We had been looking forward to this trip for some time. We had a great trip from a gambling perspective and had some fun times with our Niece, her husband and his friend as well as my Aunt and Uncle. We also met with Texas Lynnie who was very nice. I was impressed with her selection of the Foster's oil can as her drink of choice during our meet:)

Unfortunately, the trip started on a bit of a downer as we learned that Michele's mom was admitted to the hospital while we were on the plane. Her mom had spent the previous week at our house and we considered cancelling out trip because something just didn't seem right to us. We then considered turning around and going home, but Michele's sister convinced us that things were stable and that her mom didn't even want us to know since we were on vacation. While we did enjoy ourselves, this definitely affected our mood(especially Michele's) during the trip. It was nice to have other family in town and the opportunity to socialize with people like Lynne.

I don't keep notes during our vacation, but will cover things and let Michele fill in the gaps.

Hotels

We stayed at Bally's for 3 nights, MSS for 2 and Rio for 2.

Bally's

The renovated rooms in the South Tower are very nice. We had 1 night comped and Fri/Sat for $70 each based on play when they were still part of Caesars. The Sidewalk Cafe is good for reasonable, decent meals.
I really like the Spa here. All I need is a stair machine, hot tub and nice steam room. This place has all 3. We normally aren't big on buffets, but ate at 5 during this trip mainly due to the convenience. We ate at the Paris buffet twice. The breakfast buffet was good. The dinner buffet was fair in my opinion. Outside of some good veal piccata and grilled steak tips, I felt the rest of the selections were fair. We were very disappointed in the dessert selections. The best benefit of being Diamond or Platinum at Harrah's is the use of the line pass. We walked right into the Paris buffet. In both cases the wait was 45 minutes in the normal line.

Main Street Station

This was our first stay here. The rooms are fairly small, but clean and comfortable. There is train noise if located toward the tracks, but running the fan helps with this. They are very fair with comps. We had booked at $60 for Sun/Mon nights. I talked to a host when I checked in and based on 2K coin in from 2004, she lowered us to the casino rate of $35. We gave them pretty decent play. I cycled more than 15K over 2 days and Michele cycled about 10K. They comped the room and all 3 meals at the Triple Seven Brew Pub when we checked out w/o even looking at Michele's play. In addition, they offered us four nights comped at anytime. Much better treatment than the GN in my opinion. In addition, we hit 2 progressive Royals for a total of $3225 and many 4OAK's. The beer is good and the Triple 7 food is good pub fare. I enjoyed their Porter, but stuck with the High Roller Gold simply because it was a lighter beer than the rest. We were disappointed with the Sunday Brunch buffet. My first experience at this buffet in 2004 was much different. The quality didn't seem to be what it was 2 years ago. The casino is small, but has fair games and seemed to have pretty good table offerings. Overall, we enjoyed our time here and will be going back. the only downside is no spa or pool although guests can use the pool across the bridge at the California. I enjoy the downtown area more than Michele. She likes it, but I would consider staying there the entire trip while she would prefer the strip or Rio and maybe even the Orleans.

Rio

This is our favorite hotel in Vegas. Great rooms,good atmosphere. The gambling conditions aren't the best, but we continued to have luck here on this trip. They have a very nice spa and pool area. The 2 nights were comped and all meals were covered with points. We ate at the All American twice while playing VP at their bar. The sandwiches/burgers are of good quality. We also had lunch at the Rio buffet which we enjoyed very much. If you ever go there, be sure to hit the stir fry station. You fill your bowl with veggies and then choose from beef, shrimp and chicken(or all three) and they stir fry it while you wait. This was awseome! They had a very varied selection of food and a fabulous selection of desserts. We don't typically have dessert, but we do when in Vegas. We both thought that the lunch buffet at Rio was better than the Paris dinner buffet. We also visited Orleans and the gold Coast while at the Rio. We had the GC buffet for lunch on our first day at Rio. This is a good buffet for 7.49 @ lunchtime.

Gambling and other meals etc.....

This was our best trip ever gambling wise. We came home winners thanks to 4 Royals!

Our gambling started on Thursday after checking in at Ballys. We normally budget about 600-800 a day to split between us. Our first day, we started with the pocket money we had upon arrival(around 175) We had Sbarro's while paying the bartops at the Bally's Sportsbook. We then hit the bartops in the middle of the casino. We had some small hits and then Michele hit Aces/kicker on DDB. Within a few minutes after this, I hit Aces w/o kicker on DDB. After about 3 hrs of play, we decided to hit the room and relax before meeting up with Texas Lynnie/Red. We were up over 800 at this point. A good start for a change.

