Day 1: This turned out to be a bonus trip, my brother (J) and I decided in February to book a trip at the end of April, since we missed our fall trip together. We had enough miles for a free flight through Continental, and we were able to book a United partner flight. The only negative was both legs of the trips had layovers, which we try to avoid when flying for vacation. Our friend (B) decided to come along as well. This was a bonus trip for me as I wound up going for my regular March trip, so after a short 5 Â½ weeks at home I was back off to Vegas for another round of mischief. This was by far my shortest window between trips and prior to leaving in March, I was a bit concerned that Iâ€™d wear myself out. My March trip went well though and I saved a lot of energy for April and by the time the April dates came around I was more excited then I had been in a long time for the trip. Flight out was in the evening, so I finished up work and headed to the airport. My brother and I were on the same flight out and we met up at the airport, and hung out. Things looked great, as the plane was at the gate and it didnâ€™t appear weâ€™d have any problem making our connection in Denver, for which we had about 40 minutes to make. Boarding the plane, I find out itâ€™s a commuter plane and the overhead bins wonâ€™t fit my carryon, they gate check it and we board. For some reason we sit on the tarmac for about 35 minutes before we get in the air. The pilot comes on shortly after and announces our arrival time at 9:20 now in Denver. Our flight in Denver is due to leave at 9:25. Thatâ€™s probably not going to work. J was a bit concerned, advising that he was ready to rent a rental car and drive all night if needed, and that he didnâ€™t want to be stuck in Denver. I settled back in the seat and advised it was too early to worry, weâ€™d see what would happen over the next 3 hours. About 7:30 the pilot comes on and advises we made up some time in the air, and we were expecting to be on the ground about 8:30 (right about the time we were supposed to land). We breathed a collective sigh of relief (it should have been a bigger breath). We landed and then taxied for about 15 minutes, finally getting to the gate at about 8:50. Still not bad, the flight would just be boarding if it was on time as well. We had checked at the Cleveland airport and our gate was 60 gates away from our current gate, we confirmed it taxiing in on my brotherâ€™s phone. This is not going according to plan. J not having to wait for his gate checked bag takes off for the flight. I get stuck waiting for about 10 minutes, to the point that I finally see everyone standing in front of a large rack of luggage doing nothing (itâ€™s in the ramp rather then outside in Denver). That I decide I canâ€™t take their indecisiveness anymore and push my way to the front of the masses standing there with blank look on their faces and start the brisk walk to my gate. Holy crap Denverâ€™s a large airport, having no time to see if there are any options to get to my gate quickly, I start in the direction the signs point. We were at gate 85 and I needed to get to 25. The signs only directed me to Gate 50 at the lowest, oh well, itâ€™s the right direction. So like OJ Simpson in the Hertz commercial, (without the whole in shape thing or the hurdling) I barrel through the terminal, wondering why it seems that every large concourse I pass only seems to have 2-3 gates in it, these are some super size gates. By the time I get to Gate 40 or 50, Iâ€™m laboring heavily, on a moving walkway there are a group of teens hanging out on both sides and after a loud Excuse me that fails to move them, I utilize my gate checked carry on as a battering ram to make my point and move by. At this point I also hear the announcement for my flightâ€™s last boarding call. (Shit!). I break into a sprint with the little energy I have left. Now let me say, while not in peak physical condition, Iâ€™m not in bad shape, maybe 5-10 lbs overweight, but I work out regularly and was actually a bit happy that Iâ€™d just managed to get back on my workout schedule of 4-5 days a week and had carried it through for the last 6 weeks. However, combine the legs being locked up for 3 hours on the flight, my smoking habit, the thin air of Denver, and a carry on and backpack that were overpacked and you have a recipe for disaster. I come across gate 30 and alertly figure out what side I need to be on for my gate, as I get up I see gate agent still with the door open. (Yay). I hand my ticket and try and catch my breath. I ask if I have a couple moments to catch my breath and she indicates I do as they are likely backed up boarding in the tunnel. I get onto the plane and jump in the seat that looks like mine. Of course itâ€™s not, because the couple whose tickets werenâ€™t together decided to arbitrarily sit together, even though there seats were about 15 rows apart. It gets to the point where the flight attendant asks me if Iâ€™ll change seats to a middle seat, as Iâ€™m still trying to catch my breath, covered in sweat, I advise her absolutely not as I put my headphones back in. They then look at me and ask me to move and Iâ€™m a bit puzzled until I realize that I had picked the wrong row, so after the lovely couple separated, I move up to my window seat, put the headphones in and try and stop sweating. A quick flight to Vegas and my whole first ordeal is over. We collect our luggage and get in the cab line. We thought about taking a limo, even when I go with friends or family itâ€™s rare we are on the same flight, but we decided against it to save a couple bucks. J was staying at the Excal to cross that one off of his Vegas hotel list and I was at the Bellagio for the first 3 nights, so we said goodbye and jumped in our cabs. Of course my cabbie decided to take the tunnel. I shook my head as I realized it and he must have noticed in the window as he started up small talk about the NFL draft. I think the small talk irritated me more then the route, as I did my best to catch up on text messages and tweets during the ride. The ride was $25 and I think I gave him $26, Since I typically would give about 22 for a ride to the strip, so the only real loss was for the cabbie in my opinion as he cheated himself out of a decent tip. Get to Bellagio checkin, and pick the right line, woman at desk confirms everything and even checks to see if there is a lakeview room available. I decided to ask this time, out of character for me, as I typically donâ€™t care a lot about the view having seen so many different ones, I usually just prefer a high room. She checked and there wasnâ€™t one, but put me in the casino tower with a nice view of the pools on the 24th floor. I got upstairs and unpacked, received my standard â€œstop ironing and do somethingâ€™ text from peanutmnm and sent him the picture of the wrinkle release bottle that I fully expended to save the ironing work (plus I didnâ€™t pack a week and a half ahead of time this trip). I took a shower and had a drink from the stash of stuff I bring and