Category: 2009
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Sailor and the Mystery Hooker Trip Report 24-29 May

I had a few candidate titles for this trip report. -Gambling Pigeon- was a close second. -Five Dollars Clark-- was third. I'm sure you remember that quip from Vegas Vacation. It was the only time Clark won until the end of the trip.

For those that don't know me I'm a 31 year navy veteran (retired) and now work for the Department of the Navy writing cultural awareness training materials for sailors. Vegas is an excellent training area for those interested in culture. You can see just about every kind of culture and some they haven't invented yet in Vegas!

My bride did not accompany me on this trip. She is particularly afraid of flying plus she had a bad back issue on our December trip last year. I have to admit, I love it when the bride gives me my liberty card in Vegas.

I write chronologically. I like to take the reader along for the ride and that's the way I enjoy reading so hope you enjoy taking this trip with me.

Sunday, 24 May

I'm booked on flight 777 (can't beat that, can ya-) from Atlanta to Vegas after my connecting flight from Pensacola, FL. When I checked in for AirTran online I was offered an upgrade to first class for $99. I thought about it and decided -I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and, gosh darn it, people like me- (Al Franken/Stuart Smalley/Saturday Night Live). In other words, I figured I deserved it so I pulled the trigger and presto, I'm in first class.

The flight was delightful. I consumed several bloody marys and one Heineken while watching Vegas Vacation on my DVD player and reading my book of choice; The Taking by Dean Koontz. Flight arrived 30 minutes early and I hit the shuttle for the car rental center.

This was my first time using a rental car in Vegas since my first trip in 2000 (yeah, I rented one in December, 2008, but it was only 2 days when the big snowstorm hit and I had to turn it back in - gotta watch those Vegas drivers!). Back then I was much cheaper than I am now and had a Geo Metro which was awful. You don't get into those cars you put them on. This time I had a sub compact for 175 bucks - outrageous, I know. The guy at Budget offered up an upgrade to mid sized for 10 bucks more a day. I took it, because I deserve it. It's my vacation and I want to enjoy myself!

I ended up with a KIA Optima which was a really nice ride. I screwed up on my way to Orleans and ended up in the mall on LVB just after the turnoff for the I-15. No major problem and I was in the parking garage and on my way to check in quickly.

When I checked in with no one in line I was told -we have an envelope for you sir-. Hmmm, what could that mean- Turns out my good friend Isles1 who I have shared some Vegas time with had left me the unused coupons from his previous weeks stay. The most interesting coupons to me were match plays for Orleans and two coupons for 5x points for 24 hours at both Orleans and Gold Coast. What a great, stand up guy! Thanks Isles1!

I was assigned room 1306. The gal at the counter asked me if I was willing to accept it. I said -well, my flight was 777 so that should cancel any bad mojo from a 13th floor room!. A standard Orleans room suits me just fine on a solo trip. Single cup coffee maker, sofa, coffee table and chair, comfy bed, in room safe and decent amenities are just what I need. I unpacked, set my notebook up on the desk so I had a paper brain for this report and headed out for my first adventure. Oh, for the record and to my credit, I never turned the TV on the entire stay! I've posted pictures of these rooms before so not going to post any this time.

As I sit here grinding out this report like a 1930s newspaper reporter with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and a bottle of hooch in his desk drawer I am reminded that this is one of the best parts of a Vegas trip - summing it all up in print (or 1's and 0's in today's world) so that others can possibly be entertained or even informed about what Vegas has to offer. No message here really -- just an aside into my twisted thought pattern(s).

On the flight out I had lots of time to think about what I would do first. This trip was going to be all about seeing and trying new things that I'd avoided, skipped or just forgot about doing in the past. So my -plan- was to starve myself so I'd be really hungry and then hit Mon Ami Gabi at Paris for dinner. After that I wanted to experience my favorite tradition of gambling at the Fontana bar at Bellagio. For some reason I feel like I'm somebody when I'm there. Plus I was hoping to see Diane, my favorite bartender who won the Grand Marnier contest last year. Out of all U.S. bartenders, she had come up with the winning recipe, plus she's just a fun person to talk to.

