This was year #11 for our group to make the March Madness excrsion to Las Vegas. All went from Atlanta (except 1 from Columbus, Ohio). Here are the gory details:

Flights- most took Delta out of Atlanta and there were no problems except for bumpy rides. Got into Las Vegas on time. Went to get a rental car at Thrifty. Got to the desk at 7:30 pm and there were 11 people in line and ONE agent. Waited 20 minutes and he had waited on two people. Grabbed the cell and called Thrifty and cancelled. Took cabs for the whole trip. What is wrong with them?

Hotel: Gold Coast for the second year in a row was ok. Last year the room for 4 nites was $475. This year the same deal was $155!! Worth it no matter what. The buffet in the GC is not too good but TGI Fridays serves breakfast and all day and night until 2 am. I like the GC but friends want to try the strip again next year.

Food-- at the GC there is a good Chinese restaurant called Ping, Pang, Pong. Doesn't hold too many people but get there early as the food is very good. Ate at a great Mexican place in the Palms called Guarduno's. Highly recommend it. Huge portions, good home made salsas, and the margaritas had real liquor in them and they were large (17 oz for the regular and a whopping 45 oz for the huge one). Our yearly steak dinner was at Binions Ranch Steak House downtown. We've been there before but its been a few years. In a nutshell.. great view and old Las Vegas atmosphere but the meat was not worth the $40 plus. All were overcooked to almost overcooked. THe problem was at the end when we wanted th split a $335 bill onto two cards, a Visa gift card and an AX card. They wouldn't do it!! They said the new ownership didn't allow it. Too bad they feel that way since they have just lost 6 customers. We'll go back to Gallaghers at NY, NY or the Range at Harrahs next time. Overcooked steaks and an unreasonable payment system kills it everytime.

Gambling-- HORRIBLE!!! I play video poker and Three-Card poker. My friends play a load of BJ and craps. The craps was very hot and cold. The video poker, if I didn't know any better, was as if they had programmed the machines to tease you and not pay out anything. Last year I hit 21 4OAK in 3 1/2 days and won big. This year I hit 9 and lost big. Table games have too many gimmicks. Switch-em blackjack, bad payouts in BJ, stuff like that. Craps was playable and Three-Card poker ranged from very cold to decent. All 6 of us lost. Even tried the NCAA basketball tournament with little luck. I hope Vegas isn't getting all they can from the gambling end to make up for the smaller crowds. There were a good number of people in town for basketball however.

Overall we had a good time but the steak dinner and the gambling took a little of the luster off. Next year we may cut the trip down to 3 days. After 25 years worth of trips to the big city, I have seem all there is to see on the strip with the exception of the newer hotels (Palazzo, etc) which no one felt like going to. We like to gamble and watch basketball and we did alot of both! We'll do better next year.