chilled out a bit in the room, trying to decide what I wanted to do, it was about midnight. I called J, who finally was in his room after multiple trips to the desk for bad keys, but he was just getting some room service and calling it a night and I called B who was over at the Flamingo and doing the same. Now I know some will gasp a bit at this, but being on east coast time after a full day of work, along with 5 more nights to go, it tends to be an easy decision. Plus I usually just take that nights bankroll and use it the next morning. Anyway, I couldnâ€™t decide if I wanted to hit a restaurant or order some room service. I decided to walk to the Monte Carlo, got there and couldnâ€™t decide on something to eat and played blackjack for about 30 minutes, losing about $10. At that point I knew I didnâ€™t want to wait for room service, or wait in a sit down restaurant, but wasnâ€™t quite ready to punish my body with food court food yet, so I just headed back to the room to sleep and try and get on west coast time. Day 2: Woke up at 6 or 7 got ready and headed downstairs for some morning play. I stopped at the Players club and got my freeplay, line passes, and buffet passes for the trip. And then I played some VP and slots on the floor. For the life of me I canâ€™t remember how I did, I vaguely recall winning a bit, but at worst it was a break even section. I text B who was already on his way up to the Excalibur, and decided to finally make my way up there. I walked through Vdara into Aria, and wandered the floor a bit. I didnâ€™t find anything on the floor at Vdara that I wanted to play, so I walked around for a good bit and then decided to head through Monte Carlo and get my Starbucks. Picked up the Starbucks and then up to NYNY where I played some Star Wars slots with no wins. I finally made it over to The Excal, where J and B had settled in at a Pai Gow table, not being in the mood to sit at a table. (Itâ€™s my Vegas ADD) I wandered around the casino playing 8-10 different games and bouncing between $100 up and down the whole time. After getting bored with this, I came back over to Pai Gow table and let the guys know I was going to take a walk over to Showcase mall to hit the M&M store. It seemed like a good time to pick up the daughterâ€™s souvenirs, who now when I got to Vegas specifically requests the M&M color she wants for the trip. So I grabbed an Orange M&M for her and red cup and then grabbed two of the caramel candied apples on the walkway at NYNY. One for the wife and one for me. I tend to like to get things I need to do out of the way quickly, so this worked out nicely, as I didnâ€™t have to worry about it the rest of the trip. I headed back to the Excal, where they were still playing and let them know I was heading back to the Bellagio to play some more and that Iâ€™d meet them at Bills at about 4 for the Big Elvis show. I headed back to the Bellagio and decided I really needed to eat, as I hadnâ€™t since lunch the day before and that Iâ€™d be drinking before we ate dinner tonight. So I grabbed a couple McDonaldâ€™s chicken sandwiches, jumped on the CC tram and got back to the Bellagio to eat lunch and put things away. I played at the Bellagio a bit and then headed over to Ballys to see about picking up the Price is Right tickets. It was on Bâ€™s list to do for the last couple trips, so we decided to give it a try. I picked up the tickets on BestofVegas.com for like $40 a piece, which was about $15 less then their actual price. Tix were at the Â½ price booths, but we didnâ€™t want to worry about it or stand in line, so we went ahead and booked them ahead of time. I picked up the tix at Ballys and they advised you had to be back between 5:30 and 7 to get registered for the show. I then headed over to Bills where we planned to watch Big Elvis, we decided to play some Rapid Craps, and it rapidly made money disappear from my wallet. I have to say I was hoping this worked, this is the second time Iâ€™ve played the game. I liked the idea of having my bets in front of me, no chips to worry about, and the ability to place unique bets and pick them up at my whim. However, after two sessions of this, I have to say I donâ€™t like it. Some of the issues. The layout for betting is bad, as it pops open new windows when you are placing bets, laying odds, hardways, etc. Since there is only a small window of time for the bets to be placed, this tends to make you feel rushed and not able to do all you want to. The rails for the dice table are very short too, which lead to dice flying off the table regularly. The seats are configured weird, as the drinks (if you do get them) go below the monitor, itâ€™s just an awkward setup all around. The dealers were pleasant and when we left did ask what we thought about the game. I let him know some of my thoughts. I was actually fairly impresses that the dealers were so engaging, the guys were definitely dice guys too, so seeing them continue good service with a game that Iâ€™m sure they arenâ€™t a fan of was rather refreshing. We tried to sit for Big Elvis, but the seats were full. We had originally planned to grab some chairs at the slot machines or VP, but there werenâ€™t three together there either, so we wandered the casino and played a little before deciding to head over to Ballys for our registration. At Ballyâ€™s you stand in line, they give you your price tag nametag and then you take a picture in front of a green screen. They give you a card that letâ€™s you download the picture online, which has the wheel in the background. I havenâ€™t looked at ours yet. We finished registering and headed over to the Bellagio for the buffet. I wanted to wait until there was a line, because having the line pass seems so worthless unless you can bypass an hour long line. Unfortunately there was no one in line and it didnâ€™t look like anyone was going to be either, so I reluctantly walked up to the counter. I had a comp for 2 buffets with my room offer and we split the third. We loaded up on food, Friday and Saturday used to be advised as their gourmet night, and based on the offering it still seems to be the case. For my preference, I think the Bellagio buffet is the best on the strip, I think Wynn comes in a close second (with my preference more about dishes then quality). The meal was great and I ordered a mojito to go, the nice thing about Bellagio comped buffets is they include one alcoholic drink, a small thing, but still a perk. Some of the things I remember from the buffet. Ostrich, beef Wellington, duck, steak tartare, tuna sashimi, ravioli in cream and truffle oil and a variety of desserts. We then made the slow stuffed walk over to Ballys where we went inside. Tix we were given were front row far right side of the stage, behind the 4 seat tables in the orchestra area. The show was fun, they bring up 4 contestants per bid and closest price w/o going over gets to go up and play a game. They refresh the 4 contestants after every game and in between pass out 1000 ($10) reward credits to audience members. Then they bring up three for the