It has been a week since we returned from our last Vegas escape. I got a great deal through Southwest Vacations, accomodations for 4 nights at The El Cortez for 2, 2 roundtrip nonstop flights from Cleveland, Ohio for $576. For $288 a person I got flight and hotel, where the flight alone with Southwest was over $300. I usually do not "bundle" as I generally find it cheaper to book separate, but this was the exception. The El Cortez worked out fine. The room was clean and everyone there was friendly. I requested a King room but upon check in all they had were 2 Queens. They gave me a room with a handicap bathroom which was quite large. Either I looked like a gimp or they had nothing else left. I have heard that the bathrooms at The Elco are small so this might have been an advantage. The hand rails around the toilet could come in handy for anyone out there who might have a derailment from the grain train. I used Payless Car Rental and had no problems. Their rate for 4 days was far better than any one elses at the time. I got a compact Nissan Versa for $95 out the door. The gas gauge stayed on full for so long that I thought it was broken. It was half full when I filled it up before checking it back in. I did alot of driving from downtown, strip, nearby off strip casinos, Summerlin, and Henderson. We came home down about $300 total for the 2 of us. My wife and I mainly play Video Poker. No royals this trip but got 4 Aces 4 times. Only 2 4OAKS for 2,3,4's which surprised me. We did some Blackjack, Craps, and Paigow. As a diversion we play some slots and video keno. I managed to hit 5 out of 5 twice on Video Keno. I played some matchplays and won two more than I lost. However, one MP was at the Golden Gate for Blackjack. I won the matchplay and continued to almost double my meager buy in when things got ugly. If only I had a crystal ball to tell me when the streak is going to end. usually I have enough discipline to walk away when I'm up. Sometimes the double down or split aces or eights come up and make or break the session. By the time I walk the damage is already done. I had no problem with Matchplays except at The Hardrock. I plopped the MP along with a ten spot on red at the roulette wheel along with my player's card. The dealer (croupier) or whatever you call the casino employee who spins the wheel told me I had to get the matchplay validated at the Player's Club. The lady stamped it for me and initialed it. I go back to the same roulette wheel and the dealer looks at the MP using his glasses like a microscope for a good 30 seconds. He OK's it and gives me 2 red chips for the ten spot and I bet it on red. The wheel spins round and round and hooray lands on red. After having to jump through hoops, I'm so glad I won that bet. I gave him a buck and went straight to the cage. The Hardrock doesn't offer the Win Cards anymore either. I do like the new casino addition. The South Point also has a huge casino addition. If somebody blindfolded you and took you into the Tropicana and took the blindfold off, you wouldn't know where you were. There is alot to be done yet, but I like it. We used the MRB (members reward book from LVA) at The Sahara. You give the casier $40 and get $50 in non negotiable chips. We played $5 blackjack and couldn't come out ahead. From there we went in the back to the $1 tables. Usually these tables are packed, but we had no problem getting a seat. Of course we got ahead playing dollars, but not when we were playing at the $5 table. I feel sorry for the dealers at the dollar tables. My wife and I were the only ones tipping. We still found all the dealers to be quite pleasant. I hate the casinos that have to pump fragrance into the air. I would rather smell smoke or just plain old clean air. If it's just a slight hint of fragrance, I can deal with it. The Tropicana had a slight coconut aroma which was fine. The strong perfume smells are killers. I also hate The City Center. It swallows up everything around it. It's like a huge monster that towers well above everything else. It ruins the flow of the strip for me. PLACES WE ATE. The Orleans Buffet. This is still one of my favorite buffets. We had the dinner buffet. I like the selections better when it is not seafood night or steak night or some kind of specialty night. We went on a regular night and found it to be as good as it used to be. Used the 2 for 1 in MRB. Main Street Station. We had the breakfast buffet here and it is always good. I have had dinner here before on a seafood night and wasn't all that impressed. I have never been disappointed for breakfast. Used the FSE 2 for 1 coupon. The Rio. We did the lunch buffet at 3:15 which turns into a dinner buffet at 3:30. We have to get the evil empire some way. It was quite crowded, probably because of the 24 hour buffet pass. Always a ton of food to choose from. Used the ACG 2 for 1. The Golden Nugget. This was our first time at this buffet. We did breakfast. I like the atmosphere in the room and we had a table right by the window overlooking the pool. The pancakes and french toast were fresh and not dried out. The omelet line was very short. Must have got lucky. I will go back. Used the MRB 2 for 1. M Casino. I have been to The M before but never ate at the buffet. We went to the dinner buffet. They have some selections that you don't see at most buffets. Stuffed pork roll and grape leaves and baby clams come to mind. Decent buffet but the room seemed a little crowded. I felt like our table was too close to the parties around us. Nice open airy room otherwise. The M Casino has one of those aromas piped in that gets sickening after awhile. Used the MRB 2 for 1. Green Valley Ranch. I've been away from this buffet for awhile. I think I over did it and needed some time away. I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder. It was very good. It seemed to have slipped but seems to be back on track. They had a sh#@ load of crab legs cold and hot. You got a pail if you wanted at your table to throw the eaten legs into. Used the MRB 2 for 1. They also had a 5 cent DDB VP Progressive bank of machines in the casino which I hadn't seen before. This was not a ten or twenty nickle play. It was an honest play 5 credits max or 25c. The progressive was up over $700. Now remember a nickle VP returns $200 for a royal. I couldn't believe my eyes that the bank wasn't packed with locals. My wife and I sat down with no problem and banged away but couldn't get the royal. We did manage to get numerous 4 OAKS between us and walked out ahead. Our last meal was breakfast at Burger King at the airport. I probably paid more for that meal than for the buffets. The MRB and ACG easily pay for themselves. Our flight home took off heading west. Sitting on the right side of the plane is ideal for this. We get to see the strip from Mandalay Bay to The Strat. Then as we circle around to head back east, we see the strip from the Strat to Mandalay Bay. It's kind of like a last salute before we head home. Some pics of room 1210 at The El Cortez.