This was an epic 8 night trip, some business and some pleasure. There was a conference that my wife A and I go to every year and after the conference our friend TJ came to town.

We are Caesars Entertainment players, so we are part of the Total Rewards program. I really think it?s the best rewards program in Las Vegas, we are in charge of our own comps, there is no host to suck up to, or to try to get them to comp things, it?s great, no mystery. I've been Diamond for a few years now, and made it again on this trip.

It was raining a little when we arrived mid-day on Saturday; I love it when it rains in Las Vegas and always consider it good luck. We went to the Diamond check-in at Paris and luckily got a P-Room for the entire 8 nights, this was surprise and a great start to the trip. It was a corner room that was big and had 2 views.

The first thing I did on Saturday was to set up a line of credit at Caesars Palace, in addition to my existing lines at Paris and Wynn/Encore.

The Pai Gow tables at Paris are now using a system called i-Verify. It's a small, color screen built into the table that sets the order of the hands, it also knows what cards every player has and they can even pull up how each player should play their hand on the screen. It's real hard to not be a little concerned about a possible lack of randomness with a system like this. I don't think a large organization is going to cheat to steal my $50 bet, but I'm just saying... this basically turns Pai Gow into a slot machine. The great thing about Pai Gow at Caesars Palace is that they have the dice cup to decide the order of the hands, this seems much more random, and sets my mind at ease.

We went over to Cosmopolitan, and all I can say is wow. It's cool being able to travel into the future just by crossing the street from Paris. Of course, we didn't actually travel forward in time, but when you normally play at Paris, Cosmo sure feels like the future. It has new slot machines, lots and lots of new slot machines, did I mention new and beautiful slot machines? The latest and greatest, server based products from IGT and the others. The roulette tables are high-tech, the sportsbook looks like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, and they have free Wi-Fi there! It's clean, beautiful, comfortable, and feels like the future. If I was in charge of a casino, it would look like this one. I wish it was doing better financially.

On Sunday, we rented a small car from Paris to do a little running around. We drove all the way up to Alliante Station to see Buzz, our favorite dealer of all time. Of course he wasn't there, but we had to give it a shot. We just ran around town, got some groceries for our long stay, and had fun. It was so easy and convenient to rent a car from Paris, we will do that again. We rarely get a car in Las Vegas, so this worked out great.

On Sunday night we ran 'The Experiment', it's something we made up at home. It's basically high stakes Pai Gow (high stakes for us) for a limited amount of hands. We each play 2 hands, of $100 bet and $25 on the bonus, for one trip around the table, that's six hands. We start with $1,000.00 each, and if we lose it all, it's over. The real hope here is to hit a big hand with $25 on the bonus. We practice this at home regularly, but this would only be the 2nd time ever doing it with real money in Las Vegas. On this day, the experiment was a success. A made $700 and I made $200. I was quite relieved when it was over, since there is the possibility that we could be down $2,000.00.

On Monday, I made the mistake of drinking too much, way too much. It ruined the day and I ended up doing things I wouldn't normally do. I was very lucky that everything worked out, and there was no harm. Sorry A! Sorry for all those e-mails TJ! Lesson learned. Enough said.

A and I went down to Wynn on Tuesday night, it's so nice there, we just love it and almost always go there when in Las Vegas. Normally we have good luck there, this time we got crushed at the tables and at slots. We limped back to Paris.

Wednesday night we tried out my new line of credit at Caesars Palace and played Pai Gow for 4 hours. We lost just a little and had a great time. I sure wish Caesars was updated, it sure looks like 1975 called and wants it décor back. As the flagship of the Caesars Entertainment Empire, it seems like Gary Loveman would pay more attention to it. I guess that would cost money.

The conference was over on Thursday afternoon and TJ got in around 5. It's not really Las Vegas until TJ arrives. We went right to the Diamond Lounge at Paris for some drinks, then to Joe's Stone Crab in the Forum Shops. Joe's is always awesome, we can't get enough. Thomas the Maitre D' there is a friend and it's always good to see him. If you go, make sure to get the Daddy's Key Lime drink, it's so good, it's like liquid Key Lime pie. We had our fill there and went to bed early since we would be getting up early.

On Friday morning we did our usual thing and started playing Pai Gow at 4:00am. We each play 2 hands so we have the table locked down, that way no smokers can come to our table. We normally try to make the entire graveyard shift from 4:00am to noon. We made it on Friday and we also made a lot of money at this epic session. I made $1,500, A and TJ also made money. TJ had been drinking, and when I colored up to leave, 2 young guys took my spots at the table. TJ, who was still playing says 'boooo' to them, the alcohol apparently causing his inner monologue to not work properly. It was hilarious. They were knobs so it didn't really matter.

TJ had to leave at noon on Saturday so we didn't make the entire graveyard shift, but still played for 6+ hours. Then we went to the Pairs buffet. I used to love this buffet, but have had a few visits recently where I just didn't like it. I don't know if we will go back there again. The incredible lines for the Paris buffet continue to amaze me. We don't have to wait in them since TJ and I are Diamond, so it doesn't matter to us. I just know that there is absolutely no way that I would wait in a line like that for any buffet, there is no way it's worth it. I'm tempted to ask some of the people in line why they are willing to wait so long for such mediocre food.

We played some more Pai Gow after TJ left and got destroyed, then we took the monorail down to MGM to play that horse race game that is almost extinct in Las Vegas. You have to get actual quarters to play, its so old school. We walked back to Paris playing at different casinos on the way, nothing worth noting.



One thing we did notice is that the crowds on the strip in Las Vegas are huge, oh the humanity! I'm starting to think that someday they may have to close the strip to vehicles and just have it be for pedestrians. There are times when the sidewalks just aren't big enough to have the sheer volume of people.

Those people that stand out in front of Ballys, and other places in costumes amaze me. We saw Sponge Bob and Hello Kitty every day, it was probably 110 out. I don't know how much they make doing that, but there is no way it's worth it. It must be disgusting in there, and it probably stinks like crazy. I don't get it.

The Walgreens store and complex is making good progress on that little plot of land just south of Planet Hollywood. I always thought something like that should be there, it makes sense.

If I could have one wish in Las Vegas, it would be that Caesars Entertainment sells Rio and buys Cosmopolitan from Deutsche Bank. Rio never made any sense, and Cosmo is a beauty, plus it would give them more presence on the west side of the strip. I know, I know, it won't happen.



The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:

The Good: Joe's Stone Crab, The Experiment, Renting a Car at Paris, Cosmopolitan, Graveyard Pai Gow staff at Paris, P Room at Paris

The Bad: The nasty old slot machines at Paris, Delta Airlines non rev passengers, People that seem to have never ridden in an elevator before...just face forward

The Ugly: Drinking too much and wasting almost a whole day in Las Vegas