Well the maiden voyage to Las Vegas is finally in the books! What an amazing place!! I was afraid I might forget some of the things I did on this trip so every night when I got back to my room I actually took some notes just to make sure I didnâ€™t miss anything! So without further adoâ€¦ here is shhhhh22â€™s official trip report! As I had mentioned before, this trip was a gift for my 30th birthday. A solo trip to Vegas sweet! Wanting to give me as much time in Vegas as possible, the trip was planned so that I would leave as early as possible to Vegas and return home as late as possible. So on Friday the 14th I left for Vegas from Newark at 7:00AM on Continental. Wow itâ€™s been a while since Iâ€™d flown I forgot to buy a pack of gum for taking off and landing. Luckily there was a nice lady in the row ahead of me who offered gum to everyone around her, so I gratefully accepted a stick. The In-Flight Movie was Wall Street (Money Never Sleeps), which actually surprised me because it is fairly new. I have not seen it yet so I tried very hard not to pay attention. It wasnâ€™t too difficult the guy next was nice and talkative. It was very easy to kill time throughout the flight talking with this guy. They had menus in the seat backs and were serving breakfast. There was just NO WAY I was going to pay for airplane food, so I made due with the gum I bummed off the kind lady ahead of me. Finally we landed, and what do I see out my window?? Why itâ€™s the strip!! The Luxor and many other assorted Hotels/Casinos. So cool! I head to baggage claim grab my bag and head to the taxi line. (I had debated renting a car, but decided It would just be more of a pain than it was worth.) Finally I arrived at the Rio. What a beautiful hotel. It was insanely crowded. I later came to find out there was a softball tournament going on something like 130 teams competing and it seems like most of the teams chose the Rio as their hotel of choice. After what seemed like hours I finally get to the front of the line and itâ€™s my turn. The lady tells me I have a room on the 8th floor with 2 beds instead of a King and asks if thatâ€™s ok. I said not really and handed her my credit card with a nice juicy $20 bill sticking out and asked her if sheâ€™s sure thereâ€™s nothing she could do for meâ€¦ after a bunch of typing and â€œhmm let me see what I can doâ€ She says I think I have something youâ€™ll like. I ended up getting a room on the 17th floor of the Ipanema Tower with a King Bed and a view of the Strip. An absolutely amazing view if I may say so. That was absolutely $20 well spent. After I put my bags in my room, I put all my money in the safe, and went back down just to walk around and check out the Rio. Saw the table games with very reasonable limits $5-$15 for most games. Walked through the maze of slots, ah the ding-a-ling of slot machines is such a great sound. I walked past the Poker Room Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™ll be hitting this room up soon. Right next to the Poker room is the sports book Oh what an amazing orgy of TVs screens and sports all over the place. Wow!!! Looking at the lines just to get an idea of what the lines will be for the football games over the weekend I happened to notice the Chicago Bulls were -1 favs vs. the Indiana Pacers. You gotta be kidding me. So I jumped all over this. There was still a couple hours left until game time so I went back to my room to take a little nap. Then Iâ€™d be nice and fresh for a fun evening. Woke up and decided itâ€™s time for some poker baby! I prefer limit games but they werenâ€™t spreading any at that point, but they did have a 1/2 no limit game. I figured what the hell Iâ€™ll give it a go. Bought in for $100. As soon as I sat down a cocktail waitress came, I ask her for a Diet Coke, she informs me they only have Pepsi products. Ugh! I hate Pepsi, fine Iâ€™ll have a sierra mist. At this point I look up from counting my chips and actually look at the waitress. Whoa, that was the hottest outfit Iâ€™ve ever seen a waitress wear. Just to end all speculation, the Rio BY FAR has the absolute hottest waitresses in Vegas in every way from looks to uniforms. Anyway back to poker, Bided my time for a few hours, finally was dealt a solid hand. KK flop comes A88 (multi suited) bets all around 1 guy folds. Turn comes out K OMG I have a full house. Keep your face in check man. Ok Iâ€™ll check here, last guy bets 55 sweetâ€¦ two other guys fold back to me; at this point I have about 95 bucks or so left, so I push all in. He thinks for a while then calls. We turn our cards overâ€¦ he has pocket AA. Holy hell Iâ€™m sunk. My only prayer now is a K on the riverâ€¦ nope itâ€™s a 3. Crap. I busted out. I asked if there was a bad beat bonus dealer says only for aces cracked. Ah, well so much for that. That was a fast way to lose $100. I check my watch and realize