wheel spin and do that, and then they do the showcase showdown (again with new audience choices) where the showcase winner that doesnâ€™t go over wins the cruise, but they have to be within $100 of the showcase price to win the whole showcase (car, cruise, and some other things). The show feels and looks cheap at times, based on the â€˜restrictionsâ€™ on winnings they seem to be putting in place and some of the prizes and due it being a stage show there are moments where you definitely realize you are in a small theater with a stage, rather then the TV production. There are times though that you definitely feel a little bit of the energy you see on TV. If you are looking for a taste of the show, this is a good spot to do so, but remember itâ€™s not budgeted with tv dollars either or promotional sponsors in the same way the TV show is, so set your expectations accordingly. The other thing we seemed to notice, is although the system is â€˜choosing randomlyâ€™ it seemed like there were far more women called up then men. Based on my review of the crowd being a pretty solid split, this seemed a bit off for their randomness, but who knows. Iâ€™m glad we went and it was a good way to spend 90 minutes. Every time I go to a show in Vegas, I usually leave realizing it was a nice way to preserve the bankroll for a couple hours, this was no exception. I need to plan for at least 1 to 2 shows a trip as a diversion going forward I think, plus there are a couple I want to see. After the show, J decided to go back near the Excal to recoup and then decide if he wanted to do anything, he didnâ€™t make it back down to us, as he gambled until about 6am at a variety of games. B and I went back to our hotels and agreed to meet at Rhumbar at the Mirage about 10. We got there and they had the Sailor Jerry girls passing out sample drinks and dog tags that doubled as bottle openers. We wound up getting 2-3 drinks and having some cigars. As Iâ€™ve stated before, Rhumbar has become one of my regular hang outs on the strip, the bartenders are friendly, being at the entrance to the Mirage makes for some interesting people watching, and itâ€™s just a great place to chill out and have a drink. After Rhumbar, we headed over to Kahunaville at TI. I went from having a mild buzz to full on drunk after about three drinks at Kahunaville. I managed to get up for one song to sing with the band. The place was packed and extremely loud, when talking to the sound person, I couldnâ€™t hear a word she said as she passed me the paper to fill out, although Iâ€™m guessing it was that they didnâ€™t have a lot of singers that night. It wound up being myself, one other guy who put on a hell of a performance and a guy that his group turned in his name to sing. The band was fairly upset with this, while itâ€™s deemed band karaoke, itâ€™s anything but, typically they have no issue pulling out the broom and giving you the Apollo sweep if you stink and the guy whose friends put him up there did. I think the broom handler gave him some slack though as he put on a good effort and he was on a trip recovering from an illness. But as the song went on I was sure they were going to sweep him and even the bass player remarked after the song that he was amazed he made it until the end. Iâ€™ve talked about it numerous times before but if you have a chance on a Th, Fri, or Sat night, you should check out the RTMband at Kahunaville. They put on a great show and the crowd is a lot of fun. Think of it as Carnaval Court indoors. B headed back about 1 and I decided to head back about 1:30. At that point, the walk was a bit rough as I was full on drunk. I made it to the Bellagio though with no encounters of strolling working girls or any other issues. I quickly crashed into bed. Oops forgot the best parts of Day 2 As Iâ€™ve been writing this, Iâ€™ve found myself really struggling to remember some of the fun instances that came up on the trip. Also in talking to my brother post trip, this one trip really felt like two trips, due to both of us moving after three days on the trip. So the first couple days of the trip were blurring a bit as of the Monday of the trip. Just to add, Friday afternoon after we got bored at Billâ€™s instead of heading back to Ballyâ€™s we headed to Toby Keithâ€™s bar to drink and play some VP. There was no room at the bar at first, so we grabbed a mason jar each (a bit of tradition for our group trips) and were hanging out on the seats surrounding the bar. As we were hanging out there taking pictures and drinking and soaking up the first full day in town, a woman was behind me, a bit older, extremely tan and attractive that I bumped into when taking the pictures of J and B, and the her running joke at that point was calling out for security, as I bumped into here and then every time she walked by me. We finally found seats at the bar and after about 15 minutes, the woman and her friends managed to find seats next to us. The conversation reminded me of the Vegas board campaign, where Rachel and Monica walked around and met George and Cliff, as the womenâ€™s friend started in on her ostrich farm story rather quickly and without prompting. After she finished the tan woman continued to tell me not to laugh at the bizarre story and we chatted for a bit as a group and continued drinking, they had definitely consumed a fair amount on the day and didnâ€™t look like they were stopping at any point. I wish I could recall some more of the conversation, but I can say with conviction, that it was one of the most entertaining bizarre encounters Iâ€™ve ever had in Vegas. I wish could do expound a bit more, but Iâ€™m afraid I just canâ€™t do it justice. We headed back in and were walking through the IP to get back to Ballys when my brother decided to ask the cigar girl to pose for a picture with him. To say she was well endowed would be an understatement, she agreed to the picture and even let him where her bunny ears, which she advised he had on backwards. After the 1st picture she decided that it needed a little more flair, so she undid the pony tail and shook the hair out and posed with her best sultry look. It was one of those fun vegas moments and very refreshing, a perfect reminder early in the trip, how fun the city can be and the workers can be, before we hit the period where things got taken a bit too seriously. My brother gave her a nice tip for her time, and in fairness I honestly believe she would have posed with him sans tip or reference, it was early afternoon and didnâ€™t take up much of her time. Upon sending the pic to his wife, my sister in law deemed her Boobzilla, which only added to our laughter throughout the trip. Day 3 Saturday Saturday morning and of course, even getting drunk the night before, doesnâ€™t allow me to get more then a few hours of sleep. No matter what I do it seems I canâ€™t get past the 3-4 hour nights of sleep here in Vegas. Believe me I enjoy the extra time, but itâ€™s a killer when I get home and need to get back on my home schedule or for work. I got ready and realized that my cell