3 nights at the Venetian

Well we got up Thursday morning at 2am for coffee in the hot tub before getting ready to roll. At 3:30 we were ready with a bloody mary made and a beer chaser. Car was loaded the night before so it's out to the car and off to the kid's house. We are taking our youngest daughter and husband with this trip as a 5 year anniversary present. We get to their house and transfer luggage and cocktails to their vehicle and it's off to Minneapolis. No problems along the way and arrive in more then enough time. Check bags which I don't normally do but this is under a birthday offer so I know I'm going to have lotions and things from the Venetian that I can't carry on the return trip so I thought we might just as well check and bring our booze supply with rather then buy out there. Arrive in Las Vegas on time at 9:20 am and down to luggage and just a short wait and bags arrive. Make for the cab area as quickly as we can so daughter can smoke a cig because she is about to lose her mind. After she finishes that we make for the cab line that doesn't exist and then it's off to the Venetian.

Just like in February the strip was totally deserted. Now it's early I know but it was dead. Drove straight to the V and dropped off the bags thinking there is no way we are checking in this early as we have Terrazzo suites and there is a very limited number of them. Everyone is hungry so it's down to Grand Lux for breakfast. I buy since the kids are mortified at the cost of food. This would be a bit of a trend. If you've ever eaten at the Lux you will know what I mean when I say everyone walked away plenty full. Then we split up to do some playing. I checked to make sure my line was active and took a draw and the guy giving me the draw said this is going to be a very lucky trip for you. I said oh you think so, eh. He said I know so and can feel it. Well that draw went away pretty quickly so I took another with him telling me to have the faith. Yeah, right Anyhow after more bleeding the wife finds me and wants to drop our 200 in the 5 dollar wheel of fortune which has been an ATM some trips. 10 bucks a spin, 20 spins and we are done. This would be a theme with our so called ATM also. Enough of that so we decided to see if we could check in.

They had 1 of our rooms available and since the kids looked like they were about to drop we checked in and had all our bags brought to this room and then the wife and I went walking while they slept. Kids. Anyhow we roamed the V for a few hours and then called to wake them figuring they would never sleep later and we all went to gambling again. Only change this time was I was able to tread water at least. Drink service this whole trip was spotty and on Thursday it was almost non existent. A bit disappointing. As it was quite late by our clocks we decided to call it a night and grabbed a sandwich from the second floor food court and went back to the room. Ate and had a few cocktails and watched some Masters highlights and then it's off to bed.

Awakened at 0 butt thirty on Friday am. I never do get used to the 2 hour difference and wake early anyhow. So it's down to play for a bit and then bring coffee back to the room. Once the kids woke up it was down to the 2nd floor food court again to show them where they could get the only cheap breakfast available at the V and the wife just said we would eat there also with them. It was sustenance and not much more but what do you expect for $4.95 I guess.

After breakfast we do the exploring thing going through the V and Palazzo and over to Wynn then across the road to Mirage where I pick up our tickets for tonight for Terry Fator. At this point the daughter says she can't walk anymore. I'm thinking you don't want to try and follow your mother and I around this town it's obvious because we would have continued to Bellagio and then back but oh well. In fact we never did make Bellagio and the conservatory which is a first for us when staying on the strip. Well we went back to our rooms and dropped the tickets and parted ways to do some gambling. I head down to the high limit room to extract revenge on that darn VP machine. Back by the evil Wheel of Fortune there are 3 9/6 double bonus machines. 1 is a 5 dollar and the two on the right are 1. I sit at the machine on the right and the wife sits on the middle one and away we go. Immediately I hit a 4 of a kind which kind of fills the coffers. Wife is treading water when I am dealt 4 hearts with 3 of them being for the Royal. I think the proper play is go for the Royal, whether it is or isn't I've come to gamble so I drop that 4 of hearts off the screen and hit deal and whammo, the Royal comes up. Machine starts singing and service light starts flashing and I sit and look at Kristy who keeps looking over at my machine and finally says, "What the hell is wrong with that thing." I said, "Look at the screen." She does and then starts yelling and kissing me. I should get these things more often:) Wait for the hand pay and tax paperwork. I like at the V that they pay you the full deal in hundreds and aren't groveling for tips just for bringing you money. Doesn't mean I didn't tip but I never like to feel like they are demanding a tip. So here is a link to Fridays win: http://entertainment.webshots.com/ph...33848026ZEGjXl

Sorry for the shaky hand but my cell phone in low light is really touchy.