Iâ€™ve been sitting here playing for 4 hours 15 mins. OK not so bad then. And it was def fun while it lasted. Realized I was hungry so went to the Carnival World Buffet and bought the buffet of buffets ticket. The one thing I can say about this buffet is it is huge. Unfortunately, that is about the only thing I can say about this buffet. I was not impressed in the least. Food was cold, had to send silverware back twice because they were dirty. All in all I was very disappointed. Really hope the rest of the buffets in this 24 hour pass are better. Still a little in shock about that beat in poker I decide I need to change scenery. I start walking towards a door when a Wheel of Fortune machine calls out to me. I put $40 in just to see what happens. I hit a couple of small ones in a row then I get the beloved â€œspinâ€ oh how much fun! Now weâ€™re talking! Doubled up! WOOT! It is absolutely ridiculous how exciting it is to get that damn â€œspinâ€ lol. Keep playing and balance heading back down slowly. I tell myself I wonâ€™t go back below breakeven. So when that happened I just cashed out got my ticket and moved on. As I got up I realized there was a 3 hour difference between Vegas and New Jersey. OOPS! Bulls game is long over Bulls 99 Pacers 86. WOOT!! Winner Winner! Go to sports book, oh those beautiful TV screens with sports, sports, sports!! And cash my ticket. Then I decide to head over to the Gold Coast Casino. Because it was close and I didnâ€™t want to do a ton of walking. Quaint little casino, I signed up for a players card and asked if there were any slot promotions or anything, lady at the desk said nope. So got my card and moved on. Walked around looking at the table games, trying to decide what game to play. Iâ€™m itching to play poker again and redeem myself. Found a $10 Pai Gow Poker table. Figured what the heck and sat down with 2 of the funniest most helpful Asian dudes I had ever met. Cocktail waitress, who in the case of this casino is really just a grandmother in a skirt, comes over. I again ask for a diet coke and am told once again they only have Pepsi products. WTH!! Fine Iâ€™ll have a sierra mist and a bud light. 3 hours later Iâ€™m up $10. What a fantastic game to preserve bankroll and drink and have tons of fun! Ok, now itâ€™s time for poker again. I ask the host where their poker room is, and he points me in the right direction. They were spreading limit games here 2/4 Limit. Perfect. Bought in for $100 again. Nice and steady pace to this game. I played tight and pretty much stayed out of the pot unless I had something decent. You canâ€™t bluff in a low limit game like this. Because normally these kind of games just turn into call fests anyway. After about 5.5-6 hours I finally stood up, I was stiff as a board!! How is it possible to make these luxurious casinos and literally have the worldâ€™s most uncomfortable chairs in the rooms where people sit the longest!?! I finished this session up a bit. At this point I was beyond beat and dragged my feet all the way back to the Rio and went to bed. Ended the first day down about $50 of days budget; I can live with that. Day 2: Saturday, I woke up and decided to take the Rio shuttle to the strip. The shuttle only drops off at 2 locations; either Ballyâ€™s or Paris. So I took the shuttle to Ballyâ€™s and walked across the street over to Caesars. What beautiful weather! What a bustling awesome city even in the early morning hours. I just stood in a corner looking to my left trying to name all the buildings I could, then rotate to the right and doing the sameâ€¦ after I crossed the street I took one of those conveyor belt people movers (like the ones they have in airports that make absolutely no sense since they stop in the middle of nowhere, but I digress) into Caesars. Along the way I saw some pretty awesome views of the strip, it gave me chills. BTW: This people mover was more necessary than the ones in airports! I decided to hit up the Lago Buffet for breakfast as it was part of my 24 hour pass. This place is head over heels above the Carnival World buffet as far as Iâ€™m concerned. In every way from presentation, to cleanliness, to politeness and kindness of wait staff it was a better experience than at the Rio. Of course when the waiter comes to my table to take my drink order I again ask for a diet coke and once again Iâ€™m told we only have Pepsi products, you gotta be kidding me! Fine screw it I said give me a bud light. Thatâ€™s right I had beer for breakfast an ode to my college days when Kegs and eggs was the breakfast of champions! Seriously though what is it? Is there an embargo on coca-cola in the city? Did the company piss off all the casino operators? This is nuts! Anyway after breakfast, I went to check out the Caesars Poker room. As I get there my jaw drops. And I thought the sports book at Rio was an orgy of TV Screens