Well, this trip was not a happy one, but I thought that I'd share, because there were some high points and news. Picked up a rental car to drive to Sacramento to pick up my ex-wife and son. My ex-wife sits with my son and my Dad while I'm gone. I pay her to stay with my Dad. So, I left the house at 5AM after getting up at 4AM. Got back to the house and got everything set up to leave. Dropped the car off at the airport and got on the plane. Wore shorts down to LV because I knew it was gonna be HOT!! It didn't disappoint. 107 degrees!!! Picked up the car and went to Caesars to check in. These are pictures of the "remodeled" Augustus Tower rooms. This room has a view of the Bellagio fountains, and has just been upped in comp value from $120 to $200. At $120, a bargain, but at $200, IMHO, not worth it. This is the 7* amenity that my host orders for me. So, since I got here early in the afternoon, I started playing. I was here for a GGWU (Great Gift Wrap Up) bonus event. You get a certain amount of GGWU points for showing up, and and extra amount if you hit a specified number of TC on the 3 day trip. This also counts towards the additional bonus at the end of the year. They have 5 of these events throughout the year, and the bonus is: 2 - 25,000 GGWU points 3 - 50,000 GGWU points 4 - 75,000 GGWU points 5 - 100,000 GGWU points The "free" points given for each trip are based on your ADT. Bonus events are held every two months starting in February. I missed the first event, but have made every other event, and the last one is the first week of October. I was offered 84,000 GGWU points for the first event, but it dropped to 42,000 for each subsequent event. This should put me at about 350,000 GGWU points for the December event. That, plus I plan to have at least 500,000 points for th mLife HGS event. So, Christmas Shopping will be done the first weekend in December. The point levels/dollar equate to about 30,000 GGWU or HGS points = $100. I base that on what the points buy you in gift cards or Freeplay. OK, that explanation finished, I started playing. This trip, my strategy was to "grind it out" and see if that made it any easier, which meant: 1)No $5 and up slots 2)mostly penny to $1 slots. 3)2500TC on one day, and 1250 each for the other two I had two dinners scheduled, and one lunch. I figured I might as well use up ALL of my comps, so eating with a guest will help fill that out. It didn't quite work out that way (more on that later). So, I played for about an hour, and made about 1500TC. I hit a $1000 jackpot playing Wonder 4 on Buffalo, but the camera in my phone was messed up, so I didn't get any pictures. Since I planned to eat at the Rio seafood buffet that night, I headed over to the Rio at about 4PM. I really tried to get excited about the Rio, they have tried to put in newer machines, but it is still a pretty dreary place. Made my 1000TC at Rio, had dinner at the Seafood Buffet. They had Stone Crabs that night, so I gorged myself on Crabs and Crayfish. I went downtown since this was a "gap" trip, to use my July FP, which left the rest of the trip for the August FP. Went to the QQQQ and there were red/blue caps in the machines!! Kind of odd since the last distribution was at the end of July. Ended up getting one red and one blue, and about 18 clears on $200 Red Caps Blue Caps Went back to Caesars, made another 500TC, and when I checked, the computer had me logged in for 595TC at Harrahs, where I hadn't set foot in that day. Oh well, banker's error, and 600 less TCs I needed to earn. So at 500TC left for the day, I was still a couple of hundred up, but finished the day down much more. When my BFF asked me "what happened"? I told him. 500TC is $2500 in action. If you have the most horrible luck, it will cost you $2500. I didn't have the most horrible luck, just bad luck. Couldn't hit anything. Turned in and went to bed. Down less than my budget. Made about 3000TC End of Day One Day Two Woke up early and went downtown. I had an appt. at QQQQ to pick up a couple of 1/4 lb. Silver tokens. These are the tokens given out during tournaments to each participant. Shaun Webster (QQQQ Director of Slots) always has extras that he sells off. I was picking up one for Ryan, a LV friend of mine who picks up my $300 tokens when I can make it due to my travel restrictions. I decided that I would get one