Trip report â€“ Tuesday, May 6 through Sunday, May 11. Introduction: This was the second trip to Las Vegas for my wife and I, with the first being last June. Iâ€™m 41, sheâ€™s 32. We had three goals for this trip. One â€“ not let the time change from Ohio kick our butts. Two â€“ not let the slots and dealers kick our butts. Three â€“ not let the margaritas kick our butts. We would be staying at Luxor, and also spending some time with her sister and husband, who were staying with the soon-to-be out of work pirates at Treasure Island. Disclaimer: Due to the fact that we were under the influence of game enhancement margaritas for most of the trip, and I was too busy ogling the eye candy around me to take notes, the following is only to the best of my recollection and may not hold up in a court of law. Day 1 â€“ Tuesday We flew United (no, we werenâ€™t trying out for the mile high club â€“ thatâ€™s the name of the airline!) out of Cleveland, switched planes in Chicago, and finished the smooth flight by landing in Las Vegas at noon. There was no line for the shuttle, and we checked into Luxor within an hour. Our room deal was $59 weeknight & $99 for weekends, along with some complimentary stuff that didnâ€™t quite match what was promised in the e-mail offer. Since none of them included free gaming or drinking, we didnâ€™t really care. Iâ€™ll get my review of Luxor out of the way first. We chose to stay in a pyramid room just for the novelty of it. People seem to think riding the inclinators are cool. Sure, it makes you stagger sideways a little bit on take-off and landing, but weâ€™d be doing that down the sidewalks all week long, so it wasnâ€™t a big deal. We were on the 23rd floor and the view overlooked the back side of Excalibur, with Orleans and Rio in the distance. Not great, but we didnâ€™t mind since we did the "great view" thing on our first trip. For some reason, women seem to get excited over big bathrooms. Probably because they need them to hold the 379 bottles of lotions, soaps, and potions they pack with them. I found the bathroom to be nice sized. Pyramid rooms have no tub, but are famous for their large showers. But hey, Iâ€™m not doing jumping jacks in there, so I donâ€™t quite get the attraction. And for as big as the shower was, it only had one tiny tray to hold a bar of soap, and nothing to hold the 37 jugs of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash that is so popular with the other gender of our species. To save room in our luggage, I agreed to give up my shaving cream and use whatever my wife shaves her legs with. That explains why my face smelled like cantaloupe all week. The toilet bowl was oval shaped, and was so large it included a lifeguard. But it had one major design flaw. Although it flushed with the force of a jet engine, if you dropped your toilet paper in the shallow end of the pool, it didnâ€™t go down. Instead, it was pasted to the inside of the bowl like a spitwad on a 5th grade classroom wall. Weâ€™re not pool people, but we checked out the Luxor pool anyway. One thing amazed us about the Luxor pool, and the one we later saw at Mandalay Bay. They arenâ€™t nearly as large as they look on the Travel Channel. Okay, on with our first day. After dropping our bags off in the room, we headed for the Luxor buffet to use the 2-for-1 lunch coupon. It was very average, but we just wanted food so that we could get onto more important things â€“ gambling and drinking. We both love video poker, and prefer the double-double bonus game, and were disappointed in the selection at both Luxor and Excalibur. We played a little at both places, then headed up the strip. We walked through New York, New York without playing, then stopped in Boardwalk briefly and found some good VP machines. Next was the Bellagio where we really didnâ€™t plan to play anything. But we found a couple of full pay VP machines, and within minutes I was up $40, and my wife hit a 4 of a kind and was up $100. We cashed out and hit the bricks. It was late afternoon when we realized that we had yet to taste a margarita, so we headed to the highlight of our previous trip - that hole in the wall known as Oâ€™Sheas. On our previous trip, my wife hit two different aces 4 of a kinds and a royal flush all on the same machine, and she couldnâ€™t wait to return to it. However she was greatly dismayed to find out that the entire row of VP machines had been replaced with