The trip took place from Friday 12/15 - Thursday 12/21. My 21 y.o. son and I visiting Vegas and meeting up with my 23 y.o. son who now lives out there. Due to the length of time of the trip I donâ€™t remember a lot of the specifics of individual wins and losses (or where they occurred) but overall the wins were far and few between. A couple of decent hits but mostly we started down and never remotely came even. Left MKE at 7:00 a.m. and arrived on time as LAS shortly before 9:00 a.m. My bag was one of the first ones off the baggage claim carousel and promptly headed for shuttle to rental car which had just arrived. Had reservations as a Blue Chip member of Thrifty and picked out a nice Dodge Magnum wagon with about 5k miles on it. Always wanted to drive one and for a station wagon it isnâ€™t bad. Pretty good pick-up but the small windows made it difficult to see out the blind spots. Still, $196 for the week including taxes and fees wasnâ€™t bad. We were too early to expect our rooms at the Luxor would be ready so we headed over to South Point as I had never been there before. Signed up for the slot club and we started with the typical penny slots (for me) and then headed for the $5 blackjack tables. My son was doing okay but I wasnâ€™t doing much of anything on the tables except watching my bankroll erode. He wanted to continue to play so I found a .25 video poker and started playing there...max bet, of course. I was surprised how quickly the first $20 got burned up but figured Iâ€™d throw another $20 into it. On the first bet I suddenly realized why the first $20 had gone so quickly...it was a .50 machine. Oops. Decided to go ahead and finish the second $20 and ended up hit 4 OAK and some other hits along the way to cash out $220. This was the only moment of the trip I can honestly say I was up. We did find one of the giant penny Wheel of Fortune machines and having read about the success of others on the machine figured Iâ€™d take a shot. Threw in a hundy and played max bets. We got to spin the wheel a couple of times but never hit for anything big. Quit down about $50 figuring it wasnâ€™t going to be hitting another spin for a while. Grabbed a bite to eat at the buffet which was very good although nothing spectacular. I liked the South Point although it was quite a bit further south on LV Blvd than I had imagined. Drink service was very good and the personnel were friendly. Nothing spectacular about the facility but Iâ€™d definitely gamble there again but doubt that I would stay there simply because of the location. It wasnâ€™t desolate nor was it crowded. I attributed the few people playing to the fact that it was the week before Christmas as much as anything. After a couple of hours we headed over to Luxor to see if the room was ready. I had requested a smoking room with 2 queen beds high in the pyramid. It was around 2:00 p.m. and the reservation clerk said it was ready. However, it was only on the 7th floor. I asked if there was anything higher and she said no but for $10 more per night I could get a higher room in the towers. Son wanted to stay in the pyramid so I asked if there would be any smoking, 2 queens higher in the pyramid available in a bit. Was told â€œNo, if you want higher youâ€™ll have to pay the extra for the towerâ€. I donâ€™t know that I would call the attitude and response as being exactly â€œcurtâ€ but I thought a â€œNo, Iâ€™m sorry thatâ€™s all we have for smoking in the pyramidâ€ would have been a more polite response. On the bright side of things, she was the only semi-rude person I encountered at the Luxor the entire trip and I found the rest of the personnel exceptionally nice. Our room was on the 7th floor facing the strip which was nice. In fact, we were right behind the sphinxâ€™s ass which in retrospect to the gambling success we ended up having should have been construed as an omen. Since we had spent much of the last night talking and only managed a couple of hours sleep before heading to the airport at 4:30 a.m. we decided to take a nap. I was up before son and headed downstairs and played some slots before getting a call from him. We joined up again and spent a couple of hours playing some slots before I called it a night and he went to play some poker. He got in the room around 2:00 a.m. and hadnâ€™t done any better in poker with his small buy-ins as he just kept getting pushed around by those with deeper wallets. Saturday morning we headed out for breakfast at the Black Bear Diner on West Tropicana before meeting up with older son later. Good breakfast and reasonably priced. Headed over to sonâ€™s apartment and spent a couple of hours just visiting and watching some football on t.v. Decided to head over to Sunset Station as it wasnâ€™t too far from sonâ€™s apartment. It