Pre trip...

My wife and I have been going to Las Vegas once a year since 1995. I have also been to Las Vegas on a guys trip on 3 separate occasions. We have stayed at MGM, Treasure Island, Luxor and Mandalay Bay. My brother and his wife went along with us this trip. They have not been to Las Vegas since 2003. On that trip, we had my parents, our best friends, our neighbors and my brother and his wife. We learned a few things on that trip...

1) Never go to Las Vegas with people who do not like to walk a lot.
2) Never go to Las Vegas with people who do not like to spend money.
3) Never go to Las Vegas with a couple where one likes to gamble and the other one does not. The poor guy had to sneak around to gamble. His wife found him with me at the bar at Luxor playing video poker and all I heard was 'ARE YOU GAMBLING AGAIN?!?'
4) Never try to go with a big group to Las Vegas. You never have the same agenda and will never be able to make everyone happy.
5) We learned that my brother and his wife would be perfect Las Vegas companions on a future trip due to the fact that they were willing to go with the flow and willing to do their own thing if they wanted to.

We decided on a week to go and started the waiting game. You know the one where you wait until Southwest Airlines or any other airline starts taking reservations for the time frame that you want to go. Finally the dates rolled over and we were able to secure a flight for about $192.00 per person round trip leaving Omaha on June 9th at 10:10am and leaving Las Vegas at 7:45pm on June 13th.

Now that the flight was booked, we started to look for which hotel was going to give us the best deal. I started with our host at Luxor. She was able to give us a couple of free nights up front with the rest to be determined by our play, but was unable to really do anything for my brother. We checked with Flamingo for the pool, but I could not get anyone to return my calls or pick up the phone, so piss on them. Next was Paris. The phone was answered on the first ring by a casino host. She checked my play from the local Horseshoe & Harrahs casino just across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa and was able to get me 3 free nights and one night at $79. She was able to get my brother a casino rate based on my play for less than $400 for all 4 nights. We had never stayed at Paris and thought the location would be great so we booked. Now we started the real waiting game. You know the one where all you have to do is wait until you get to go to Las Vegas.

In the months leading up to our trip, I had plenty of time to come up with things we might want to do, some new places to eat and some places we had seen but my brother and his wife had not but would enjoy seeing. I made several list of things to show my brother and his wife. We looked at websites about various places, shows and restaurants. We got together about 3 weeks before our trip and made some final plans and now we were set...or so we thought.

A few days later, I got an email offer from Mandalay Bay. This offer included up to 5 free nights in The Hotel, $200 in free play. A round of golf at Primm Valley Golf Club with a limo ride to and from for $60 per person and $100 in food and beverage. Also, if you did not take them up on the golf part of the offer, they gave you an extra $75 in free play. Also, if you came in on a Sunday through Wednesday, they gave you an extra $150 in free play. How could I pass this up??

Well I needed to work a deal for my brother and his wife too, so I just could not stay at Mandalay Bay with out being able to bring them along. We did not want to be staying at separate hotels. It would have been a pain in the ass trying to coordinate plans with each other. So after a couple of phone calls to VIP services at Mandalay Bay, I agreed to give up the suite at The Hotel in order to get 2 regular rooms at Mandalay Bay. We booked Sunday though Tuesday in order to take full advantage of the free play offer. We were given 3 nights free and my brother was given 2 free nights and one night at $90 on me. So I changed our reservations from 4 nights to 1 at Paris and with only 14 days before our trip, we were finally set and ready to go.

So without further delay...

Friday 6-8-07

We both had to work Friday. So I made sure I was in the office before 10:00 am in order to print boarding passes for everyone. I was on the Southwest website at 10:12 am and was able to secure A boarding passes for everyone. Sweeeet!! After that I really lost interest in work and informed everyone that I was done for the day and was heading home. After some mild complaining from the bosses, they finally saw things my way and I was out the door. I stopped at the bank for some cash and stopped at AAA for some travelers checks and headed home. I could get used to being home on Fridays at 12:30. I sat around the house for a while, mowed the grass and hung out with the our cats. They seemed to want to go with us as they spent most of the afternoon sitting in or on our suitcases. My wife was home after 5:30 and we decided we were officially on vacation. We had a frozen pizza for dinner and while my wife finished her packing, I went to the neighbors to gloat about going to Las Vegas while they would be working and drank a few beers. It was just enough beer to help me sleep. We were in bed by 10:30.

