We just spent a week in Vegas spending 3 nights at Suncoast and 4 downtown. We landed at terminal 3 at the airport and spent over an hour in line getting through customs. There was a plane from the U.K. that had landed moments before us and even though we were all mixed together in line, they all got pulled out and had to be processed before any of us were allowed to go through. Even though there were about 7 customs agents left twiddling their thumbs while the very last U.K. passenger was processed, none of us were allowed to proceed till the final passenger was done. Don’t know what the deal was but the customs agents were taking their time processing them and asking lots of questions. Once our plane started processing, it went pretty fast. We had long ago missed our planned bus but headed for the WAX stop at the other end of the terminal on level one. 10 minutes walking only to find they had moved the bus stop back to the other end of the terminal on level 2. I’m glad they moved it as it’s a much better location, I just wish we had known before hand. We only had to wait another 15 minutes for the next bus so it wasn’t too bad. Taking the WAX saved us at least $50 in cab fare. It was a pretty normal trip of gambling with lots of VP and blackjack. I had pretty good luck at SC but my husband had a terrible time, only getting one 4OAK during his first 2 days there. At least when he got it, it was a good one, winning $2000 for 4 aces with a kicker (no pic since I wasn’t with him). We used our $40 per day food voucher for dinner at Salvatore’s one night and made up the rest of the bill with points. We had double booked one night at the 4 Queens in order to take in a slot tournament. The tournament offer was good for Fri., Sat. and Sunday night. When we reserved, we asked the reservation clerk at 4Q if we could instead get Sat., Sunday and Monday night but they said they couldn’t switch it. We ended up booking Sat. and Sun. on the tournament offer and Monday night at the casino rate of $39. We figured we’d ask to have it comped off at the end or use our accumulated comp points. So Saturday morning, we took the WAX from Suncoast to register for the tournament at 9:30. The tournament offered a free breakfast of pastries, toast and bagels, fruit salad, coffee and juice. Not too fancy but it did the trick. They have a small area off the banquet room where they had about a dozen machines to play. First prize was $3000 free play and they gave prizes for the first 16 places. Reading the list of rules, I had to laugh about #6. No coaching allowed during tournament play?! Other than “faster, faster” what could someone possibly coach? After the first tournament session (5 minutes), we checked in and were given one of their “premium” rooms (renovated room) on the 2nd floor. The renovated room was not a whole lot different except they’ve painted the walls and redone the bathrooms. It was nicely freshened up. The shower was a nice improvement though. I hope they have a good warranty on their bathroom sinks. They are already showing wear with dings and scratches. I’m not sure what material they are made of but they won’t look good for long. Besides looking kind of strange, the sinks have no plugs. We realized we were given a non smoking room so went back to the desk and got a room in the same location on the 18th floor. The sink was in better shape in this room. And the view was much nicer. We decided to give 4Q a couple hours play before heading back to Suncoast for our final night there. When I sat down at the front bar in 4Q, Jacks or Better was showing on the machine and I was surprised by the payout for a Royal Flush in hearts. Anyone know if that’s normal? It seemed really high to me but I don’t normally play that game. The next day we checked out of SC and headed back downtown for our last tournament session. Neither of us did that well and we both ended up coming around 50th place out of 120 people entered. We were given a free gift for attending both sessions though – we each got $10 free play on our player’s card. The following night we walked down to the El Cortez to register for another slot tournament and check into our room there. This tournament had a welcome dinner included which was salad and your choice of pasta, pasta or pasta. (Three different pasta dishes, all with penne noodle and sauce. I couldn’t see any difference between them.) Maybe we were too late and there were other choices earlier, but after much thought, we decided to choose the middle dish of penne noodle and sauce. It was good! We also we’re given $60 each in food credits for the tournament which was additional to our monthly offer (I had $25 and my husband $100). We really could have eaten well there but just ended up using our credits for breakfast 2 mornings at Siegel’s. After registering for the tournament, we checked in to our room and found they had given us the noisiest room available. We asked to change but were told they were booked solid. She suggested we should have requested