So I grabbed the shuttle to Bill's since I had every intention of imbibing and rental cars don't mix with that. Walked down to Paris and since it was only about 5pm there was no waiting for any table. The temperature was high and they only had tables on the patio in the sun. Eff that - I want to be comfortable so I grabbed a seat at the bar. I could have lived without any alcohol at this point but felt it traditionally necessary to drink so I ordered a glass of the house red wine and the Steak Classique. I know there are probably a lot of other favorites but figured for my first visit to MAG I should try something, er, classic!

The food arrived in short order and was wonderful. The steak was very thin, tender and tasty with the garlic sauce they served. The fries, or -frittes- were crispy and delicious. They even brought out a carrot salad for no extra charge. The meal itself was pricey at $23.95 and the single glass of wine was about 8 bucks but hey, it's the strip, it's something I hadn't tried and therefore a check in the box on my long list of things to try. I thoroughly enjoyed the meal.

After dinner I headed over to Bellagio for my traditional Fontana bar visit. Hardly anyone was at the bar so I bellied up and ordered my standard, Crown Royal and Diet Coke. Scoff if you will, it's my favorite. Well, I had planned to do this first because Fontana only has $1 VP machines. I wanted to enjoy the experience here before any major detriments to my bankroll so I wouldn't feel obligated to play one credit at a time just to enjoy the experience.

Good call swabee! As I enjoyed my Crown and slow played the machine with my double round-de-round method of playing (ok, this bears explaining - it means playing two hands of every game. If you win on the 2nd hand play another hand, if not, move on. Seems to work for me) I was holding my own. I hit one 4OAK (four of a kind) for 125 credits on Bonus Poker. A few rounds later it happened again on the same game. I cashed out up around $200. Nice start!

I tried playing $20 at my favorite Bellagio slot machine - a Triple Triple Diamond slant top next to the Fontana bar but had no luck.

I figured I deserved a comfortable ride back to Orleans so I headed out to the taxi line. Holy schnikees! It stretched about 100 deep. Screw that. So I headed back to Bill's and grabbed the sweaty shuttle back to Orleans. Man it was hot.

When I got back I took a walk around Orleans to see what changes had been made. Looks like Club Coast is moving from across from TGIF to where Terrible Mike's used to be. I played some at the sports bar, now called the Piano Bar with a artsy piano on the ceiling. Hit some there and bounced around playing keno and other games with no luck. Live keno killed me this trip. It's not that I played that much it's just that I never could catch a break at it.

One of my favorite bars to play at is the Alligator bar. I sat at the same machine I hit my two thousand dollar 50 cent BP Deluxe Royal at two years ago and gave it a go. I was holding my own and a lady to my left struck up a conversation. She was an average looking woman around 30 in a business suit. Looked like she-d just got off work. Nice gal just unwinding from a long day; I thought.

We talked about everything under the sun. Cooking, food, restaurants, where we were from. It was very relaxing. Just two casino rats playing VP and talking while just passing the time. She was from New Jersey and moved out here with a kid. Her husband left. She was holding her own. I was from Massachusetts but settled in Pensacola, FL after a navy career. After 90 minutes we knew more about each other than most good friends do after a year. I was enjoying the banter and my drinks and VP.

Then, she hit me up. Now I've been hit on by hookers. I thought I knew the shtick: ask for a light, ya wanna party, yadda, yadda, yadda. But this obviously young (29, she told me), professional (business dress), and personable woman suddenly asked me this question: -do you know what it means to have a party--.

My alcohol soaked brain did a Ben Stiller, Night at the Museum double take. Huh- Little miss professional business lady is hitting me up- Fortunately my military training kicked in. -I'm most flattered you-d like to be that intimate with me, but I am, as I mentioned, a very happily married man and I could never find it in my heart to be with anyone other than my lovely bride.- At least I think that's the way it came out because she said she found that touching (hookers don't use that word in 'that- context, do they-) and she completely understood and admired me for my faithfulness.

