Haunted Encore?? Feb. 5-9
How time flies when you are having fun. This trip seemed to zip by and now its time for the ubiquitous trip report, so sit back, grab a cup of your favorite beverage and read on:

Thursday, Feb. 5: Left home about 9am and headed for the airport in Omaha. Arrived at Harrah's and parked in Diamond Parking and registered for the free shuttle to the airport. This a nice feature and I don't think its one that utilized very often. I had a half hr before the shuttle picked me up, so of course had to go into the casino and see what kind of luck was waiting for me. Harrah's in Council Bluffs has full pay VP (10/6), so I usually try to get on those machines. Didn't come out too bad, I hit a straight flush and walked out $50 up...good start to the trip.
Shuttle arrives and off to the airport. Southwest flight was uneventful, and of course cocktails on the plane helped to pass the 2+ hr flight. Arrived in Vegas, and couldn't believe how quiet the airport was, hardly anyone at the luggage carousels, but more people then the last time I was there. Caught a taxi for Sam's Town, where I had three free nights and a $90 food credit at Billy Bob's. The taxi driver informed me that the Station Casinos have filed for Chapter 11 that morning (first I had heard that news, anyone else know if that's true?) Checked in and up to room 242. The room was adequate, as usual, and since I was solo this one night, it was a perfect fit. King bed with two chairs and table and nice flat screen TV and only steps away from the casino.
I unloaded my luggage and headed out for my favorite corner on the second level...wait!!. Am I in the right place? What happened? AHH, they changed my corner! And now instead of my Game Maker Keno machines, they are all video slots, sigh, I knew it would happen some day, but guess I wasn't really prepared for it, oh well, moving on, I played on several other machines, both keno and poker without much success. I decided I was hungry, so down to the food court and had some decent chinese at Panda Express. Then off to try to win back my losses. Again, no luck on and it seemed the machines were tighter than usual, especially for a locals casino.
I was getting quite frustrated with all the losses, so figured if I had to lose, I was going to lose big and went into the 'high limit' section, which for them consists of dollar and five dollar machines. I sat down at a dollar poker machine, DDB (9/5) and said if this doesn't work then its up to bed. My first win were 4 kings...yipeeee!..a win and something to keep me playing...then oddly enough the I kept getting king pairs and keeping pretty even until one of the pairs turned into another 4..Whohooo!..lets keep going...three hands later the two kings came up again and what do you know...all four showed up..three times??? Wow..that's pretty nice..so I keep playing, and wow....I am DEALT the four kings...(what is it with kings?)..can't beat that..I figure that has to be the end of the luck..and yes, it was, but I cashed out a $500 ticket and decided to call it a night. Looking at my watch, it said 10:00 and it had been a long day, so up to the room and ready to get some shut eye and start fresh tomorrow..I get up to the room and get ready for bed, turn on the TV and am just lounging, when I happen to look at the clock and it says 9:15...wait..9:15??? Can't be..my watch say...oh oh...guess who set their watch wrong. Hmm, must have been those drinks on the plane! So I just relax, watch TV and drift off to sleep a bit after 10pm(that would have never happened just a few years ago), so maybe older but wiser?

February 6, 2009: Up early(5:30am) and trot down to the casino to try my luck..yeah, I had luck..all bad!, so back up to the room, shower, and get ready to go meet SpaLady at the airport. Her plane gets in at 10:00am, and I told her I would be there to meet her, plus I had a limo ride all lined up from my host at Caesar's as a surprise (this was our Valentines/Anniversary celebration). While I was waiting, I kept looking for the limo driver with our name..but couldn't seem to find him, oh well, I was a bit early, so maybe he wasn't there yet. There were a lot of people in the airport this morning, the most crowded I have seen it in ages. I kept walking the baggage area, looking for our limo driver, but no luck. I see some other HET drivers waiting, so I ask if they can find out if we have a driver coming...he calls and tells me that there is not a request in for our name..what!..I have an email from my host confirming it..WTH!..Its time to meet my bride at the appointed place, and right on time, here she comes. Says her flight was uneventful, and now I have to tell her that her 'surprise' wasn't going to happen, but she was ok with that, it was more important that we were together and in for a quick but wonderful weekend.
