Friday August 23rd Well I hope you are all ready cuz I have a tendency to get real winded. I must mention up front however that I am not a slot or VP player so I wonâ€™t have anything to report. If however you like to play craps or just hear about our adventures over our long weekend then you are reading the right report. Trip from Rochester Minnesota was uneventful. We drove to the charter terminal at Minneapolis and got checked in just fine. We were one of the last ones to check in so we were told that we had non-reclining seats. Now if you are flying a major airline that is not too much of a problem. But charter planes already have seats that are as old as I am and they really cram you in those things. So our flight was a bit uncomfortable but we arrived right on time. Our friend who recently moved out there picked us up and off we went. He drove us to show off his place (just of Sahara Ave near Boulder Station if you know the area) and then he drove us down to the Lady Luck. We check in at the Gold Room (VIP room) and that went really quickly. They put is in a regular room in the tower just above the casino. It was a really nice room for downtown. You could tell it was recently remodeled but we really were impressed. We headed downstairs and we needed to eat something quick so we walked to Binions and ate at one of their snack bars. Had a delicious hamburger, I tell you it was so juicy, it really hit the spot. After dinner it was time to hit the tables. My wife and friend headed for the BJ tables and I hit the craps tables. I told myself this time that I wouldnâ€™t be afraid to play the darkside if the table was going south and I would be more aggressive at pressing my place bets. I will only start doing come bets if I am in the black for that roll. But when I do they are max odds. Table was choppy, was almost down my 300 I put in when this lady in a cowboy hat got the dice. She rolled 9 six times in a row and had the dice for about 30 minutes. After hitting the 9 three times she set a point of 4 and hit like 15 place numbers before the dreaded â€œ7-out, line away, pay the donâ€™t and last comeâ€. It got me out of the cellar and right at even so I decided to use a little discipline and walk away. Hit the Blackjack tables for awhile, one thing I like about Binions is they let you actually CUT the cards instead of just giving you the RED or Yellow card to slide in. It was around 10 now and it was time to ride the grain train, I tried the Brain Freeze flavor and was not disappointed (orange creamsicle), I asked for the xtra shot and off we went. We strolled next door to the Golden Gate where I proceeded to lose 200 very quickly and even tried Roulette for the first time (brain freeze was talking to me) and lost another 50 before I found my wife and asked to get out while I still had my shirt. We decided we should go back to the Lady Luck and start playing where we are staying to justify our comped rooms. I hit the craps table while my wife hit the BJ table. I quickly lost another 200 on a cold table (still couldnâ€™t play the darkside). So I decided to join my wife at the BJ table. The game she was playing was a very generous hybrid of single deck. The only drawback was all Blackjacks paid even money but here is the good stuff. You can double down after any number of cards, so if you get to 11 on your 3rd card you could then double down. You can also surrender at ANY time, even after a double down. If you get a 6 card hand you win automatically, 2-1 if it ends up 20 or 21. You could play Aâ€™s after they were split and even double down. Really nice rules, I made back 400 at that table betting 20-40 bucks a hand. My wife went to bed around one but I wasnâ€™t done feeding my craps binge yet so I went back to the Craps table. Bought in for 300 (as usual) and quickly lost 200, then it was my roll and regardless of where I stand I go in with confidence in my roll. I started come bets right away. The point was 4 so I layed out 44 across and bought the 10 for 25. I started hitting numbers like crazy, no 10 or but hit 5-9 probably 8 or 9 times before getting my first point of 4. I then rolled a 10 on the come out, by this time I had all inside number with come bets and odds actually had a couple at 10 with 50 odds. There were guys getting really lucky hits on hope bets and Yoâ€™s. One guy had a 100 hard 8 and it hit on the first roll (guess he shoulda hopped it for 30-1). I am not a big prop better but always do a horn high YO on the come out and place a buck for a dealer YO. Itâ€™s amazing how much better your Craps experience is