As if it wasn't enough to say that, she went on to explain that she rarely does this and only to raise a few extra bucks for expenses. Funny thing is that she didn't (and I didn't) run away after this frank exchange. We continued to play our respective machines and chit chat (less openly) for the next hour or so. I gratifyingly lost my buy in and excused myself and headed for the room. This truly was the most unusual and head knocking experience I've had in Vegas. I was literally at a loss for words. In retrospect, I think I handled it pretty well. Whew!

I headed for the room but was tempted by the Dodge Challenger progressive machines. It was the same Challenger that was there in December and I thought I'd give it a shot. Pulled 60 bucks out of that session and decided it was time to retire.

I headed for bed at a respectable 2:30am, down a couple of hundred for the day with the plan to head out exploring on Monday.

Monday, 25 May (Memorial Day)

No matter how much alcohol I consume or how tired I am I cannot sleep on my first night. I tossed and turned and eventually gave it up at 5:30am. Got showered up and made some coffee. Asked for directions from the bell desk for Aliante Station and headed out to the trusty Optima.

Pointed the Optima towards I-15 north and completely missed the 215 cutoff. I was looking for a blue background interstate sign and as I now know it doesn't look like that. After driving all the way to the Raceway exit (where the Mustang Shelby factory is located), I turned it around and finally made my way back to the 215. Found Aliante and parked in a very empty parking lot.

Found the players club and found out I'd already signed up for a card back in 2000 for station casinos. I vaguely remember signing up for many players club cards before my first trip to Vegas in July, 2000. I was hungry and my card gave me $2 off the buffet which the PC attendant told me was a 'special- Memorial Day buffet. He wasn't kidding. They had every station of every type of food you could think of at 7:30 in the morning! I settled for a veggie omelet and other breakfast fare. Everything was delicious and I washed it down with ice water. Got to stay hydrated!

Tried my hand at some VP and lost my $20 investment rather quickly. I usually only try 20 bucks when I visit various properties other than my home based casino.

Since I was in the neighborhood I paid a visit to the Cannery. I try hard to like this place but I never seem to be able to win a dime here. Lost a few bucks here, as usual, and headed back toward the Orleans. I spied Palace Station as I was headed back and since I'd never been there I decided to check it out.

Palace Station is an older property and has a dingy odor when you first walk in. The place is pretty big and the casino winds around much like Stardust was laid out. I found a VP bar at the far end of the casino and tried my luck. Finally had some luck here hitting four Queens on Bonus Poker Deluxe for a nice $100 win. Guess I can win outside of Orleans!

While I was playing Challe called, a member of one of the many Vegas boards I frequent. We arranged to meet at the VP bar next to the Poker room at Orleans (can't seem to recall the name). Anyway, it was Challe's last day in Vegas and we ended up talking about everything under the sun for about an hour while playing VP and enjoying free drinks.

Once we parted ways I was hungry but not starving. I got a $1 hot dog from the cart in front of the sports book. Great dog and great value. I loaded it up with mustard, onions and kraut. Delicious.

I was starting to lose again so I decided to take a break from gambling and go see the new Star Trek movie. I had planned on doing this sometime during the trip and now seemed like the right time. Great movie and the characters from the original tv series were well re-created. I see a sequel or two in the future.

The rest of the evening was a series of losses. It was 5x points for Memorial Day so I wanted to put in as much play as possible. I tried every bar and was slowly going downhill. I took a break for dinner at Big Al's Oyster bar. Enjoyed their delicious New England clam chowder and a shrimp cocktail with a big ol- glass of ice water. I always try to eat here at least once during each trip and I highly recommend it.

As I walked by the Alligator bar I spied New Jersey (aka Mystery Hooker) just playing VP and talking to no one. I said hi and she said hi and that was it. Ponderous.

Played some progressive DB VP slant top a few rows up from the Alligator bar and low and behold was dealt four 3's for a bankroll saving $100 win.

My good friend Duck from another of the many Vegas boards I belong to arrived around 10:30pm so we went over to the lounge at the Mardi Gras bar to catch up on each others lives. This is the third time I've met with Duck and we always enjoy each others company. As it turns out the economy has hit him pretty hard and he is slow rolling it this trip. He didn't rent a car so I offered to be the chauffer for some Vegas excursions over the next two days.

