I absolutely hate writing trip reports, but love reading others. So, here is my version with pictures. I managed a truly low budget trip. Airfare was $126.00. Room at Binion's Thursday check in , departing on Monday was $42.00 after using the Expedia FAN50 coupon. I also got in on Alamo's $10 weekend deal for a premium car. Four day rental, including tax, was $64.00. Grand total was $232.00 not counting bankroll and spending money. Wifey and I started saving change and singles around Christmas time. She gets to choose her own destination when I go to a Madness trip. That's one hell of an expensive trip tax to pay, but completely worth it. We ended up with close to four hundred bucks saved, so we split it (not very equally) and I used mine to suppliment my bankroll. Yup, thems all singles. Now I know how a stripper feels on bill day. A few days prior to the start, Jack21 mentioned we should share a cab from the airport to downtown. We arrive within a few minutes of each other. I told him I had a car, so if he didn't mind the ride to pick it up, the 'cab' ride was on me. Nothing says "Welcome to Vegas" and "Where is LVTerry" like this view descending the escaltors at McCarran. E met me at the gate, hung out while I waited for my bag, and it was off to get the rental car. I think we exited the wrong door, because we had to hop a few fences to get to the shuttle. We bypassed the desk and kiosks, as I had used the prepay function online. E helped me choose a red Toyota Avalon. The logic? Every rental car in vegas is white, so a red version wouldn't get me mixed up at the valet. Sounded good to me, so we were off after aquick inspection and signature at the rental terminal exit. I dropped him at MSS so he could get his gaming on. I headed to check in at Binion's, with a firm plan to meet others at the triple 7 at 2pm. My room wasn't ready. Looks like the bowling convention beat us to town by a few days. So I checked my baggage with Marc at the bell desk. Maybe my claim ticket was the key to my success this trip? I beat feet to the poker room, as I hadn't played live poker since October. There was a 1-2 no limit game, and a 2/4 limit game. I have never played NL, so I opted for a seat at the extreme kiddies table, according to Mikey. It was fun, people played like they were supposed to. Folding to raises, and not chasing to the river. It was like playing a much higher limit with not so drastic consequences. So much fun, that I never played at a higher stakes table this trip. I can admit, the lack of consumer spending has put a dent in my income. My $500 bankroll had to last me all trip. Soon, I got a call from HurricaneMikey telling me to get over to the Triple 7. My first Vegas (and off diet) meal was shared with SteveB, ATCMurph, Jack21, Mikey and Cyndi. We pulled it off family style, with monster servings of nachos, wings, a bucket of iced down peel-n-eat shrimp along with some sort of garlic cheese bread pizza. The pizza was good enough for us to demand an encore. Everybody ordered up specialty house beers. I stuck with a real coke seeing as the blood sugar was well below where it should be. Not really too much of an obstacle with the low blood sugar, we did have an ER doc at the table with us. It was fun watching Steve and E cheering on the Terps. I have never cashed a sports book ticket ever, and boycotting the bets this year kept my streak in tact. Ask Terry about the football parlay he once laid down for me. Not only did it cost him the $5 he bet, but he had to buy rounds for wagering the worst sports bet EVER. After we settled the miniscule tab consisting of only a tip for the waitress, we all went on our own ways. Steve treated us because MSS gives him proper credit for his play. Thanks, Steve. I owe you for all the comps you shared. Mikey headed to the Nugget to get his luggage, I set out to get checked in at Binion's. He was bunking with me until Ed checked into the room they were to share at the the Nugget a day later. I tried every line I know to get an upgrade, including offering the gal $20. She says "We are sold out. It looks like that could get you 2 more nights based on what you paid." I was sure I was gonna get a pretty shitty room with that comment. I got room 1401 in the Mint tower. Those are the larger, nicer rooms, or so they say. I didn't ecpect much, and Binion's lived right up to what I expected. Don't get me wrong, the room is perfect for a budget stay. Besides, it was only a 2 minute elevator ride to my new, favorite poker room. Now, my next question is, how many times can somebody fall asleep while smoking, and burn the carpet in exactly the same way? Like I said, nothing to brag about, but a decent enough place to get rest and get clean. Mikey and his family opted to limo their way to Eric's happy hour. the Nugget bellman promised the hottest driver EVER. Guess she was busy being hot elsewhere, because the guy we got was not on time or even luke warm. He did do a fine job getting us to THE Hotel. The soiree was as nice as the previous year. It was great to see everbody again. I have to ask, how did anybody ever get rid of the crooning uninvited guest? Mikenhe set up a go kart excursion for Friday morning. We met up at the valet, and headed to MGM to meet the other folks and the shuttle bus. Upon arrival I was confident Angy was staying here: People started showing up, and I had my second chance to defeat an oncoming blood sugar issue. I headed into the gift shop by the front entrance. I picked up a Slim jim, candy bar, and a Coke Zero. the total bill confirms why I like downtown. $11.50. Holy crap! I headed back outside, and almost the entire karting crew was assembled. That's when I spotted the biggest pair of