this was AMAZING! All the people milling about waiting for the start of the playoff games, it was quite a sight. Ooh! Iâ€™ll definitely have to come back and check this bad boy out. Went to the Poker room, they were SLAMMED. I put my name on the waiting list, but there was no way in hell I was just gonna waste my Vegas time waiting. Walked out and found a $10 blackjack table. Sat down for a bit and played for a while. Nothing really spectacular to report about the game down a bit, then up a bit. I got bored so got up and decided to place a small bet on the Ravens at +3 vs. the Steelers, and another bet on the Packers ML vs. the Falcons. Then I walked across the street to the Flamingo. I donâ€™t know why people rip on this casino. A bunch of the reviews Iâ€™ve read on this board have said its run down and in bad shape etc. etc. I didnâ€™t see any of that. Found the poker room here they had a 2/4 Limit game going and they had TV screens all around showing the game. Perfect I thought Iâ€™ll sit here play some poker and keep an eye on the game. â€œBig mistake Dr. Jones! Big mistake!â€ I was still able to play for several hours, the whole Steelers game and a quarter of the Packers game. But I was playing short stacked basically the entire time. I ended up blowing out my $100 buy in. Mercifully it was time to go see the Frank Caliendo show at the Monte Carlo. A nice casino here. This is # 2 on my list of hottest cocktail waitresses in Vegas. Very nice! Of course I tried again to find some Diet Coke and once again was rebuffed with the dreaded â€œWe serve Pepsi productsâ€. I still had about 30 mins before theyâ€™d open the doors, so I sat down to play some blackjack in a â€œpleasure pitâ€ because it was right next to the theater. Hot Chicks and gambling Iâ€™d ask what the point of the dancing girls is on stage; but itâ€™s Vegas! The Frank Caliendo show was OK. You have to really appreciate all his impressions to get the most out of it I think. There was a cover band that was warming the crowd upâ€¦ they were awesome. Did an entire 20 minute segment of TV show tunes a lot of good classic shows like Friends, A team, etc. it was fun. They ended up staying on stage with Frank for his show. They let the audience know right from the start that it is OK to take pictures and all that while he is on stage. I thought that was pretty cool, since people were going to do it anyway, might as well accommodate them! The theater was pretty small but full. Overall it was an entertaining show but probably not everyoneâ€™s cup of tea. Like I said you have to really appreciate his impressions to get the most out of it. When the show ended I found the bar just to see the score of the Packers game wow they beat up on those falcons! Winner Winner! BTW: screw you Ravens for blowing it with 5 mins left in the damn game! After show I hit up the Monte Carlo Buffet for dinner. It was nice but small, much like the theater. They had a pasta bar where they cook your pasta to order it was really really good. I had Fettuccini Alfredo that was so creamy it was quite possibly the best Iâ€™ve ever had. Were it not for the Vegas Coca-cola embargo I think this would have been #1 without a doubt. After dinner I look at my watch and itâ€™s 10PM. I had planned to hit the Palms, but I was dead tired. So instead I decided to go back to the Rio to go to sleep early. My Bears were the early game tomorrow. So Iâ€™ll sleep and rest up and hit up the Palms for the game. Day 3: I get up and walk across the street over to the Palms. This walk is a bit longer than the walk to Gold Coast. But, when I get up to the door I could tell it was crazy busy. I go to the rewards center and sign up for a players card. No promotions here either. Oh well I donâ€™t have time for that, itâ€™s almost game time. The sports book here seemed relatively small compared to Caesars and the Rio, but there were plenty of tables with personal TV screens so I found an empty table and asked the guy sitting in the next seat if it was taken he said nope, I put my stuff down and went up to the front to check out the lines. Bears -10 That was tough for me. I love the Bears but this seemed like an awful lot of points, so I teased it down 7 points to Bears -3 and also teased the total to under 50 and put them in a parlay, in the second game Patriots -9.5 I really thought the Jets would come out and avenge their blowout from earlier in the season so I took the Jets ML. OK my bets are set. Now I go back to my seat flip to the game channel and watch, while keeping an eye on the board for any line movement. Then I notice in the whole left side of the board was props what will happen first for cutler? Int or TD pass. I know these are stupid bets to make but I do it anywayâ€¦ I split up $100 between 4 bets on each game first score of game FG or Safety, defensive or special teams TD Yes, Team to score first Bears/Jets, What happens to Hasselback first? INT. Will there be a score in last 2 mins of first half of Jets/Pats? No. After Iâ€™m done placing my bets I go take my seat. A cocktail waitress comes over and asks for my drink order, I promptly ask for a Diet Coke fully expecting to hear those dreaded wordsâ€¦ instead itâ€™s as if angels were singingâ€¦ she replies ok Diet Coke anything else? No Way! I did a double take and ask just to make sure really is that you? So I tell yes please and â€œKeep â€˜em coming!