Long time, first time. Preface As you'll see, I was a bit wordy. Hope you like longer TRs. Also, this was from December 2012. I took great notes and wrote along the way for almost the whole trip. However, I lost the drive to track it all toward the end. I ended up for the trip and enjoyed myself overall, but was a bit sad for personal reasons as you'll see. Saturday Arrived in Vegas at 12:30p. No taxi line and I made it to the Flamingo by 1p. Taxi driver drove the right way, so I tipped well. I know the check in time is 4p, but I've never been denied early check-in at the Flamingo, especially at 1:15p-ish. The check in woman was being a stickler for the $25 early check in fee. The fee wouldn't break my budget by any means, but on principle I declined. It's a Saturday, but I know the hotel isn't that crowded this weekend. (I didn't do the $20 trick as I'm re-checking in on Sunday due to a Free Play deal) I decided on video craps to kill an hour or so. It's right by check in between the back bar and sportsbook. I know this isn't a great game or gaming experience--2x odds and lower comps. I buy in with $200 and play the dark side with placing the insides, some field bets, come bets, hardways--basically I'm all over the board. I'd win a little, then hedge. My goal here wasn't to get on a heater; the goal was to tread water, have a couple of drinks and then check-in. Two hours later, mission fairly accomplished! Put 100 tier points on the card, three Coronas consumed, down $25, and ended up getting some fun people on my side of the circular monstrousity known as: video craps. The irony is that I cashed out down $25 as I picked up my key, which was around 3:15p Gambling: -$30 (25+ tips; I'll factor in my tips to my gambling bankroll count) Throw my bags in my FAB room, plug stuff in, relax for a bit and look at the CFB line sheets. I plan on keeping my sportsbetting to a minimum this weekend. I'll usually have a bankroll of $1500-2000 for sports betting working, but I wanted to play more table games this trip. I did some research on VegasInsider.com beforehand, so I knew the CET lines for the weekend, but I wrote down the bet #s and headed back down to place my bets: Vandy -3 ($30); Baylor +14? ($30) and all week I told myself that Stanford was going pull the upset and definitely cover and keep the total under. Well on my flight I watched College Gameday for two hours where they pumped Chip Kelly's and Oregon's tires and I bought into the hype. Instead of my Stanford +450 ML bet, I went Oregon -21 ($60)...THEY HAVE SO MUCH SPEED AND THEY'VE BLOWN THEM OUT WITH WORSE TEAMS. My CFB reads have been great all year--I'm having an incredible CFB run with my online book. Why didn't I stick with my reads? Only golf rivals sportsbetting in terms of frustration! At 4p, I head to Margaritaville to play some $10 BJ. I play by the book, never bet bonuses, never Martingale and will press occassionally. As far as I know, this gives you the best shot--outside of counting--to get your money's worth out of your buy in. Well, that didn't work out with this session. The $200 buy-in starts off up--peaking at $280. Quickly that falls to $150, under $100 and then to $0. Again, I never Martingale, but this session cemented my decision to quit BJ. Unless I take counting seriously--my brain isn't quite trained yet and I like to drink--slowly bleeding $200/$300 buy-ins at $10 tables isn't very fun. Spanning trips, I'm on a bad BJ run. Gambling to date: -$240 I get a good 1:30 out of that $200 and more drinks--got to look at the bright side. I also played exactly by the book with a 95%+ correct play rate, I think. I take my first steps outside into the masses. Semi-fresh air! (with particles from the Linq construction). I cross LVB and want to stretch the legs. I make a loop and end up back at the Flamingo. Video poker time! Take a seat at the bar in the back by the sportsbook. Buy in with $200 and play DDB. I hit 3(!) 4OAKS in the first 100 or so hands, with one being 3s. I'm up $125 ish already. I'm hitting a lot of smaller hands to tread water, rack up more TCs and drink more beers as I'm watching Vanderbilt come through on my sports bet. Around 300 hands or so in, I get dealt four to the Royal Flush. I've never hit one on a one-play VP machine. I'm pretty drunk at this point, but I've been locked in drunk; I'm easily playing at a 98%+ correct play rate. I'm feeling great and take a moment before I draw the one card. I'm resigned to it being a black blank and I'll take a JoB or plain ol' flugh and be happy with the hand. Then...it hits! My reaction is a nearly mute, "Yeah!" The bar was packed and I frankly was more locked in and didn't want to have strangers celebrate with me. I wanted to keep going and I think that was why my reaction was "meh." Hit a few more flushes, no 4OAKs and treaded water before cashing out up $1175! Gambling to date: +$935 I'm drunk at this point. What do I do? Celebrate with a good dinner? It's about that time of day. Nah. Video craps! I'm going to win back that measly $25 I lost earlier. In goes the $1375 voucher. I'm down $100 or so