â€œâ€¦â€¦We asked the host at the Total Rewards desk in Vegas Harrahâ€™s to update our account. We were on our way into breakfast on our first full day, and we wanted to make sure the prior eveningâ€™s play was on there. On the last trip, we had learned that the HET points do not necessarily carry over to each casino immediately. He let us know that he also brought over Reno and Tahoeâ€™s play from two days before. â€œWe get aroundâ€ I said sheepishly; he smiled knowingly and somehow refrained from handing me a Gamblersâ€™ Anonymous brochureâ€¦..â€ We actually started our play before Reno/Tahoe, in an Indian Casino in N California (Red Hawk). It was on the way to Tahoe on 50 HWY, and R had $25 in slot play earned from a one-time visit based on $60 they had sent him a few months earlier (and that he had won a couple hundred on). We had received so much marketing crap from them, that we didnâ€™t mind stiffing them, taking out the free slot play, and splitting. Maybe weâ€™ll get off their list? Also, this was a good bathroom stop and the self-service soda/coffee was an easy/fast respite for the road. I thought I might also get the new member sign-up $15, but that promo wasnâ€™t going. 10 minutes later we leave with $14 of their dollars, a decaf coffee, and lighter bladders. My daughter was a few miles ahead of us with friends, and wanted to meet up for a drink in Tahoe. She called from check-in at Mount bleu; we arranged to pick up our slot play at Harrahâ€™s Tahoe, and meet her at Mount bleu in a half-hour. We had $50 at Harrahâ€™s, and only managed to take out $20, and thatâ€™s playing it through once on video poker! Mount Bleu had $10 for us, a Sam Adams and my daughter. We lost the slot play here, along with the meager winnings from Harrahâ€™s, threw back the beer, kissed the daughter goodbye, and headed to Carson City. As an aside, my daughter asked them NOT to put a hold on her debit card (sheâ€™d use cash), they agreed, ignored what they promised, and tied up her account until today. (Sound familiar MG?) At the Nugget in Carson we had $10 in slot play, and $10 in dining. Since it was 6:30, we chose to eat right away. We figured weâ€™d order the prime rib special we have been ordering for 15 years (same price of $4.95). We didnâ€™t even open the menu. The server told us the special was no more, and the prime rib was now $9.95. Just bring us one then, and a plate. She was thrilled, coupled with our water only order, she recognized the high rollers in front of her. Silly girl, I tip on service, and can tip up to 100% when itâ€™s good. It was not, she got $3, the $10 comp covered the meal we played/lost the $10 slot play, and were back on the road. Do we stop for the $10 slot play at Atlantis? Itâ€™s hard to do a hit-and-run at Atlantis with the parking there, so we continued on to Sierra where we had $20 in slot play, and a little easier parking (well for me, R dropped me at the door and HE parked). This $20 slot play became $20 real money, and we headed down to Harrahâ€™s for check-in. Got the usual West room, threw our little overnight bag in the room, and proceeded across the street to Cal Neva for the $10 in slot play. Surprisingly this lasted a while, and we took it out. Now we could finally return to Harrahâ€™s for the last $50 in slot play. We played for a couple of hours on it, eventually let them keep it, and pulled out our last coupon for $15 in food at Harrahâ€™s coffee shop. We ordered their steak and egg special in the coffee shop to eat now, and a club sandwich, mayo on the side, for the road trip the next day. Damn Iâ€™m cheap! Whew!!! Was this slot play run worth it? only from a financial point of view. We began at 3 PM, played till midnight, ate two meals, with a sandwich for the next day. Had a few drinks, tipped well and ended up with about $33 of their money. Was it fun or relaxing? No. A bit stressful to only play a few minutes at each place; this is not drambling, its business. And we all know I am about the drambling and its therapeutic value. We decide to go ahead and â€œsleep inâ€ until 7 AM before heading down HWY 95 to Vegas. I love this drive! Well, ride I should say, as R does the actual driving, but I am a hell of a co-pilot, providing directional information (Go straight to Fernley, not through Fallon dammit!) Driving advice, (do you have to hit EVERY bump in the road? Iâ€™m sleeping here!) and safety advice (Slow down! Weâ€™re going to get a ticket, die, ectâ€¦) Within two hours of Reno is Walker Lake, a scenic surprise in the desert. You