This message board was great for keeping me satiated prior to the trip report that I am about to post. Hopefully me TR will do the same for others. By way of background, I have been travelling to Vegas twice per year since 2004. My second child is due on June 1st, and my wife gracious allowed me to take this trip without her since my bi-yearly trips are likely to dwindle to one trip per year. My original plan was to meet some friends in Vegas from the 24th through the 27th. Unfortunately, we recently suffered a plumbing disaster in our house that is requiring significant work. Therefore, I moved my trip date up to 21st through the 24th. Although, I was not going to get to hang out with my college buddies; I was not too disappointed to get to Vegas sooner. Originally, I booked rooms at a great rate through a Player's Club offer at Mandalay Bay. When I called to change my reservation, I was informed that the room rates were not going to remain the same due to multiple conventions, etc. Thankfully, I was able to book a room through Total Rewards at Bally's for two comped nights and a third night at $70.00 at Bally's. After a couple of trips to Vegas, I read a post by someone on another message board with some great advice. The poster takes all of his budget to Vegas in cash, and places his daily budget in envelopes for the day so that he does not exceed his daily budget and end up at the ATM. I followed the advice on my past three trips, and it has worked like a charm. My budget for each day was as follows: Travel money to Vegas for cabs, food, etc. - $100.00 Budget for each day - $1,200.00, broken down as follows: Food & drinks - $100.00 Shows w/drinks - $125.00 Craps - $325.00 Black Jack - $225.00 Roulette - $200.00 Poker - $125.00 Slots - $100.00 Return travel money - $100.00 My flight out of Atlanta was on Air Tran leaving at 10:45 AM. After this flight, I will avoid Air Tran if at all possible. The check in line was a nightmare. There is no movie on the flight. The only bright spot was that I upgraded to first class so that I could sleep on the flight. I arrived in Vegas at approximately 12:30 PM. The cab line was not too bad and I was at Bally's fairly soon. The check in line was not great and not terrible. I was given a room in the older South Tower. The desk clerk asked me if I wanted and upgrade, which I declined. The room was very large. I have stayed at Bellagio, Paris, Flamingo and Harrahs; and this room was much larger than any of my previous rooms. I unpacked, and went to work separating my my allotted money for each activity into envelopes by day. Once this was completed, I rushed to Le Burger Brassiere for some food located in the walkway between Bally's and Paris. Although I love the burgers, I have always received terrible service. The bartended played tailback for Kansas State. Fortunately, I was able to engage him some college/pro football talk, and received better service. I was shocked to get the bill and see that a burger and two beers was over $30.00. After my meal, I was off to my first show which was the 4:00 PM Nathan Burton show at Flamingo. The line was not too bad for Nathan Burton, and I was at a table fairly quickly. There is no bar in the theater, so you are at the mercy of the wait staff. The first half of the show was good. However, the middle portion of the show involved a not very funny comedy portion put on by someone named Rod Merling. I was extremely unhappy with the drink service. The waitress did not take my drink order until 4:30 PM, forty five minutes after I was seated. The second half of the show was very good. Again, I was not happy that I was only able to get one drink during the nearly hour and a half that I was there! After the show, I bought one of Nathan Burton's DVD's for $10.00 and had it autographed for my boy and his soon to be arriving little brother. I left Nathan Burton to head to Encore to see Danny Gans. By this time, I was hungry. I went to Zoozacrackers at Wynn, for what I hoped would be a cheap sandwich. No such luck. A corn beef & pastrami sandwich with no sides and one beer was $25.00. Decent sandwich, but way overpriced. Although I bought the cheap seats to Danny Gans, I was still in the third row; albeit the far aisle seat. The guy next to me apparently thought that he was entilted to half my seat, which was annoying. The show was OK. He did several short bits, which kept it entertaining. The highlight for me was his ability to imitate Rod Stewart which I thought would be impossible. I felt like the Johnny Carson bit went on a little too long. After the show, it was finally time for gambling. Since I previously had luck at Imperial Palace's craps table, I headed there first. I arrived at about 9:30 PM and dropped my $325.00 on the table. Things were up and down for two hours that I played. Most of the other players were attendees of the National Associaton of Broadcasters convention. I ended up cashing out at 11:30 PM for $323.00, which I was happy with. I headed to O'Sheas for the 12:00 AM poker tournament. Unfortunately, I have not been playing as much as I used to. I ended up getting knocked out halfway through the field. Thereafter, I headed to Flamingo. I broke my rule of gambling at Flamingo since I have never won there. I put $100.00 down on the roulette table making inside bets. It was gone pretty quickly. I headed off to bed around 2:00 AM. I woke up on Wednesday morning early and ready for breakfast. I've had the buffet at Bellagio, and the buffet at Paris several times. I decided to try something different. I decided to try the buffet at Planet Hollywood because of the location. Although it was much cheaper than the buffets at Paris and Bellagio, it was not good. I was surprised that they would not give me a to go cup