quickly, back to even, then down $100 after about 30 minutes. Then a monster 25+ roll comes along. I'm winning on each roll. I hedge a bit, but then realize to take the hedges off and let the good times roll. I'm up $200 with come bets all over the place, but with each roll some jerk is taking away my enjoyment: my freakin' bladder. I stupidly didn't take a leak before I sat down and I've got nearly $750 in bets on the table with a guy who is clearly never going to seven out. I kept thinking of the stories when old women pee themselves because they refused to leave a "hot" slot machine. Pft--what losers, I would never do that! Cue gibbstack at the video craps table: sweat pouring out of me, shifting around to maximize bladder space, praying that the machine will combust and I can just cash out and run to the bathroom. As I'm a moment away from one of the lowest points in my life, the roller finally sevens out. My $25 come bets are left on the board, though--4, 6, 8. If this were a real table game, I would've left them and told the dealers to keep them. You can't do that with virtual craps, though! The next three rolls all hit these! Huzzah! Almost as improbable as a royal! Cash out and sprint (waddle) to the men's room, which is luckily very close. As I have the best relief session ever, I realize I was up $350 after 45 minutes of play. Gambling to date: +$1250 I decide to give slots a try to rack up a few more TCs to ensure more comped rooms for 2013. With my ADT, I figure if I can pump $600+ through on slots I can set myself up in a good spot. I head to the Hangover machine and play $6 a spin with my $1700 voucher. I hit bonuses right away to put me over $2000. I give away $400 and I'm about to walk away happy my coin in. I give myself three more spins. Pentultimate spin: bonus round. With this game you pick boxes, basically. I picked right and chose various multipliers to turn my bonus round into $375! Decided to burn down another $100 as I was approaching 500 TCs and I think I can get to Diamond soon--I don't check my yearly TCs closely enough. Ended up $175. Feeling great, I play roulette, a game I never play. Buy in for $100. Up early as I hit a bunch of numbers, down to $60 and place a $10 on black for the dealer (misses) plus give $10 as a normal tip. Down $60. Move over to BJ as I forget my earlier vow. Buy in for $100 and add my $60 from roulette. Up early with Charles to nearly $300! Lose it all with the next dealer. I get sloppy toward the end despite sobering up with five waters, and while playing nearly by the book, I take a couple of riskier doubles on big bets. Blow that plus another $100 I through in which I gave away through tips. Down $200 Gambling to date: +$1100 I see the Ducks lose in OT and on my phone that GSP won easily, but it was a good fight. I feel good about my Condit bet. I thought it was a slightly off; it should've been more like +200 with GSP at -160. I assume the books get a ton of GSP money so they can make him a bigger favorite. That, plus factoring in GSP's ring rust, age and Condit being good and no joke like Sonnen and Bonnar getting title shots at Jones and Silva...all of that had me thinking it was a good bet. Cash in my two winners. Down $30ish. Gambling to date: +$1075 I can't decide what to eat. Grab a slice from the Flamingo pizza joint by the steakhouse, not the one in the food court. I knew it wasn't going to be good and it wasn't. Asleep at 10p and up at 4a Sunday--ahhh body clocks! Sunday Decided to start my day at 4a. Playing some more video craps and drank some coffee and water. Played the dark side with some other degenerates. Treaded water and as soon as I played Pass Line with full odds and insides, the 7s came fast and quickly. Bought in with $140 and cashed out at $50. Down $90. Headed to Flamingoville for some VP. Put in the $50 plus another $40. Burned through that to $50 in like ten minutes. Bad start to the day. Down $40. Time to switch it up. I make the walk to south strip. A little shady at 5a, but got there safe and sound after a stop at the CVS to suck down a Naked mango juice. I've consumed 90% of my calories via liquid so far this trip. Saw the new Excalibur food court area. It looks better. They added a Buca di Bepo in the upper level too. Not great, but it is an upgrade over the old Excalibur. I walked to Luxor and MB. Good to see this end of the strip, but it doesn't do it for me. Around 6a, I settle in at the Luxor center bar. They have Sunday SportsCenter on and bright, clean VP machines with nice looking bar chairs. I play DDB and after treading water, I hit a 4OAK. Nice! I'm just looking to put some points on my Mlife card and kill some time. I'm not drinking anything and just enjoying the comfortable bar chair. A woman then sidles up to me. My first thought is that it's a drunk woman. Second thought after looking at her is that she's a pro. After she babbles on to me about life and some existential crisis she's having I'm thinking my first inclination was right. She's just a drunk local. Then the touching commences with saying we should relax. She's a working girl who's