Just kind of lounged and ordered some chicken tenders from room service to take off the edge and then cleaned up for dinner at the Monte Carlo at Brand Steakhouse. We went out front to grab a cab and there were none. I'm like WTF and then asked a guy who said they had moved the cab line. So we wandered over to it thinking this isn't nearly as convenient as it used to be. No line again just walked up and got the first cab and it's off to the Monte. Strip now was much busier and after 5 minutes of crawling I said your going to need to back road it my friend or we are never going to get there. Finally he got us off the strip and cruising and we make it to the Monte with plenty of time to spare. Go in and make our way to the Brand while Jenny attempts to inhale a pack of cigs along the way. We are plenty early so they decide to gamble a bit while we decide to just relax in the lounge and have a drink. Finally it is our time and we rejoin up and go in the eating area. While the Monte looked fairly busy this place most certainly was not. We had a great meal however with good service. Afterward it was catch a cab for the Mirage and Terry Fator. We get there a tad early so it's gambling again with nothing to report and then off to Fator.

This guy is the ventriloquist that won America's Got Talent. We watched him on the show and really enjoyed him. When he ended up signed in Vegas we vowed to catch his show. I can't recommend it enough. It is super entertaining and wildly funny. Guy is more then really good. We laughed almost non stop for the full length. We even got another surprise as he was changing into his Michael Jackson outfit. That segment of the show by the way is positively hilarious. Well they brought out a keyboard and said he had a special guest that wanted to play. The year after Terry won there was a Wisconsin man, Eli Mattson that was just incredible. Some opera singer ended up winning which I think was a real mistake. At any rate after the disappointment of him losing I turned to my wife and said, "You mark my words, we're going to see that young man in Vegas some day." Well you guessed it, Eli came on and did an Elton song better then Elton. Very, very good. I hope he can catch on out there as I would go to his show also. After the show Terry sits and autographs pictures and takes a picture with anyone wanting to do so. Nice touch I thought. I really wonder how his voice will hold up though. With all the singers that have had trouble with Vegas voice I have to think he is stressing his a bit and might be even more susceptible to it. Time will tell. It is a show to see IMO. Then it's back to the V and our rooms as it's late for us. I stay up for a bit for a nightcap and to watch Masters highlights and then it's off to bed.

Wake early again but not as early. 11 vegas time to bed is waaay late for this guy:) After a Bouchon cup of coffee I try to decide what I want for breakfast and for the day since it's my birthday. Decide on a strange room service though the gal tells me I'm not that strange. Anyhow it's a bottle of Champaign for wife unit, a pitcher of Bloody for me and a cheese and fruit tray. Very good though I wasted half of the Bloody or I would have been smoked. I wanted 2 but 2 was the same price as the pitcher so I decided what the heck. So we just kind of lounged around the patio for a few hours just relaxing and then decided to see if I was going to have any birthday luck.

So down to the scene of yesterdays crime and let the play begin. Well my machine wasn't being quite so kind today so wife walked off with kids to find cheaper machines. As my credits dwindled I decided to go outside the high limit room and try the 9/6 jacks or better that was out there. Now these are 2 dollar machines so now your spinning 10 a spin but I wonder if they aren't a tad less volatile then the 1 dollar double bonus since I was getting so many 2 pairs. Well that is what I told myself anyhow:) So I put my ticket in and sit down and I am just kind of spinning my wheels but holding my own when I am dealt a diamond flush with 4 to the Royal. No way am I keeping a flush when I have 4 to the royal so without thinking I hit keep for the 4 and hit deal. I immediately hit deal again to begin the next hand when I noticed I'm locked up, look closer and yep, the royal. This one got my pulse rate going a bit I can tell you. I call wife unit on the cell phone and said you remember what that dollar machine sounded like when I hit the royal. She said she did so I said well this is what a 2 dollar machine sounds like when you hit the royal and held my phone up to the speaker. I held the phone back to my ear and she said your $hitting me and I said nope. She then screamed and I could hear her across the casino for crying out loud. Well they all wander over to look while I wait for another pay. They come out after a bit and verify it and leave to do the paper work and to write a check. I didn't want that much cash. This takes a bit longer then just getting cash but as I say, I didn't want that much cash. Here is the birthday royal. Again sorry about the picture quality. http://entertainment.webshots.com/ph...33848026BPPzeJ