Out to the taxi lines (and this time there was actually a line!), but it moved quickly and off we went to Caesar's to check in (we have the electronic giveaway weekend package). We check in at the Diamond check-in and get room 5125 in the Forum Tower...uh?..Forum..., requested either the Palace or Augustus Towers..wow..strike 2 for the host!..so up we go to the room. Now the room is nice and newly renovated, but it's a very standard room, with a view of the lower roof and a/c systems...strike 3 and you are OUT! We pretty much made up our minds that we must not be high enough roller for the property (we really aren't high rollers at all) and each stay they 'downgrade' us, so this will probably be it for our stays at Caesars.
Ok, enough grumbling..on with the story. We unpack basics and decide we are both hungry, so we decided on the Grand Lux for lunch. The meal was great as usual and we didn't even have to wait in a line to get in. After lunch, we headed down to the Encore, as SpaLady had received a three free night offer via email along with a $200 slot credit. We had a nice walk down to the Encore and checked in and were assigned room 6038. If you haven't been in this new property, Its quite, well, RED. I think someone on here described the lights are large crab legs..quite an accurate description. Anyhow, over to the elevators and up to the 60th floor...60th? Aye, aye,, aye..I haven't been up that high since going up in the Stratosphere. 60th?..ok..so up we go..the elevator ride itself was an ear popping experience! We arrive at 6038 and immediately notice that we have a doorbell..how cool..never paid attention to that before, but it just caught my eye. Walk in and it's a very spacious hallway with the bathroom immediately to the right, with dual sinks, separate shower and tub and water closet. Very nice, two complimentary robes and even a scale (I guess they want you to watch your diet, yeah, right!). Down the hallway there is a large closet with safe and a small dresser and plenty of hangers. Past the closet was the bed area which consisted of a king bed, feather top mattress and nice comfy pillows (we tested it all out right away), a large flat screen TV and a room panel by the bed that controlled all the lights and drapes. It had a night setting, which was very nice to have the muted lighting when you came in late at night, as well as having a privacy button (this replaces the little door card you hang out at night). It also had a make room up button, for when you left in the morning.
Past the bed area, was a sitting area that consisted of a desk and two chairs, a lounge and small loveseat and ceiling to floor windows with a view of the strip.(ok partial view, as the Wynn blocked some of it) but we could see TI, Mirage, Trump and a great view of the airport. After taking in the view, we went downstairs and SpaLady registered to get her $200 credit, so we played in the Encore for a bit. I can see how they can pay for this new property, as I didn't win anything, it was extremely bad and I didn't see anyone around winning anything either. We decided to walk over to the Wynn (its all connected) and try our luck there...not any big wins, but at least enough to keep us going for a bit.
Tonight, we had dinner plans at Billy Bob's. We caught the shuttle at Harrah's and out to Sam's Town for our Valentine Meal. We arrived about 6:30pm and were immediately seated. As usual, we had a great meal, I had the prime rib and she had the special..steak and seafood..which she said was very good and as usual, the portions were ample. We didn't use all our $90 credit, but got as close as we could. After dinner, we went back out to the casino and tried our luck again, but nothing..so we caught the shuttle back to Harrah's and back to Caesars (we were too tired to walk all the way down to Encore). We played a bit in Caesars, with very little luck and decided to call it an early night. Up to bed by 11pm and off to dreamland.

