The Beginning....
Hubby and I spent Sunday night at LaQuinta Hotel near the Detroit
Airport with a 'stay and park' deal, since our flight was at 6 am.
Beats getting up at 2 pm to get to the airport from Toledo, plus the
diner next door makes the very best potato skins!
Monday at 5 am at the airport and we run into friends from Toledo- hi
John and family! They are on the same flight. A little snafu with
seating ends up very nicely, as I score an exit row seat with hubby,
at no charge for me. I am not a fan of Spirit's 'buy a seat' policies,
nor their luggage fees but you can't beat their $9 club for the cost
of airline tickets. We arrive in Vegas around 9 am and rent a car
through Thrifty....and we're off!

Luckiest Trip Ever...
Our first stop is M Casino as it is a tradition to visit any casinos
that have opened since our last visit. Hubby and I both sit down to
put that first $20 through the quarter video poker machines and within
a couple minutes I have hit a royal flush for an awesome $1,000 win to
start the trip! Anxious to see how the luck will hold, we leave M and
head towards Green Valley and get lost in the Southeast suburbs of
Vegas, missing Green Valley entirely. We did find ourselves on Boulder
Highway, so we headed on out to Boulder Station since we have a two
for one buffet coupon. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch for about $4 each
and made a small contribution to Boulder Station. Following lunch we
headed to Orleans to check-in. Our package was $99 for 3 nights and
included an entry into a slot tournament on Tuesday. We also had a
free night offer so we extended our reservation one night even though
we had a room booked downtown for the last two nights at the Fremont
Hotel. At the Orleans I registered for tomorrow's slot tournament and
we settled in and set about trying to woo the poker gods- with very
little luck- for the remainder of that day. We ate at the Prime Rib
Loft which was just right for the price. Hubby enjoyed a mouth-
watering prime rib which I shared while enjoying a Caesar salad
complete with anchovies on the side.

Tuesday- Slot Tourney Day
I played in a morning and afternoon session, earning about 10,000
points each time with folks on all sides of me hitting for 12-15,000.
I placed about 220 out of 350, and clearly out in the money. I wasn't
concerned; it was fun and best of all - it didn't cost anything! I
would do it again without hesitation. We enjoyed the Orlean's food
court for lunch. Hubby spent several hours doing a fantasy basketball
draft on his cell phone, from the room, so I was on my own and enjoyed
a few hours in the poker room, where I left with a whopping $1 win.
Hey, I'm still 'up' for the trip!

Wednesday-Hanging Out With Vegas' Homeless
Early Wednesday and I'm in my favorite place, doing my favorite thing.
Found a ladies'-only blackjack table where two sisters, in their 60's,
were having a party. Since I have a lot of energy in the morning, I
joined in. I enjoyed a fabulous two hours of raucous play and even won
some money. Combine the vibe of a friendly table and an easy going
dealer who is having fun with you, along with winning a little more
than losing- well there's nothing like it!
Once hubby woke up we took a trip to the Strip. We were looking for
half off tickets and checked at O'sheas and Casino Royale and found
nothing that interested us. I would have liked to have seen Human
Nature but hubby had no interest. Maybe my only Vegas regret on this
particular trip. Played and lost at my formerly lucky video poker
machine at Imperial Palace, then played and lost at my formerly lucky
blackjack switch table at Casino Royale. What is it about a machine or
game that keeps drawing you back after one lucky experience?
We went over to the Palms for lunch with our $50 off LVA coupon and
enjoyed a huge lunch at Garduno's, complete with margaritas. Hubby
went to see a movie and I hiked over to Gold Coast for a BINGO
session.
At some point during this day we got a phone call from our friends,
Linda and Dan. They had packed up everything and came to Vegas to
live. Unfortunately, when they got here they discovered the house they
wre about to rent was in foreclosure. There they were -with everything
they owned- and no where to live! They decided to stay a week at the
Rio while they searched for a place to live. Dan is a former WSOP
bracelet winner (2008) so the Rio was nice to our 'homeless' friends.
The four of us went to dinner at Austin's at Texas Station, way out on
the north side of Vegas. Austin's has a reputation of being one of the
better steakhouses in all of Vegas. It was more pricey than we
expected and the steaks did not live up to the hype. It was fun
hanging out with our 'homeless' friends that evening while we played
blackjack, video poker and paigow poker. Texas Station was deserted,
unlike nearly everywhere else we had been.
Interestingly, we experienced unseasonably cold weather (it was warmer
on this particular day back in Ohio) and there was a windstorm which
made being outside very uncomfortable. No swimming pool/suntan time on
this trip!