when you keep the dealers in the game. I rolled for about an hour and a half because the dealer that was right next to me when I started (I was on the hook), had just returned and he had a 20 minute break in-between. So 3 stations at 20 minutes and a break. When I finally 7ed out I had made a lot of chip trays very full. Usually when I roll like that I get some my way for my efforts. Once I got a black chip from a guy but this time I got stiffed, I couldnâ€™t believe it. Well I made 1500 on the roll myself and even the minimum bettors had 300 or 400 in front of them. One guy colored up at 11 grand (have to bet big to win big I guess). I stayed a while longer and lost some of it back but at a 1000 I colored up and headed for bed (4 AM). Saturday August 24th We were up and out of the room by 10 AM and headed to the Golden Nugget to get our â€œSpirit of the Danceâ€ tickets. From there we head for the California, didnâ€™t much care for it, dropped a little getting my red chip for my collection but didnâ€™t play craps as I refuse to play at a 2X odds table. Would rather throw a 100 in the table and walk away then be aggravated at 2X odds. Next stop was Main Street Station. I was immediately happy when I saw the 20X odds signs for Craps. I immediately threw 200 in and ask the waitress for a micro brew. Someone was in the middle of the roll and within 2 rolls 7-Ed out. About 5 people left leaving me at one end and a big Hawaiian guy at the other. He had a lot of green chips in his tray, probably had a 1000 total in his tray. He starts flinging green chips for prop bets and layed a 25 on the pass line. I started this one of by placing 34 inside (point was 5) and had 5 bucks with 50 odds (not gutsy to do 20X just yet). After he hit three place bets I started power pressing every other bet. I had 12 on the 6; once he threw the 6 I dropped 4 bucks and went up to 30. Then let them hit once and take them all the way up again. I usually stop at 60 on 6 & 8 and 50 on the 5 & 9. He hit the 6 and 8 for like 10 straight rolls before getting his first point. Then he was a point machine, he would establish the point and within two rolls hit it. He hit 4 points in quick succession like that then got to the point of 9. Now he had made 5 points and I was already up 500+. I finally decided to go for the 20X odds. Now by this time he had 100 on the pass and a 1000 behind it and about 4 other people hand joined in. I put down my 5 bucks and put a stack of 20 reds behind itâ€¦ I had green but wanted to use RED for affect. He rolled about 4 place numbers and BANG hit the number (was a 5). So I got to watch her give me 6 green chips next to my stack of reds. The next number was a 4 and I was getting that feeling so even though I left my place bets out I only put 50 behind the pass line for odds. He 7Ed-out on the next roll. He rolled for only 45 minutes but the dealers were fast and there was only us two for most of it so we got a lot of rolls in. You guys know that when a monster roll is on it takes like 2-3 minutes between rolls sometimes. But he rolled much faster thanks to the dealers and only having two of us there. I colored up there up 1000, which made up for the 200 I lost playing BJ at California and there at Main Street. From Main Street Station we walked back to the Golden Gate and ate the deli, had a wonderful sandwich and of course the shrimp cocktail. I then decided I wanted to try and get my 200 back from the night before so I went to the craps table and threw in 300. Now when you throw in 300 at the strip hotel they donâ€™t look twice but at the golden gate you get a stare and immediate notice from the Pit Critter (just found that amusing). Table was up and down, one fellow made me 200 on the come out with hitting horn bets that I kept pressing. I had a pretty good run with one roll when I did come bets across the board and had them hit for a nice profit. I had 400 in green and 16 bucks left over, I had made back my 200 so was happy to leave but put the 16 on a horn bet and he threw ACES, so now I had another 108 bucks to play with. I had 500 in green and set it on the table to â€œcolor upâ€, the boxman looked at me funny then said â€œgreen is the highest we haveâ€, I didnâ€™t really bother noticing but never thought that any craps table would be with at least 100â€™s. Now wonder I got looks when I threw in 300 bucks to start. So I took my stack of green and went to the cashier. Now that I am up a good bit for the day we headed back to Binions where I really picked the wrong table, it was choppy at first then went ice cold, I quickly lost 