Saturday 6-9-07

The alarm went off at 6:30 and I woke up ready to get out of town. We got ready at a leisurely pace and we were ready to go before 8:00am. We made one quick stop at the store, one stop at McDonald's and one stop at the Harrahs in Council Bluffs Iowa to cash in $25 in coupons that were good that day to take with me to Las Vegas. We met up with my brother and his wife at VIP parking and we were headed to the airport with plenty of time before our 10:10am nonstop flight.

Since 2004, I was able to convince my wife that we do not need anything more than carry on luggage to Las Vegas. She has found this to be true since that trip. So we convinced my brother and his wife of the same. We were through security and sitting at the gate with just over an hour before our flight left. The plane was early from Chicago and we were boarding the plane about 20 minutes before we were to leave. The plane backed up about 5 minutes early and we were in the air right on time. The flight attendants were funny as they are on most Southwest flight. The line I remember best was when she was talking about disabling a smoke detector in the bathroom was a fine up to $2000. She added, If you could afford that, you would have flown on United. I took along a portable DVD player and watched Fun with Dick & Jane. It made the flight go by faster and about 30 minutes after the movie was over, we were on the ground In Las Vegas.

We were off the plane and into the train from the C gates headed towards baggage claim in no time. On the way down the escalator, we saw the limo driver from Paris that our host had sent holding a sign with our name on it. His name was David and he seemed very pleased when I told him we did not have any checked luggage. We were off to the limo and on our way to Paris in record time. The limo was nice and cool as he had left the air running while waiting for us to arrive. My wife and my brothers wife insisted on a picture with the limo driver. He was happy to pose with us and was tipped accordingly for his services.

We were dropped off in front of Paris and were directed to the Diamond check in lounge. We were greeted warmly by people who pretended to know us and we were called by name once we gave them our information. We were given room 2449 at the very end of the hall on the 24th floor. The room had everything we would require...a soft bed, a nice sized bathroom and a safe. There was a 27" tv on the dresser and there was a separate shower and tub. There was also a phone next to the toilet. We checked in with my brother and he was in a room exactly like ours only in one of the other hallways on the same floor. We found out later that there was no phone by the toilet in his room. We decided to rest for a few minutes and met up in the casino about 30 minutes later.

We have never stayed at Paris and the only other time I remember being in the place was the trip with the group of people in 2004. I remember the guy who's wife did not like him gambling did not go up the Eiffel Tower so he could gamble while his wife did go up the tower. Things you remember...anyway, we wandered to get a feel for the casino and decided it was smaller than we would have expected. There was also poor selection of video poker games. I do not mean the pay tables, I just mean the selection of games themselves. There were an overabundance of penny machines. The poker room was an after thought in the corner of the sports book and the odds on craps was 3x. So we decided to find some lunch / dinner. We wandered the corridor of restaurants and decided on Le Provencal. The waiter was friendly and the food was good. Some had pizzas, some had pasta dishes and some had a sandwich. We decided to move on from Paris after lunch.

We wandered through Ballys just to check it out. I was not impressed with Ballys any more than Paris. We went out the doors and down the moving walkway. We headed across the street to the Bellagio. My brother and his wife had never been and wanted to see the place. We wandered through the casino and saw the lobby and the conservatory. We enjoyed seeing them again as we usually do not make this stop when it is just my wife and I in Las Vegas. We then went around the corner to see the chocolate fountain. I must say, I was more impressed by this than I would have imagined. This thing was huge. It was worthy of a few pictures according to my wife.

We moved on from here and we headed out through the shops at the Bellagio when the women tell my brother and I that the guy over there on his cell phone looks like Howard Lederer. Huh...would you look at that...it is Howard Lederer. He was gracious enough to take a couple pictures with us and was very cordial. He suggested we head over to Rio if we wanted to see more poker players. The WSOP is going on there right now. We had already planned on doing that on Sunday.