â€ I probably spent a good $15-20 just on $1 tips to this waitress alone on Diet Cokes. At that point I just knew it was going to be a good day! Finally itâ€™s game time. Iâ€™ll kill the drama on the prop bets now and just say, man I blew it on most of â€˜em. Team to score first I got in both gamesâ€¦ got the FG in the Jets game as well. Lost on all the rest. Although, I feel mightily screwed out of the what happens to Hasselback first bet because the Bears had an INT taken away on a total BS pass interference call. But anyway that matters not. Bears game started great and just got better and better. I soon start regretting teasing them down to -3. By middle of 3rd quarter I start to realize at this rate the under 50 is in trouble. Nothing I can do about it except watch the ticket turn into a loser on those 2 garbage TDs given up at the end of the game. Oh well it was fun to watch and WOOOO HOOOOOO BEARS!!! Bring on the Pack! In between games I went to the food court right behind the sports book and picked up lunch. Nathans hot dogs are the best. Then the Pats game started. The Jets looked good from the start and I started getting very excited about my Jets ML bet. At halftime the Jets were up by 11 and the 2nd half line was Patriots -9.5. Wanting to protect my Jets bet, I placed a wager on the Pats 2nd half which will cover my ML bet. So basically if the Patriots pull this out and win Iâ€™ll break even on both bets, but if the Jets win Iâ€™ll still win a decent amount. It turns out the protection was not necessary. So at the end of games, itâ€™s time to do some playing I walked around the Palms casino floor a bit nothing really called out to me. So went outside and took a cab over to the Cosmopolitan. Walking into the lobby of the Cosmo all I can muster is a weak wow. It was beautiful. Those columns with the mirrors on the ceiling were so cool. I started walking around just taking it all in. Based solely on dÃ©cor and appearance alone the Cosmo is my favorite casino I visited. I signed up for an â€œidentity cardâ€ and was told there is free slot play available after I reach a certain points level. So I say thank you and keep walking and taking the scenery all in. I notice the table limits are quite reasonable mostly $15-25. I make it all the way in to the bar inside a chandelier. Absolutely gorgeous. I go upstairs and watch a couple guys playing pool for a while they ask me if I want next round, I tell them no thanks because it is quite possible I am the worldâ€™s worst pool player. Iâ€™m pretty sure my wife would back that up. I find the â€œhidden pizzeriaâ€ behind the escalator on the 2nd floor, and check out the wall of personalized signed $1 bills. I order a slice of pepperoni it came out to like $4 awesome. I hand the guy $6 and ask him if I can have 2 bills to sign and put up on the wall. The cashier tells me they are no longer accepting bills because they have too many in the back that they canâ€™t put up. Those bastards!! That was a bit of a bummer, then I sat down to watch the Golden Globes which they had on TV and eat my pizza. This is quite possible the best greasiest pizza I have ever eaten. Well worth the money. I continue explore the upper floors and come to the Rooftop pool. This is the coolest thing I have ever seen. The weather was high 60s/low 70s yet there were people in the pool. The view was stunning. What an awesome party someone could have up here. I stayed up there for quite a while just taking in the view and the smell of the chlorine. I love pools. Finally I decide itâ€™s time to gamble. I head back downstairs and find a $10 Let it Ride Poker with a 3 card poker bonus. Cool I sit down and buy in for $100. A cocktail waitress comes up. Very nice and classy uniforms here. I cautiously prepare myself for disappointment and ask for a Diet Coke. Sure! WOO HOO! Iâ€™m 2 for 2 today! I knew this would be a good day. So I start playing get a couple of small pairs and small wins. When all of a sudden I look at my cards and I see 888, YES! 3 of a kind! WOOT! Nice winner there. THE NEXT hand comes out 5H6H7H holy crap straight flush. YESSSSSS!!!! Iâ€™m up quite nicely at this point and tell myself ok definitely not gonna touch this stack, Iâ€™ll play with this stack of reds, when theyâ€™re gone, so am I. So that stack dwindles and I ask the dealer to color me up. A $100 buy-in