was probably around 4:00 p.m. when we got to Sunset and we spent a couple of hour playing some blackjack and slots but again, nothing positive was happening. Decided to head into one of the bars there and have a couple of beers and watch some football while reviewing the parlay cards that older son had convinced us were worth playing. It was a great time as we hadnâ€™t spent that much time together in a long time. At one point, both sons had gone to play blackjack and I was sitting in the bar drinking a beer but could see them from my vantage point. All I could think of how wonderful it was for the three of us to be together in Vegas, having a couple of drinks, gambling and sharing some laughs and time together. At around 8:00 p.m. I looked over and saw Mikey dealing. Iâ€™ve never met him before but have been a long time reader of his blog going back to his original trip reports with him, Derek and Eddie B on the old website. I remember one of the reports where he talked about the guy at the old Horseshoe shooting craps with his crack showing. He even had a picture of Derek or Eddie bent over with a beer in their hand smiling next to the guyâ€™s crack. Since this was something I could see me doing with some of my friends I was hooked on his reports ever since. I hadnâ€™t planned on going to Sunset Station that day but kicked myself for not having more than a single cigar to give him as I had several in the room which I would have gladly shared with him. His table was pretty full and he was dealing some game I didnâ€™t understand anyway so I waited for him to go on break like a groupie waiting for a rockstar. I saw him get up and start heading out of the pit and ran over there, introduced myself, told him I was a long time reader and â€œfanâ€ and thrust the cigar in his hand and apologized for not having more to share with him. He was very gracious and invited me to join him at his table after break which was another game I didnâ€™t understand (Crazy 4's or something like that). But regrettably, we were getting ready to leave in a few minutes and given that I hadnâ€™t been doing very well so far I didnâ€™t really want to play something I didnâ€™t understand. In retrospect, I probably should have played anyway because knowing something about what I was playing sure didnâ€™t make a difference this trip. I supposed I should interject that Iâ€™m nearly 50 years old so gushing over meeting someone does not happen often. Nonetheless, meeting Mikey was like meeting a celebrity and old friend all at once and was definitely a bright spot in the trip. I hope to join up at one of the future events of the board to get to know him as well as the rest of everyone better. We took my older son home, bid him adieu and agreed to meet up with him later on in the week. On Sunday, my younger son and I headed over the LV Hilton to watch the football games in the sportsbook. We had each played a couple of parlay cards and had a great time watching and cheering for our teams on multiple screens. Being from Illinois weâ€™re Bears fans and that was their featured game so we got to hear the broadcast of the game while watching it too. There was a group of 4 people sitting behind us and during the course of the game I had a couple of cigarettes. I think I had 3 cigarettes the entire time so it wasnâ€™t like I was chain smoking or anything. I consider myself a courteous smoker but couldnâ€™t help the fact that some of the smoke was drifting back to them. The young female in the group was none too subtle bitching about the smoke. Hey sister, I got news for you. Youâ€™re in a casino and people smoke. Get over it or find somewhere else to watch the game. After the game we went and played some blackjack (ended up losing) and then decided to head out to Red Rock Station as we had really enjoyed ourselves there in July. We found a single deck table with an absolutely hilarious dealer who would periodically, when he had more than 3 cards, begin counting on his fingers like a little kid. When heâ€™d bust, heâ€™d periodically call out â€œ21" as if his 2 face cards and the 5 were only 21. There was a television behind our table that the dealer could see and he would occasionally stop dealing to watch a play since he had some money on the game. We held our own on the table but eventually I started losing and decided to play some penny slots but without success. I really like this casino, find the personnel extremely friendly and good efficient cocktail service. Monday we met up for breakfast at the Luxor buffet with a friend of mine who was also visiting Vegas with his wife and 21 y.o. daughter. After breakfast I offered to drive them out to Red Rock Station as they had never been there and they wanted to see it. We spent the next several