We then headed up the street towards the Venetian and Madame Tussauds wax museum. We stopped into Bill's to get a new chip for my collection and moved on. We wandered into the Flamingo to check out Margaritaville and to see the wildlife habitat. Margaritaville was busy today. We just wandered and looked. My wife and I have eaten here but my brother and his wife had never been. Out to the gift shop for a quick look and out to the wildlife habitat. I have never seen this before, and can only imagine that it was better with the penguins. It was worth a look though. There were also 2 weddings going on in the habitat area.

Back into the casino. We have been on the ground for about 3 hours and we have not gambled. Now was that time. We found some spin poker machines the women found some multi strike poker machines and we were set. Up and down until around 3:00 when the Belmont was going to be running. We found the sports book at the Flamingo and placed a few bets and found a spot to watch the race. It was pretty funny...the sports book had a live feed to the race on some tv's and they had whichever network that was carrying the race on some other tv's. The race shown on the network was on a 10 to 20 second delay, so when the race was over for real, there was a lot of cheering and yelling and when it was over on the network, there was more cheering and yelling. Anyway, we did pick the winner and she paid $10.40 on a $2 bet. After the race, we went back to our machines and played for a little while longer and then moved on to Venetian and the wax museum.

We had coupons that I printed off destinationcoupons.com for 2 for 1 after 5:00pm. This saved us $24 per couple. We made our way to the counter and got tickets and we were on our way. They had the usual displays that we saw last time...J Lo, Ben Affleck, Hugh Heffner, Princess Diana, Sly Stallone, Shaq, Jordan, George Bush and Brad and Angelina. They also had a few new ones...Nicholas Cage from Ghost Rider, Jenna Jamison, a couple of race car drivers, Spiderman and a new chamber of horrors that I would not go into. In the chamber of horrors, the characters were not made of wax, they were real people dressed like the Jason, Freddy and some other creepy guy that my wife and my brother and his wife were running from. I do not do haunted houses, so I got to hear about what a puss I was for leaving my wife all alone in the chamber of horrors. They said it was not really scary, but I heard them screaming from outside the chamber of horrors. I would say that the wax museum is worth the price with a 2 for 1 coupon, but not worth it at full price. We made a quick loop of the shops at Venetian and saw the gondolas and a couple of living statues. We were here about an hour and we decided to head back towards Paris. We made a quick stop at TI and caught the 7:00pm Sirens show. I would like it better if the Sirens were naked. It was pretty cheesy and I would not go 10 feet out of my way to see it again, but some nudity would make me come back to watch it again and again.

We left TI after a quick walk through the casino. We headed back down the strip and made a quick stop in The Forum Shops to ride the spiral escalators. This took all of 10 minutes and we were back on the street headed to Paris. We finally made it back. My brother and I made plans to meet in the casino around 7:00am to goof around while the women slept in a little and got ready for the day. My wife and I stopped by the Diamond Lounge at Paris for a little snack. There were several tuxedo dressed waiters who referred to themselves as our butler serving drinks. We grabbed a quick sandwich and a couple of hot appetizers and a drink and took a couple of bottles of water with us. I stayed in the room for about 10 minutes and then went back to the casino by myself for a couple hours. I did mostly wandering around and playing a few quarter slots. No losses but a little win. In the room by 11:30pm. How sad is that. I must be getting old. Sleep came pretty easy...

Sunday 6-10-07

I was up on my own by 5:30am. My wife gave me a hard time about being up so early, but I could sleep when we went home. I wandered around the casino for a little while and watched the party people dragging themselves in after being out all night. I have learned I like being in the casino early in the morning. It is pretty quiet and you get to have just about any machine you want. I found a quarter slot that kept me occupied until I met up with my brother. We decided on 100 play video poker. The pay table was terrible, but I do not care about pay tables on vacation. We were content to play and smoke cigars and have some guy goofing around time when my brother was dealt 4 fours with a deuce. Yes I said he was dealt 4 fours with a deuce on a 100 play machine. We were playing triple bonus so it was a $2000 hand pay and a tax form. It was a nice way for him to start off the trip. We played for a little while longer and met up with the women for breakfast at Le Village Buffet at Paris around 9:00am.