Duck and I get along quite well. We are almost exactly the same age - I am two months older so I am the big brother of the pair LOL. As you can see in the photos Duck is one tall dude. I am almost 6 feet tall to give you some perspective!

We planned to meet up at 7am the next morning and go visit some new properties and places we've never visited. Since it was around midnight, I decided to cut my losses and try to get some sleep. Off to bed early as is not my nature in Vegas but everyone has to get old sometime I guess.

Tuesday, 26 May

Another restless night. Got up about 6am and got ready for the day. Called Duck at about 7am and he was just about ready to go. Met down by the Alligator bar and off we went in the Optima. Traffic was light as we headed out LV Blvd and since there was only one car in the Welcome to Las Vegas sign parking lot we stopped to take some pictures.

Both of us were pretty hungry and we were thinking about just a light breakfast somewhere but we stopped in at Silverton first. Neither of us had been there and we wanted to see if there were any freebies for signing up. Once again I got skunked since I'd signed up online in 2000. I don't remember this but I guess I must have. Computers are never wrong, although it showed I had visited in August of 2001 when I know I was halfway around the world on my last tour of duty in the navy at Diego Garcia. Oh well.

Duck, on the other hand got a scratch off ticket and could have won freeplay or a bunch of other stuff. This lucky guy got $50 food credit at any restaurant. That changed our plan from a light breakfast to a very heavy breakfast at the Sunset Café.

We started off with fruit cups, water and coffee for me and coke for Duck. Duck had the steak and eggs and I had the Huevos Rancheros - a delightful combination of scrambled eggs, cheeses, peppers, onions, sour cream, guacamole, tomatoes and salsa. It was very bad for me so I thoroughly enjoyed it! Duck tried to max out the $50 credit by purchasing some blueberry muffins to eat for breakfast the next day. I think he only managed to spend around $39. We tipped well and waddled out stuffed to the gills.

I played my obligatory $20 and broke even. Time to hit the pavement and visit the new M resort.

The M Resort is a very nice property. We both signed up for a players card but there were no freebies. We walked around and I ended up breaking even here as well playing Bonus VP. One nice feature about the M is the soft drink stations. No muss, no fuss, no cocktail server to deal with.

I bought a shot glass just for the heck of it to add to my collection and then it was off to Red Rock Canyon.

We both felt the $5 fee to drive the 13 mile loop was worth the price of admission so we split the cost. Stopped at the visitors center but it was very small and packed with people so we gave it a pass and started the drive. We stopped at many of the pull offs to park and take photos. The weather was beautiful and the scenery impressive.

After the RR tour we stopped in Red Rock Casino and played some there. For the first time in about three visits I finally won some money. Even though it was only about a $20 win I grabbed it and left!

Next we visited Rampart. I had already signed up for a card and got a free T shirt a couple of years ago. Duck signed up and got the same. Here I lost my $20 quickly but was even for the day.

It was about mid afternoon and we were a bit tired so we headed back to the Orleans since I had a meet scheduled at 4pm. Went up to the room to clean up and then came back down to the casino to play awhile before the meet.

Meet time came and about a dozen people showed up from various Vegas boards and we all had a good time drinking and chatting. As best as I can recollect and without listing the names of the Vegas boards they were members of the following were at the meet:

Beach and friend
MarJan with her hub and dad
And me made for about 12

The meet lasted about an hour and a half for me and Duck. We were both hungry and good -ol -Lucky Duck- as I had now named him after his incredible lucky dining credit this morning decided to eat at the Gold Coast buffet. We took the shuttle since I'd been sucking down the Crown Royal. Duck had an ACG BOGO so for an incredible $7 we started grazing.

I don't remember what Duck had but I had the Mongolian BBQ since it was so good last time. Not so this time. Seems they have limited ingredients to choose from and it just didn't taste right so I opted for some chicken parmesan and a tostada. Had a little bread pudding and ice cream for dessert - it was not extra runny tonight like cousin Eddie likes!