regular slots. It was like the time I went to see the Bare Naked Ladies to find out that not only were they not naked, but they werenâ€™t even ladies. We each picked up a yard glass of margarita, and played a little bit here and there at each location. We made a point to stop at Harrahâ€™s Carnival Court and watch the WonderBoogie band and ordered another yard there. The temperature was cool and the wind was whipping around the stage, so we left after their first set. Our last stop was TI, where we grabbed a good sandwich at the deli. We headed back to our room around 11:30 pm. We counted the dayâ€™s bankroll, and found after playing VP and slots all day we had actually broken even. Not a bad first day at all. Day 2 â€“ Wednesday. Still adjusting to Vegas time, I was awake at 5:30 am and my wife soon afterward. We were dressed and ready for the day by 7:30 and went down to the Luxor breakfast buffet out of convenience. It was nothing special and we told ourselves that we wouldnâ€™t even bother trying supper there this week. We took the tram over to Mandalay Bay ( the moving walkway is under construction) and picked up tickets for Thursday nightâ€™s showing of Mama Mia. We played a few slots while there, not hitting anything memorable. Weâ€™ve read lots of good things about the Orleans and were anxious to go there, so we took a cab over. The place was loaded with many good VP machines and we began playing. Though we liked the casino, we just couldnâ€™t hit anything and must have lost around $100 each during the time we were there. We took a cab back to Luxor and napped before meeting my wifeâ€™s sister and husband for dinner. The four of us went to the Rio Seafood Buffet and gorged ourselves. I love to try anything out of the ordinary, and sampled each kind of sushi. My wife thought some of my selections looked better suited for "Fear Factor." Highlight of the meal was when I dipped a California roll in a little too much wasabi and my scorching nose hair set off the sprinkler system. After eating, Bob and I settled into a $5 table of 3 card poker. A new dealer was being trained by another (both women) and we all had a blast. I bought in for $100 and after about an hour I quit while $35 to the good. The women played slots and had no luck. We left there and hit the Gold Coast, where I have no recollection of anything at all. Kind of like my first marriage. From there, we hit The Palms. My wife and I found a couple of 10/7 double-double bonus VP machines, and combined we won about $100 on them within a half-hour. No one else was having much luck, so we left the Palms and headed downtown. It was just after 11:00 pm when we hit the Golden Nugget. The place was jumpinâ€™ and machines were hard to come by. We didnâ€™t even look for a table game. We played a little, walked Fremont Street, hit the Fitz & Four Queens, and then settled into Binions. By this time, we had played so many slots that every time I walked into the restroom, I couldnâ€™t pick out a urinal unless it "felt" just right. My wife found a hot VP machine and handed me $40 worth of quarters to cash in at the cage. She was going outside to see the final light show of the night, and I told her Iâ€™d meet her there. But on my way through Binions, I saw Elvis. No, not the one who moonlights at the 7/11. This was a quarter machine that seemed to be calling me. I sat at the middle of three Elvis machines, but it wouldnâ€™t take my $20 bill. I was sure Elvis was trying to tell me something from beyond. So I slid over to the Five-Times-Pay Elvis beside it and it took my money with ease. After a half dozen pulls or so, a combination of symbols appeared and a message flashed. "You have won $625. Please wait for payment by an attendant." Cool. I missed the light show as I waited for the handpay. I tipped the slot jockey, and still had 66 credits on â€˜Ol Elvis, so I decided to play them down. In doing so, I won another $155. My wife didnâ€™t mind me missing the show when I shared some of my $780 winnings with her. We finally got back to Luxor and into bed at 3:30 a.m., with plenty of play money for the next day without even touching our planned daily bankroll. Day 3 â€“ Thursday We had planned on a good breakfast today, maybe at Paris, but the 3:30 am bedtime shot that all to hell. Plan B. Krispy Kreme donuts and a bloody mary. My wifeâ€™s sister and husband were picking us up at 11:00 for a quick trip to Hoover