a quieter room with our host when we registered for the tournament and she was right. We simply forgot to ask. I like the rooms at ElCo but this room at the very end of the hall, receives all the thumping bass from the bar down the street. We knew from experience that we would not be able to sleep before the bar closed. Hopefully we’ll remember next time to request the other side of the hall. We still had our room at 4Q so when we got back there, we asked at the desk if we could stay 2 more nights, thinking we would be charged the casino rate of $39. We loved our room at the 4Q because it was so quiet. The clerk said they were pretty full because of 3 large conventions in town so the rate would be $139 a night. She suggested we talk to a host to see what they could do. Luckily, there was a host still on duty so he looked up our play. He wondered why we were being charged the casino rate for our 3rd night and comped it off right away. Then he made a quick call to the front desk to confirm we could stay in the same room, at casino rate, for the additional 2 nights. That took less than 5 minutes and we were good to go. The next couple days were spent between the ElCo and 4Q. The tournaments at the El are a lot of fun and they have a pretty good prize structure. First place is $5000 in cash, 2nd place $3000. No free play here, you get cold hard cash. Actually 1st-20th place are all good cash prizes and then they draw for 30 random prizes of $50 each. Over 2 days we played 3 sessions of 7 minutes each. I thought I was in a good spot after round 2 but it didn’t pan out. We did go to the awards ceremony on the last day and my husband got drawn for a $50 prize. Cake and champagne is included. I have to say that the tournaments at the El are really a lot of fun. The staff really make it festive and the participants are a happy bunch. The $5000 winner was a first timer so I’m sure she’ll be back! On our final full day, my husband went down in the morning to grab coffee at Macdonald’s and run $100 through his favorite machine at 4Q. He arrived back in the room, having forgotten all about my coffee, but he did have a nice wad of cash. He finally got his first Royal at the 4Q. It’s been a long time coming. He also picked up his free gift for the year of the monkey. I also had a monkey coming but decided one monkey in the family was plenty. Since we were checking out early the next morning, we stopped at the hosts office around 3 to see what they could do for us. The host told us to check back in the morning after playing that night. Once we explained we were leaving early the next morning, she had a look at our play. I guess we were a little short for the whole 5 nights but after asking us if we’d be playing that night, she said she’d go ahead and comp the final 2 nights now. That was pretty good, we were prepared to use our points for the room but having all 5 nights comped off by the host was even better. We took the WAX to the airport our final morning. The day before we had seen on the news that the number of people in town for the SHOT convention (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor trade show) and various other conventions was putting the number of visitors close to what they see on New Year’s Eve. We decided to give ourselves lots of time at the airport, so took an earlier bus so that we could have breakfast at the airport. (The Chop House in Terminal 3 serves a pretty good breakfast.) It’s a good thing we left early because the bus was 10 minutes late. That’s really unusual for the WAX in our experience. After an uneventful bus ride, we were riding along and were about a minute from the drop off at Terminal 3 when our bus just pulled over at the side of the road. Did we run out of gas, get a flat tire? We sat there for a few minutes and saw our driver get on the phone and talk for about 5 minutes. Finally, I walked to the front to see what the problem was and it turned out our driver had just missed taking the exit ramp. Now you can’t just back up a big bus while 2 lanes of traffic are whizzing by so we ended up waiting at the side of the road for another 10 minutes until another bus came along. That driver was able to pull over and stop traffic so that our bus could back up and get on the ramp. The poor driver was so embarrassed, I felt sorry for him. Once we got to the airport, our driver hopped off and thanked the CX driver, telling him it was his first day. One he won’t forget no doubt! Luckily we had lots of time but a couple of the others on the bus didn’t take it quite so well. The line for security was surprisingly light and we had plenty of time for breakfast and a visit to the smoking room. Our flight was only about one third full (no surprise with our exchange rate) so we boarded fast and we’re able to leave early. We were able to switch our seats to an empty row and had an empty seat between us. This is the 3rd trip in a row that I’ve lost money, but coming in at -$560, it still feels like a win to me for a week in Vegas.