for him as a token of appreciation for getting my 300s in June, and again in October. $300 50th Anniversary Strike Had breakfast at Magnolia's at QQQQ, used my comps Played a little at QQQQ, got another 15 clears, no reds/blues. Saw Todd, Shaun's colleague, and got my two 1/4 lb strikes Apologies. I had already put this on in the safe deposit box. Back to the room to take a quick nap. Went over to Aria to play a little and found out that mLife was "upgrading" their system and player accounts weren't availble until Tuesday. Since I was close to re-making Gold and this was my last trip before mLife's year end, I was a little bit pissed off that I couldn't gen an accurate balance. (BTW, it's now a whole week later and the system still isn't back up.) Droppped a couple hundred and went back to Caesars. Went over to the Linq, played a little over there, then over to Margaritaville, and then over to the Flamingo. At about 500TC, I'm about done and back to Caesars to finish off the 1000TC day. Played Buffalo Grand at Caesars and hit a $1000 jackpot, which almost brought me back to even for the day, but just like the day before, the last 200TC brought me down. Once again, my phone let me down, and I couldn't take pictures, but it was 5 cougars (x18) with three x3 Wilds in the center. It was about time to get over to Rio for dinner at the VooDoo steakhouse. Again. Apologies, no pictures. So Jason and I "overdid it" at VooDoo. It's an expensive place, sure, and $276 for dinner with no alcohol?? It's on the 51st floor of the Rio and the view is "OK". Here's pictures of dessert. <IPH> Jason and I split up and I went back to Caesars to turn in early. Made my 1000TC day. End of Day two So, by this time in the trip, I was very "cranky" and decided to go into CMFB (Cheap Motherf***ing Bastard) mode. I had intended to put in only 500TC on the third day and take all of the "comps" that I could reasonable carry home. Third day. Went over to Silver Sevens for breakfast, since their Player's Club opens early (well, earlier than most). Used comp money to have breakfast at the buffet. For $6.99, IMHO it was a very good buffet. On my way downstairs, I played Willy Wonka and hit for $900!!!! Went downstairs to tip the young lady at the Player's Club booth for my good fortune and started the day "up". Went over to the Post Office on Sunset. The lobby of this post office is open 24 hours a day. I got two large flat rate boxes. They cost $18.75 to ship back and the parcel drop off will accomodate them. I had much stuff to send back and for $37.50 ($18.75 x 2) it was most convenient. I ended up sending back (40 Silver Strikes, dirty laundry, beef jerky, two boxes of chocolates, and bottles of water and ginger ale). After that, I scoped out where the Russian restaurant was where I was having lunch with Jin Caldwell of JinJu Chocolates later. It turns out that it is very close to the Pinball Hall of Fame, one of the places on my "to do" list. The Pinball Hall of Fame opens at 11AM and lunch was at 12:30. Spent about an hour at the Pinball HOF. Made a $20 donation to the Salvation Army, since rumors about Pinball HOF closing were just that, rumors. Chit-chatted with one of the volunteers she told me that the owner had a collection of 1100 machines and his goal was to have a building that could house all of them. I spent most of my time playing the "bingo" machine that he had. Time for lunch . . . headed over to the restaurant Cafe Mayakovsky 1775 E Tropicana Ave #30 Las Vegas, NV 89119 As it turns out, we were the only people eating lunch. This place does get very busy during dinner hours, so if you don't want to wait. We decided to be conservative in our ordering, since neither of us ate much Russian food We ordered pickled platter Borsch (hot) Beef Stroganoff Chicken Kiev All of it was very good!!!! The reviews didn't lie. If you want to try Russian food, try this place!!! After trading stories about our children and her vacation, we went on to discuss the state of Jinju Chocolates. Good news. Her lease at the Container Park retail location has ended and she's on month to month. She will make a decision next March or April as to whether or not she will continue at Container Park. Good news. She is opening a new "flagship" retail store. The target date for opening is the third week in August!! Bad news. It's way out in the "Hinterlands". 