family went downtown to check
out the FSE and the pretty Christmas Tree. I love downtown, we often stay at the
Nugget, and it was pretty happening for a Monday night, but man it was cruel to me, I
must have lost $200 bucks, and I wasn't even really trying to gamble. My dad hit
$400 on a WOF machine, and my granddad did well. We had a late dinner at the Tony
Roma's it was crap.

I went up to bed to get ready for the early flight, while Lulu blew some more money at
the Hilton. We had promised ourselves if we hit anything over $2000 we would just
stay in Vegas through Christmas. But it was not to be. Poor Lulu was playing the Elvis
machines at the airport right up until last call for boarding, she said she was trying to
'Keep the dream alive.'

All in all it was a great and relaxing trip. I had better luck than Lulu, but neither of us
had the budget we normally like to have. The Hilton was nice, but it was a $10 cab
ride from everything! We probably wouldn't stay there again, but the price was right
this time, and I did really enjoy their sports book, and the pick 'em poker. That is a
great game, I wish it was more widely available. Lulu and I didn't get to do enough
research on the chapels so we may have to sneak out there one more time before our
wedding in July. We ended up with $100 comp dollars and several hundred points
on our park place cards. We will use them up next trip.

Thanks for reading everybody. Thanks for the great trip donvegassr and Happy New
Year and Good Luck!

-donvegasjr