We have never had this buffet before. Maybe my expectations were to high. Whatever the reason, this buffet was average at best. What kind of a buffet does not have biscuits and gravy or corned beef hash?? And do not tell me because they do not fit in with the french theme. Do pancakes, oatmeal or bacon say french any more than hash?? Anyway, I would say this buffet was not as good as say Luxor. But that is just my opinion. Anyway we ate and moved on.

Since we were checking out today, I stopped by the Diamond check in area and got a 1:00pm check out. We then went next door to Planet Hollywood. I must say, this place is really nice. The new decor is hip and trendy and the music they played was upbeat and not rap crap. I would have liked to spend some time here, but we had things to do. I grabbed a new chip and we went across the street to Bellagio to get the rental car from Dollar. I got a Dodge Caliber for 2 days for less than $60.00. I was also able to return it to the Dollar at Mandalay Bay which was nice. We headed back to Paris, finished packing what little we unpacked, went back to the Diamond check in and checked out. I payed for our buffet, lunch from Le Provencal and my brothers room with points and we were back in the valet line. I love having a Diamond card. We had our car back in less than 5 minutes and in front of the long line of people who obviously did not have Diamond cards. Sweeeet!!

We headed towards Mandalay Bay. It was an easy drive at 1:00pm on a Sunday. We valeted the car and headed into the lobby. There was no one in the invited guest line so I was able to check in right away. A quick stop at the VIP lounge to get our line pass and we were on our way to the rooms. We were given rooms on the 12th & 14th floor. My brothers room looked west towards the mountains and our room looked right down over the beach area. Our room was #12325. It was a newly remodeled room that had a plasma tv in the living area, a desk and chair, a very comfortable lounge chair and a very comfortable sofa. The bed was a king size with an incredibly soft pillow top. We even found a tag on the pillow top to look into getting one for our bed at home. There was also a safe in the closet. The bathroom was large with 2 sinks, a separate tub and shower and the toilet in a separate room. There was also a flat screen tv in the bathroom. Just after getting into the room, a maintenance guy knocked and wanted to know if it was ok to put in a new phone. They are putting in cordless phones on all of the desks in the hotel. So we were the first people to use the new phone in room #12325. After getting settled in, we went down to get new cards and to activate our free play. We made a quick loop of the casino and made our way back to the valet. We were headed to the Rio.

We arrived at the Rio and the valet said 7 Stars/Diamond only. Hey that's us. Once inside, we followed the signs to the WSOP area. There were people everywhere. Once we got into the poker area, it looked just like it did on tv. We saw the spotlight table that they show on tv and the beer girls and tons of other people, but no one we recognized. Of course there was like 3000 people in the room so it was hard distinguish people. So there were probably people there we would recognize, but we just did not see them. We wandered for a while then decided to give up and head to the casino. My wife and brother and his wife had never seen the show in the sky. It did not start until 4:00pm, so we had to kill an hour in the casino. Well, my brother and I hit the casino and the women went through the shops. I was playing spin poker, and my brother was playing 100 play again. I kid you not, on the 3rd hand he played on his machine, he was dealt 4 aces. He was playing triple bonus again so the 4 aces pays 800 credits but the 4 aces with the kicker pays 4000 credits. When he pushed the button, he got enough kickers to win just shy of $1150. He was glad to have won without getting another form. I had to go find his wife so she could come and see what he had hit.

The show in sky at the Rio is worth seeing once or twice, but after that, it is more of a distraction than something entertaining. We ended up staying at the Rio until around 4:30pm. We needed to get back to Mandalay Bay for the 7:30 Mama Mia Show.