Dam. In the 1/2 hour we waited for them, my wife won $360 on a nickel slot at the Luxor. We drove out to Hoover Dam for a quick look. It was kind of like seeing Madonna naked. Sure, itâ€™s attractive to look at, but I wouldnâ€™t want to take the grand tour. They dropped us off back at Luxor around 1:30 p.m. A little hungry, we went to La Salsa for (what else?) margaritas and an appetizer. We each ordered a yard of the drinks, but like the others we had most of the trip, they were more like a lime slush with very little tequila. We split an order of con queso, and would be too full to have dinner later that afternoon. After going to our room to change clothes, we played a little at Luxor without success, then headed over to Mandalay Bay to play some more before meeting my in-laws and a local friend of theirs to see Mama Mia. Iâ€™ve always wanted to see a big Broadway style play or musical, and after reading reviews, thought Mama Mia would be a good one. Of course, it helped that I grew up in the ABBA era, though I wasnâ€™t a huge fan. My wife is a little young to remember much of them, so she wasnâ€™t overly excited. My sister-in-law was really looking forward to it, but we practically dragged her husband kicking and screaming. We were the envy to the entire theater when we entered the venue minutes before showtime and were shown to our seats in the very front row and directly in the center of the stage. Iâ€™m certainly no whale, Iâ€™m not a celebrity, and I didnâ€™t even have to sleep with the bartender. I got great seats simply by calling the box office about 3 months in advance. I tried to order early on their web site, but when it wouldnâ€™t take a reservation that early I just picked up the phone and must have been the first party to buy seats for that particular night. We were right against the orchestra pit and the director even chatted with us during the intermission of the 2 1/2 show. The show was absolutely fantastic, with the entire audience standing and cheering during a three song encore. Even my sister-in-lawâ€™s husband congratulated me on picking out such a wonderful show. Needless to say, Iâ€™d recommend this one to everyone. After the show, the five of us got a table at the Mandalay Bay lounge, where I bought the first round of drinks. The waitress walked off with my $100 bill without giving me any change, but her amnesia was miraculously cured when I called her on it when she walked past our table fifteen minutes later. My wife and I were now starving, so we decided to eat at the House of Blues, where we could listen to the band while dining. She tried the cajun meatloaf, while I had the portabella mushroom sandwich. Delicious. And finally I was served a margarita with some bite to it. This baby was practically straight tequila. Our friend had to work the next day and went home, so the four us left Mandalay Bay and hit the north strip to Riviera around midnight. I donâ€™t remember winning much here (must have been that strong margarita), so after a while we headed over to the Stardust. The hunters headed for the tables, while the gatherers hit the machines. Bob and I sat down for some $5 3-card poker, where another player was making incredible side bets for the female dealer and won her $1,000 after hitting a couple straights and flushes. I bought in for $100 and played for about an hour, breaking even. The women didnâ€™t win a ton of money, but they had enough drinks that they were having a good time anyway. We hit the bed at 4:30 a.m. Day 4 â€“ Friday Once again, we were up too late for a good breakfast, so we hit the Pyramid CafÃ© in Luxor for lunch. Theyâ€™re open 24 hrs. a day, you can order breakfast anytime, and it was better than the buffet. A great way to shake off the effects of the previous late night. My wife and I decided to walk the strip before meeting her sister for dinner later that day. I was eager to play some table games, though I didnâ€™t plan on finding a good $5 BJ game anyplace except the small casinos. We started at the MGM, where we found some decent VP. My wife hit a 4 of a kind and we left there ahead of the game. We looked at some souvenirs and dodged the porn slappers (I shoved a few cards in by back pocket, just to make them feel needed) on our way up the sidewalk. We played a few slots here and there, then stopped in Oâ€™Sheas where I found an empty seat at a $5 3-card poker table. I bought in for $100 