phone did not charge the night before. (Note to self, make sure cords fully in, even when a bit drunk). Since itâ€™s only about 6 am and Iâ€™m guessing J and B are not up yet, I head downstairs to gamble. I played a variety of slots at the .25 level and $1 level. I decided to play through my free play on a $1 machine. Typically on my freeplay I get about half the dollar amount of my freeplay, playing it down. I play $1 or $2 slots with it, as eventually Iâ€™d like a nice hit for free. As I started to play it looked like I was going to break my streak of always winding up with half the freeplay amount as real dollars, as I burned through $80 quickly and only had about $20 real dollars to show for it, but I quickly hit 2 $10 wins and then a $250 win, to give me a nice turnaround for the freeplay. From there, I bounced between the sportsbook VP machines, the single zero video roulette, other slots including Indiana Jones, Wheel of Fortune, chainsaws and toasters, monopoly, reel em in, and a let it ride video machine. When things are going well for me gambling, I literally bounce like a ping pong ball at the machines, the longest stretches were at Video Roulette and VP at the bar. The biggest reason for playing VP this morning, is I wanted drinks, there were no waitresses in the areas I was playing otherwise. I played for about 2 or 3 more hours and headed up to my room for the phone. After coming back down I decided to take $50 and see if I could double it for some sports bets. So I hit the video roulette game, quickly hit 2 $10 13-25 bets for $40 and then layed $5 each on the 2nd and 3rd section and won them twice, for my $50 win. Our group had agreed to place a bet on the Nascar race, since we were going to watch the Cavs game on Saturday and the race would be on too, so not knowing many drivers, I took Jeff Gordon at 9 to 1 for $20. I also made a couple of basketball bets and if I remember correctly hit them both for a winning sports day, but I canâ€™t remember what the bets were. The only one outside of the Cavs bets that I remember is the Mavs at one point getting 3.5 and losing by 4, my favorite type of loss. J and B arrived and we headed down towards the Mirage. Our goal was to play some ultimate texas holdâ€™em (the video version). But the table was full, we wandered around and split up and played for about an hour waiting for BLT Burger to open up. After about 30 minutes, I couldnâ€™t find anything I wanted to play, so I headed over to the Pai Gow table where I found the guys and bought in. I donâ€™t play a lot of Pai Gow, but given the trip was going well so far, I played for a bit, the guys were crushed by the dealer and were a bit upset they sat down, as the Mirage doesnâ€™t have a fortune bet. I did fairly well at first and then decided to play two hands for a while and made enough to cover my losses at the Mirage and an extra $20 or so to pay for lunch. We had lunch at BLT. Iâ€™ve eaten here once before and thought it fell a bit below Burger Bar, but last trip I sat at the bar and my burger wasnâ€™t cooked properly. This time the kobe offering was cooked correctly and I was hungry enough to thoroughly enjoy it. Itâ€™s still not on par with the Bradley Ogden lounge offering, which I consider the best burger and one of the best values in Vegas, but it was good for lunch. After BLT we hit Rhumbar as brother didnâ€™t make it down the night before. Peanutmnmâ€™s favorite bartender was there, and she was very generous with the pours and samples. I even wound up finding a new favorite spiced rum, Kilo Khai, same proof as the Captain, but with decidedly better spice flavor. We hung out for a bit and were spooked a bit when my brother J, got the call from home about his daughter being sick. I intervened as the older brother after the call and told him to give it a couple of hours to see how it goes before becoming too upset about it. He did and things worked out well, as there was no need for him to rush home. I would like to thank him though as my household managed to catch that same bug upon my arrival home, which made for an interesting start to the weekend, and he avoided it completely. (ah little brothers). We also found out that Pnutâ€™s favorite bartender was leaving at the end of the month and moving to Australia, she had met the guy at Rhumbar back in November and went out there to visit in January and it took, so sheâ€™s moving on. I reference this for all of those single guys thinking they can pick up a bartender, see it can happen, although I got the impression that the Australian boyfriend had a fair share of cash, so that might help your cause if you are looking to repeat the process. The bartender did hand us an invite for a downtown event at that cocktail room, which was being hosted by the Rhumbar head mixologist and in cooperation with Sailor Jerry, it was $20 for 4 cocktails and some tasting, but basically an excuse to hang out on a Monday and also one of the many as our bartender put it, pre-going away parties. Unfortunately we never made it down there, but it was a nice gesture on her part. After Rhumbar, I headed back to the Bellagio and the guys went and gambled. Since the weather was nice, I hit the pool and slept for about 2 hours down at the pool and enjoyed a mai tai. After the crappy Ohio winter, the sun was a welcome relief. I actually got some color too. I completely lost track of time though, as I intended to only be down there an hour or so, but the cheap watch I carry to spa and pool wasnâ€™t updated for Daylight Savings time, so I was all of base with the actual time. It worked out though, as I hit a nice doze period listening to the IPOD where I was perfectly relaxed, but not sound of sleep at the pool. I first stayed at the Bellagio last March for a birthday offer and on my last day in town I took a look at the pool, it was still too cold for the time, but I loved the layout and was really looking forward to getting some pool time, unfortunately I only managed to get out there one day, but it was an extremely relaxing time and with having Bellagio offers in my inbox, really has me considering a summer trip to try and maximize some pool time. I got ready and headed up toward the Excal to meet with J and B. I talked them into trying their first holdâ€™em tourney at the Excal that night (their strip poker tourney). Since the guys arenâ€™t used to playing in Vegas, I thought the hook of the dancer would get them to agree and for the minimum buy in they were sold. We were there early though, so we walked over to Luxor to play some, we played some Star Trek and other floor games and slowly bled money. I decided to check out the VP at the bars again, and was happy to discover they put .25 and .50 vp back in at some of the bars. I had a couple drinks and hit 4 aces with no kicker to recoup my Luxor losses and pay for my tourney entry. I like it when things go like this. I mentioned to the bartender that I was happy to see the bartops back to multiple options for play and he reservedly agreed, perhaps MGM is spying on them for discussions