We got back, changed clothes and went into Mandalay Place for dinner at Café Giorgio. We have been here before and have always enjoyed the food and the service. We also had a $25 restaurant.com certificate which I got on one of their many 60% off sales, so it only cost me $4. What made this dinner even better, was the fact that my brother was buying. Dinner was tasty. Our server was Ken. He made suggestions and offered insight without being pushy. We all had something different and they were all good. We each tried some of what the other had. It was fun. Dinner after the coupon was about $100 before tip. Well worth it. On to Mama Mia.

What can we say about this show?? It is the second time we have seen it. We saw it a couple years back when they came through Omaha. I would see it a third time. It is just a fun show. We were able to get tickets in the 4th row on the aisle which proved to be worth the price. Just a fantastic show. Great acting, fantastic singing and a great theater. We had just a wonderful time. The show got over around 10:00 and we headed out into the casino. We took over a whole row of video poker machines of various games and proceeded to play for a couple of hours before the wives said it was time to go to bed. It was coming up on 1:00am and I was tired from the night before, so to the room we went. I was asleep in no time.

6-11-07 Monday

We slept in today until almost 8:30am. Our plans for today was to get to Red Rock Casino, Green Valley Ranch, Hash House A GO GO and Paymon's Hookah Lounge on Maryland Parkway. We met up around 9:30 and hit the Bay Side Buffet for breakfast. They had all of the standard fare including hash and biscuits and gravy. After a breakfast which all in our group thought was better than the buffet at Paris, we hung out in the casino for a little while and then went to get the car from the valet. Our first stop was Green Valley Ranch.

Green Valley is pretty easy to get to from Mandalay Bay. Take a right out of the valet, take a left onto the interstate and take a right at Green Valley. My wife and I have been here a couple of times but my brother and his wife had not. We valeted the car and headed into the casino. It was really quiet today. Which I happen to like about a casino. We went to the players booth to get new cards for us and to sign up my brother and his wife. They each won $3 in free play when they signed up. The guys went one way and the women another. We met up after about an hour and a half. I left up some, my brother, his wife and my wife down some. We went out and got the car and headed back towards Mandalay Bay.

We decided to hang out at Luxor until it was time to head to the hookah lounge. We gambled some and headed to La Salsa upstairs at Luxor for fruity drinks and chips and salsa. We have stopped at this La Salsa almost every time we are in town. The drinks and chips and salsa are good, but the food is mediocre at best. I would almost be willing to say that the food there is almost not good. We drank and ate until around 4:45pm. Then it was back to Mandalay Bay and the valet to get the car.

We headed out and found the hookah lounge with no problems. It was an interesting experience to say the least. The place was located in a strip mall not to far from UNLV on Maryland Parkway. We were greeted by a host who asked us if we were eating or smoking. We said smoking and we were sent to the bar side of the restaurant. The bar looked just like we thought it would. Lots of rugs hanging on the walls, lots of prisms hanging from the ceiling, kind of dark, with lots of sofas and chairs that were comfortable and of course a hookah on every table. We were approached right away and offered seats and drink menus. We settled on 2 drinks. One called Genie's Naval and one called a Mocha-tini. They were both good and since it was happy hour, they were half price. The happy hour also included half price hookahs. We were then approached by the hookah master. He was a friendly guy who brought over a tray with several types of tobacco on it. He explained the differences in the tobaccos and which ones would be acceptable to people who do not smoke. After a few minutes, we settled on the strawberry flavor. Before bringing over the tobacco, he brought over a kind of hand cleanser that smelled like orange. It was quite refreshing and is part of the experience. The hookah master brought the tobacco to our table and explained how the hookah worked. He started it up for us and took three big puffs as a sign of good luck and left us to enjoy our drinks and our hookah. We spent about an hour here. The atmosphere was enjoyable and the company was great. Even the women seemed to enjoy themselves and did partake of the hookah. It was a great time. 4 drinks and a hookah was less than $20 before tip. Happy hour was a great time to go.