and in no more than 10 minutes lost my entire stack of chips, never winning a hand. Man, that hits you like a knee to the groin. We had things timed right to catch the famous "Big Elvis" show at Barbary Coast at 3:00. We played a few slots while waiting, and I won a little on an Elvis machine again, and my wife hit some on a nickel game. Three oâ€™clock came and went, and still no Big Elvis to be seen. Finally, his "pseudo manager/possible mother" came out and announced that his wardrobe hadnâ€™t arrived yet, and heâ€™d be a few minutes late. In the meantime, she passed out cheap business cards and practically begged the audience to send her e-mail feedback on the show. I guess thereâ€™s a reason why he plays Barbary Coast and not the Bellagio. He finally arrived on stage, and I must admit that he has a beautiful voice and if you closed your eyes youâ€™d swear it was the real Elvis. But about six songs into his act, he began singing a tune from Bachman Turner Overdrive. Iâ€™m sorry, but when I see an Elvis impersonator, I want to hear him sing "Blue Suede Shoes" not "Takinâ€™ Care of Business." We split the joint. (The BC, not one of those funny cigarettes.) We met the other couple at Caesarâ€™s Palace, and went to Bertolliniâ€™s for supper. It was very good Italian food and reasonable prices, while dining in the open atmosphere of the forum shops. Had a very nice meal. Afterward, our local friend caught up with us and we headed to the Tuscany for the first time. This was a very nice hotel not far from the strip. We walked into the casino, and for a Friday night the place was pretty empty. Once again, the guys hit the tables and the women hit the slots. We had a $5 blackjack table (full pay â€“ none of that 6/5 crap!) all to ourselves for practically two hours. I bought in for $100 and was $15 ahead when we quit. Unfortunately, the women had no fun at all as the machines were tighter than a bullâ€™s butt in fly season. The entire time we were there, you could hear the lounge band perform and they were absolutely horrible. It was like they were trying to redo classic rock songs by adding a Latin twang. We were laughing our heads off as we walked out of the place. My wife and I had never been to the Hard Rock, so they gave us a quick tour. The memorabilia was cool to see, but we had no desire to even try to play anything. There were people who looked too young to be there just standing around drinking and taking up space. They were sitting at machines talking and not putting any money in them. The tables were absolutely packed. We left after twenty minutes of fighting the crowd. Our last stop for the night was the Green Valley Ranch. I really liked this place. It had a very nice casino with a good selection of VP, slots, and table games. While there, we had the fortune to see a guy hit a progressive royal flush for over $6,000. My wife hit some 4 of a kinds and cashed out about $200 ahead. And just before leaving, I hit a couple bonuses on a quarter Wheel of Fortune and won $140. Her sister and husband were leaving the next morning, so we said our good-byes and they dropped us off at the Luxor by midnight. Day 5 â€“ Saturday We finally wake up early enough to go for a nice breakfast, and take a cab up to Paris for their buffet. Waited in line for maybe 15 minutes, but as always it was worth the wait. Has to be the best quality breakfast on the strip. We wanted our last full day to be a fun one, but it was one of those "What do you want to do? I donâ€™t know, what do you want to do? I donâ€™t care, JUST PICK SOMETHING! " mornings. We walked in and out of various strip casinos. I added to my shot glass collection as we went, but the gaming was terrible. We were losing fast, and that never helps the mood. I really wanted to play some 3 card poker, but for a Saturday the limits seemed to be jacked up at the big casinos and the small casino tables were full. Late in the afternoon, we finally started having fun. We walked into the Boardwalk and immediately headed for the bar and ordered two of their 99 cent margaritas. They were as good as any margarita we had all week, and by the time we left must have had four or five apiece. Best of all, we finally started hitting some luck. My wife found a hot VP machine, and hit 4 separate 4 of a kinds on it that put her at least $200 ahead. I played another for close to a half hour on the same $20 without hitting anything