Preface This is my first trip report which took place July 13 to July 21. Iâ€™ve been to Vegas 6 times previous to this trip. The first trip it was just my wife J and I, all other times it was with our friends C and S (married) except for last year when we when with friends G & T (married). This year there were 6 of us that went to Vegas: Me, J, C, S, and my brother JJ and his fiancÃ©e E. Iâ€™m a pretty decent gambler and make wise decisions. I seek out FP VP machines, I understand the odds of holdem, I play 3:2 blackjack. The one vice that I have is that I like the slot machines. Last year when we went, G bought me a shirt with a picture of a donkey, the word SLOT and dollar signs blowing out the donkeyâ€™s nose and labeled me a â€˜Slot Donkeyâ€™ for my uncanny ability to make money at all other games and then donkey it away at the slots. This year my attempted donkeying would be attempted on the Wizard of Oz machines. Iâ€™m going to arrange this TR in categories as that is the way I like to read them so you can skip what you donâ€™t like. Pre-Trip Stuff I basically planned the entire trip for the C, S, J, and I. I also planned getting there and certain activities for JJ & E. Here is what planning involved: Flights Coupon Trading â€“ We bought 3 ACGs and traded for extra free play and sign up free play as well as Orleans & Gold Coast Buffets and free drinks Sign Up Promotions â€“ Using advantageplayer.com hit a number of casinos they listed with cash sign up bonuses Car Rental â€“ Rented a van for the 6 of us for 2 days Orleans Rooms â€“ 2 rooms for us and C & S Golden Nugget Room â€“ 1 room which the 6 of us packed into Shows Group Meals Flight There Flights out of Toronto arenâ€™t the cheapest, so typically we fly out of Syracuse which is anywhere from $260 to $320 USD (Everything I refer to will be USD unless otherwise specified). This time I found an amazing deal for $400 with Air Canada in December 2008 from our home city Kingston. Flights never got below $600 after that. The times were awesome! 6AM flight from Kingston, plane change in Toronto, then direct to Vegas to get us in at 10:30 Vegas time. Our plane out of Toronto ended up being delayed by an hour. We got to Vegas around 11:30 and found out that (for all you hockey fans) Mike Ricci and Bryan Marchment were on the plane with us. Getting to the Hotels I reserved a limo from Presidential and it was waiting when the plane touched down. The original plan was to drop of JJ & E at the Summer Bay Resort on Koval and then zip around to the Orleans where the rest of us were staying, but JJ & E found out they couldnâ€™t check in until 4PM so they just came over to the Orleans with us. Check in at the Orleans was easy. Asked for a high floor and got one on the 17th with a great view of the mountains which I prefer to a strip view. Shows Love â€“ This was the 2nd time that we had seen the show and it was the first for JJ & E. I loved the show first time, and I enjoyed it even more the second time. JJ & E absolutely loved it. Our seats were in the balcony at the very front 305 AA rings a bell. One thing of note is that we left our tickets in the room and went to the box office and they said they would need to do a â€˜lost or stolenâ€™ reissue. This means we wait until 10 minutes before the show starts, go up to the front they check the seats and if they are clear they reissue the tickets (no idea what they do if the seats are occupied â€“ I assume remove the squatters). I got the 4 ticket for a total of 281.60. Terry Fator â€“ My wife and I were enraptured by Terry when he was participating in Americaâ€™s Got Talent and now that he is fully polished, the man is brilliant. C, S, J, and I absolutely loved the show. It blended the use of ventriloquism, song, humor to make it spectacular. Although I do feel that any one of these aspects of the show separated out could not sustain as a headliner in Vegas, putting them all together an there isnâ€™t another act anywhere in the world with the same content that could rival it. Another thing that really stood out was that Terry really remembers how he got there and has nothing but appreciation for the fans. Lines like â€˜feel free to take as many pictures as you like, the flash doesnâ€™t bother usâ€™ and â€˜if there is a part you really like feel free to video tape it, just donâ€™t tape the whole showâ€™ make you appreciate his act more. He also signs autographs after the show until everyone that attended the show and wants has gotten one. Our seats were located at 101 LL 5-8 and we were really happy with the seats which cost $346.72 for 4 tickets. KA â€“ C & S went to see this and really enjoyed it. C ranked it just behind O and Love, while S ranked it behind O and ahead of Love. They said that it was a bit more dangerous than the other Cirque shows. Sign Up Promotions I had a number of sign ups for us to do at a number of different properties. M Resort â€“ Free buffet or $10. We chose the buffets. Silverton - $20 ($10 from ACG) and a fun book Hard Rock - $10 from ACG Bellaggio - $10 Palms - $10 from ACG Venetian - $30 ($15 from ACG) El Cortez - $10 from ACG Four Queens â€“ 2 for 1 coupons from Magnoliaâ€™s With the sign up promotions we managed to cover the cost of the following: Limo from McCarren - $80 incl. Tip Cost of the ACGs - $60 Cost of staying at the Golden Nugget for 1 night - $42 Cost of Rental Car - $144 Gas for Rental Car - $15 3 Buffets at Wynn - $90 Dining M Resort Buffet â€“ I had read reviews on the Las Vegas Advisor as it was one if their top 10 values. I have to say, of any buffet I have had in Las Vegas the selection was definitely the biggest. Usually Iâ€™m skeptical with such a selection as it is really hard to do that much really well, but M Resort pulled it off in a big way! The food was way above average and wine and draft beer was included in the meal. No particular food stands out as being better than another, they were all really great. The Orleans Buffet â€“ We ate here several times with the 2 for 1. You