Me met Lynnie at Carnival Court. Lynnie informed us that Red couldn't make it. We had a very nice time meeting Lynnie and her friends. They were all very nice people and seemed ready to party. Lynnie had to leave with her friends which was Ok since we had to meet my niece's friend at IP to check him into the hotel. Michele got him good rates for the weekend (59$ I believe). It was his first trip to Vegas and he just wanted to stay anywhere on the strip. We gave most of our winnings from Bally's back to the IP that night. Say what you will about the IP. We've never stayed there, but alway's enjoy their casino. It has a real party atmosphere.

We had breakfast at the Sidewalk Cafe on Friday. We then played some VP while waiting for our Niece and her husband to arrive. We walked through Paris stopping to play a bit and then headed to Aladdin where they were staying. We didn't hit anything memorable at either place on VP. We then played a few hours of $10 Blackjack at Aladdin with my Niece and crew. We bought in for a hundred, played about 3 hours and got comps for the buffet. Michele and I broke even after each of us sticking a black chip in our pocket midway through the session. The most I bet per hand was $25. The others all lost. My niece and her hubby play aggressive raising their bets as they win or lose. My niece had a nice green stack, but didn't walk away. We then introduced them to the Ellis Island Steak Special. Before dinner, I put a hundred into a 25c Deuces machine and cashed out at $425 when they called our number. This machine was in a hot cycle. I hit several Royals with deuce, a 5OAK and Quad Deuces. After dinner we played at Bally's for while and then hit the sack. We ended up just about even this day. We thought that this was great, but the best was yet to come.

On Saturday, we met up with the Niece/Hubby for breakfast at the Paris Buffet. There was zero line at the Diamond/Plat entrance....very nice. We then hit the IP to pick up their friend and Michele hit 3's with the kicker on DDB. We then hit the North end of the strip, Wynn and Frontier. We stopped at Casino Royal on the way and my niece played blackjack switch. She loved it until she found out 22 was a push. No memorable hits at Wynn and they do not offer the 50 point deal on Weekends. We played some 4 Sevens Bonus JOB at Frontier. We both lost and then had a blast playing Sigma Derby. Michele couldn't lose on this game. The only way I could hit was to pick every combo. I hope there is at least one of these left since it is really fun with a group of people. We then split up and Michele and I went to Caesars to earn our 150 base points for a gym bag. I was playing $1 JOB at the sportsbook and holding my own. Michele was having zero luck and getting frustrated. She started playing 25c JOB which she almost NEVER plays. She likes the bonus games. Next thing I know,she is waving me over to see her ROYAL!! She drew 2...nice hit. We had more than enough for the bag which is pretty nice by the way. After Caesars, we met up again and had the Paris buffet. Mainly, because everyone was starving and we could get in with no wait. We then returned to Bally's for more VP.

Sunday was our day to move to MSS. We caught a cab and experienced our only real downer of the trip. The cabby was very talkative and seemed like a real nice guy. Michele was on the phone with her sister to see how her Mother was doing. Obviously distracted, she left a bag in the cab. We realized it at the bell stand. The Bellman had been outside at the time we were dropped off and noticed the cab company name. Michele remembered the cab drivers name. The bellman called the company within 10 minutes of us being dropped off to have him re-dispatched. The company was useless. We called several times and they made no effort to contact the driver. They told us to call lost and found on Monday. We called the taxicab authority on our last day in town. Though we did not recover the bag, they did track the driver down and call Michele while he was with them. He said that he never noticed the bag and it was not there at the end of the shift. Frankly, i believe him and assume it was taken by another passenger. Michele felt awful about this. I kept telling her to let it go. there was nothing in the bag that wasn't replaceable. It had our phone chargers, stack of players cards and a brand new digital camera that Michele bought me just before the trip. I was more upset that we lost some nice pictures. My aunt and uncle were do in town today and they were going to meet us at MSS. We settled in at the bartops for some VP and microbrews. Well, ok I had the microbrews....I never know what Michele is going to drink...she is all over the map. I really loved the bartops here. The bonus games are shortpay with progressive Royal. BP is 7/5. They have full pay JOB and 9/6 DB that are not tied to the progressive. BP, DDBP are tied to the progressive. They are also multi-denomination 25c, 50c and $1. After paying a while, I hear the excited scream of my wife who again has drawn 2 for a Royal. She is now feeling better about the bag:). My Aunt/Uncle meet and we have the Champagne brunch at MSS. As said before, nothing special. We cannot believe the luck we are having so far on this trip. We toured DT for a while. The only other memorable hit was at the Fitzgeralds bartops when Michele hit 3's/kicker. We split from my aunt and Uncle and hit MSS again. My play here was probably 50% 25C, 25% $1 and 25% 50c. Michele played all quarters and spent an afternoon playing Pai Gow(+$40). That night my only decent hit was on $1 DB, Quad 4's for $400.