hours playing slots and blackjack with them and had a great time. Because my run on cards at blackjack had not changed he commented that he had never seen someone get so many 13 and 14's. It then became the norm that when someone from our group got a 13 or 14 it was announced they got â€œKrausedâ€. (My last name is Krause). So I suppose that all the losing has now at least graced me with a Vegas term. We dropped them off back at their hotel as they were going to a show that evening and then headed out to Samâ€™s Town. My older son and his roommate joined up with us at Samâ€™s Town and we watched the Monday Night Football game there along with about 500 other people. They had a promotion going on with the local country western music station and you got free admission, a free beer and hot dog, along with a free t-shirt and hat. They also had drawings for other prizes throughout the game and they actually gave away a new truck at the end of the game. We didnâ€™t win the truck but younger son won a slicing knife in one of the other drawing which he ended up sending home with his brother. It was a very enjoyable time and great atmosphere. Tuesday we slept in a bit and headed down for lunch at the Pyramid CafÃ© at Luxor. Chris Angel was supposed to perform a stunt that day at 2:00 p.m. so we gambled for a while and then headed out to the parking garage to watch. Turned out it wasnâ€™t the main parking but the employee lot across the street on Las Vegas Blvd. We hoofed it over there but there was no hurry as by the time everything was ready the stunt was performed closer to 4:00 p.m. The stunt has him chained to van and escaping while another car is driving at him. Amazing Jonathan was there and had supposedly been talking smack about Chris Angel so he ends up pouring gas on the van and then lighting it on fire while Chris attempts to escape. The stunt was done without incident and then everybody was invited back to Chrisâ€™ new shop at the Luxor for autographs. We passed and the general sentiment (ours included) of the crowd after the stunt was â€œpretty lameâ€. Itâ€™ll be interesting to see how they edit it and if itâ€™s any better when it comes to the TV but Iâ€™ll probably just TIVO it and watch it when I have nothing better to do. My younger son was going to spend the evening with his brother and I was going to go with my friend and his family from back home to see Forever Plaid at the Gold Coast. After my older son got off of work we opened presents in the room and they headed off and I onto the Gold Coast. It was the holiday show (Plaid Tidings) and although I had seen it before, I enjoyed the show. After the show I hung out and my friend showed my how to play craps. (Which ended up in another loss). We played some blackjack as well and then I dropped them off at their hotel. It was around 11:00 p.m. so I called my son and since his brother had to work the next day, asked him if he wanted me to come and get him so as to save the bother of him being dropped off early in the morning. He agreed and I picked him up around 11:30. (Incidentally, after I left he and his brother had a little run at blackjack and turned about $20 each into $200 each which made him very happy to go out gambling some more). We headed over to Hooters for no particular reason other than my son wanted to see it. We ended up playing blackjack and I ended up getting killed with 19's and 20's losing to 20's and 21's. Son was doing okay but I was steaming and started playing penny slots and quickly progressed to max bets which was stupid as all I did was lose at a much quicker pace. After losing about $140 on a penny slot I realized that this was just no going to be a successful trip and all I was doing was penalizing myself. So I calmed down and started playing a normal pace (1 or 2 coins per line). Just for grins, I ran $100 through the Penny Megabucks slot at $3.00 per pull for 33 pulls. Ended up cashing out $74.00 for a $26.00 loss but at least I could dream that night what could have been if I had won the $18 million. It was around 3:00 a.m. and we ended up going back to the Luxor and sat down a pai gow poker table where we proceeded to play until around 5:30 a.m. and were so slaphappy from lack of sleep that everything was funny. We had a great time and headed up to the room for a couple of hours sleep. We got up around 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday and headed downtown as we had missed it on our trip in July and were almost going to miss it this week too. Parked at MSS and walked over to the Plaza. My losing continued as I lost $60 on a $5 blackjack table in about 20 bets. By now all I could do was laugh about it and even the pit boss shook his head in sympathy as I lost my last $5 bet on a soft 20 to the