Somewhere in the past few years, I went from a young hotshot with lots of disposable income to a middle-aged Vegas veteran. I was a Las Vegas Advisor fan back when Anthony Curtis was all over the Travel Channel and the coupon book had some actual valuable matchplays. I always carried the American Casino Guide and miss a lot of the coupons in there. It is fair to say that I have stayed in almost every hotel, resort and motel in Las Vegas over the past 20 years (.... I actually found the motel rooms at the Westward Ho! charming in my early 30s). There came a time when I just got tired of Las Vegas. My moment of truth came when I was at the El Cortez back in 2008 and I was playing craps on a Tuesday afternoon. I saw the old men at the table with their oxygen tanks, cashing Social Security checks at the cage, and various "down-on-their-luck" types buying in for $2 in change. It really made me see the other side to all the neon and fun. I always knew it was there, but for some reason it struck a chord with me. Then I got a call from the Hooter's Casino Hotel on my cell phone on a Saturday morning. I used to always play and get the prime rib at the San Remo and stopped in Hooters to pay homage to my lost friend. I guess they are hurting for players since they called and offered me two nights on a weekend, $100 in free gambling and $50 in food. It was enough to get me back to Las Vegas and use a $200 United airlines credit that was about to expire. HOOTERS CASINO HOTEL: Yes, it is a bit tacky but I liked it. Everyone was nice, no one acted bored with their job, and the girls learning to deal were sweet and I did not mind an occasional misdeal or mispay. Everything was corrected and I really enjoyed my time there. MAD ONION RESTAURANT: I ate here a couple of times. The NY strip steak was very good. The vegetables were out of a frozen bag of vegetable medley and tasted like wax. The complimentary red wine (from a sticky-note coupon on the back of the hotel room door) was very nice! The NY cheesecake was very good, but not as good as that at the Flame Restaurant in the El Cortez. RTCSNV: I bought a three-day bus pass online. It was only $20 and well-worth the money. I know what times the busses are loaded and stuck in traffic and easily avoided the problems. The only problem was the changed routes downtown that require you to walk quite a bit to Fremont Street. It was not the end of the world, but still an annoyance at 2 am. I am 6'4" and 250 so I did not worry, but the three Japanese tourists were thankful that I escorted them to the El Cortez. By the way, I still LOVE the gaming, atmosphere, and LEGITIMATE pay schedules at the El Cortez. GAMBLING: I paid for the trip and expenses, and still came back up about $500. I was thrilled and have the itch to get back soon. I have only recently discovered myVegas and will see what I can get cooking to go to Sin City in a month or two. I found vegasmessageboard.com thanks to a friend from LVA. I look forward to learning from you all about the new Las Vegas. If anyone needs any insight about anything (there is no question too mundane or bothersome), feel free to ask Happy Holidays!