Maybe my best trip to Vegas ever. I'm almost 40, married, kids, I love to play, but am an avowed low roller. The trip was an unexpected boondoggle. My firm needed coverage at a conference! All expenses paid at the Bellagio. How could I pass it up? Well first I had to get a hall pass from my wife. I invited her first, but she could not get away. Bummer. I am now convinced that alone may be the best way to do Vegas. You don't have to keep track of your drunk buddies, you don't have to play tour guide for Vegas virgins and you don't have be considerate of anyone's schedule or preferences but your own. The first night I landed about Six. No flight problems (SWA) and relatively short cab lines. The weather was kind of "iffy" but only rained hard on Sunday. After checking in, I stopped in at the Sport Book. It lives up to the descriptions. Leather seats, cocktail service and great televisions. Too late to bet the college games and I didn't have a good feel for any of the pro games. (I would have bet on the Eagles to beat the Steelers) Needing a drink, I played quarter VP at the Fontana bar. Excellent ambience and free quality margaritas! Dropped $40 on 8/5 JOB with a progressive Royal. From there I headed to TI to see the Sirens show. I know people here are bashing it in comparison to the original, but I never saw the original and thought that it was pretty good free entertainment. Ate at the TI coffee shop, very serviceable prime rib. From there I headed to my real destination, Slots A Fun! I could sit at the $1 blackjack table all day and night! The benefits are: you bankroll yourself appropriately, i.e. 25-30 units, you play correctly, i.e. hitting your sixteens against the dealers sevens, and if you have a progressive betting strategy, you will play it. Anyway I played from 10 to 2:30 in the morning and walked away up $90. Cabbed it back to the Bellagio and slept pretty well on a very comfortable bed. (Although I would say that the beds at the Paris are the most comfortable hotel beds on which I have ever slept.) Got up at about 8 and headed to the Paris buffet which was superb as always. I recommend the apple cinammon crepes with raspberry sauce. The eggs benedict may have the best I've had, sauce had a hint of heat to it. Stuffed, I headed to the Bellagio poker room. I had never played in Vegas before, but figured now was the time. Got in on a $1-5 seven card stud game. Tourist game with one local pinkie ringer that got run out by one of the tourists on back to back straights when pinkie ring thought face card trips would be enough. I played poorly and without etiquette at the beginning. The first time I folded, I tossed my cards onto the table face up. But ther was another tourist that kept talking and pissing off a husband and wife team that played pretty well. I ended up winning four or five pots and even played a couple of hands well. Probably didn't get out of some of the hands early enough, but walked away down twenty after a couple of hours. I'm not hooked, but it was fun. One of the employees was offering buffet line passes to even us low rollers, so it does seem that the casinos treat the poker players pretty well. One bad thing about the game is that it's difficult to play with a buzz, at least for novices. After only three or four beers I noticed that I wasn't always picking out the far away players' hands as well or as quickly as I was before. So I left for more VP and alcohol. There is also one $5 blackjack table at the Bellagio. It pays right on blackjacks, dealer hits soft 17s, but it uses a continuous shuffle machine. Not a big deal if you are going to play Basic Strategy as opposed to trying to count. Another drawback is that the non-gambling spouse is the one playing at this table. Thet are hitting their fourteens when the dealer is showing a six, they are very chatty and/or sometimes don't speak English (not a problem for me if they can add to 21). Hey, who am I to complain, it's not really affecting me because of the continuous shuffle. If I don't like it I should play at a higher limit table. Well eventually I didn't like it and left up $16. Actually took a nap! Woke up refreshed and headed to Mandalay Bay for dinner at Fleur De Lys and Mamma Mia. Great dinner. Prix Fixe style although you can mix and match to your heart's content. Short ribs, foie gras and a chocolate souffle were the highlights. They have a full service waitstaff. But you will have a difficult time getting out of there for less than $125 with wine. Mammia Mia was very enjoyable. I didn't know what to expect. As one nears 40 one begins to notice that youth can be cute/attractive for its own sake. That was my impression of the younger members of the cast, just very youthfully appealing. After the show I realized that I had been in Vegas for almost two days and I hadn't rolled the dice! Headed to Barbary Coast after midnight. Casino was ok busy, but the dice tables were dead. Should have taken it as a sign. I got on a table where the shooters set the point and two come numbers followed by a seven three times in a row. I was the last shooter and at least rolled an eleven. Dropped $150 in twenty minutes, no cocktail. Couldn't go to bed on that note, so I hit the VP bar at Fontana's again. Won $5, declared victory and went to bed. This was the day that I actually had to attend seminars until 4. One of the people at the conference had never played a table game before and wanted me to teach her. Teaching someone on the afore described $5 Bellagio table is a chore. It drove me to drink, a very nice Chardonnay, several glasses ... Anyway, it wasn't too bad, we played an hour and a half on sixty dollars. The night at Slots A Fun was one of those nights where every double down or split opportunity worked out. The defining hand was a pair of eights against the dealers 5 or 6. I was at the high end of my progression. Split them. Get a 2 on my first eight, double, ten. Get another eight on my other one, draw a face card and an ace! Won every hand. At the Bellagio by contrast, it seemed that those opportunities went the other way, I just couldn't get ahead. Anyways it was fun. Had a conference related cocktail reception and dinner before heading to the tables again. Again, nothing great, play for two margaritas, lose $45. Hit the Fontana bar for more VP and cocktails. My friend from the tables comes over to tell me that she won $240 on a dollar slot! Drank several glasses of a very nice Port and headed to bed slightly overserved. Oh yeah, got propositioned. She seemed nice, not too outrageous and accepted a polite, if somewhat surprised/confused, "no thank you." Last day. Have a seminar to attend. Quality program, but itching to get back to Slots A Fun. Get there, but table is full. Hang out drinking Heinekens until a spot opens up. Get in, play for five or six beers, leave up $5 and then head to the Barbary Coast to watch Big Elvis. He doesn't come on until 3:30, so played some nickle triple play VP. Half way through a twenty, I hit a Royal (hearts)! Got dealt three legs and drew the others! The older couple next to me was very happy for me and I cashed out. Watched the first half of the show, bought a CD and went souvenir shopping at Caesar's. Had a fantastic bone in rib eye at Olives in the Bellagio. Flight home no problem! A great trip!