canâ€™t beat the value for breakfast $7 for 2. Food was always good (not fantastic, but above average) and plenty of it. Gold Coast Buffet â€“ Pretty much the same as The Orleans, Good and Cheap. Wynn Buffet â€“ I love this buffet. Everything was great. I was surprised with how good the New England Clam Chowder was. Fudruckers â€“ They have one in the Orleans and while I havenâ€™t eaten at some of the other burger joints acclaimed on this board, I really enjoyed it. I had a Â½ pound â€˜The Worksâ€™ (American Cheese and SautÃ©ed mushrooms) and it was excellent. I had another one later in the trip. Binionâ€™s Coffee Shop â€“ J & I stopped in here and split a clubhouse sandwich. It was a really great club. We both enjoyed it. Magnoliaâ€™s â€“ I wanted to eat here after reading so much about it on the boards and I ordered a Philly Steak which was just OK. I would have been disappointed at full price, but with the 2 for 1 it was a decent deal. J had the Spicy Chicken Club and she found it tough in places. Battistaâ€™s Hole in the Wall â€“ We eat here for sentimental value. It was the first restaurant that C, S, J, and I ate on out first trip together. I ordered the linguini and clams, but it was really bland. J felt her Eggplant Parmesan was mediocre as well. C & S had the same opinion while JJ & E enjoyed their Lasagna. I donâ€™t think we will be going back to Battistaâ€™s in the future. Canal Street Grill â€“ J & C had the 9 oz Filet, Sally had the special which was a house salad, Salmon dish, and dessert. I had a double Lobster tail. I tried some of Jâ€™s Medium Filet and it was great (not Delmonico great, but great nonetheless) as was my Lobster tail. S said that her salmon was amazing and if they could make salmon taste like that they would have it more often at home. I called up my host and he comped the meal for the 4 of us. Gambling Bingo This is our Vegas downtime, a machine does all the work and you just sit, drink, and enjoy great conversations. We hit 2 one hour sessions a day and we always enjoy it. We ended up winning a few times, so the cost was probably like $30 each for the 8 days. C & I play a friendly game where you basically get a point if you are close to bingo than the other guy. This year I was his bingo bitch.. He said it was because he was practicing all night after I went to sleep. Poker J played a ton of poker with no significant wins, I played less than usual live games and was probably down about $200 for the week. I did play 2 tournaments in which I was fluked out of the first with JJ vs 33 when a 3 hit with all of the money all in. In the second tournament I was short stacked and managed to build it up to just above the tourney average when I picked up JJ. There was a raise to 5K, I pushed again with JJ and got into a race with AK. The flop and turn brought Ks and I was drawing dead on the river. I enjoyed the tournaments at the Orleans. Video Poker Had a couple of hits with 4 deuces with a kicker for $200, had a couple Royals with deuces in deuces wild. Had a couple of Royals on a 2 cent 50 play. Slots First off, I have to apologize to my wife as during this trip I fell in love with another woman. Her name is Glinda and she was wild! When I play slots, I play hard and fast, $100 in and max bet all the way. I had a Glinda bonus for $240 and $396 in the first 2 days. Third day while staying downtown I hit the first 4 progressives on a line that paid $100, one more would have been 822K. On day 5 after being hit for $500 on a 5 cent 50 line JoB machine I sat down at Wizard of Oz and Glinda came a callinâ€™ and she painted wilds on reels 1,2,3, & 5 with Dorothy and the trio filling in on reel 4 for 135000 credits or $1350 ($945 once the taxman took his cut). J found a machine that was called Shake Your Booty, it was a pirate theme and had some pretty decent bonuses if you could hit them. She wanted me to see the main bonus which she loved (in actual fact it was really really gay). Tables While downtown, C & I hit a blackjack table at the Four Queens and I left up $80 and he was up $120. J and I played 50 cent roulette with a $3 inside max and had a great time for 3 hours. She said it was on of the highlights of her trip just sitting and talking to the others at the table and we left up $60 each. Played craps for the first time ever at The Orleans. Iâ€™ve been studying the game and decided to use the strategy of pass line with double odds and buy the 6-8 unless either is the point then buy either the 5-9 as a replacement. It seemed like every roller was making a point, then a 6 or 8, then a 7 out. Ended up having one decent roller and left with $220 of my $300 buy in. Second time I played, the roller made like 4 points and I left after the first roller (I had to meet J) up 120 after tipping 9 bucks. Gambling Summary We managed to cycle $55K through the machines and ended up down about $600 each. Rooms Orleans â€“ Rooms are always decent here and always affordable. I had my room comped all nights except one at $36. I found deals online for C & S for $29 weekdays and $49 weekends. Golden Nugget â€“ Booked a South Tower for $42 asked for a complimentary upgrade to the North Tower, but they said there was nothing available. Comps $315 in free slot play $135 cash earned on cards 7 nights comped 3 buffets at the Gold Coast $200 comp at Canal Street Limo to McCarren Flight Out Called Air Canada at 5PM to confirm our 11:55PM flights to Toronto then a 3 hour wait for a Toronto to Kingston flight only to find out that they had conveniently changed my flight.. our flight from 11:55PM to 11:55AM getting into Toronto at 7PM forcing us to stay in Toronto over night. I was like SCREW THAT! Iâ€™ll stay a few more hours in Vegas. Ended up getting flights to Denver, then Toronto, then Kingston leaving at 6AM the next day. Summary The trip was great! ACG & Coupon trading probably saved us over $500 as a group. The Orleans treats the low-mid roller really decent. Spending the day downtown is something that we will definitely do again.