for my coffee. I then left and headed to sign up for the 10:00 AM poker tournament at Mandaly Bay. I signed up and then headed to my lucky roulette table at Mandalay Bay. There is a roulette table located near the cashier that has always been lucky for me. This session was no different. I started with $100.00. Within half an hour before my poker tournament, I was able to cash out $250.00. I rushed to the poker room nearby. I did not like the 10:00 Mandalay Bay poker tournament. Most of the players were pretty young, and not very good. The majority of the players commented that they were not too interested in the game because of the early time and low buy in ($40.00). I was knocked out fairly early, affirming that my poker skills have deteriorated from lack of play. I left Mandalay Bay and headed to NY/NY. I found a black jack table and put down the $150.00 that I won on roulette at Mandalay Bay. I had some luck and spent a few hours at the table. My tablemates were great, and offered helpful advice since I am in no way a black jack expert. I cashed out another $150.00 up and decided I needed some food. I have eaten at Nine Fine Irishmen on previous trips, so I decided to look for something new. I ended up at Diablos, located in front of Monte Carlo. In the past, I was hesitant to eat at Diablos. However, I am glad that I went there. The atmosphere was great. The bartenders and food service were excellent, and I enjoyed a cheap steak quesadilla. After eating, I headed back to room for a nap. Once I woke up from my nap, I headed back to Planet Hollywood to get my tickets for Fab Four Live. Once I got my tickets, I headed into Planet Hollywood for some quick gambling. While walking through the entrance from Miracle Mile into Planet Hollywood, I was a gentleman in a suit that I thought I knew. As I got closer, it occurred to me that I did not know this man personally. We studied each other, and I realized that it was James Denton who plays Mike Delfino on the TV show Desperate Housewives. My wife watches this show every Sunday, and she was excited to hear about this and tell her friends. I put $200.00 down on the black jack table and cashed out $300.00. Didn't have much time, so I headed back in the Miracle Mile to see Fab Four Live. I'm sure others on this board get sick of my raving about this show, but it really is the best in Vegas. I have seen Paul MCartney and Ringo live, but I never got to see Lennon or Harrison. It's great to imagine what it would have been like to see the band perform some of their later songs live. The attention to detail that you can see is amazing if you are a true Beatles fan. Every slight nuissance is given great care. Unfortunately, there was a couple in front of me that made it less enjoyable, but I loved it nonetheless. After the show, it was back to Imperial Palace for more craps. I put my $325.00 down and had another two hour session cashing out for $321.00. We had a great crowd at the table. At one point, I had $650.00 in my rack of chips, but was having too much fun to cash out. Once I cashed out, I rushed back to O'Sheas for the 12:00 AM poker tournament. Even though I was early for the tournament, I ended up being the 4th alternate. I grabbed a meatball sub at Subway located in the casino and was seated during the second blind level. I made some good early plays, but I was behind and ended up getting knocked out when I went all in with Ace Jack vs. Queens. Despondent from my performance in three poker tournaments, I headed to Bally's for a little more gambling. I have never done well in Bally's, and Wednesday was no exception. Lost $200.00 at the roulette table in less than half an hour. I stopped by the three card poker table to lose another $100.00 in less than an hour. By this time, it was nearly 2:00 AM, and I was hungry again. The only place still serving food at Bally's was the Tequilla Bar & Grille. I ordered the nachos, which took longer than I would have expected. I poured the nachos in a to go box and headed to the room. While at the elevators, I was standing next to two very unattractive girls. I gathered from their conversation that they had an unsuccessful night of man-hunting. One of them had apparently throw up at the bar, and the other, who seemed equally drunk was babysitting. Once we were in the elevator, I got an earful about how I shouldn't have food in the elevator with them. I politely told them (even though I had a few drinks in me as well) that there was nothing that I could do about now that the door to the elevator had closed. I got out at my floor and said "y'all have a good night". I was born in raised in Georgia, so "y'all" is a normal term for me. Got some more shouts about being a redneck for saying "y'all". In any event, the nachos were great. Woke up a little later on Thursday. I planned on playing in the 11:00 AM poker tournament at Bally's. I went to grab a quick breakfast at Nosh in Bally's. I ordered a bacon, egg and cheese crouissant. The sandwich was awful. It was so greasy, that it actually fell apart while I was eating it. Made the 11:00 AM poker tournament. Finally, my poker skills returned. I won several early hands, a few of them on well timed bluffs. By the break, I was the chip leader at the table and a little less than half of the 46 entrants were gone. Unfortunately, I got a little cocky and splashed around some pots that I shouldn't have been in. Made the final table as one of the short stacks. The tournament paid out the top 5. Two players at the final table were knocked out early. I was dealt pocket 10's in early position. I went all in and was called by the big stack who had king two. The flop came king seven two. I was done. After the poker tournament, I headed to Madame Tussands to see if there were any