like that. We got into the tournament 3k in chips for $50, the dealers did a great job of laying out the B&M rules of the room and tourney for those that might not have been familiar, the blinds start at 50-100 and were going up in 15 minute chunks, this was definitely taking a shot at getting some money, as if you didnâ€™t have cards you were going home pretty quickly. I won a bit with a pair of pocket 4â€™s that I pushed aggressively, I didnâ€™t have a face card until the table move and was about to be blinded out (literally from playing two hands the entire time) when I had K9 and pushed in late position and wound up getting beat by K10 in early position. I was completely card dead and for this format, it just wasnâ€™t going to work, but it was a nice diversion for 20-30 minutes, and with the $500 additional they throw into the pool, if you can crack the top 3 and chop itâ€™s not a bad payout. There were 3 tables and some rebuys, but the rebuys are almost worth it after the first go round, as it really just gives you two chances to push. I like the low stress and quick timeframe of the tourney and may play some more low buyin bad structure tournaments for a diversion in the future. The guys enjoyed it and B made it to 5th or 7th before busting out. During the break before he busted out, I preached to him to play conservatively as I had been told they were chopping at 3 or 4 for about 350 each over the last couple tourneys. He didnâ€™t make it though. J and I headed to the lounge while B played out his cards, and we played some VP while listening to the band. The band was good, but having our backs to the stage kind of sucked, along with the fact, that a lot of the bar seats are right by the speakers, making it extraordinarily loud. I lasted for a bit, either breaking even or losing a bit and the alcohol was starting to catch up, so I decided to head upstairs for some Quiznos. Quiznos was awesome and I got it at the perfect time. Afterwards, B and I decided to walk back toward center strip and J was going to stay up by Excal in order to hit the tables for an extended run. B and I headed back and walked the CC side, huge mistake, we should have either went through the MC/Aria/Bellagio path or crossed the street. The cluster that is CC on the street level with all of the up/downs/redirections on stairs is ridiculous and makes the layout of the Aladdin that everyone bitched about seem almost perfect in comparison. I mean if they were looking to make things unfriendly for the guest walking up or past, theyâ€™ve certainly done that, definitely gives it an urban feel, but the only â€˜feelingâ€™ CC gave me was the contempt I had for the designerâ€™s idiocy in making such a walkway and for the approvers who didnâ€™t voice any concern or obviously take a look at it in the first place for feasibility. B and I parted ways at the Bellagio and I wandered the casino floor a bit and then headed upstairs to pack for the next days move and call it a night. As of Saturday night, the bankroll was only down about 1 or 2 hundred dollars. I hadnâ€™t gotten as much play in as I wanted to, but planned to correct that Sunday morning, with some focused play at Bellagio. One goal this trip was to play when I was in a better state of mind, i.e not tired or too drunk. If I played while drinking, I really wanted it to be for small stakes and for small sessions, to minimize the feelings of chasing and to avoid those situations where you wake up and realized you just kept pushing money into the machine. For the most part, I played during the mornings and afternoons and then drank for the night, it seemed to work pretty well and gave me something to do in the morning. Day 4 Sunday Moving day, I was up early (about 5 or 6) and fully packed. I decided to head downstairs and play some more at the Bellagio. I spent about 3 hours bouncing around machines on the floor and the VP at the sportsbook. I decided to check out and head to the Flamingo where my next three nights would be about 10. I jumped in the cab line and a very disappointed cabbie sped all the way to the Flamingo managing to hit every green light and got to the Flamingo with a charge of $4.50. I gave him $12 for the short haul and disappointment of seeing luggage and no airport trip and headed inside. In the cab line at the Bellagio I ran into another Clevelander, who noticed my Indians jersey and we talked for a bit. Perhaps that will be a good omen for the Cavalier game today and the bets associated with it. I checked in at Flamingo, room wasnâ€™t ready, but they advised me to come back about 3 or so. I touched base with B and dropped my carryon bag in the room, getting a first rate view of his Trailer Park room. The running joke of the trip was who had the worst room, Bâ€™s room was on the 4th floor, literally at the end of a dead end hallway, the view of the Flamingo or IP Parking garage was up against the window. After walking the hallway, I do believe there was a formula they used for room placement, as we saw security storming one room, a (badly) written do not disturb sign that was hanging on a door, and a variety of trash on the floor. J had a contender with the his Excal room as it was on the 2nd or 3rd floor and it took them three times to get him keys that worked for the room. After putting my bag upstairs I headed to the sportsbook and made a bet on the Cavs to cover (-8). I really wanted to go heavy on this game as I had a good feeling on it, but couldnâ€™t pull the trigger beyond a big sportsbet for me. Itâ€™s a shame too as they covered with no problem. J arrived and we decided to head down to Lagasse stadium at Palazzo to watch the game. Out on the strip, J and B decided on the walking prop bet of the day, the over/under on how many redheads weâ€™d see on the walk, with me acting as judge. J won this one. B was now 0-1-1 as we tied on the walk back from Excal the night before on non-black cocktail dresses. We headed into the Venetian as I knew where the playersclub was and we needed to get cards for J and B. I wandered around a bit after pointing it out for them, but should have headed over as they were giving $25 in free play to existing members who brought newbies in and $25 to the newbie. J wouldnâ€™t have qualified as he had signed up online a couple years ago, but he also didnâ€™t â€˜qualifyâ€™ as an existing member. Typical LVS rules for promotions. We hung out a bit and played the bank of Star Wars slots and wound up getting a drink. After losing the buyin I had here we headed back outside and to Lagasse stadium. (Itâ€™s easier to access from the boulevard, in my opinion). As my brother pointed out in his report, Iâ€™m hesitant to post how perfect the setting was, as Iâ€™d rather it be easier to get a table in the future. But having said that, the former 40/40 club is a pretty cool spot to watch a game. At the hostess desk, I asked about seating options and she checked and the stadium seats were available. Since there wasnâ€™t a ton going on for sports that day there wasnâ€™t any minimum purchase for stadium