Going to Las Vegas for real work, the type where I give presentations, participate in meetings, and actively listen to other presentations, is not easy for me. Its confusing, as I have trained myself that Vegas is the one place where I get to be fully irresponsible. Don’t get me wrong, getting a free trip there is never a bad thing, but I would compare the experience to something like “Studying for Finals While on a Cruise Ship During Spring Break”. What makes it even more challenging is that many of the people I work with are regular-life-friends too – friends whom also have a propensity to switch into Crazy Vegas Mode. So we all had to strategize to “dial it back” this week. Our plan was to focus on work Mon / Tues, and leave Wed open for a “day off”. It worked. I arrived on a Monday around noon. Our meetings and rooms were booked at Treasure Island. A place I loved 14 years ago, but not a place I would choose now. I did not try and reach out to a host prior to the trip, though I am not sure it would have helped. So none of the normal VIP treatment my awesome host at Cosmo has been delivering in recent trips. Normal airport cab line (painless), Normal Guest TI Check In Line (painful), Normal TI hotel room (fine), No view, No Free Play, No Credit Line, Not even Free Internet. The truth is none of these missing elements bothered me. Even a “less spoiled” experience in Vegas is superior to what I experience when travelling in other parts of the country. Regarding TI, it was interesting for me to stay there. I stayed there quite frequently back when it was new. I have lots of fun memories, and I enjoyed the nostalgia. However, the property certainly feels more generic, mid-vegas these days. Nothing is horrible, and nothing was special. I guess from a value standpoint, it is OK. I do like the property location. And, I did appreciate our meeting spaces as well as the accompanying catering service. I also used the fitness center, and I thought it was very good. But beyond that, I really did not feel great about being in TI. I am pleased to report that Monday thru Tuesday at 7 PM I effectively stayed in normal – life mode. I was able to focus on work. Went to bed at 10 PM (earliest ever in 40 trips or so). I gambled here and there, but only on VP or random slots. Somehow, I lost $900 without even trying. But my demons never got a hold of me – some of you know what I mean. Wed was my “free” day, so once I got thru Tuesday day, I was able to mentally switch gears. Tuesday night a group of us went to Andrea’s, the new restaurant at Encore (the space used to be Switch). It was fantastic. Then we spent a thrilling 20 minutes playing $100 slots, with 6 of us pooling our money. Was a blast. We each ended up winning $200. After the slot play we went back to TI for some gambling. I was able win $500 on craps. Then a couple grand on Blackjack over a several hour session in their small “high limit” room. I ended the night up about $1500, and went to bed at 4 AM – almost in Vegas Mode. Wed was spent sleeping , working and relaxing. Went to the spa (generic), and had a great massage. Wed night was my last night in town, and was able to plan and enjoy a full Vegas night. In fact, I had never gone into a “final Vegas night” feeling so rested and re-freshed. Had a solid dinner at Fix with a local friend, then lounged at Hyde with a group until 2 AM, then gambled back at TI until 5 AM. The gambling mostly involved several hours of $200 - $400 hand BJ (again in the ghostly hi-limit space), the highlight of which was receiving 3 Black Jacks in row. I believe that was a lifetime first for me. I did well, winning $3k for the trip. Since I had mentally decided to dial back some of my gambling this trip, I didn’t press as much when winning. But it was still an awesome feeling to wake up on Thu with another winning trip. I have to admit that I have been very lucky in recent years. All told I gave TI over 7-8 hours of gambling at about $300 ave bet. Thats not great by today’s standards, but much less would have gotten me much more attention back in the earlier days of TI. When I went to see a host at check out, he wasn’t interested in doing anything for my bill. I think he took off about $80 in f&b, but wouldn’t touch any of my room charges, spa, or other. I really didn’t care, as the charges would be covered by work, but the general disinterest was surprising. I felt like I was seriously annoying him by even asking. Somewhat of a boring trip vs. others, and probably a boring trip report to read. But it was a different type of trip, less extreme. I had zero recovery time upon return. Heck, I didn’t have any cocktails before 5 PM on any day, thats just not right! But again, even a 1/2 way trip is fun. In a few weeks I return for a 4 night, ½ Encore (with wives) ½ Cosmo trip (with just guys) trip. Trust me, I am looking forward to that.