shoes I have ever seen. My oldest boy wears a size 14, but these thing were in a Shaq class of their own. I know little about fashion, but these just made me giggle: The ride back from karting was an adventure in and of itself. I am not so sure we were destined to get off the shuttle bus. Soon enough, we were on our way back down to the Riff - Raff infested ghetto called downtown Las Vegas. The rest of the days activities consisted of playing some 2/4 poker. Like 14 straight hours of it. I had some great runs, and never did any less than break even that point. I did muster quad sixes for a decent pot and a $300 high hand bonus. These two pics are at seperate tables, but for reference, I bought in for a benjamin each time. Sooner than expected, it was time to head to the party. Angy knows how to throw one. Again, there are pcictures coming up from others, so let me leave it at "Thanks, Angy. As always, a great time." I hit the sack about 2am. I woke up on Saturday feeling pretty good. I had a profit from poker, my original bankroll intact, and a pretty good day lined up. The poker tourney at 2pm, dinner at Binion's Ranch Steak House, and the late Rat Pack show. It was gonna be a good day. I left my room with a smile on my face and high hopes. SteveB texted suggesting we meet at MSS brunch buffet, and I thought that was a great idea. Nothing says Vegas like corned beef hash, portugese sausage and few very nicely prepared slices of beef brisket. That is my favorite buffet, particularly on the weekends. Again, he was rewarded for his play, and allowed me to share a comped meal with him. Trying to kill time while waiting for vittles, I sat at my favorite Wheel of Fortune in Binion's. I played that total down to $1050.00, cashed out, and put the ticket in my pocket. Even if I lost every nickel in my posession, I wouldn't cash that baby until I was leaving town. That way, I would have doubled my bankroll, had a good trip, and paid for everything. I was pretty proud of that cash out ticket. I showed it to everybody that wanted to see, and likely wouldn't kick my ass and take it. I grabbed lunch at Binion's Snack Bar. Except for the greeting, The food was very good. I did get a $3.50 chili cheese dog about 2 am, but was too tired and hungry to snap a picture. The tourney seemed to last forever. There is a bit of an explanation for that. I wanted to be sure people got value for the buy in. I thought four thousand chips should do the trick. The fee is the same for a private tourney, no matter what is set as a buy in. Now, everybody either tightened up their tourney play, or did not want to be the first out of the game. It took an hour for the first person to bust out. Brotha man, if I had earned the panties on my hat, those horns would have pointed up. I do remember Coaster Hubby getting crippled when his pocket kings were met by another pair of pocket kings. Somebody drew out a flush. Man, thats a terrible bad beat. I though that had split pot written all over it. Shows what I know. the tourney started at 2pm. I barely had time to get to my room, change, and get the dinner at 7:30pm. The Ranch Steak house is as tasty as ever. The company put it over the top. The steak dinners at MM have been unforgetable. This one did not disappoint in any way. Well, except one. They jacked the prices incredibly high. The ribeye that was once $26 is now $48. They have lost their position as a bargain. I think I can get an over priced steak just about anywhere. Next time, I will. The hot apple pie a-la mode was hard to resist. The company and laughs could never be equaled. After dinner, I stopped back at the room to get into some poker clothes. I sat on the bed, and the next thing I know, it's 3:40 am. Guess I was tired. Sunday morning was started off by finding the required gifts for my kids. The phone calls are always started with 'what did you get me' and eventually go to the standard 'I miss yous'. After a little shopping, I parked it at a 2/4 table. I don't remember much more, but I did enjoy a very late lunch. Mikenhe and I have been planning a trip to the kebab joint down by the Griffin bar. For the second year in a row, we didn't get there. Mike, Miles and I settled on Magnolia's at 4 Queens. The food was quite average along with the service. Nothing note worthy, but no real reason to not eat there again. My flight out was at noon on Monday. I packed my crap and got the car out of the valet. I decided to cruise the strip back to rental return. It was a cold morning: Yup. Fifty friggin' degrees. That's just not right in Vegas. I did see a sign of the economy hitting strip properties. I have no idea how much it normally is, but Sahara buffet for 8.99 seemed like a bargain. Again, so does the Excalibur all day ticket, I guess. I return my car, get to the gate, and get situated on the plane. The flight is packed. The flight attendant reminds everybody they are looking for 1 volunteer to fly later. They are using a first class ticket later in the day, and a $400 voucher as bait. I checked with my wife, and accepted the offer. I asked for, and recieved a travel voucher to any hotel and a return to the airport. I texted Mikey about my good fortune and asked him to meet me at the MGM poker room. I had roughly 5 hours extra in Vegas. No reply meant he was sleeping off the Madness. I decided to return to Binion's. I bought into the 2/4 table. Probably a bad idea, as I bled out about 80 bucks. My later flight was not a hassle, but I was hoping for another bump and an additional travel voucher. It was not to be. I do so enjoy spending a weekend with all of the board members. I look forward to it each and every year. I highly recommend attending if you have the chance.