We decided to hit the Voodoo lounge at Rio to watch the sunset and see the lights come on. I didn't have my camera with me so Duck took some pictures and will email them to me later. It's free to go up to the Voodoo lounge before 8pm so it's a good deal. The place looks kind of worn, especially the furniture. We didn't get an overpriced drink and ended up leaving before sunset since it was so hot and we were both pretty much worn out from the days activities. Waited an exorbitantly long time for the shuttle and headed back to the Orleans.

I had a great run of luck and drank an ocean liner of Crown over the next few hours but put most of it back in the end. Turned in at 1:30am since Duck and I planned to hit the strip and a few other places early the next day.

Wednesday, 27 May

I was up early again despite being sleep deprived. Had some coffee and a shower and decided since I had at least an hour before we were scheduled to take off to perform my normal morning ritual which I hadn't had the opportunity to do yet: coffee, keno and 3 play VP near the keno area.

Got some coffee, placed my keno bet and sat at a 3 play machine as planned. Called Duck and arranged to meet in a half hour or so. My keno bets all lost and my play on the 3 play machine was up and down. I managed to keep the play going long enough for a couple more coffees and lost it all just as Duck showed up.

I wanted to hit MGM and see if I could find the Lion's Share slot that still has a progressive over 2 million. But it was getting later in the morning and I figured someone would be at the machine unless we got there really early. Besides, we were both starving so Duck suggested Ellis Island. Sounded good to me so off we went.

Of course, Duck had a 2 for 1 here too. We both ordered the $3.99 breakfast special of eggs, 5 strips of bacon, potatoes and toast. I only ordered ice water to drink so the bill was practically nothing. Ellis Island is really an incredible value with or without a coupon. I've had the steak special for $6.95 before and it never fails to please. I highly recommend this place for a decent, cheap meal.

Duck had promised to get a photo of the Crazy Girls in front of Riviera so we parked in the garage and walked through the casino to take some pictures. We decided to check out Slots of Fun (SOF). We walked around and I lost a whole $1.25 in quarters. Now I'm really bummed!

As we left we noticed a pigeon actually strolling into SOF as if he owned the place. Seems he found some food near the entrance and figured there might be more inside. We wondered if he had a players card. I took a couple of photos because I doubted anyone would believe me without photographic proof!

After that interesting episode we crossed the street and walked by the depressing Echelon Place halted construction. On our way down to Encore we checked out the classic car rentals. Many of them looked worse for the wear.

We toured Encore and Wynn. Encore is nice but probably far too fancy for my tastes. Checked out the VP pay tables and as expected they were dismal. Everywhere I go I check VP pay tables and forgot to mention I found FP BP VP at SOF. That enough acronyms for you-

We returned to the Riv and Duck went to sign up for a players card but decided against it because of the long line. While I waited I played some VP at the only bar left up front. The one in the back is gone now and I was bummed because I used to enjoy playing there. I asked a security guard and he verified they-d removed it about 5 months ago.

Duck wanted to sign up for a players card at Hard Rock and get his $10 free play so we retrieved the Optima from the Riv's parking garage. Parking was a nightmare there as construction was ongoing so I parked the car in Hoffenbrau House parking lot. I wanted to check this place out since I've thought about eating here. It's much smaller than I had imagined and the menu looks interesting. You would have to be very hungry to eat here as there is nothing light on the menu. Might come back someday.

We crossed the street to Hard Rock and Duck went to sign up for a players card and I played some VP at the round bar. I was doing well here switching between JOB and BP VP. Cashed out my $20 buy in for $80. The machine jammed when I went to cash out so I spent some time cooling my heels waiting for the slot attendant to fix things up.

I hadn't been to the LV Hilton since my first trip in 2000 so we headed over. The grounds are very nicely maintained and the parking garage was convenient. Duck had a $10 match play he decided to let me use so we went in search of a $10 table. There were none to be found. After walking all the way around the joint I decided I was going to at least play something after standing in line for a players card. We waked into the old Star Trek casino. It still looks cool but it's sad the Star Trek Experience is gone. I really enjoyed it.