400 and walked away scraping my ego off the carpet. There must have been 4 PSO (Point 7 out) right in a row. We left Binions and went back to Lady Luck as we had time to kill before our evening out. I lost another 300 at the craps table and was now only up 300 for the day. Again choppy table and went cold and if I would have played the dark side I would have made a killing. Bad part is I almost decided to come in doing it but changed my mind at the last minute. That cost me some greenbacks. Well the evening was wonderful. We dressed up a bit and went to Hugoâ€™s Cellar, neither on of us has heard of it but ANDSEN recommended it. THANK YOU THANK YOU, that place is amazing, they pamper you like no place I have ever seen. They made my salad at my table just the way I wanted. The Merlot Wine was awesome and the veal was so tender I cut it with a fork. If you havenâ€™t been there make a point to go, the price is spendy, with drinks (4 glasses merlot) the cost was 140.00 with tip but it was worth every penny. The best part is when you go down there you are in a whole new world and cannot hear a single casino noise. Amazing dinner, atmosphere and service. After dinner we went to the Golden Nugget and saw â€œSpirit of the Danceâ€. We were right I the front row and it was a great show, my wife especially enjoyed it. Itâ€™s a spin-off of Michael Flatleyâ€™s Lord of the Dance and was very well done. The rest of the evening we spent at Fitzgeraldâ€™s, 4 Queens and Lady Luck. Really nothing to mention, tables were choppy, it was VERY crowded downtown (WAR was in concert); I came out down 300 in those last few stops. We headed for bed around 2 AM. Sunday August 25th Up at 9 AM this morning but vegged in the room while we packed up to transfer to the strip. We decided to try the buffet before we left for the strip. Out of the entire trip this was our biggest mistake, it was still breakfast and the food was horrible. It wasnâ€™t even bland, it was just plain BAD. Eggs were cold, the French toast were little sticks and the rolls were like bricks. Even the coffee served was luke warm. Two buffets downtown and two BAD experiences. We had trouble getting in touch with our friend so we decided to Cab it from Downtown to Mandalay Bay. Walking into Mandalay Bay really makes a person wonder why they stay at a place like the Lady Luck (okay maybe the price has something to do with it). We got their at 11:45 so for all of you Vegas junkies you know what that means. Everyone in their dog is waiting to check in. There were about 10 lines 10-15 people deep and they were going to start at noon. Well since I got a card in the mail that was comping my rooms and it said VIP on the card I decided to try using the end line where it say â€œinvited guests onlyâ€. I walked right up and she put in my confirmation number and voila I WAS IN. We got a room on the 27th floor overlooking the pool (opposite strip). We really loved the room, Mandalay Bay rooms are cool. The toilet has its only little room. We had a separate shower and Jacuzzi tub, two sinks and of course it had French style doors to the bathroom. The view is great as the windows are floor to ceiling. Well after we got settled in we decided it was time to pick up where we left off last time on our strip tour. Last trip in April we only made as far as Bellagio/Paris area. So we trammed from MB to the Excalibur and then just started walking. We actually stopped in at the Boardwalk first which is between Monte Carlo and Bellagio but didnâ€™t see it last time. I started a collection of getting a red chip at each casino so the Boardwalk was first for the day. I didnâ€™t play Craps but my wife and I played BJ for a few minutes, both lost so we left quickly. Then to Ceaserâ€™s Palace. Okay I might be a bit of a hic but this place was way out of my league. I felt very uncomfortable their and the lowest denomination table we could find was 25 Bucks, even for craps. There were a lot of people there betting way more than I hope to feel comfortable with for a very long time. Needless to say we didnâ€™t stay long, we walked through the forum shops but didnâ€™t stay for a show as it was just too packed and too many kids (still trying to figure out why people take their kids to vegas, I have 5 myself and would never bring them to vegas). From their we hit the Mirage and Treasure Island, both place we stayed for a little BJ and came out about even. While at Treasure Island we picked up our Mystere tickets. After getting the tickets we decided to try Kahunaville and they had very good food their. Have nice little fountain