Saturday, Feb. 7: Up at 6am and ready for a full day. Our first order was to go the Diamond check-in and get Spaladys boarding pass, as she was flying home Sunday morning. Well, Diamond doesn't open until 9am and the 24hr window began at 8am...so we headed over to Ballys, to register for our free TV/dvr combo. Their Diamond check in was open, so in we went and they graciously printed out her boarding pass still getting her in the A lineup. We then went to find the Silver room in the convention center and realized that we were too early (sign up began at 9am). So we turned around to leave and a lady coming in behind us asked if we were here for the registration. Yes, so she said come on in and you can be our test couple in the sign up procedure. Oh great..if anything can go wrong, it will..well, all went right and we were out of there in 10 minutes. (they will be shipping our TV/dvr directly to our home). We went back out on the casino floor and decided to try the new Star Trek game..there were two seats open, so we sat down and both put in a twenty and really enjoyed the game. We each got a couple bonuses and actually played for about 30 minutes on our money..it was a fun game and one I would try again.
We then headed down to the Wynn for their buffet. We have found a new buffet that we both really enjoy and on I learned that I had two free buffets on my players card, so we enjoyed the Saturday Brunch Buffet on Steve Wynn (thanks, Mr. Wynn). It was awesome as usual and left very satisfied and set for the rest of the day. We then played a bit at the Wynn and it was time for us to head practically next door for 2:30 Mass at the Guardian Angel Cathedral. After Mass, we headed back to Caesars to get our luggage and head back to the Encore for a night in true luxury. As we got half way to the Encore (we walked) it started to rain. Now it has been raining all day, but it really started to rain and we were soaked. That kind of put a damper on things, but when we got to the Encore, it all went away and we just took in the great view, great room and great weekend we were having in Vegas.
We walked back over to the Wynn and decided this would be our home casino for the night. We played a bit of everything, me sticking to VP and the Spalady playing the pennies. I think it was about at that point that my luck began to change. I ended up on an All-Star Poker Machine with various games (new to me) and was playing Super Times, at the ten cent level (triple play)...and it just kept winning and winning and winning..I think I finally cashed out a $200 ticket on dimes and then headed up to quarters and cashed another $200 ticket and still kept playing on their money, hitting several 4oaks including aces with a kicker and deuces and threes..it was a great night and the drink service was excellent. I finally ended up going up to the room about 1am and up for the night and so far the trip.

February 8, 2009: Up at 6am, a sad day, as SpaLady has to leave and head back home to be at work on Monday morning. We get her packed up and head down to catch a taxi out the airport. Nice little system the Encore has worked up. Doorman calls your taxi (read: tip) and then you move to the taxi line and another one opens your door and takes your luggage (read: tip) and then off you go, into the tunnel that brings you out onto Desert Inn Road..nice way to avoid the strip and all the lights. Our driver was great and asked how we like the Encore. She told us that Steve Wynn had a cabby appreciation event, where he invited every cab driver in Vegas to a free night, buffet dinner and even raffle prizes to announce his new hotel. Guess he did the same thing when the Wynn opened. She said it was great and a double benefit was that her husband was a cab driver also, so they got two nights. Guess the cabbies even have a TV to watch as they wait in the tunnel. What hasn't Wynn thought of! Anyhow, on to the airport, we say our good-byes and off she goes thru security. Now the airport is absolutely dead...I mean NO BODIES nowhere..it was kind of scary. I decided to try VP machines on my way out and figured $20 would be no big loss..within four hands I hit quad deuces with a kicker for $200. Thanks McCarran! I cab it back to the Paris and know that I have the entire day ahead of me and don't want to lose all my money, so I have to take it easy. Here is just a short gambling synopsis of the day: Harrahs: nothing, but did eat at the Flavors Buffet..it was ok.. Paris: nothing, Ballys: Star Trek again, won a bit and played for over an hr; Walked over to Ellis Island, hadn't been there in a while...signed up for a card and started to