The Setup We were last in Vegas in May, so time for anther little vacation! We have plans to go to the Star Trek convention on Sunday, but spend the rest of the weekend just doing whatever we want and generally working toward getting to Platinum on the TR. Just me and the Hubs, as always. The Travel We hit some traffic between Barstow and Baker on the way out, but still made the trip in about 4 hours, getting into town around 1600 on Thursday. The trip home sucked. We usually get out of town on a Sunday by 0800, but after the convention, we left around 1500 and didnâ€™t get back home until 2130. UGH! In the future, we are thinking about switching our weekends to leave mid-day Friday and then we can come home at any time on Monday, instead of leaving mid-day Thursday and having to leave early or fight traffic on Sunday. The Hotel We were at Harrahâ€™s for three nights (Thurs-Sun). We were comped expect for $35 for Saturday night in a Classic room. We paid $10 extra at check in to upgrade to a Deluxe room in the Mardi Gras tower, room 1134. It was worth it. We were on the quiet side of the building looking out our window at TI and the Venetian. The room was very clean and relatively updated. The pillow-top bed was very comfortable and there was a flat panel TV in the room and in the bathroom. There was a safe, a coffee maker, blow dryer and minibar/frig. We did notice the motion sensor A/C, which was a bit annoying, but the room never got too hot. The only sign of wear in the room was that the glaze on the tub had a few spots where it had peeled away, but the water pressure and temperature were great. The Food We had dinner on Thursday at Toby Keithâ€™s I Love This Bar and Grill. It may sound strange, but we had the fried bologna sandwiches. A thick slice of bologna with cheese and sautÃ©ed onions on garlic toast. It was amazing! We ended up wishing we had only ordered one and shared it, because it was way too much food, but WOW, was it good! We had lunch at Quesadillaâ€™s in IP on Friday because we had a buy one get one free quesadilla offer. The quesadillas were very good, but the service was pretty slow and the thumpy, club music was way too loud for the middle of the day. We ate dinner on both Friday and Saturday at KBG, the new gourmet burger place in Harrahâ€™s, because we had that two for one coupon also, but we didnâ€™t use it either night because both nights we ended up splitting an order of the sliders. These are really awesome. Itâ€™s supposed to be the recipe that he won the Iron Chef with and they are really good. Very tasty and well cooked, not overcooked. The only come with cheese and tomato, though. On Saturday, we asked if we could add some other toppings, which they did, but I think they should add that to the menu, like the rest of the â€œbuild your own burgers.â€ On Saturday, we also ordered the â€œwaffle fry nachos.â€ These were also great. Waffle fried with cheese and sloppy joe pulled beef and salsa. They also come with jalapeÃ±os, but we ordered without. These are more like a variation on chili cheese fries than nachos, fork required rather than finger food, but the beef topping was really tasty. A decent sandwich for lunch on Sunday from the coffee bar at the Hilton and a stop at Starbucks for morning latte every day round out the offerings. Health food, it was not, but all very good meals. The Entertainment This trip we decided to see some shows, which we always say we are going to do, but then never get around to. It worked out this time, though. We played in the free slot tournament at IP on Friday (didnâ€™t win anything), and got some two for one tickets to Matsuri for Friday night, so that was $65 for both of us. When we got there, they werenâ€™t really seating anyone in the seats they had been assigned, so we ended up in a private booth, which was nice. It was a pretty good show. Very energetic and some very skilled acrobats â€“ think super advanced Japanese cheerleading squad â€“ lots of tumbling, chanting and elements of stomp. Worth the two for one price of admission. On Saturday night, we used a two for one to see Jubilee at Ballyâ€™s. We say the 10:30 â€œadultâ€ show, because, really, why bother seeing a â€œfamily friendlyâ€ showgirls show? Again worth the two for one ($95) to have said we saw it. The theater was smaller than I imagined, so Iâ€™m glad we didnâ€™t pay more to be closer to the stage. We could see fine and I think the people closer