drive alongside this for about 20 minutes. The Sheriff is still parking his empty, probably broke down, old car on the side of the road. It still works to slow us down. We have half the club sandwich from the night before, wake up a little, well I mean me, I hope R has been awake, as he is driving, and cruise into Hawthorne. Funny military town, they have made art out of old bombs, really. Clean place though. We pit stop at El Capitan, drop the loose quarters in our pocket into machines that still take them and continue down two hours to Tonopah. I hate Tonopah. Tonopah is ugly. And just to make sure you get a good look at it, you get to drive 25 mph through the whole damn town. Angry cops wait on the side of the roads, pissed that you KNOW about their little speed traps. Itâ€™s the only time we use cruise control at this low of a speed, taking no chances here. Two hours later we hit Beatty. Yea Beatty!!!! Tonopah take note. This is a clean, shady, palm-tree lined town. A little more reasonable in the speed limits and boasting one of those fudge, nut and candy stores of old route 66 fame. You can also gas up here. Vegas is now a mere 2 hours away and you can pretend to see the Stratosphere from here. We have double booked the next three days. While we can stay anywhere HET, we have booked the LUV tub at Imperial Palace for something different and to remind us of our frugal plans for this trip. We also book the Plaza downtown on an offer of free Rat Pack tickets, and $100 comp at their Italian restaurant. To get the goodies, you gotta get the room. We stop at the Plaza first, its reputation and its smells has not escaped us. However, we werenâ€™t sleeping here, so who cares? We chose self-parking, as it was going to be a hit-and-run, and were surprised at how really icky the parking lot was. It actually doubled as a greyhound bus station, seriously, â€˜nuff said. Check-in was friendly, didnâ€™t require a cc or anything, basically just handed us everything we needed (except a short wait for the tickets for Rat pack). I told him he could give us any room, smoking, whatever, as I knew folks hated the smoking rooms, and we wouldnâ€™t be sleeping in there anyway. We make our way to the room and I notice Râ€™s body language is tensing up. Iâ€™m a little more comfortable in messy surroundings then my neat-freak other half. He is pointing out the scraped walls, the stained carpets, the smells. I donâ€™t see anything dead in the hallway, so Iâ€™m okay. Our room is old, but again, passes the criminal test for me. After all, itâ€™s only going to harbor a faux suitcase and old toothbrush (to fool the maid in case sheâ€™s on the look â€“out for double dippers such as ourselves). He hits the bathroom because, well, he always hits the bathroom, a male marking thing? and is mumbling about â€œthingsâ€ on the wall. I question, he says I donâ€™t want to know. Okay, off we go. We have to wait a bit longer for our Rat Pack tickets, so I get a playerâ€™s card and try to earn enough for a free t-shirt. They were very friendly at the playerâ€™s club desk too, which is unusual ANYWHERE I walk around the casino, and am almost jumping up and down with glee (I may have been clapping my hands too, I get excited easy). They have all my favorite machines! And they are open! I stop at Wizard of OZ, put in a fiver, take out a $20, they offer a drink. Okay, this is how it works! Slant top Survivor machine, (are you kidding me?!) R tells me to calm down, and goes after the tickets. When he returns, he joins me in a drink and we relax a bit. Whatâ€™s the rush? Weâ€™re in Vegas, its 75 degrees, weâ€™re winning-one drink is okayâ€¦..after an hour, we reluctantly leave for Imperial Palace check-in. Valet here, thanks, weâ€™ll take our own bags (not just cheap here, hate waiting for them!) thank goodness for a Platinum line, the regular line is two hours long. I ask for a LUV Tub room away from the carnival court, as I understand the noise can last till 3 AM, and we do not. You know, we were worried about the possible dumpiness of Imperial Palace (compared to Paris, Rio), but compared to the Plaza, itâ€™s looking pretty good! Clean hallways, no holes in the wall, no weed smell that you can actually see. Nice! When we approached our room, we noticed it was double doored. No one else had double doors. We later figured it needed double doors to get the big LUV tubs in and out as needed. The room was big, 500 sq ft big (female estimate), with a tub in the main room, with mirrors around, and above, including