seats, although I think weâ€™d have managed anyway. So we wound up on the white couches and literally kicked back for the entire game. J and I had been itching to try the handheld in game sports betting machine. So we signed up, I noticed a $20 freeplay coupon by the betting windows and grabbed two and they signed us up and gave us the machines. After not being able to hit anything the first half and being down to $50 from my $120 starting point, I caught fire in the second half and pushed the total to $220. Basketball betting was focused on number of free throws made, adjusted totals and point spread lines for halfs and game. The best bet was a late totals bet we made before the odds skewed negatively, that was like the third totals bet we had. It hit on a last second shot in the game, and the half court three pointer that Lebron threw up earlier didnâ€™t hurt either. We each got a pitcher of the specialty drink and an appetizer to share. The apps kind of sucked, the drinks were decent and we definitely felt it a bit at the end of the game. We headed back towards the Flamingo, I decided to head back to see if I could check in, I despise not having a room available to crash in during moving days. J and B were going to take a slower approach and play some at Casino Royale and work their way back. I was able to get checked in and called for the bag I had checked, to get a bit unpacked. I took a quick nap and got settled, and then headed downstairs a little later. B wound up doing the same and J had continued to play during the time. I got downstairs and J was getting ready to check in. I met with B and got his room key to go retrieve my bag. Upon getting a door away from his room, I realized he had given me his TR card rather then the room key. (Flamingoâ€™s keys this week were gold TR cards). Crap, so I headed back downstairs got the actual key and did the bag drop off. J got checked in and came back downstairs and I lobbied for us to hit Cabo Wabo at PH for some drinks and the band they have there. (and yes, itâ€™s another band you can sing with). We headed down to Cabo Wabo and they pointed us inside toward the bar to sit. The bar inside is fairly tiny and they had only two seats available. J wanted to eat and we had told them at the hostess stand we planned to eat, as that was the only way they were letting people inside to the tables. After sitting at the bar for a minute, J headed back to the hostess stand to reiterate that we wanted a table because we were ordering food. I get that they try and reserve the tables for diners. But given the band was inside and they have no area to view them besides the small bar, it seems kind of counterproductive. The patio was full, at the very least the bar could use a remodel with the band inside closer to the patio rather then way in back where the people in the patio would be lucky to hear them much less see them. The tables throughout the restaurant were mostly empty as well, as noone seemed to be in the mood to eat there, it probably doesnâ€™t help that the band is playing in there, itâ€™s fairly loud and not typically where people are looking to eat. Ok, rant over. We continued drinking with a couple shots and I got up and sang a song, on the break I was talking to the drummer out on the patio, and he said to go ahead and turn in a couple songs, as they werenâ€™t getting a lot of people up there and the first song went well. So I went back in and turned in a few more. I did manage to avoid the shot of cabo wabo after every song, but believe I wound up with 2-3 shots of free cabo wabo, I drank it because it was there, but not being a fan of tequila or this particular brand I didnâ€™t like it My brother ordered a app sampler and some other food. He deemed it Vegas taco bell for the quality and I canâ€™t dispute that, as I didnâ€™t find much appetizing, we probably wound up leaving half of it, and for three bigger guys, thatâ€™s quite a statement. We headed out after a few hours and went back towards the Flamingo. Brother wanted to head back to the room and call it a night and B was interested in playing some more Pai Gow at the Flamingo, I decided to see if Macker had arrived at Ballys. So I headed in and looked for the VP bar, and the Rascal Flatts front man. I meet very few people in Vegas, but a mutual friend had advised us to get together and get a drink and we had a good time playing at the bar. There were a number of jager bombs done in the short time I was there, and I can confirm the Canadian crew can drink and hang with anyone. Gaggles jumped from machine to machine and wound up next to me and I think hit about 4 4oaks in the 30 minutes he was standing at that one. I can confirm as he posted, homeless drunk was a solid description. I wound up getting dealt 4 deuces with a kicker, and recouped my Cabo Wabo expenses and more for the evening. After about 2 hours though, I was feeling a bit tired and didnâ€™t feel like gambling for the night, so I told the guys Iâ€™d see them tomorrow and headed back to the Flamingo. It was great meeting Macker, Gaggles, and their friends (Mike?). The guys cracked me up for the entire evening. I tend to not meet a lot of people in Vegas, as I know my Vegas trips move a bit differently then a lot of board posters, and Iâ€™m horrible at small talk, so itâ€™s usually easier for me to meet smaller groups of people with similar interests. Iâ€™m also pretty selfish with my Vegas time and donâ€™t want to impose on otherâ€™s time either, so itâ€™s another reason I donâ€™t meet a lot. Itâ€™s probably taken 3-4 trips with J and B for me to be comfortable traveling with them to Vegas and oneâ€™s my brother and the otherâ€™s a friend Iâ€™ve known for 10 years, just to give you some background. Itâ€™s always a good thing though to meet someone who handles trips similarly and I look forward to having another trip sometime that aligns with Macker or Gaggles for some time to hang out as we just didnâ€™t get a chance to for very long this trip. Day 5 Monday As I stated earlier by packing so much in and moving hotels, events from the weekend almost seemed like a different trip. Iâ€™m sure part of it had to do with the fact that as of Sunday we were at the same hotel. It was a good feeling though, meaning so far we had gotten the most out of our days in Vegas. Now for some more commentary. Let me preface it by saying, the Flamingo has always been one of my favorite hotels. Itâ€™s the first place I ever stayed in Vegas and Iâ€™ve stayed many times since and enjoyed it. At this point though itâ€™s a dump. Itâ€™s dirty and the lack of upkeep on the place is definitely showing. I donâ€™t know whether itâ€™s the elevators that bordered on disgusting with tarnished panels and garbage in them. The rooms which never quite seemed fully cleaned, or the bars which looked worn and had cardboard cutouts covering up grime and damage from the appearance. But the fact is for someone who isnâ€™t overly sensitive to some wear and tear, the Flamingo registered as bad to me. It didnâ€™t help that my shower couldnâ€™t be relied on