got a problem; she's not drunk. I have no problem with the working girls and I think the act should be legalized, but I'm not here for that stuff and this woman isn't taking a hint. The bartender basically askes me if I want her booted. I say I got this, but I don't; she rambles on and on about life and I'm not even acknowleding her. Repeat bet, look for a pair, hold, hold, draw and repeat is the only thing going through my mind. After some more touching of my arm in her weird monologue, I tell her that the other side of the bar has more seats and she finally moves. Within my eyeline, I see her talking to herself while watching the TVs. Very sad--I hope she can right herself and get the help she needs. Cash out up $20. I told myself that I'd cab it back if I won, but I decide to walk back. At 7a I stop in PH and get a breakfast sandwich from Earl of Sandwich. I do not recommend. Stick to their normal sandwiches even in the morning. Terrible coffee too. At 7:30a, I'm back at the Flamingo and place $200 in NFL bets. I made some parlays--sucker's bets--but, of course, I'm hoping to get lucky with an early game and then hedge in the afternoon. Placed bets on Stenhouse and Harvick to win Homestead too. Checked out at 11a. Checked my bags and sat down for some more video craps. Bought in for $300 and was up, but cashed out for $175. More importantly I killed two-plus hours, enjoyed myself, had a couple of beers and with it being Sunday, I was able to check in this time with no early fee. The biggest issue was when the redemption machines sucked in my ticket and spit out nothing. After getting help and fending off my machine until help arrived, (Saying the machines takes your money is a good deterrent) I got my $175 thanks to a couple of workers. Grabbed my free play and decided I wanted to try Wheel of Fortune in the HL area. I've read reports about how it's fun and a favorite of many. As far as slots go, it's fairly simple. In went my $100 in FP a $80 voucher I had from some VP, and another $100. I figured I'd run it until I hit a spin. BOOM! Hit one early for $175 (I think) which is one of the lowest on the wheel. I go from $500ish down to $300 and hit another spin: $500! Up to $800+. At this point, I should've walked away. I was spoiled hitting two spins early and should've studied the "wheel spin" frequency beforehand. I figured another spin after running through another couple of hundred and I'll end up anywhere from $500-$1500--or even more. Whoops. Guess spins aren't very easy to come by. I run it all the way down to $100. Down $180. This one stung. Walking away at $600-800 during WoF, plus my earlier Royal would've made for a strong profit. This is all in retrospect, though. At the time, I wasn't too fazed. Bad loss, but only because I was up so much. Football bets work out to up $80ish for sports betting. Gambling to date: +$675 More video craps. A marathon session where I take $200 and bring it up to $600. I finally make a right decision this trip and walk away. This one was at least 2:30 hours as I sat down at the start of the late NFL games and got up as they were in the fourth. Lost my Colts bet. Up $400 on craps, down $60 on sports. Gambling to date: $1025 Epilogue--written today in March 2013 Sorry for the abrupt end to the day-by-day TR. I stopped taking notes after Sunday as I felt very depressed on Monday. You see, I just got out of a long term relationship. Not my first relationship, but in retrospect my first truly broken heart. So after the adrenaline, drunkeness and euphoria from the first couple of days wore off--and the weekend crowd dissipated--I recall sitting in the Forum Shops with an XL gelato (I'm a pretty fit guy and wanted to drown my tears in gelato) on the super comfy benches, staring at the new Breitling store's on-going construction, and breaking down in tears. I came to Vegas hoping the heart break and tears would stop, but like so many other failed dreams of people in the 702, I joined the club. Granted, I'd much rather have had the sadness problem versus a degenerative gambling problem, but it wasn't a good luck nonetheless. I remember sitting on that chair with a bag from H&M, melted gelato soup mixed with my salty tears and feeling as worse as I've ever felt. Best winning trip I've had and I couldn't be happy. For what I can recall, I trudged back to the Flamingo and wanted to move up my flight. I begged a Delta rep on the Medallion line to help a measly Silver/FO member out. Usually people want out of Vegas when they've burned through their bankroll. I hadn't even touched my BR and my--for psyche purposes--back up BR and yet I wanted out. This sounds brutal and sad, which is accurate for the time--December 2012. Like all break ups, time heals all wounds and I was back in Vegas in February where I ended up down for the trip--only $500 or so--but had a fresher outlook on life. That TR may come someday, albeit with less detail. The highlight of that flight was sitting next to a member of Floyd Mayweather's entourage on my return via LAX and being a few rows back from Money and Miss Jackson in the flesh.