When we visit Vegas in the early spring we tend to look for the best deals, that is why we booked 3 hotels for 6 days. Casino Royale was free, the Flamingo was $40/$45 for the weekend and Harrahs was free. Southwest from Chicago - always on time.

I was a little nervous after reading how tight the strip has become on the other trip reports but this was our best week gambling in a long time. The video poker at Casino Royale is the best. This is the only place on the strip where you can find 9/6 DDB. We're still looking for that first elusive royal flush but we did hit a lot of 4-of-a-kinds, several with the kickers. K likes to play penny slots and she had her share of nice hits - playing even most of the week. Her best luck was at the Mirage where penny slots are becoming more and more available. My vice is craps but I do not like to play on anything over a $5 table. To my surprise I found $5 tables (even over the weekend) at The Venetian, The Palazzo, Harrahs and, as always, Casino Royale & O'Sheas. One of the dealers told me they have lowered the table mins to try and attract some of the local players. I had my best roll at Harrahs where I hit 5 of the points, 7-ing out going for that 6th point and the 1000-1 fire bet. Even the crew had a few $$ on the fire line so they cheered as loud as everyone else when I hit that $250 - 1 payoff. I even had some nice hits on a variety of slots, the best being $500 at Caesars.

We don't do the buffets any longer but try to eat at different restaurants everyday. The best bargain in Vegas is Ellis Island. The food is exceptional with large portions at a very reasonable price. You better be real hungry if you order the "hungry man" breakfast, the unadvertised steak lunch special is - well - special and at 4:00 PM they begin cooking ribs over an open fire and they're great. For that real special dinner, "The Steakhouse" at Circus Circus is worth every penny. It will cost you about $100 for a couple to have one of the best steaks you'll ever eat. Coming from Chicagoland I've had the best and these rank right up there with the best.

Already made reservation to return in August - can't wait to hit the Flamingo pool.........