Monday, we spent most of the day at MSS. Michele played Pai Gow and I continued the VP marathon. I couldn't hit a thing and lost about $400. My Niece and her crew were going to meet us in the evening after her husband got out of his seminar. He was in town for a beverage show. His family owns a couple of Liquor Stores that he manages. My niece and her friend spent the day at the Dam and Valley of Fire. I was out of my daily allotment, but Michele still had money. We waited for them at the bartops. Since we had eaten earlier, we weren't hungry and they went to the brewpub for dinner. While we were waiting, I played 50c BP. (notice that I went from .25 to .50 with Michele's money) I couldn't believe it when I hit the deal button and saw all cards with "held" above them and "call attendant" flashing. I had a Royal Flush in Hearts DEALT TO ME for $2,175. We are now just flabbergasted by the luck we are having. I waited for my hand pay and ran the money up to the safe. We then toured DT with Niece and crew taking in a couple of light shows. We hit the bartops at Fitzgeralds and I lost $10 very fast. I switched the game to DB and hit the aces. We just couldn't beleive it!! We went back to MSS and hit several 4OAK's. next time I am going to save all the scratch cards to track how many we hit. While playing there we decide that we would take it easy, limit out play to quarters or 50c and go home winning.

On Tuesday, we checked out of MSS and headed to Rio. We went to the GC and played a little and then had their lunch buffet which is pretty good. We took the shuttle to the Orleans. The shuttles have signs all over them saying that you must have a room key, but we weren't asked for one. Michele went to the bartops and I went to the bank of FPDB back by the restaurants. I put a $20 in and started to play. This machine was giving me a lot of play. I was hitting 3OAK's all over the place. I then hit 4 10's and considered cashing out at $100, but kept playing and hit the Aces about six hands later. I cashed out at $300 and met Michele at the bar. I played another $40 in DB at the bar and hit nothing. Michele had pulled back to even. We left Orleans and took a cab back to Rio. We went to the Dragon Bar. They play great music here. Usually classic hits depending on the bartender. Michele now realizes that she left an $80 ticket in the machine at Orleans while we split out our money while sitting at the bar. We always do this when one of us is ahead. I felt really bad because I am the one that usually does stuff like this(usually because I am drinking) and I realize it is because she is distracted and worried about her Mom. I tell her not to worry, we are way ahead. We continue to play and while playing 25c BP, I get the JKQA of clubs dealt to me. I look at Michele and say "what do you think?" She replies " I think I'll wish you luck". Anyone that plays this game has had this hand hundreds of times and neither of us is an exception to that. I hit the button and the 10 of clubs comes up. More high fives, hugs and kisses!!!! We are just in shock and realize we will never have another trip like this. I ran the money to the safe and even w/o the $1K we end up at $800 for the day after starting with $600.....just incredible. Michele was having all kinds of luck at RIO on DDB. We spent the rest of that night at Palms with my Niece and crew. We had some hits there that kept us playing and finished our night playing some more at Rio.

Wednesday was our last full day. We went to Aladdin to say goodbye to our niece and husband. We spent the rest of the day at the north end of the strip hitting the Stardust and Frontier. We then walked to the Flamingo to meet up with my Aunt/Uncle and headed over to Ellis Island for another steak. We went to Caesars to pick up our gym bag. We stayed up until about 2:30 AM and Michele did Ok, but I lost her winnings and we ended up down about $500 for the day. This was our first losing day of the trip....amazing. We woke up to carpet being installed in the room above us at 7:30. They never told us that renovations were taking place on the floor above us. This was not what we had in mind for our last morning.
They did give us vouchers for a buffet due to the inconvenience. We played some before heading to the airport. I played mostly slots because I was burnt out. We lost a couple hundred and headed to the airport. Bumpy ride home, got in around 2am.