a shower in theluv tub. It would hold at least 4 people, though I donâ€™t see that happening with R and I. There was a balcony, fully functioning, with cool breezes and minimal noise. Included was a dressing area and sink and another full-on bathroom with another normal sized tub shower combo, sink, oh and the usual toilet. I loved this room! It wasnâ€™t the nicest room weâ€™ve been in, but it sure was the most comfortable and fun, including a large comfortable king bet with additional mirrors everywhere. Well, I could have done without some of the mirrors. I think they may have been responsible for our hesitation in going to the pool with the multitude of 20 something hard-bodies. After our initial â€œoh hell weâ€™re happy to be here and still havenâ€™t lost moneyâ€ drink, we walked over to our traditional Ellis Island BBQ dinner. Though we were seated in our favorite outdoor area near the smells of the grill, we were seated between two large parties, and I foresaw trouble. Weâ€™re simple, we carry our beers in, and split a combo meal, in/out 15 minutes, put the check on our playerâ€™s card, bye-bye. This time we watched our waiter bring one drink at a time to his first large party, and watch the other large party rubber-neck for him. 15 minutes of this, and I was starting the tense body language head swivel. R called me on it. Pointed out that we were outside, in 75 degree weather, smelling the yummy BBQ, with a nice micro-beer in front of us, enjoy. Our waiter took our order along with the 2nd large partieâ€™s order, so I knew we were doomed. Paying your check is impossible when thereâ€™s a talented waiter with a manageable station, but these conditions? Forget about it. Then I had a brilliant idea. I asked R for $3. He asked why. Watch this, I said. I then took the $3, and placed our playerâ€™s card on it. The waiter was walking by ANOTHER table, saw the money, and transported to our table instantly. Whatâ€™s this?! He begged. Well, I said, we eat and run, so whenever you get a chance, just put the meal on this playerâ€™s card. I didnâ€™t think heâ€™d do it then, you know, maybe bring our food out first or something, but he reaches in his binder, searches for our ticket, scoops it, the money, card and he was gone. We stared, laughed and then began eating as he dropped our food off a few seconds later. $3 is a pretty low tip for us too, but the food is only $5.95, and the service minimal. Hell, Iâ€™d have left $5 for the entertainment value alone! When we left Ellis Island, the sun was just setting, the lights coming on over the strip and we were eager to get our gamble on! Since we were a little full from dinner, we stopped in Billâ€™s and got a Seattle coffee, it would go perfect with a brandy at Flamingo. Flamingoâ€™s was hoppinâ€™! great music over a loud pure system, dancers on pedestals movinâ€™ to the beat, and playable video poker. We found some upright (prefer slant tops for drink placement) VP triple play quarters and started in earnest. $20 quickly became $100 on triple play bonus poker loaded. Love that game, money will last. Took it over to the penny Cleopatraâ€™s, Lobstermania, Turkey Shoot wall, since it was closer to the music, and enjoyed watching folks walk through, dancing as they went, one guy stopped and did a break dance, head spin and all, he got a nice clap for that, back to Imperial Palace, where the party pit was in full swing. Man that pit is a hoot! Everyone gets into it. The pit critter, roulette dude, dealers, all dancing, music loud, so what if the BJ pays 6/5, youâ€™re at a party, right? Well, not for us, we stopped and watched, but couldnâ€™t bring ourselves to play. We found some Survivor games, they sucked some money gone, we wised up and played a new favorite. The All Star game with 5 aces an option. Its quarter, we play 4-7quarter a time and have hit 4 aces each time weâ€™ve played. Including this night $100 . Weâ€™ve done this 4 times now, and leave as we donâ€™t want to jinx it. Thereâ€™s a new game in VP. Ultimate X or something. Anyway, itâ€™s multi-line, if youâ€™ve a winning hand, the next time that line is multiplied 2-10 times. Keeps going too. Iâ€™ve only played it at home on videopoker.com, but it looked good. We didnâ€™t play it here, but saw a lady hit 800 quarters (aces) X 10 for a handpay of $2000. We turned in early, down somewhat around 1 AM. The next morning, we put our coffee on and started the big tub filling, we had used it upon check-in the day before, and knew it would take an hour to fill. We opened