updates. Things were pretty much the same. I wanted a quick lunch, so I stopped by the deck of the Palazzo Sports Bar & Grille. This is a great place for people watching, and the sports book in Palazzo is the best I've seen in Vegas. Ordered a muffaletta at a reasonable price, and the service was good. The sandwich was a little too much bread, and not enough filling. Regardless, it was good; and I caught a cab downtown. I had decided that I was going to do some gambling back at the Golden Nugget since I had some luck there on previous trips. I started out at the craps table. It was me and one other gentleman. I had decent roll and made a little money. The other guy gambling was killing me. He would set a point. Once I backed up my pass line bet and bought the board, he would immediately crap out. This happened three times. Finally, on his fourth roll, I bet the don't pass line. He did not seem happy, but managed to crap out and I finally won some money on his roll. He stormed off and I cashed out after a poor roll of my own. I stopped by the roulette table, and continued to have bad luck. Finally, I was off to the black jack table. I sat in the 3rd base seat. Soon after I sat down, I heard a young guy behind me shout, I need a $5,0000.00 marker. I saw all of the dealer cringe. This guy demaned a private table behind me. I have never seen someone mistreat so many people. He spent the entire time berating the dealers and pit boss. It was like watching Joe Peschi in the moive Casino. Within an hour, he had lost his $5,000.00, and took out another $5,000.00 marker. I cashed out down another $50.00 and caught a cab back to Bally's. I made some phone calls and then headed to Planet Hollywood. I picked up my Peepshow tickets and went to my seat in the nearly half empty theater. I decided to see this show because of Kelly Monaco. I was disappointed to see that she did not have a large roll in the show. The first 2/3s of the show was not good. However, the last 3-4 vinettes were good; and I left not feeling as though it was a waste of time. Once the show was over, I headed back to the casino in Planet Hollywood for some more black jack. I ended up breaking about even before I started receiving messages from my friends that were flying in at that their flight was delayed. I decided to hold off on too much gambling so that I would have some bankroll left to hit the craps table once they arrived. Since I was taking it easy, I decided to wander to Casino Royale. I played some slots with no luck. I walked down to TI for some more black jack. When I gave the pit boss my player's club card, I was informed that they only rated you for play at or above $25.00 per hand. I was a little surprised since I've always though of TI as a lower ended MGM/Mirage property. I lost $200.00 pretty quickly and left. I again headed back to Bally's for some more nachos at Tequilla Bar & Grille. Went to my room to eat the nachos, and fell asleep. Apparently my friends were delayed several hours and went straight to bed. I woke up early on Friday morning. I grabbed a quick bite at Le Creperie in Paris. I wasn't expecting much, but had a crepe with pepperoni, cheese and mushrooms which was very good. My friends were not awake, so I headed back to Planet Hollywood for more black jack. I got up $100.00 pretty quickly and cashed out. I proceeded to lose the $100.00 even more quickly at roulette. After my quick loss at the roulette table, I met my friends at Ceasar's. They were still tired from the fiasco the night before, so I left them and headed to Mirage for some more craps. Put $350.00 down. I was the first shooter, and crapped out sooner thereafter. The next roller was a gentleman who looked exactly like Cuba Gooding, Jr. This guy would spend a great deal of time selecting, and then setting his dice. Then he would rub the dice against the table while whispering: "I apologize dice" over and over again. Once he repeated this phrase several times, he would shoot. I did pretty well on his rolls. Unfortunately, none of us did well with the other shooters; including my terrible rolls. One poor guy went though what I estimate to be $15,000.00. I cashed out $50.00 of the $350.00 I started with. I went to the gift shop to buy some Beatles gear for the wife and my two boys. After the Mirage, I headed back to Bally's. There were only two open craps tables that were slammed. Went to Paris and found the same. I gave up on craps and hit the high limit slots at Bally's. Had no luck and then lost another quick $100.00 at the roulette table. Finally, I settled down at a black jack table where I broke even over an hour. By this time, I had to check out and head to the airport. Random Thoughts: This was my 8th trip to Vegas, and I still feel like I am learning how to budget and fill my days. The one lesson I learned on this trip was that I enjoy gambling in the morning and afternoons much more than I do at night. During the day, the tables are less crowded, the table minimums are lower, the drink service is faster, the tablemates are more enjoyable and finally the pit bosses/dealers are friendly because they are not having to deal with the drunk/unruly players. I'm also finding that early morning and late night poker games are much worse than the mid-day and early evening poker tournaments. Lastly, I have become superstitious about my gaming locations. I have never won at Ceasar's, Bally's, Flamino or TI. I seem to always win at Mandalay Bay, NY/NY and Planet Hollywood. I am hoping to make a short trip back to Vegas just before Thanksgiving. If not, I may not be able to go back until next Summer. I hope this TR isn't too long, and hopefully it will help others get excited about their trip like this message board helped me get excited about mine.