After the hookah lounge, it was on to Hash House A GO GO. We also had a restaurants.com certificate that was good for $25 off that I got for $4. If you have never been here before, let me try and explain...The food is huge. I mean picture a pancake the size of a manhole cover and picture 3 of them on a plate that is bigger than the pancake. We saw a chicken and pasta dish when we walked in the door on a table that would have fed 4 people and still hand some left over. I asked why everything was so big and our waitress replied..'the owner is from a farm where all the food was big.' I do not know if that is true or not but the 4 of us split three entrees and there was at least a whole meal left over. It was good. It was fun to try it. It was nice diversion from the your typical restaurant. I would go there again with someone who has not been there before, but I would probably not make the trip on my own. We were here about an hour. I couldn't believe that the waitress asked us if we wanted dessert. We declined and we were out the door for less than $40 before tip. On to the Red Rock Hotel Casino.

Red Rock was only about 5 miles from Hash House. It was straight down the street, onto the interstate and off at Red Rock. My wife and I have been here before. It had been open only a few days when we were here last year. The whole place is just nice. From the hotel lobby to the casino to the 70 lane bowling alley. The screens on the video poker and video slot machines are crystal clear and look to be high def. The casino was kind of quiet on Monday night. My brother and his wife found a machine to play and my wife and I went to see the new bowling alley. 70 lanes that we could see and some lanes in another room reserved for parties and high roller bowlers apparently. It was neat to see that many lanes. It appeared to be locals with kids on this night. Lots of kids.

We made our way back to my brother and his wife. We proceeded to play various video poker games for a couple hours and found our way out to the valet around 10:30pm. We made our way back to the strip via the interstate to Tropicana. We parked the car in the Dollar car rental spots on the 3rd floor of Mandalay Bays parking garage and made our way down to the casino. By this time the women were tired and my brother and I had agreed that Monday night would be a guys late night. We took our wives up to their rooms and we met back down in the casino.

What to do...what to do. We were in Las Vegas with money burning a hole in our pockets and because our wives were not with us, we had no adult supervision. We made our way to Luxor through Mandalay Place. MGM has really started tearing this place up. There was a new bar where Nefertitis lounge was. It looks really nice and pretty high end. There was no high limit area in the middle of the casino anymore. They are building a new bar where that used to be. They took out my spin poker machines that I was wanting to play and they moved some of the other machines I liked around and I had to go searching for them.

My brother made his way to the poker room to try some low limit no limit holdem with some of his newly acquired wealth from Sunday. I found the 100 play machines I was looking for and went about trying to win some cash. I succeeded in losing a couple hundred pretty quick. My brother found me after about an hour having won $8 playing no limit holdem. We both proceeded to lose a few more bucks and we decided to call it quits around 4:30am. Back to the room for much needed sleep.

Tuesday 6-12-07

Today was the day we were planning on spending at the beach at Mandalay Bay. Anyone who knows about the pool at Mandalay Bay knows it is really nice. The wave pool and the lazy river are really nice. The beach area is always neat and clean and the 'scenery' is always nice. About 10 days before going I called a booked a cabana by the pool. They said they only had a few left and booked one for us on one of the outlying pools. We decided that would be ok as long as we were near either the wave pool or the lazy river.

We made our way down to the pool around 9:00am to find out that there is a lot of construction going on in the pool area. They are building new casino out on the beach and you have to walk all the way around the pool area just to get into the place. Once inside, we were directed to the cabana check in area. I was greeted with a smile and told that they were full today and that we were in a cabana in a smaller side pool area. We were led to our cabana which ended up being clear back were the old entrance of the pool used to be. We were shown the amenities of the cabana which included a small couch, a fridge with some water and pop in it and 2 lounge chairs. I asked the host if there was another one that we could have that was not so far away from the lazy river. She replied that they were full for the day and due to the late date that we called in our reservation this is what they had available. I took out my wallet and showed her a $100 bill and asked her if there was any way we could get one of the cabanas on the island surrounded by the lazy river. She said and I quote 'I think I can work that out for you.' Next thing I know, my wife and I are being led to the island surrounded by the lazy river. Our host is explaining that there is a safe, a plasma tv and a fridge stocked with pop, bottled water, ice and a phone on the table in the corner. She then began to ask how much sun we wanted. If we wanted sun all day, we wanted cabana #30. If we wanted more shade later in the day, we should take #29. We decided on #30 and got settled in. Our host brought us rafts, more towels and uncovered the plasma tv. She was such a nice girl. I thanked her for her kindness and asked her what cabana I was going to get charged for. She explained that I would be charged for the cheaper one on the other side of the pool. This is the point where I gave her the $100 tip and I started giggling like a little kid.