the room to the sunny day through the balcony, and had coffee in bed. The bed was very comfortable, and we were very pleased with the Imperial Palace. Todayâ€™s breakfast would be the Emperorâ€™s Buffet at IP, we had an ACG coupon for B/G, and the rest would be on points. I like this buffet. It only has a few items, and theyâ€™re hot and flavorful. The big buffets are so ridiculous to me. You walk the damn thing for 5 minutes, your first selection is now cold, and doesnâ€™t really go with the new crap you just found. You canâ€™t win with these things. Too much sensory, too many conflicting cuisines, and if you only eat half of the aesthetic choices youâ€™ve made, it is two times too much anyway, and you get to carry that around for the next couple of hours. Slowing you down, and slowing down in Vegas is not good. Time is limited. So with my meager buffet choices from a meager buffet offering, we hit the ground running. After a stop by the party pit to watch Michael Jackson be â€œBadâ€, we get the car out of valet and point it to the new M casino. It wasnâ€™t too far from South Point, but required taking the craziest exit I have ever seen. You exit to the right, then turn back left at the crossroads. Whatâ€™s weird is there is opposing traffic driving fast on both sides of you! There are probably 10 lanes with traffic going both ways, and you are in the middle. Oh, and the lanes are curving back and forth just to shake you up. Swear. This is going to be a problem. We make it to M alive, and are impressed with the look of it. It reminds me of a cross between Red Rock and Hard Rock. Clean lines, modern art, beautiful people and some weird ass music. The hour we were there all we heard was a non-descript female vocalist with an elevator voice sound. It wasnâ€™t blues, rock, country, R & B or even easy listening. Because it wasnâ€™t easy to listen to. My only complaint. Oh, and we lost, but with Makerâ€™s Mark in hand, and soft cushions for our tushies. Weâ€™ll go back. It was now time to return downtown for the some good beer, the Rat Pack and our comped dinner at the Plaza. We valeted at the Plaza, and walked down to the 4 Queens for their micro beer at Chicago brew pub. Love their IPA! Of course we played for it, and stayed even with a win for me and a loss for R. We continued out to the penny multiplay VP, beer in hand, and I proceeded to hit a Royal Flush on a 2cent line for $80. It would have be nice to hit one the night before when I was playing quarters loaded, but Iâ€™ll take it. After an hour of play, we return to the Plaza for our Rat Pack show. The line was long getting in, so we held back playing until they were all in. I handed the host $5 and asked would it get me a booth (shad up, itâ€™s the Plaza). He made a big deal out of looking all around with a worried look, hesitating, until R said, there are all kinds of open booths AND we were the last ones in. He quit playing his game and seated us. The show quickly started, opening with Joey Bishop, the guy had him down pretty good, and not ALL the jokes were obvious. Dean Martin was played mostly for his drunkenness, and Sammy Davis Jr. was his blackness/jewness. I whispered to R that if Frank didnâ€™t deliver, I was out of there. Frank did a pretty good opener, and then proceeded to sing a song Iâ€™d never heard of, from a repertoire of hundreds I do. Thatâ€™s it! Letâ€™s go eat. Our $100 comp was at Lombardiâ€™s in the Plaza. They have $9.95 specials, so this wasnâ€™t going to be easy. The restaurant was 30% full at 8:30 PM. That was a little disconcerting, but I had hope, it smelled good in there. The playerâ€™s club had directed us to take the large mailer with offered comp straight into the restaurant. I asked about a smaller paper comp of sorts, no, just take that. Earlier in the evening, I stopped by and asked the host at the restaurant. Yes, that is fine to use, donâ€™t need anything else, yes, you can get wine with it, anything you want. When the waitress approached our table, I showed it to her. Yes, you can get wine with this, anything you want. Cool. The water lady asked what we wanted to drink we told her water and weâ€™d like to see a wine list , we were using the comp. She runs off with the comp to see if itâ€™s good.HUH? The waitress returns, we tell her she ran off with the comp, she shrugs, says it is for anything and I have her suggest a cab. She suggests Paso Creek cab, $45. Okay. We also order, as we are ready. Not being big eaters, we skip the appetizer, R orders the Porterhouse, I get manicotti. She leaves, someone else drops bread. We take one small piece, donâ€™t want to ruin appetite. 