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Category: 2011
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Our 20th or 21st annual "Boys" trip to Las Vegas. Usually our group is six or seven but because of work conflicts we were just four this year. One TR Diamond (me), one platinum and two regular players. Smooth trip outbound from Toronto on AC. Biz class upgrade made it even better. We love the old terminal 2 in Las Vegas which although has no services, and is a very old not renovated "hanger" with 8 gates, the good part is that there are never any lines, no crowds, instant drop off, bags within 5 minutes....and never more than 40 steps from the front door to your gate. We are going to miss it when they tear it down next year and move the international flights to the new T3.

We rented two cars, one for the golfer and one for us. Great Prez Circle Hertz 4 category upgrade to a new Durango. When I am in town with my spouse it is the Palazzo. With the boys, we stay at Paris. Our play is enough to get us comp'd rooms and although you can complain about the TR system, if you have one Diamond in your group, life is easy. Fast Valet parking. Skip the restaurant line up. Lounge, upgraded rooms, etc.

The guys got normal rooms mid height (around 15th) and 2 of the 3 were able to get rooms WITHOUT a view so that the club bass music noise didn't keep them up till 3am. I was upgraded to a lovely corner suite on the sub penthouse level. Not reno'd yet but nice to have the space.

The staff at Paris were great. Really trying hard to please. The rooms need upgrading (even the upgraded rooms are now getting old. I was there on an offer of either free food or free table/slot play. For some reason I seemed to have been offered both which was nice. Dinners for us were at Ballys Steak House and we love the lump crab appetizer. A meal by itself. 2nd night was the Palm. I don't like playing at Caesars because there are so many tourists gawking and walking through... and their Video Poker paytable is even worse than the normal bad strip hotel payoff. Dinner was excellent and I was good and had a shared surf/turf with one of the guys. $85 bucks for the entire meal for the both of us. A shared sliced steak and our own lobster tail plus sides. Great food and a good deal (for the Palm). Final night dinner was our favourite restaurant in Las Vegas: Joes' Stone Crab. I had stone crab to start, we all split scallops and then I had halibut. It is a great restaurant.

Weather was perfect- 53f at night and 85f highs during the day. but a comfortable 85f. Although late October, you could always tell the Canadians because we wore shorts.

Had a big tax receipt Video Poker win on the first day - natural quad aces plus a kicker on 10 row quarter Ultimate X Video Poker with a multiplier on every postiion. Paid $6500 less 30% withheld. Now I could play with the house's money and it was fun. I discovered and really like the Super Double times pay multiplier multi row VP. It costs 7 coins per row, (vs. 5 normally) but has a random multiplier before the draw and then as you draw. Each multiplier is between 2x and 10x and averages about 4x. Each one comes up about once in 15 hands. It sucks cash and then bang a huge win. Fun.

We like the new bonus on 3 card poker which is a Caesars family exclusive. It's an extra bet that pays off if your 3 cards PLUS the dealer's three cards result in a hand of trips or higher for the best 5 cards. And pays off up to $1 million for a 6 card royal in diamonds. I hit a 5 card royal at Ballys 3 card with $10 bet in December 2010 that paid $10k ( I also had a dollar toke for the dealers up which paid $1k for them!). It's now hard to play 3 card poker elsewhere without this bonus. We also like Crazy for Poker.

At 3 card one of the group bought in for $300 one night, and ran his best from a quarter to 50 to $100 and then hit a straight flush. He cashed out about $6k at that table. Fun to be with him and see him press things a bit.

The last night I was sitting with some Iranian new best friends (I think there was a big Iranian/ Persian concert in the hotel that night) at the Mississippi Stud table game. $25 minimum I think because there was just one table. Everyone was betting the minimum and it is a fun game (kind of the reverse of Let it Ride) where you can make one chip bet and then only continue/ stay to see the common cards turned if you want to continue to bet. Otherwise it is a fold. A player at our table had a pair of 10's which is at least a push that then let him triple up (75 x 3 spots) at no risk on the three betting positions. The common cards were a 10, then a 4, and then another 10. Screams from the table because at 40 to 1 he had just won $10k for an initial $25 bet. Fun table.

We went to M resort and South Point for some Video Poker play because the low pay tables at Paris just didn't allow for serious video poker sessions. We LOVE the M resort and it has great pay tables, and is of course a very beautiful property. And if you have a car, it is only 10 minutes down the highway. South point was also fun in a different way and the owner clearly is trying to super serve locals.

I checked out the new Margaritaville casino at the Flamingo. I guess it used to be a hallway/ walkway and the Baron Hilton steakhouse. It is small with maybe 10 table a 200 machines but it was fun. You can play 3 card poker right by the street, with lots of sun and fun music and a Jimmy Buffet vibe. I got a couple of chips for my chip collection.

We did some trips to Best Buy, Target, and Baja Fresh for lunch. We don't have any Baja restaurants in Canada and we like their food.

We had comp'd breakfasts at Paris in their cafe but the service always seems to be not great. Food is just ok. Two of the guys had an amazing final day breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi, outside on the terrace, with waffles and crepes to die for. I must try it next time.

We got a little bit delayed at the airport on our return because they shut down ALL airplane movement until the US President had landed in AF1 and left for the Bellagio. We did get to taxi past AF1 and it is a very impressive special 747.

We really enjoyed our relaxing few days. Until next year.