play and play and play..couldn't lose...hitting 4oaks on every machine...think I stayed there for 4 hrs and ended up cashing out over $200. Flamingo: nothing, Imperial Palace: walked around, they moved the machines I used to play on..nothing..found the Star Trek machines...no one playing..ok..sat down..put in a $20..nothing..I was down to about $7 and finally started hitting some wins..back up to about $21 when I hit something that says I won 50 coins and then everything changed..some strange screen came on (I never did figure out what really paid what or what symbols counted as winners!) and Captain Kirk appears in several rows...anyyhow..and the voice says 'Congratulations, JACKPOT'..now I was only betting the 35 lines x 2, so .70 cents. Well, this Jackpot Voice happened at Ballys and I had won the little jackpot of $16.95, so I figured it was one of those...until I looked up and saw my credits: 54,335...UH? Really? 54, 335 credits..lets see..pennies..um...no way...that's..no...yeah..$543.35...on a .70 cent bet? (wonder what it would have been if I had max bet?) WOW..ok..sure enough those credits just kept running up and up and up...and I had a total of $574.65(approx.)...so being the gambler I am, I hit the max button ($3.50 a time)and played till I hit a bonus round(now that was fun!) and ended up adding another $150 to the total until I finally cashed out at $600...I left the IP feeling pretty good..on to Harrah's..nothing, Now it was time for my mini-meet. Scheduled to appear was vegasbabe, kenomom, icemanSTL and misterkeno. Its 7pm and I am sitting at the le Lobby bar at the Paris. I give kenomom a call and find out she is been sick all week and didn't want to venture out (I don't blame you, I wouldn't of either) hope you are feeling better!. Vegasbabe (Jane) arrives on time and we have a nice meeting. It ends up just being the two of us but we had a great time and I really enjoyed our conversation and look foreward to seeing you in March. We tried to call misterkeno, but apparently his number has been changed, so no luck. Jane, thanks again for taking time out for the meet and I hope kenomom and misterkeno are feeling better. Back to Wynn where I wanted to play my All Star Poker machines, but the one I was on last night was busy, so I went around the other side and found three empty ones..so sat down and once again..they were HOT..ended up cashing out $150 playing dimes, quarters and dollars. About 12:30am had a very pleasant young lady ask if I would like some company this evening..uh? Oh..um, no thank you...ok, she says, thank you very much, and off she goes. Hmmm, since when are they so 'pleasant?', its usually some bad come on line, maybe it was the 'upper class' establishment? Haha..So I decided it was time to head up to bed and call it a night. One last view of the strip from the 60th floor and off to dreamland...Dreamland..wait, was I hearing things??/ knocking...three times...sat up..listened..nothing..laid back down..knocking three times again..ok..get up..check outside in the hall.nothing..ok...lay down..knocking three times..now this is getting weird...get up look again..nothing..no one in hallway( I even opened the door to check), next room was quiet(I listened at the connecting door)..hmmm, ok..back to bed..lay there..wait..no knocking..ok..close eyes...door opens..closes, you know that click sound when your hotel room door closes tight..well that was the sound..except IN my room..hmmmm get up.check lock.its locked..ok..Now I am thinking that maybe I fell asleep and was dreaming this..but I know I was awake and very alert by this time..ok..back to bed..lay down..close eyes but really wide awake...water runs in bathroom..ahhhhh..get up...go check it out...now remember, two sinks in this bathroom..wife had one and I used one..well her side was dry as it hadn't been used since she left that morning and housekeeping had been in to tidy up..so dry sink all day. I used my side that night (and no, I wasn't inebriated!) to brush my teeth and wash my face before bed. But when I heard this water run, and I checked, her side of the sink was all WET! ..hmmmm whats going on?? I was tired..so I just went back to bed(guess that stuff doesn't bother me, due to the business I am in!) and said out loud...sorry ghosts, I am tired and headed off to sleep!!..It didn't take long, and I was out. As far as I know, nothing else happened. I wondered if during the building of the Encore, something happened in this room??/ someone died??? Who knows...it was kinda eerie, yet exciting, except I was too tired to really get the full effect(bet that disappointed what ever was 'haunting' me!)