up could have missed some of the stuff going on to the sides. We were pretty close to center, next to the sound booth. It seemed pretty authentic for what I image a classic showgirl show would be â€“ the costumes were SO over the top and the singers were really talented. The â€œfillerâ€ acts, however, that they used while they were changing costumes and sets seemed really out of place. Itâ€™s like you canâ€™t have a show in Vegas anymore without that â€œCirqueâ€ element. They had the two-man, strong man team, and the man who does the aerial acrobatics with the long curtain thingys. Also an act with three men with drums and a twirling Argentinean weapon/dance thing. It made the overall show about Â½ an hour too long, in our opinion (1 Â½ hr total), and just felt out of place. Sunday, we checked out of Harrahâ€™s and drove up the Hilton for the last day of the Star Trek convention. Weâ€™ve been going for years so didnâ€™t feel the need to go for every day this year and see people weâ€™ve seen a few times before, but Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard from The Next Generation) was going to be there on Sunday and weâ€™ve never seen him and he is our favorite. He was on stage for about an hour and a half by himself and with Brent Spiner (Data). They had great banter and we were happy we went, bought some t-shirts and found out that Sir Patrick (recently knighted) will be reprising his one-man show of A Christmas Carol, which weâ€™ve seen and is absolutely wonderful and we canâ€™t wait to see again now! The Gambling Spent about $800 this trip on the slots, garnering 1,379 tier credits. This puts the total at 2,282 â€“ only 1,718 more to get us to Platinum this year, with 2 to 3 more trips planned at this point. We finally wised up on Friday night and got a second card in my name for Hubs to play on, otherwise we wouldnâ€™t have a chance in hell of getting there. Weâ€™ve been resisting for a while because, at heart, Iâ€™m a rule follower and I just have this vision of the Hubs hitting the jackpot with my card in the machine and them reviewing the tape and saying â€œsorry, you cheated.â€ Anyway, we played the Goldfish Race for the Gold on Thursday and then moved over to the new Lord of the Rings games. These are super fun!! We were bummed that they seem to have replaced the Star Trek games at all of the Harrahâ€™s properties, but still really, really fun games. There are lots of bonus games and you can collect trophies, so you set up a log-in when you play it and then the system remembers you when you play again at another machine. It saves it on the TR card. The drink service at Harrahâ€™s was a little slow on Thursday night, but we played for a few hours and had more than enough to drink in that time. The CWâ€™s slow returns probably saved us from overdoing it, actually. Friday morning we played Wizard of Oz at IP and just blew through $300 in no time. After that I was feeling pretty down because it was only Friday morning and I had blown quite a chunk of my bankroll between that and Thursday night. We licked our wounds and went back to the room for a nap. We returned to IP after Matsuri that night, however, and cleaned up at the Lord of the Rings games there, finishing up after several hours of play by winning back everything we put in plus $100. The drinks were pretty free flowing at IP, although I have come to hate their silly little disposable cups. Are we really so low class that we donâ€™t even deserve a glass? Turned in around 0100 and up around 0730. This was our schedule all weekend and is pretty usual for us in Vegas. We played for most of the day on Saturday down at Ballyâ€™s, Wizard of Oz, after going down there to buy our tickets for Jubilee. Good drink service, including Mimosaâ€™s, which were very nice. We went down to MGM and had a frozen drink at Rainforest CafÃ©, but didnâ€™t play there at all, then went back to Harrahâ€™s go get ready for the evening. We then went to the Heart Bar at PHo to use the free drink coupons we got at the IP slot tournament. Hung out there for a while and played a little Wizard of Oz before heading back to Ballyâ€™s for Jubilee. That was pretty much all the gambling and drinking. The End We had a great trip, ate way too much good food but managed not to drink ourselves sick, which is quite an achievement. We had fun playing the new games and some of the old and working our way towards that Platinum card! Thanks for reading.