My brother and his wife showed up a few minutes later. They were surprised by the location of our cabana. We enjoyed the wave pool a few times and spent a lot of time in the lazy river. We ordered lunch around 11:00am and had drinks delivered around 1:30pm. We spent from 9:00 until 4:30 at the pool. That has to be a record for me. I usually get tired of the pool after an hour or so. But I was tired from being out all night and had a couch to lounge on with pillows, a ceiling fan keeping us cool and a plasma tv to fall asleep in front of. All was right with the world on this afternoon.

We headed in an got cleaned up for our last night in town. The four of us went to the Surf Side Buffet for dinner at Mandalay Bay. It was a little more expensive than some other buffets. 2 people for dinner was about $63.00. The buffet did have just about anything you could possible want. Good king crab legs that were already split, really good prime rib, some really good turkey and really nice service. After dinner, we just spent the evening in the casino until the women decided they were tired again. My brother and I made an executive decision that we were going to stay up again tonight. We took the wives to bed and met up again in the casino. We decided that maybe we could play some poker. We headed to the Excalibur by way of the tram and got on the list to play a $2-$6 spread limit holdem game. We waited around about 30 minutes and they still had not called our name. So we decided to take off. We wandered around the casino for a little while and came to the conclusion that Excalibur is a real dump. It looked dirty and rundown. Some of the machines we saw still took change and were not TITO machines. What the hell?

We made our way to the Luxor through the walkway between the 2 properties
and wondered around here for a while. We both pissed away a few bucks and decided to head back to Mandalay Bay. Upon entering Mandalay Bay, we noticed some new video poker machines. They were WPT multi strike machines. They were fun when you were winning and really stunk when you started losing. I ran $100 through in no time at all. My brother was up over $300 and I told him I was moving back to our spin poker machine towards the front of the casino.

I was approached by no less than 3 hookers from the time I left my brother to the time I sat down at the spin poker machine. All they said was hi and moved on. I must not look like I needed a date. Anyway I began to play and my brother showed up a few minutes later. He had played his money all back into the machine and was ready to call it quits for the night and the trip. So, we had one more smoke together and he left me to my machine. By this time it is 3:00am. I know this because 4 security guards from Mandalay Bay came up the main aisle of the casino and said and I quote, 'time to go ladies.' All of the sudden, there were no less than 12 women being escorted out of the casino. I must have been blind. I only saw the 3. Anyway, my machine started to hit a few things and I was slowly building up the credit meter. I was dealt 4 9's and 4 6's in a matter of minutes. I played for quite a while just holding my own when I was dealt the 10,J,Q and K of spades. On the redraw, I was dealt 1 ace of spades in the top corner for 3 royal flushes. I stared at the machine for a while trying to decide what my wife would do at this point. She would have quit, but I decided to play for a while longer. I left to go upstairs when the drop guys came by to empty out the machines. With the win tonight, I was almost even for the trip after all gambling, tips and miscellaneous items. How cool is that I thought to myself. I had to wait until morning to tell my wife what happened because she did not wake up when I came into the room. It was after 5:30am when I got into bed. I almost decided to stay up to print boarding passes at 7:00am when the business center opened. But I was out like a light.

I was up and at the business center around 9:00am. I was able to secure B boarding passes for everyone. B boarding passes are acceptable on the way home but not on the way out. I made it back to the room, showered and did almost all of my packing. My wife was ready before me this time. I was more than half asleep still, but I was not going to give up now. We met my brother and his wife downstairs and we decided on the Raffles. This is the coffee shop at Mandalay Bay. Some had sandwiches, some had fajitas and some had hash and eggs. All was good except the fajitas should have been shared by my wife and I. They were huge. Lunch before tip was around $60. Not to bad for coffee shop food.