Thursday- Let's Make A Deal...or Not
I had found free studio tickets for Let's Make A Deal, starring Wayne
Brady, through the Internet and thought this would be a fun diversion.
I had no illusions about winning (good thing, because we didn't). I
brought along some clown items that would be easy to wear. Hubby
brought a poncho and then we spent Thursday morning hunting down a
sombrero to go with it. We arrived just in time to get into line, at
the Tropicana, for the studio audience. There was a lot of paper work,
they take each person's photo, and then long waits and an interview
with the producers (one question only) and then more long lines and
waiting. It took about 2 ½ hours to finally get seated in the studio.
We had a wonderful seat in the front of the section where Wayne Brady
and the contestants stand and we will clearly be seen on the broadcast
but alas we were not called to make a deal with Wayne. The lady next
to me -wearing fishing gear, with a fake fish on a pole (the stuffed
fish kept flapping in my face!)- and the couple right behind us were
called. Everyone won on this show and it was a blast to be a part of
it. It was however exhausting.
We were glad to have our room at the Orleans to rest up and pack for
the move downtown. We left The Orleans around 8 pm and headed downtown
to spend the next two days at The Fremont, in downtown Las Vegas. This
was our first time staying here. The room was much smaller and older
than at the Orleans but the room location was great- nearly in front
of the elevator. It was strange to step out of the room and a few
steps later be smack-dab in the middle of a casino!
It was a fun downtown evening with the Halloween festivities kicking
up. We enjoyed a light dinner using a LVA coupon at the snack bar of
Binion's. We had a wonderful time playing in several casinos and
wandering Fremont Street but found our way back to Binions for an
extended blackjack session.

Friday - 'LOVE'
I woke well before dear hubby and found myself wandering back to
Binion's for some live hold-em poker. It took a while but I did lose
my buy in and I wandered out, hitting various slot machines with not a
whole lot of winning going on. I did spend about an hour at a Hot Shot
machine. I love this slot machine as there are frequent and
entertaining bonuses and my money seems to last a lot longer. I hit a
one of the minor bonus payouts of around $65 which helped to make up
for the earlier poker massacre.
I visited the Plaza where they were promoting a special Halloween
Bingo event, which I believe was called 'spooktacular' Bingo, which
would take place on Saturday morning. It was a $30 buy-in, which
included a dabber and $30 credit on your slot card, as well as four
Bingo cards. The prizes were $500 for regular games and $1-2,000 for
three special games. What a deal!
We intended to have a breakfast buffet at Fremont but hubby slept in
and we had lunch instead using another 2 for 1 coupon. We trotted all
over downtown- using our LVA match play coupons, somewhat
successfully, at various downtown properties. I just want to mention
that each time I was in Fitzgerald's I witnessed very poor customer
service- including the dealers, the pit boss (what a rude lady) and
even the cashiers. I don't plan to spend any time there in the future.
The 'Friendly Fitz', indeed!
We had our favorite homemade soups at the Binion's Deli for dinner.
Just the day before our trip I was able to score reduced tickets to
LOVE at the Mirage. We had seen Love before. It was a preview
performance and we were thrilled and anxious to see it again. The show
did not disappoint! This is the very best show I have ever attended,
anywhere. My senses were on overload with the awesome amount of talent
and spectacle going on the entire time! Of course, there's the
Beatles' music too, making it even better. I highly recommend this
show.
After the show we met up with our formerly 'homeless' friends (they
found a place to live, near Summerlin, that day) and we watched 'Frank
and Stein' perform on the big stage on Fremont Street. What a group!
I'd pay to see them again! They were in costume and sang and danced to
all the popular songs that have a Halloween theme.

Saturday- Halloween 'spooktacular'
It was our last day and our plane would be leaving around 5 pm.
Nevertheless we packed a lot into the day. It was Halloween and many
people- tourists and casino staff- were in costumes. There was a car
show going on along Fremont Street adding to the festive feeling.
Hubby decided to join me in participating in the 'spooktacular' Bingo
at the Plaza since it was essentially free with the $30 slot credit.
Neither of us won. however we made a combined $90 on the free slot
play, so in a way we won at BINGO. After packing up we traveled down
to Southpointe Casino to make one last effort to increase our bank
roll. I found a video poker machine that was treating me more than
good-- four four-of-a-kinds within a short period of time and I pulled
out $450 from my initial $20 investment. I got excited about winning
this much and immediately lost $100 back at 3-Card Poker. This game
was my downfall on more than one occasion on this trip. Nevertheless,
I felt we ended the trip on a positive note- never touched that $1,000
VP win from the first day and didn't even have to get into my
traveler's checks. How nice that is!

The flight back was uneventful. We were back in Detroit before
midnight.

Notes from this trip:
*Vegas can be cold. I had to invest in a new LV sweatshirt. Even cold,
it is dry and I had a lot of sinus trouble while there.
*LOVE was the entertainment highlight and the VP on arrival was the
biggest moment of the trip.
*It was fun meeting Linda and Dan and hearing their stories of moving
to Las Vegas and finding a place to live.
*The slot tournament and the Bingo 'spooktacular' were fun and
inexpensive experiences and worth repeating.
*Let's Make a Deal, while fun, is not something I'd do again because
it was a bit tedious and made for a long day. On the other hand I
don't regret the experience at all.
*Vegas didn't seem any less crowded except at the outlying 'locals'
casinos (Texas Station,. M, Southpointe, and Boulder Station). I gotta
think they may be hurting.

I hope you enjoyed the report as much as I enjoyed reliving the
experience. Keep those reports coming, I depend on them to keep the
juices flowing until I can get back out to Las Vegas!

Donna in Ohio