After all that excitement the kids want to see downtown so I run my paperwork and check up to the room and put it in the safe and then its down to the Golden Nugget. We wander the Nugget and the fish tank and the rest of Fremont street ending up at Binions where I run my free play through a dollar VP machine. About hand number 5 I get dealt a flush with 4 to the royal and think this can't happen 3 times in one trip can it. I keep the 4 and hit deal and Whoopie! No actually I mean nothing, no flush, no royal, no straight, no nothing. Welcome back to earth fat boy:) Kids thought it was time to eat so it was down to the coffee shop. Being the dinner hour on a Saturday night this place was dead with a capital D. Sit down and look at the menu and it's like where is the rest of the menu. It's gone from many pages of good offerings to just 3 pages of basic's I guess. No steak and lobster, not much of anything to be honest. Well we are here so we eat and what we had was ok it wasn't what I really wanted. I'm thinking other then breakfast I will find somewhere else when downtown now. Too bad. I guess they felt they were competing with their own Steak House. I think that is a crazy notion but I'm not running the place. After some more gambling we make our way back to the Nugget and head back as the kids had no interest in a light show. We fly tomorrow so everyone wanted to lay a bit low.

Sunday morning wake up and order a Continental breakfast and large carafe of coffee and of course a bloody mary. Enjoy our patio one more time and take in the dawn while sipping our drinks and eating yum yums. Before we know it, it's 7am and time to head to the airport. All goes smooth and soon we are on the plane and back to the real world and another trip is over. 3 nights just somehow doesn't seem long enough to get much sightseeing in. It seems to work about right for us as we don't need to do much except to check the Bellagio out and we didn't even make that this time. Bummer. Oh well.

I was staying on a birthday offer that gave me 3 free nights and a bottle of Champaign and some toiletries and such and offered me a second room for 89 a night. Wife has always wanted to stay in a Terrazzo so for a nominal fee she upgraded. I guess the patio is all right. You don't have access to the pool area and with the shrubs really can't even see the pool area though that does give you some privacy from folks in the pool. With that said it's a standard room with a small outside patio. I personally would rather have my high up strip view room for free and in the future that is what I will do. I guess it was nice but I have psoriasis on my lower legs and back and would freak people out if I climbed into the hot tub so that isn't an added benefit for me. In the future I'll take the wonderful strip view at night for my night caps. Here is a few pictures of the pool area and view from our patio. Had to stand on the railing to see this though. As I say it's a standard V room which I also have some pictures of in one of my other albums if your interested. http://entertainment.webshots.com/album/571033495QGsYtf

Crowds are definitely down though better then it was in February. There were ample 10 and 15 dollar tables at the V on both Friday and Saturday night. The high limit tables that come out onto the casino floor were only 25 and I've seen them as high as 150 in the past. The strip seemed to have a lot of people on the weekend but every casino was borderline quiet for a weekend. I also see the high end restaurants are very quiet. I was just walking by Postrio for instance and they were handing out 25% off coupons for your entire bill. I suspect that while visitor ship is up from 2 months ago folks are not yet back to gambling and dining as they were a year ago. I wonder if they will anytime soon. I don't know how you rethink at this stage your business model but if we don't see big boom times again soon, and I see next to no chance of that happening, the bad and expensive gambling and expensive dining may have been a mistake. Time will tell and what do I know.

I also think no matter how many times I look at City Center the thing is a monstrous eye sore IMO. Just doesn't do it for me. And I can't see how an additional 12K rooms in the Vegas market right now is a real positive for the casinos either. Again time will tell.

Well that is enough rambling and now it's time to start dreaming about the next trip. I know we will do November for our 30th anniversary but I just wonder if a guy shouldn't book the wife units birthday in June also:)