February 9, 2009: Up at 6am..packed and ready to leave this fantastic room, view and bed. Decided to go down and have a coffee and danish before I left, and since I had gotten my boarding pass the day before, I was in no rush. Its raining out this morning, so everything is wet (remember this for later) caught a cab about 7:45am and off to the airport, now I should have known this was not going to be a normal cab ride. First of all, he did not use the tunnel, hmm, so I said, you don't use the tunnel?, Nope, never do..ok, time to look at his name: Vladmir(Wow, first strange things in the hotel room and now Vladmir. Should I be worried?) So down the strip we go. Ok, since I am new to this property, I will see the price difference. We get to Tropicana, the fare is already $11.20(also remember I had this same cab ride the day before taking the Mrs. to the airport), ok. So its gonna be close. So down Tropicana to Maryland and he is driving the cab like we are headed to a fire, yikes, he takes the curve off at Tropicana and Maryland into the airport and I know he was doing at least 30-35 around that corner and well, wet streets and fast tires...whopeeeeee, off we go doing 180 degree swing around and bounce up against the curb coming to a stop facing the opposite direction of oncoming traffic... ok..I am ok and he is just sitting there saying bunch of cuss words as he radios in his 'accident'.. doesn't even ask me if I am ok until the dispatcher asks if his passenger is ok...duh!..;I say yes and they will be sending a rescue cab. Now, I am looking at the clock and see I have exactly one hr and 8 minutes until my flight takes off..ok..at least I am at the entrance to the airport..and facing in the wrong direction(I was just waiting for someone to come around the curve and hit us head on!) finally the chief roads supervisor for the cab company(Desert Cab) arrives and asks if I am ok and what happened..so I tell him, it's the drivers fault, too fast for conditions (being from the Midwest, I am very aware of these things!)ok..I fill out an accident report and they assure me a rescue cab is coming. Then the police arrive. The officer asks me what happened..so I tell him..he says 'exactly what I figured happened'..he seemed really ticked at this cabby(bet he got a ticket!!) and his supervisor said was going to have at least a day off to think about what he just did!. Rescue cab finally arrives and off I go, but I still had to pay the first fare( does anyone think I should not have paid that?? Let me know, as I may write the company, or should I contact the authority?) anyhow, I get to the airport and rush to the gate (fortunately, the airport was empty, so I got right thru security), only to find out we are delayed due to high winds and our plane coming in was having a rough time( any indication what would be happening next?). Plane finally arrives and we all get on. Take off and captain says he will try to make up time lost..yeah, well, not quite...we get past the mountains and between Vegas and Denver, the flight attendant comes on the PA and says that everyone must be seated its gonna get rough..and sure enough..it was rough! It was rock and roll for a good half hour (two passengers in the back got sick) so that meant no beverage or food service during this time (and I was hungry!). We land in Denver and as the back half of the plane exits, they all look very pale (didn't know that it feels twice as bad in the back as it does up front (per our flight attendant), good reason for me to be up front from here on out!). We get out of Denver and the flight attendants aren't getting up..oh oh..here we go again and it's only a hr flight from Denver to Omaha, so looks like we could be in trouble. These bumps were minor compared to what we came through earlier, so they finally get up and announce that due to the limited time, they will be coming thru the cabin with only water and nothing else. Now I am starving and hoping for at least peanuts, but no, just a glass of water. Sigh, oh well, I can eat when I get to Omaha. Plane lands without problems and its back to Harrah's to pick up my car and head home. The winds have been gusting here up to 60mph(so my shuttle driver said), and it was difficult to keep my car on the road on my way back.
Here ends my adventure and my very long report(sorry!). It was quite the experience and now I am counting down to my guys trip out...T-21 and counting, looking forward to the mini-meet with Kandik et al.