20 minutes pass, no wine. Now I wouldnâ€™t mind waiting 20 minutes for our soup, if I had the wine to sip. I have neither, just a growling, empty stomach and some yummy bread I know better than to eat. This whole time our waitress passes our table at least 5 times, doesnâ€™t even look our way. However, when she does talk to us, she is very friendly. She delivers the soup, ummmmmâ€¦.good soup. Then the entree, and I have become misty-eyed for my wine. There it is! I have wine now 30 minutes into the meal. The food was really good, so was the wine, more like a merlot, the service friendly, just slow-w-w-w-wâ€¦.. She drops the check, we ask for dessert, and she says, but you didnâ€™t eat half your food! Yea, we want dessert, and a to-go box for the dessert. We choose cheesecake and cannoli. Both good, well the one bite I had was good, the rest will be breakfast. We place the mailed comp on the check, she looks at it, then us, and says â€œWhatâ€™s this?â€ funny. Really, she had to go get it approved. Anyway, we tip well, just because. And off we go back to the Strip. We drop the dessert, and cross the street for Caesarâ€™s Palace . We like playing outside of the shadow bar, because itâ€™s lined with interesting VP games, has good cocktail service, and you can hear the music. While R goes for money, I play a rapid VP game of some kind. It has two draws, and you are paid on the original and the two draws. I got 3 to the royal on the first draw, one more on the second and the final on the last draw. Royal Flush! However, I was playing 3 quarters, one for each deal, so only got 250 quarters, but thatâ€™s $62.50! I waited for R so he could see it. We play some more here, wander around Caesars, and visit the bathrooms downstairs. I hear R talking to the shoe shine guy. The fellow is saying heâ€™s had no business. R feels sorry for him, wants to help, but looks down at the cloth sandals heâ€™s wearing. They both laugh, R hands him a $5 bill as a tip anyway. It was funny and nice. We should have quit here, but we were having too much fun, so we continued to Flamingo, where I saw one of those games the lady had won $2000 on the day before, Ultimate X VP. I put a $20 in, it was quarter triple play, and you had to play max. I hit it 3 times, the $20 was gone. I guess you had to pay for double your play to engage the extra times pay, + it must have been a higher amount per line anyway. So thatâ€™s the stupid way we continued to play until about 3 AM. We both had to hit the restroom, so we decided weâ€™d go and then head back to the room. We were doing the walk of shame, so our heads were down low, I guess, anyway, this girl shoots by on the way into the Flamingo bathroom by the cashier. R yells to me, stop that girl! Heâ€™s reaching down for a wad of money, I yell for her to stop, she does, R hands me the wad, $20 on the outside, $100â€™s peeking around it. She turns to me with a puzzled look, I hold out the wad and say, you dropped this. She looks down at it, grabs her back pocket, a look of confusion, than fear, than relief cross her face instantly. She takes the money, looks at it, back at us, and says â€œI love you guysâ€. It was a sweet moment. We take that feeling back to the room with us, and have a good nightâ€™s sleep. The next morning we decide to stay on the strip, itâ€™s Sunday, so everyone should be clearing out. We begin breakfast at the coffee shop at Harrahâ€™s. We thought it might be better than Imperialâ€™s coffee shop. Mistake. They had deep fried the bacon into a large hard ball, and the waitress served it to me that way. Harrahâ€™s had lousy service, lousy food and pricey, they also charged us for sharing the meal, not splitting, they didnâ€™t split it, just that I didnâ€™t order anything. Like I said, weâ€™re light eaters and find the entrees too big at most restaurants. It was on our comps anyway, but we wonâ€™t be back. We shook that off, and went straight to the Venetian. We bought in at the circular bar there and I proceeded to hit three 4 OAKâ€™s while R was in the bathroom. We played a little longer, I took out the winnings, and we wandered around looking for new favorite slot machine. Itâ€™s some outer space cow game, where the cows moo with attitude. Cracks me up, and I win on it lately. We looked around found a couple, I did not win, but laughed quite a bit. We moved through Palazzo, on to Wynn to check our comps. Yes two buffets waiting, weâ€™ll have