We made our way out into the casino. At this point, we had about 6 hours until we had to leave for the airport. We of course decided we would spend the remainder of our time in the casino. We all found a machine to play and went about our business. My wife decided that since we were going home almost even that she would play just a little higher than she normally would. I may have actually got a tear in my eye when she told me she was going to do that. I was so proud of her! We managed to stay ahead of the game up until we had to go. I had decided to kill the last few minutes playing video keno. I put in a $20 and after only 5 spins, hit all 5 of my numbers. I cashed out and went to VIP services to talk to a host to see what they were going to do for me. I was able to get all of our food and beverage taken care of from all 3 days. They would not take off the cabana, but I tried like hell to get them to. In the end, all it cost me to check out was the price of the cabana. I was happy.

We got the bags from the room and met up with my brother and his wife in the valet area. My brother and I had one more cigar for the road, got a cab and we were off to the airport. We got to the security line and there was little bit of a back up, but I have seen worse. If you watch poker at all, we were standing in line behind Berry Greenstein as we were going though the metal detectors. He seemed in a hurry so we just let him be on his way. We were through security and sitting at the gate with an hour and 45 minutes to spare. A funny thing, Berry Greenstein left for LA through the same gate we were waiting at for our flight. We did get a nod from him this time. He seemed to be saying, thanks for recognizing me, but thanks for leaving me alone, I am going to be late for my flight. It is funny what you can get from just a nod, isn't it. Our flight left on time, and the flight was good from what I remember from it. I remember taking off, but that's it. The next thing I know, we are landing in Omaha. I love it when I can sleep the whole way home. We landed at 12:25am. Right on time.

We got off the plane and found the shuttle to VIP Parking apparently waiting just for us just outside the doors. Got to the car, said goodby to my brother and his wife and made our 20 minute trip home. Got to the house, said hello and goodnight to the cats, and fell asleep before I even hit the pillow. The lack of sleep finally caught up with me. I slept until after 3:00pm on Thursday. When I woke up, I realized our trip was over...but man we had a good time!

This trip was one of the best times we have had in Las Vegas. It was due mostly to the fact that my brother and his wife were with us. They made the trip really fun. This trip, I was ready to go home but not in a bad way. I had enough gambling, smoking and eating to last me for a while. Also, I was consoled by the fact that my brother & I will be heading back early next year...without our wives. (hehehehehe)

In closing, I have some random thoughts and observations that I remembered during the writing of this report, in no particular order...

I feel I have lost the love for Luxor I had up until this year. It just did not have anything to offer me in terms of machines or atmosphere. I will start looking for a new home in the next few months.

Mandalay Bay was just great. It is a little far from the rest of the strip, but I liked it none the less.

There are so many people that pay no attention to where they are going when they are walking in the sidewalks.

The wax museum is not worth the $24 admission, make sure you have a coupon. Destinationcoupons.com

There were many escalators that were not working on various pedestrian walkways. It also seemed like it was the one going down though, so that was ok.

Why do groups of people just stop wherever they are, like right in the middle of a casino aisle, at the bottom of escalators or in front of the restrooms to talk and do whatever. Get the hell out of the way!

Renting a car for at least a couple days during each trip seems like a good idea to me. Traffic was never really that bad.

Planet Hollywood looks like a really nice place.

It was nice to have company with us this trip. It made us go back and see some things that we had almost forgotten about.

It was nice to have a couple of winning video poker sessions.

It was nice to see my brother win.

I enjoyed the cabana. I would be more than willing to do that again.

There is never enough time to do all of the things that you want to do.

I think the hookah lounge was a nice, inexpensive diversion.

Red Rock is really nice. I would like to stay there, but it is a little far from the strip.

How come Nevada allows any kind of gambling imaginable, but you can't buy a lottery ticket there.

I guess that is it. I want to thank anyone who read this to the end. I got some great tips from some of you prior to our trip and they were appreciated greatly.

Until early next year, take care...


patinomaha

Somewhere in a lonely hotel room a guy's starting to realize that eternal fate has turned it's back on him...it's 2 a.m.