has turned into $800!! SA-WEET!! I then ask the host where their poker room is and Iâ€™m told they do not have one. This is very surprising to me, as it seems this hotel has everything. But alas I get up and walk across the bridge over to Planet Hollywood. Once again amazing views from the bridge. Planet Hollywood was pretty much what I would have expected a bunch of young drunks loud and proud. I find the poker room, which is not a room at all but a little roped off section. They have a 2/4 Limit game going so I join in for $100 buy in. Cocktail waitress comes over; I try my luck for 3 in a row, but to no avail. Only Pepsi products here. Bummer, back to Sierra Mist. I can tell from the get go this table is going to annoy the hell out of me. Every winner was critiqued by this kid who thinks heâ€™s Godâ€™s gift to gambling. And heaven help you if you beat him. Oh why then youâ€™re just a freakin idiot who got lucky and donâ€™t deserve the money in front of you. So after I made sure I waited till I beat him at least once I collected my chips and cashed out. Iâ€™m here to have fun not to be lectured to by some turd whoâ€™s not worth my time. So I pack up my chips and head over to Ballyâ€™s. Iâ€™ve had about enough of poker at this point just want to sit down and relax with a little less mental stamina than is required by poker. Iâ€™m not that impressed with the inside of Ballyâ€™s I canâ€™t figure out what theme they are trying for. It just seems so average to me, not up to the standards Iâ€™ve seen at some of the other casinoâ€™s Iâ€™ve been to. I find a $15 switch blackjack table. Where you have to play 2 hands and you can switch your 2 second cards between hands. The differences between this and regular blackjack are dealer 22 = push for whole table. Blackjack pays 1 to 1. Iâ€™m sure there are other differences but those are what I remember. I play for a couple hours bankroll not really going anywhere, look at my watch subtract 3 hours and realize Itâ€™s 4:30AM to say ok thatâ€™s a full day and head back to home base the Rio. I stop by check in and see if I can get a late check out tomorrow and she says checkout is 11 but can push me till noon. I say great thank you and head upstairs. Last Day: After I get up and pack my bags I check my flight info and see my return flight is at 10:30PM so I have quite a bit of time to kill. I do one last room check then head down to check out. Check out line was very long but moved steadily. After checking out I gave my bags to the bellman and asked him if there are any Bank of Americas around, he calls a cab and gives him the address of a branch thatâ€™s close. I decide to deposit a majority of my cash just to be safe and ensure I go home with something. The bank was about a $7 cab ride away not bad at all, I then asked the cabbie to take me to the Trump casino. He informed me that the Trump was just a hotel no casino. That was very surprising to me, he has a ton of casinos here in Atlantic City how can he not have anything in Vegas!? Anyway I then say OK take me to the Wynn. The Wynn is nice and I now it came before the Cosmo, but as far as Iâ€™m concerned it seemed like an imitation of the Cosmo. I sign up for a player card and receive 2 buffet tickets for signing up pretty cool. Can use them for up to a year, so Iâ€™ll hold on to these. So walking around checking out the Wynn I find their poker room. Only limit game they have is 4/8 limit. Iâ€™m up a little on this trip so say what the hell and buy in for $200. I also take my cell phone out and set my alarm clock just to make sure I donâ€™t lose track of time. Cocktail waitress came and I asked for my Diet Coke and she obliged!! WOOT! This table seemed to be all locals, nice guys all around. I won a couple of decent pots early and then it started to slow down for me. While not quite the call fest of a 2/4 game there was still a lot of calling. I ended up sitting at that table for about 5 hours till my alarm went off at 7. I ended down about $75 so certainly could have been worse. I then cabbed it back to Rio. I Did one last walk around just to say good bye. Got pulled into the sports book again. The lines for next weekâ€™s championship games were up. I asked the lady at the counter what would happen if I wasnâ€™t here for game time, she said I can either mail the tickets in and theyâ€™ll send a check or I have up to a year to redeem them. That sounded pretty good to me so I placed a couple of bets on this weekâ€™s games. Then it was time to say good bye and hop in a cab to the airport. All in all this was an AMAZING trip. I had a blast and loved every minute of it. For those keeping score out of the 10 casinos I visited only 3 THREE! Served Coke products that is nuts. Anyway I now anxiously await the opportunity to be blessed with another trip to Vegas in the mean time the memories should tide me over for now!