them tonight. We played in Wynn for several hours, until we thought we could eat again. We were very careful with choices, sticking to one cuisine and only a couple items. It worked, we liked the food, and weâ€™re in and out of there in 15 minutes. I am amazed at the food some folks can put away. And there size has nothing to do with what Iâ€™ve seen them eat. Some of the smallest old ladies were putting it away. Or maybe they really were putting it away, like it their bags! You know I like sneaking coffee out of buffets. I love a cup of coffee after eating. Coffee at the bars is nasty, especially when you want decaf. The buffet coffee is so much better. I am rarely busted taking the coffee out, and jail time is never an issue, just a little red faced â€˜splaining, so totally worth the attempt. Of late, Iâ€™ve gotten R in on the larceny, he used to pretend he didnâ€™t know me, now weâ€™re a team. We begin with, â€œis the server around?â€â€¦no coast is clearâ€¦.â€what about the cashier?â€â€¦.canâ€™t see them from hereâ€â€¦ â€œokay, letâ€™s goâ€ As we leave, the busboy tries to stop us. That was unexpected, usually busboys have no stake in the game, since they hate the man and all, doesnâ€™t matter, he is quickly fooled with my craning neck over the crowds, while saying â€œwhere are they?â€ as we leave his station. Carrying coffee from one station to another is okay, he dismisses us. We make a false step at the in/out cashier area, we should have scoped it out better, the cashier is on us! R is behind me, and I leave him there, they can only get one of us! Bye-bye!, when I hear R calling my name, oh no! they have him, must go backâ€¦.. turns out the cashier is handing us nice paper coffee cups for our coffee so we can take them out and leave the mugs. What?!!! This is okay? Game over, but I bet itâ€™s only at Wynn, I still have other challenges out there. Weâ€™ve been on the strip now for three days and have not seen any of the casino shows, no TI booty shaking, Mirage new explosion or my beloved Bellagio fountains. Itâ€™s now 8 PM, we are on a mission. 20 minutes later we are standing in the middle of a gazillion people, all touching each other, breathing into each othersâ€™ faces with our garlicky-rich dinner breath, trying to shuffle along a bit, to get the best angle of the TI ship show. Ugh!!! Donâ€™t care! Get me outta here!!! We leave the TI show behind, and power walk over to Mirage. We were there too early, got impatient, went inside, came back out when it was ready to start, and we critiqued it harshly. It was okay, but I still think it was better about 12 years ago. I remember then, feeling the heat from it, and not WANTING to be too close. Off we go to Bellagio, weâ€™re going to get them all in! We make it there in short time, people weaving so precisely you could have set it to music. By the time the fountains danced their last dance, we were depleted. All we could see was the Imperial Palace and the hot tub awaiting our tired feet. We moved liked robots, one foot in front of the other until we were behind our door, and the water was filling the tub. Okay, it was only 10 PM on our last night in Vegas, but we had a 10 hour drive home the next day, and unlike flying home, where you can pour your abused body on a plane, turn to the side, and begin drooling, we had to stay awake, well, R did. So rest we needed and rest we got. The next morning we had one more swim, er bath, and checked out. We didnâ€™t gamble or anything. We had slept 10 hours, and felt great! We stopped in Primm for some lunch, and were home by 7:30 that night. Couple of things about this trip, like a lot of you, weâ€™re getting a lot of offers, and would like to go more. Can we do it on these long weekends? We found out, Yes. We drove up through Tahoe, Reno, down to Vegas, paying for no food, no room, no drinks or shows. Our only expense was $100 in gas. We didnâ€™t miss much work, and stayed within our budget gambling. No way could we have paid for any 2 star hotel and food anywhere in California for what we lost on this trip. We werenâ€™t cheap on tips either, leaving $5 for the maid every day, including the Plaza where we didnâ€™t sleep, but did play. We tipped cocktail servers well, and cashiers for breaking our money down. Food servers did well from us, as did valet, so I feel that we spread it around a little. Our next trip is over the 4th of July, similar trip, except we begin in Rincon, San Diego Harrahâ€™s. Free rooms there, and we want to check it out before heading over to Vegas.