Just got back from a weekend in Vegas. Stayed at the California downtown and was really impressed. we usually stay at the Imperial Palace but wanted something different. The Cal was a big step up from the IP. Got a great player's rate from one of the pit bosses over the phone with the promise of maybe a comp night. Check in was a snap. The room was spacious, clean and well appointed. King bed was comfy. Towels could have been a little plusher---but overall very nice and a bargain at the player's rate. We play mostly blackjack at $10/hand. It was nice to be able to find tables all over downtown at $5 even on Saturday night. We usually play $10/hand, cut back to $5 if the cards are cold and occasionally press it up if we are doing well. Don't know exactly how many hours we played at the Cal. Had one session we played 5 hours and made $20 between us. Don't know exactly how many drinks we had but plenty. We tried to give the Cal most of our business but had several good sessions at the Fremont and a great time casino hopping Saturday night hitting $5 tables at Fremont, 4 Queens, Binions and Golden Gate. The dealers were always pleasant with good drink service and for the most part competent and friendly other players. We moved tables a time or two to get away from players that did idiotic things like splitting 5s or hitting 13 or 14 against the dealer's bust card. Overall, we really enjoyed staying and playing downtown. We rented a car to travel to shows on the strip and spent some time at Red Rock Casino and the Orleans. Got the car for 3 days on Priceline for $90 including all taxes and fees and put in $10 for gas. Drove about 100 miles and figure I saved at least $50 compared to cabs and never had to wait in a cab line or smell the inside of a Vegas cab in August. Parking at MGM, Venetian, the Cal, Red Rock and Orleans in their garages was always free and easy. Saw two great shows at great prices due to posts on the entertainment section. THANKS TO THE FOLKS WHO POST THAT TYPE OF INFO!!! Saw KA at MGM Thursday night for $50/ticket and had good seats. Saw Gordie Brown Saturday night at the Venetian for half-price and sat in the second row. I would recommend either of these shows to people looking for quality entertainment. Ate several different places with various levels of satisfacion. Ate Thursday night at the Pasta Pirate at the Cal. It was OK but I don't think we will be back. Had dinner Friday night at the Redwood Grill at the Cal. I had the porterhouse special which was quite good and a bargain. My wife had a chicken and shrimp dish which she enjoyed. We will definitely eat at the Redwood Grill again. Saturday night we ate at Canalettos in the Canal Shops at the Ventian. We requested patio seating and sat where we could watch the musicians performing on the stage in St. Marks Square. The food was good. My wife had a chicken dish and I had a shrimp in white sauce on angel hair pasta. We had a bottle of Chianti, tiara misui and coffee. It was a delightful meal and we would do it again. Enjoyed a breakfast buffet at Main Street Station (a bargain at $5.99) and a comped coffee shop meal at the Cal (they gave me a $30 comp ticket the third time I asked during the 5 hour session mentioned above). Ate the Sunday brunch at the Red Rock. My wife and I thought it was a slight notch below Paris weekend brunch but very good. $17.95 with your player's card and only a short line at 11 AM Sunday morning. Never saw any porn slappers downtown. Is that a strip only phenomenom? One of the things my wife dislikes about the strip is the aggressive porn merchants. When we got ready to check out Sunday I went to one of the pitbosses who looked up our play and comped two nights. Our 3 night weekend stay and 3 meals including 2 evening meals at signature restaurants cost us $124. WHAT A BARGAIN!! We lost more than that over our entire time gambling at the Cal but I was very pleased with how we were treated. WE WILL BE BACK!! I see the Cal as our Vegas home for the next few trips. We had a great time!!