big, but not losing either. I wanted on their 3 card poker table, but it was full the entire time we were there. The Boardwalk will probably be one of our "must stops" on our next trip. We stopped in the ESPN Zone to have a look and another drink, then on to the NY,NY casino where I was surprised to find a table with a $5 minimum. I bought in for $100 and after a couple hands the boss upped the limit to $10, but told us we could continue playing for $5. It didnâ€™t effect me, as I hit some bad cards and was out of the game in twenty minutes anyway. By now we were hungry and thought weâ€™d try the Mandalay Bay buffet, but when we got there the line was ridiculously long. As we waited to take the tram back to Luxor, we found out that Tim McGraw was playing at Mandalay that night. That explained all the cowboy hats in the dinner line. There was some young lady waiting for the tram who was bawling hysterically into her cell phone. She was screaming that her boyfriend had given her an envelope with the McGraw tickets inside, but when she arrived at Mandalay she discovered the envelope was empty. The way she was crying and creating a scene, youâ€™d have swore that "the dingo ate her baby." At this point we just wanted to eat and didnâ€™t want to fight any crowds, so out of desperation went to the Luxor buffet again. It worked, but I wouldnâ€™t recommend it. We played a few slots before my wife retired to our room. It was only 9:30, so I found a $5 3-card poker table and bought in for $100. The dealer was great â€“ funny and friendly- and I had the hot seat. With a variety of flushes and straights, I colored up with $250 in chips at the end of an hour. A nice finish to our last full day. Day 6 â€“ Sunday We played some VP and slots for about an hour before catching a shuttle to the airport. We were hoping to get bumped so we could get a free flight on our next trip, but no luck this time. We have a Vegas tradition (Ok, itâ€™s only been twice. But a tradition has to start somewhere, right?) of eating Quiznoâ€™s Subs at the airport for breakfast before our ride home. Our flight to Chicago was delayed 1 1/2 hours due to high winds in Chicago. While we waited for our flight, some lady sitting behind us in the airport was going off on her husband because the tickets they were given on the flight were 10 rows further back in the plane that she was originally told she was getting. She was super POâ€™d. Listening to her complain about it was cracking me up, and I was doing everything I could to keep from laughing out loud. I guess you had to be there to appreciate the humor in it. Once we boarded, the flight past quickly (Movie â€“ Maid in Manhatten). Our flight to Cleveland was delayed another 45 minutes because the wind had damaged the boarding gate. (Side note â€“ how about airlines passing out deodorant to needy passengers instead of snack mix?) Another quick but turbulent flight to Cleveland, and when we arrived there the gate at Cleveland was also damaged, causing another half hour delay. When we finally picked up our vehicle for another hour and a half drive home, we found we had a flat tire. After changing it, it was 2:00 a.m. Ohio time when we finally arrived at our house. Another side note on air travel. Would it kill people to check their luggage? Iâ€™m getting tired of flight delays while they try to find room to stow their big carry-ons, and then wait to get off the plane because passengers have to search for their bags again. If I ever own an airline (yeah, right after Anna Kournikova asks me for a date) the first thing Iâ€™m going to do is eliminate overhead storage. If you donâ€™t want to carry it on your lap for 1,500 miles â€“ then CHECK IT! In conclusion, it was another great trip. It was nice to stay at the Luxor one time, but I wonâ€™t stay there again. The gambling at that end of the strip just wasnâ€™t great, and Iâ€™d rather be closer to more options within quick walking distance. Mama Mia â€“ See it. Big Elvis â€“ Great voice. Tacky presentation. Gambling - Did pretty good early in the week on VP and slots, but faultered toward the end. Didn't play as many table games as I'd have liked, but had a lot of fun. Came home with with a little over half of the money we started with. Can't complain about that. It looks like our next Las Vegas trip will be in February for a wedding at the Bellagio. Weâ€™ll look for an airline with a direct flight this time.