7345 South Rainbow (and Warm Springs). But, if you have a car, it's worth a ride out there. Good news. She's expanding her offerings at the new store, coffee (expresso) and pastries will be served. Good news. So, Caesars has increased their wholesale business because of turnover in their pastry/candy department. On a side note, she let me know that she was offered a spot at the Wynn. However, the rent was pretty oppressive and it didn't make financial sense. $18,000 a month for less than 150 sq. ft.!!! Well, sad to say, but lunch came to an end. We parted with a hug, and she went back to her production kitchen. I decided to take a road trip to Laughlin. Dinner was at 6:30PM. So, I drove to Laughlin. Stopped in Searchlight at the Beef Jerky store and bought some beef jerky and salumi. I decided that I was going to "spend" a little money out of the $900 instead of putting it in the machines. Continues on to Laughlin and hit 7 casinos in 30 minutes. I was just "collecting" chips for souvenirs. I collected from: Tropicana Golden Nugget Pioneer Colorado belle Edgewater Aquarius Don Laughlin's Riverside It was about 105 out, so this was a "hit and git" trip. Back on the road to LV 40 minutes later. Stopped in Searchlight on the way back to stop for a soda, then returned back to the Flamingo. Being in CMFB mode, I had decided that I would eat Prime Rib at the Flamingo, and take advantage of $100 comp at Andiamo's at the D downtown to get a takeout meal. Dinner was a Center Cut steakhouse, but my new "favorite" waitress was in california celbrating her daughter's birthday. So, I ordered 1/2 dozen oysters, 16 oz. Prime Rib, truffle mac and cheese, and edamame succotash. Ate the oysters and a few bites and asked for "to-go" containers. OK, and I confirmed what I had originally thought. At the Flamingo they DO NOT tell you where the oysters came from, so I was not "blinded" by my previous waitress. Mac and Cheese and Succotash Went downtown to "the D". Found out that they had changed the rules on food vouchers, and that they were only useable at Andiamo's before 6PM or after 9PM. I got there at 8PM, so I had to wait until 9PM before I could order takeout. Ordered 12 oz. Filet Mignon (for my Dad) White Truffle Whipped potatoes (for my son) Sauteed Spinach (for my Dad) Passed by Target on my way back to meet Ryan Klein to pick up some containers for the food. Met with Ryan and exchanged tokens. He gave me my $300s and red/blues and I gave him 60 more clears for Halloween. Got home and added up my totals for the day. I had "used up" the $900 win from the morning, but ended up with: 1)500TC day 2)plenty of food for the rest of the week for my family 3)souvenirs for my buddies Went upstairs to pack. Good thing I had two boxes to ship non-essential and non-perishable items home, because I needed att that room. I managed to put into the 4 containers: 1)Cheese and fruit from the 7* amenity 2)Prime rib and filet mignon 3)truffle mac and cheese and edamame succotash 4)whipped potatoes and sauteed spinach For my next trip, I will have a new strategy that includes haveing a second refrigerator in the room so I can "preserve" even more food. Went to bed. Got up early and went to mail my packages. Ate breakfast at Cafe Americano, checked out. $500 in food charges and $130 in RC. Should be plenty of room, having put in 5000+ TC during the trip! . . . NOT!! Made it out to Jin's new store (under construction) My host covered all of the charges, but said that I would be listed as "overcomped". He stated that my theo was calculated at 1700 (TC/3) and the room had increased to $200/night from $120. Ouch!!!! Nothing like that to make me even more cranky. Still, he covered the charges and we will discuss the future on my next trip in October. So, I guess I should have used more vouchers this trip. I still have $500 in vouchers to use for the Celine trip in October, and $300 in mLife gift cards, and $900 in comps at V/P, and $350 in comps at QQQQ, so I'm not "hurting" for comps. It just pisses me off that CET LV did what they did. So, in summary, (3) $1000 jackpots, (0) handpays, 33 clear cap strikes, 1 red cap, 1 blue cap, losses within budget, but I still feel that I got "screwed" on the comps. Anyway, another "bad" trip, but that's why they call it gambling . . . . . I'll try again in October . . . .