dealerâ€™s 5 card 21. We traversed Fremont Street stopping in nearly every casino. At the Golden Nugget we played a goofy blackjack game called Switch 21 where you put up 2 bets and get to switch the top 2 cards of your bets if you choose. The hook (in addition to blackjacks paying even money) is that if the dealer pulls 22 itâ€™s an automatic push for everyone. It was actually kind of fun in a perverse way and it was amazing to see how I kept getting Kraused 2 times per deal. At Binions I decided to try to penny Big Wheel of Fortune again. This time though, no max bet, only 1 per line plus the big wheel bonus. (80 coins per spin). We got to spin the wheel several times and ended up hitting the wheel for $50 and the next time for $100 and ended up quitting up $100 overall. Small victory but a victory nonetheless. We ate at the brew pub at MSS, played some videopoker, blackjack and slots then headed back to the Luxor around midnight. Returned to the pai gow poker table and played a couple of hours with a good group of people except for one jerk who was bitching at the dealers and complaining to the pit bosses about the house rules. At the Luxor, theyâ€™ll split 2 pair on the high-low which is apparently unusual. According to Mr. Know-it-all, other houses wonâ€™t split the 2 pair unless they have an Ace to put in the low and he was making a big deal about it. I held my own and was about even but my son had lost about $50 and on his last hand lost to the dealerâ€™s high AA and low KK. My son had 2 pair QQ and 22 and had split them. After the dealer had picked up his cards, Mr. Know-it-all starts yelling at the dealer to â€œbring those cards back outâ€ because he felt my son had played the cards wrong. Heâ€™s yelling at my son â€œWhy did you play them that way? You shouldnâ€™t have split the 2 pairâ€. The dealer refused to bring them back out of the shoe and Mr. Know-it-all keeps telling her â€œBring them back out. Bring them back outâ€. I was fed up by now, felt the hand was over and it was what it was. I got up to leave and told him to just â€œShut-up and mind his own businessâ€. He starts yelling again â€œWhy did you play them that way?â€ I told him to â€œPlay his own f---ing cards and to leave the dealers aloneâ€. The dealer gave me an appreciative smile and I just turned and walked away. I donâ€™t know if he was right from a strategy standpoint as my son would have had A-9 on top and certainly in hindsight he would have pushed if had kept the 2 pair together. But it felt good to tell off Mr. Know-it-all and I felt better doing so. It was about 3:00 a.m. and so I stopped by the front desk to see what time checkout was. I asked if we could have a late checkout and was told â€œno problemâ€ and we were good until 1:00 p.m. Thursday we got up around 10:00 and headed downstairs for some final blackjack. Our flight didnâ€™t leave until 6:00 p.m. that night so we still had a couple of hours to kill even after checkout. After checking out around 12:30 we headed back to Hooters as I had accumulated enough points from my steaming incident on my card for a couple of T-shirts and wanted to make sure that I didnâ€™t lose the opportunity to get them. We had lunch at Hooters and were going to head over to Terribleâ€™s for the final couple of hours. Traffic was backed up on Paradise so we decided to head over to Arizona Charlieâ€™s on Boulder Highway. We sat down at a $5 blackjack table and I proceeded to lose $80 in 20 hands. I know how many hands because it was based on only receiving 2 pays the entire time. Again, 19's and 20's losing to 20's and 21's (not to mention a fair sprinkling of getting Kraused in those hands). With my son doing no better, I convinced him to play some video poker with me. I ended up hitting a couple of 4 OAK and managed to break even. My older son had gotten off of work and came out to say goodbye. We headed to the airport about 3:30 and while on the way to the airport he called to say that the machine my younger son had been playing hit the Royal Flush about 10 minutes after we left. My younger son was crushed and just kept saying â€œI wish he hadnâ€™t told me thatâ€. All I could do was laugh as it pretty much summed up the gambling for the trip. Our flight back from LAS to MKE was uneventful and despite a fair amount of fog in MKE, it didnâ€™t cause any delays. Although this was the worst result gambling results I have ever experienced, I had a great time. It was great to see my older son and my younger son and I became even closer. Itâ€™s that transitional time in his life where heâ€™s now becoming an equal and although Iâ€™ll always be his parent, Iâ€™m also becoming a friend. It is indeed a Merry Christmas for me!!! Thanks for reading and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.