Walked up to the VP bar and I stuck in $5.

-Five Dollars Clark-- says Duck.

-Five Dollars- says I.

Just like Clark Griswold in Vegas Vacation I doubled my money. Looks like Las Vegas is already bringing us all closer together! J

Duck had never signed up for a players card at Terrible's so we headed there since we knew he would get some free stuff like I did a couple of years ago. While he signed up I hit the VP bar and commenced to rack up another $40 win before all was said and done. Things are looking up!

Duck played his free play and won something like $17.10 cents. He's the lowest of the low rollers if I didn't mention it before. He also got a nice T-shirt so he was a happy camper.

We were starting to run out of energy and Duck had to meet a friend later so we decided that was that for the casino hopping and headed back to the Orleans. As I turned off Flamingo I noticed the Loose Caboose. I have been meaning to stop in here for years. I pulled into the parking lot and told Duck it was time to end this obsession. I almost kept the motor running in case there was trouble but it turns out the LC is just a homey locals joint with a VP bar and restaurant. Checked out the menu and decided next time I'll actually play some here.

Left without any adult supervision it was time to gamble and drink some Crown. First I activated my 5x points at the players club. I started losing badly but turned it around with 4 Aces on a DB VP machine. Think it was at the Piano bar.

I also had the 5x points coupon Isles1 left me for the Gold Coast. I headed over there via the shuttle and activated my coupon and sat at the main bar in the middle of the casino. My plan was to play lots of 9/6 JOB VP in the hopes of lots of flushes and full houses. All I got was a lot of strong Crown Royals and a loss of about $80. Sometimes it doesn't matter what the pay tables are when lady luck is not riding shotgun!

I headed back to the Orleans and decided to hit the Prime Rib Loft for dinner. I always try to hit this place at least once a trip. The manager used to manage William B's at Stardust and now PRL is almost as good as the B used to be. Had a salad, sirloin and baked potato fully loaded. I also enjoyed a Manhattan on the rocks. I highly recommend the PRL if you are in the mood for a good steak.

Duck stopped by as I was playing to say goodbye. I wished him a safe trip home and we vowed to meet again and check out more of what Vegas has to offer.

Tonight was one of those nights that never seemed to end. I was doing well bouncing from bar to bar to bar, sucking down huge amounts of Crown and going up and down with the day's allotment of cash. I was still down about $600 for the trip but I was very happy that I hadn't really had an extremely bad day and still had over half of my bankroll safely tucked in the safe.

I kind of went on a mini-tilt as I came close to even but played on until 6am when I ran out of cash. Unlike previous trips I did not go to the room to retrieve more money but hit the rack instead. I was beat - pulling an all nighter is harder to do than it was five years ago.

Thursday, 28 May

I awoke around 10am after the longest sleep (pass out) I'd had the entire trip with the sounds of voices coming from the bathroom. Huh- As I peeked around the corner to find out what was going on I saw a head outside the small, open window in the shower. I realized immediately it was window washers and remembered seeing a memo on the bureau advising that window washing would be ongoing all week and to not leave your drapes open and nance around in your birthday suit. Fortunately I never nance so there was never any risk of that.

I needed to sign on to AirTran's website and get my boarding pass. When offered a $99 upgrade to first class I pulled the trigger again. Hey, I deserved it! Hadn't lost my bankroll and still had a fighting chance to bring home a profit.

I decided to end my trip the way I started it. Took the shuttle down to Bill's and crossed over to Bellagio for a final visit to the Fontana bar. This time Diane was there and we had a nice, long chat. Diane made me 3 very strong Crown Royal and Diet Coke monster drinks filled to the brim. You really had to be careful with that first sip.

My luck was not as good this time but it took me almost an hour to blow through $100. I once again moved over to the Triple Triple Diamond slant top across from the Fontana bar and this time my luck was better. I hit double bars with a TT symbol for a 380 coin win. Since I was almost even I decided to check out the conservatory and then maybe take a cab back to the Orleans.