for hot water, and lights were out in the room. Small maintenance things, but after coming over from the Bellagio, they really stood out. Typically if I book a trip like this with a nicer hotel, I try and save it to the end, it wasnâ€™t possible this time, as Bellagio was available on the weekend when I arrived and I only had Flamingo for the weekdays. I didnâ€™t realize though Iâ€™d miss the Bellagio so much. A couple other gripes about the Flamingo. I did receive drink tickets at the sportsbook from a rather surly clerk, who called me back after I gave her a tip, the clerks at the sportsbook were rough across the board, every time I hit the counter I was a bit amazed at the attitude and service I typically saw. I couldnâ€™t get anyone to scan my cards with my bets, which isnâ€™t a huge deal, but if Macker posts his story, itâ€™s a decent reason why they should. The drink tix at the Flamingo are strictly for well, which isnâ€™t a big deal to me, I understand they arenâ€™t going to pull top shelf for it, but itâ€™s a little disturbing when you canâ€™t get something like baileyâ€™s and coffee with it, which wouldnâ€™t be a big deal if Flamingo staffed waitresses in the morning, actually that seems to be an overall HET philosophy as I had the problem at Caesars in March. Ok, back to the trip. Monday started out slow we all rolled downstairs at different times, I hung out and played some dollar slots and the new Top Dollar game at the Flamingo, with no real wins to speak of. When the group got downstairs we decided to head to breakfast at Hash House A Go Go. We headed over to the IP and were seated after a short wait, although there was no line. The cosmetic upgrades to the room are nice, I like how theyâ€™ve added some life to the former Teahouse. We each had been looking forward to eating here and I have to say it wasnâ€™t bad. I wound up getting the andouille sausage hash, and it was pretty good. Nothing earth shattering but something different for breakfast which is what I really wanted. I wound up getting a cranberry/champagne mimosa as well. The price on their morning cocktails is about $6, which is fairly reasonable for the strip and I figured I needed my fruit juice. Service was pretty solid and price wasnâ€™t bad for a strip breakfast. About $25 or $30 with tip (considering I had a drink too). Iâ€™d put it a solid second place behind Bouchon as my favorite breakfast spot in Vegas, although vastly different cuisines. After that we headed back to the Flamingo and gambled a bit, I decided to head upstairs to chill out for a bit, but once I got up there I realized I was too wired to rest, so I decided to head down to the pool for a couple hours. Iâ€™m glad I went on Monday as Tuesday the wind picked up and it was overcast all day. I found a lounge chair after some searching and ordered a drink. Drink was $4 more then the equivalent at Bellagio, the small things like this are continuing to annoy me about the property. In addition to this, the lounge chairs were stacked on top of each other in order to fit as many people as humanly possible in the pool area. I almost headed into the Go Pool and paid the $10 to get in, not so much to see the likely non-existent topless sunbathers but to have an area without kids and a little more neatly managed, as I found on the last visit there. I didnâ€™t and just decided to relax in my lounger, which barely fit outside of the walkway, I know this because it was knocked up against on multiple occasions by those walking by. I enjoyed the heat and then decided to cool off by getting in the pool for a couple minutes. The pool was absolutely freezing, I know itâ€™s early in the year and that pool water can take a while to warm up, but this was worse then my pool at home in the Midwest. Not really Flamingoâ€™s fault here, just an associated annoyance. Anyway, I finished up at the pool, headed up stairs to clean up and then went downstairs, where I hit a nice $400 win on one of the Flamingo slots. With that win, I kept walking the property looking to take a shot at something, but could find nothing I wanted to play. So I got a quick chair massage from the area by the checkin desk for $20. I tipped the girl $10 and she looked like it was the best news of the day for her. After this I headed over to the Garden Bar for Mackerâ€™s meet, I found him playing VP and grabbed a seat. We played for awhile and some others started to show up. I met about 2-3 people and then J and B came down and we grabbed a table and just relaxed for a bit, I saw some others made it to the meet late, but I didnâ€™t get a chance to say hello. For those I did meet, it was nice meeting you for the others, I hope to meet you sometime in the future. After the meet, I walked over to the Megabucks machine, earlier in the day I put $100 in and didnâ€™t hit more then one $3 win. So I decided to try again and I hit for about $250. This put me back to just about even for the trip. After Mackerâ€™s meet, B decided to hang out and play some Pai Gow since it was his last night. J played rapid roulette for a bit, where I quickly dropped $50, we then decided to do some walking, so J walked with me and we went to the IP to see if we could find anything to play. We settled on trying the Goldfish game and J hit about 20 bonuses in his first 30 spins, it was absolutely unbelievable. No huge hits, but at one point he probably was up $50 on the $20 buyin, I told him he needed to book a win to change his luck for the trip and he cashed out with a $30 profit I believe. He decided he wanted to head back to the Flamingo for some $1 VP and I decided I needed to eat something again. So we departed. I headed off towards the Venetian, intent on going to Sushisamba for their happy hour. I didnâ€™t make it though as I remembered Lagasse Stadium had an Ahi Tuna melt I wanted to try. So I stopped there. The Tuna melt was pretty good, rare tuna as an open faced sandwich. I donâ€™t think Iâ€™d be back for it, but it was a pretty solid dinner. From there, I played inside the Palazzo some, dropping $100 rather quickly into a Deal or No Deal $3 max bet game with no bonus or any wins to mention. I got a text from J his luck may have changed a bit, so I headed back toward the Flamingo, unfortunately I was too late as his luck had turned again, so he was settling into play pai gow for awhile with B. I decided to walk over to the Bellagio to play some video roulette and get some Mojitos. Typically I can grind away on video roulette for a while playing outside on the single zero machine and $10 bet. I got squashed, 14 bets in a row I lost and not even long enough for my mojito to come back to me. So I hung around and waited for my $140 drink. At this point I realized that the gambling this evening just wasnâ€™t going my way, so I needed to put the breaks on, so I took a walk and headed to rhumbar. Not much to talk about at Rhumbar, I drank, hung out and stopped the bleeding for the night, afterwards I went to the IP to say hi to the bartenders in the karaoke area and hung out for a bit, but it was fairly dead