I didn't bring my camera which explains the lack of photos but the conservatory was nicely decorated. Always a must see.

Checked the taxi line and it was short so I waited my turn. Got a cab with a Russian driver who was absolutely nuts! He weaved in and out of traffic like Steve McQueen in Bullitt. I looked at his license and it sounded like his name was Vladimir Schmirnoffavich. After a crazy ride I handed him a nice tip and told him he drove just like Steve McQueen. Vlad says -I do not know who this McQueen person is but thank you very much-. I said 'the movie Bullitt, with the Mustang in San Francisco-. Now he understood and thanked me again.

As soon as I got back I checked with my host on charges and visited awhile. All but $64 was comped. -You didn't play very much- my host said - she always says that. What was that 12 hours I played yesterday- Chopped liver- Ah well, I've had a great time.

I headed over to the Alligator bar to start my last round of gambling. Played some keno and switched out to DB VP. The 10, King and Queen appeared left, middle and right. Punched the deal button and there it was - my first royal of the trip that was oh so nicely timed! I really wasn't expecting it and I kind of started giggling like a little school girl. Good thing there wasn't anyone around to see me doing that. Could have been embarrassing!

As whenever I hit a royal I cashed out faster than a jackrabbit on a date and walked briskly to my room shaking my head and smiling like an idiot. Stashed the cash in my safe and calculated I was up about $300 and change. Took the profits and left my bankroll safely secured and returned for one final round of fun. I was going home at least even - cool!

I decided to play at the Piano bar and shockingly hit 4 deuces on DB VP while playing some round-de-round. Seems like all of my hits have been on DB VP this trip. While playing at the Mardi Gras bar with little luck I met a guy by the name of Tony and we struck up a conversation.

Turns out he is the bus driver for Taylor Swift who was in town playing somewhere. He also had driven Loretta Lynne and David Cassidy. We had an interesting conversation about how nice and not so nice some of these celebrities are. He was also fascinated by my past meetings with famous people. I told him about my days at the White House during the Reagan and Bush senior days, getting commissioned by Colin Powell and teaching Condoleezza Rice how to use her computer back in the 80s. It was an enjoyable hour or so talking to Tony and we wished each other the best.

It was time for my last dinner in Vegas. I decided on Don Miguel's and had the beef taco salad. It was delicious as always and I love the chips and salsa, bean dip, etc. they put out as an appetizer. My entire meal with water was under 10 bucks! I highly recommend Don Miguel's.

For my last round of gambling I intended to slow roll it so I could stretch out the cash I had left
until my absolute no later than bedtime of 11pm. I had to get up at 6am, get checked out, drive to the rental car facility and head home. It was a bummer but I was going home even at least which was great.

I played almost strictly keno at the Alligator bar the whole night. Nothing much happened except I saw New Jersey again and exchanged pleasantries but little else. She was talking to no one and playing VP. Ponderous, simply ponderous. I'll never know why I was singled out. Oh well. That's life!

At almost exactly 11pm I was out of cash. The keno was a killer this trip as I've mentioned. Headed up to the room to pack. Recounted my cash in the safe and found I'd made an error. Instead of being even I was $100 ahead! Not much by anyone's standards but hey, a winning trip is a winning trip!

Friday, 29 May

All good things must come to an end. Packed up and checked out. Only $64 in charges. Drove the Optima to the gas station next to McMullen's, a place I had fully intended to visit but never got around to. I noticed they were open and since I still had plenty of time to get to the airport I stopped in to take a look. Turns out they served a full breakfast so I had some corned beef hash and eggs for $7.50. It was surprisingly good and I enjoyed every bite.

Headed to the rental car facility and turned in the Optima. Caught the shuttle back to the airport and got checked in with no problem. Flight back was ok until I got to Atlanta and the flight to Pensacola got delayed 3 hours. When I finally got home I was pretty tired but absolutely delighted at how things had gone.

So another trip in the books and my second profitable one. If you-ve read this far my thanks and compliments to you.

Oh, I lost all my match plays which is probably why I forgot to mention them!

See you in Vegas!