in there and the crowd didnâ€™t last. I did get a text from Macker that they were going to try and go to Encore after Voodoo to XS. I headed back to the Flamingo, grabbed a coat, and then made the walk over to Encore. Mack had said to wait until he sent a text that they were definitely going, but I figured it would be something to do anyway. Walking the strip at 2am is like playing Frogger anymore, except you are avoiding the pimps and hookers it seems. The walk over wasnâ€™t real bad though, matter of fact there werenâ€™t any real encounters until I made it inside of Wynn, where a number were hanging out by the slot machines near the walkway trying to flag people over. As I got near the entrance to XS, Mack texted that they werenâ€™t going to make it there and were going back to Ballyâ€™s so I walked Encore a bit more and then headed back. I debated just going to my room, but since it was likely the last night Iâ€™d get to see the Canadian crew I headed off to Ballys. From there Mack and his friend (Mike I think?) wanted to walk over to Bellagio, which I figured I could do before calling it a night. We wound up behind some Australian girls that claimed to be from Sweden, that Mack and his friend did there best to try and get them to join the group but it didnâ€™t work out that way. We made it into Bellagio and Mike announced to the casino essentially that he was there and ready for some lovin. Iâ€™m pretty sure I saw Bellagio security call upstairs as an fyi for the security team, but M pulled himself away to chat up a girl and Macker found a bank of VP that he hit his original royal on. At this point I believe it was about 3 and I was dragging, so I said goodbye and headed back to the Flamingo. I was hungry again (amazing last two days I was almost forcing myself to eat) now once I had dinner Iâ€™m hungry again). I thought about going to the burger joint at the Flamingo for their $3 special, but I just didnâ€™t want to sit at a table and wait for food. So I headed up and checked out the room service menu. I decided on a pizza and called down to place the order. The receptionaist asked for how many and I swear she said â€˜awwâ€™ when I said just one. Pretty funny if it was in fact what I heard. Although without the wife there, thatâ€™s how all the meals are in the room. Pizza arrived about 30 minutes later and was good, although at that point in the morning how could it not be. After thinking I had an appetite to put a serious hurting on the pizza, I wound up having about 3 slices before sleeping. Day 6 Tuesday: I headed downstairs fairly early as usual, even when I want to sleep it seems I have no luck doing so in Vegas. I decided to play at the Flamingo, Monopoly, Top Dollar, DDBVP, and assorted other things and couldnâ€™t hit anything. I quickly was down $300 for the morning. Which meant after being even for the trip on budget as of late yesterday afternoon, I had hit a pretty bad losing streak, with little to no play on that losing streak. Luckily I wasnâ€™t pressing though, it was just a real bad run. So J came downstairs and we hit the IP for a bit for some gambling and then off to Mirage where we played some Ultimate Texas Holdem. At one point both us had come close to doubling our buyins on UTH, but we continued to play against better judgement, almost got down to the felt, and then managed to recover our buyins. It was a nice time though, got a ton of play in and managed to stop our losing streaks. Towards the afternoon we came back to the Flamingo, we played some VP at the Garden Bar, and then decided to split up for a bit. I headed upstairs to start packing and I grabbed a couple slices of pizza at the stand by the elevator. (The negative of not having a fridge and microwave to keep the leftovers from the night before). I watched a bit of the Cavs game in the room and then headed down towards the Venetian, I was going to get a drink at Smokin Hot Aces for their happy hour and hang out for a bit, but upon entering, it seems the place was on itâ€™s last legs. Bartender advised they didnâ€™t have much to serve as they were re-branding again with a new concept. Hereâ€™s a suggestion for them, maybe if you actually did some remodeling on the floor and stage area, rather then bland concrete floors and remnants of the nightclub that used to be in the space, and instead of trying to make it another bottle service lounge, spread out some areas to sit and really make it a lounge/bar for live music. I doubt something like that will happen though, theyâ€™ll say the concept of a rock bar failed, but really it never was given the opportunity to succeed. Walking back to the Flamingo, I popped into Casino Royale and decided to play the WOF machine I saw there, I put $20 in and played on it for about an hour and a half. Never getting up to $40 where I would have cashed, and never getting below $15. I could have used a session like this at MGM or HET, for some points accrual. I finally cashed out at $20 and headed back to the Flamingo to cash in my Cavs ticket. I did fairly well on sportsbets this trip. I hit my big bets and missed on the little ones, which if you are going to lose, itâ€™s the way to do it. J and I met up and we played some VP at Flamingo and then said goodbye, he was off to play PaiGow on his last night and I had no idea what I was going to do. I wound up buying in at a baccarat table at the Flamingo. I was flat betting to get a feel for the table, and was up 5 or 6 bets fairly quickly. The tables had looked extremely choppy all week, which is one reason I never sat down, after a brief streak, this table started turning choppy too and over the course of the next 90 minutes, I didnâ€™t get higher then the 5 or 6 units up I was and finally cashed out 7 units down from my buyin. I headed to the checkout desk and got my comp dollars applied to my bill and then headed up for some sleep. It was about mignight, and I slept until 6. Got up and headed to the airport, for an uneventful flight home. I came home with just over half my bankroll and I paid cash for everything during the trip. I kept meticulous track of my spending outside of gambling, and Iâ€™m happy to say I spent a ton and am very happy to come home with budget. Since I really didnâ€™t lose untilt he last day or so, it was a great run and felt good to be â€˜about evenâ€™ all trip. I never hit a win bigger then $400, but had a couple $200 wins during the week that helped a bunch. It was great spending time with J and B and overall a great trip. Coming home with so much budget had me itching to utilize some of the summer comps I had, so it appears Iâ€™ll be heading back in July, while not quite a free trip, itâ€™s much better then the alternative (no trip) and considering Iâ€™ve came home with cash in March and April, this is pretty close to a free trip, considering the budget usually only extends across two trips. Thanks for reading, and feel free to ask any questions. Apologies in advance for the grammatical and spelling errors. My goal is to type it up and get it into the system, not to proofread.