show and cool looking beverages. They even have a little show, like a MINI Bellagio type show, it was cute but after seeing the fountains, nothing else compares. After we left Treasure Island we decided to go across the street and work our way back. So far on this afternoon we were not in a good mood as we really didnâ€™t like Ceaserâ€™s, Mirage, Treasure Island all that much. We walked across to the Venetian and our jaws just dropped. What a beautiful place. Although it is obviously upscale I didnâ€™t feel as stuffy as I was in the â€œPalaceâ€. We played a little blackjack and looked around and really loved the place, a very large wide open property. Next stop Casino Royale, now on our way in we got approached by the time share hounds and we agreed to spend an hour the next day for free tickets to Splash at the Riviera and some free buffet tickets. Once that sales attack was over we continued in the Casino Royale and I hit the 1 dollar 100x odds craps table. I must say I was not impressed, the dealers acted like they didnâ€™t want to be there, the stickman practically whispered the call of the dice and even the players were cranky. Not a good scenario for a craps environment. I play for about 10 minutes and left the table with what I cashed in for. Next stop Harrahâ€™s, we entered the property right where the party pit is and we tried the triple shot game. Now this game was fun. It was a single deck game that you played three games each hand. You had to bet at least 5 for each of the three games but could bet various amounts. The first game was WAR, the 2nd was Blackjack and the third is 6-card poker. The first card dealt is the WAR card. Then the second card is the rest of your blackjack hand. Once everyone is done with blackjack and dealers settles his/her hand you finish with the 6-card poker. If you have already been dealt 6 cards in your BJ hand than you just use those 6, otherwise he/she deals you up to 6 cards and pays on a pair of Queens or better. I saw a kid get 4 of a kind twice in 5 hands and that paid 15-1. It was a different change of pace and I won a couple of hundred on it so I obviously thought it was a superior game . Imperial Palace â€“ After leaving Harrahâ€™s we stopped in at the IP and had a good game of BJ. Was a 3 dollar table and the dealer was great. She was a little Asian Gal and she was really quiet at first but we got her going and she was a hoot. We played until she left because like so many other times when a new dealer stepped in it went cold IMMEDIATELY. I played two hands and colored up. The IP was pretty nice, was a little smokier than some of the others but that was about the only downfall. Flamingo was the next stop and right away I got a bad feeling in my stomach. It wasnâ€™t the Casino, I really like the inside, and it seemed wide open with a LARGE table area and lots of room to move about. But I got that feeling when one of the 6 or so craps tables was BOOMING. There were 3 people deep just trying to see the table, let alone play on it. I managed to get around the back side on the hook right be the dealer and peek in. I knew what I was going to see and all of you craps junkies do to, it was a layout covered in chips. The box was EMPTY and the chip trays around the table were FULL, both rows for many people. Of course at this point it was taking 2-3 minutes between rolls because there was so much going on but I talked to the guy that was at the spot right next to the dealer on the hook and he said the guy had been rolling for 90 minutes and had already made at least 8 passes. There was no way I was getting in there to play. He got one more point and 7ed out soon after. I couldnâ€™t bear to watch all the color coming in; I walked to the other side of the pit and played an uneventful up and down session. Barbary Coast â€“ After wishing I had been to the Flamingo much sooner that we were for that monster roll we strolled into the Barbary Coast. A cramped little casino but liked the atmosphere. Had a good session and left up 100.00. For some reason this trip I rolled pretty good. I probably averaged 15 rolls a session, with quite a few going well over 20. Ballyâ€™s â€“ Next stop was Ballyâ€™s where we were really starting to get tired. It was almost 9 PM and we were going to a show at 10PM, so we played for a short while there, the layout at Ballyâ€™s had a little raised spot where the horn and hardway bets are. I asked a dealer and he said it was to prevent the dice sliders from getting the dice down the table by sliding them. Apparently there are quite a few people that have learned to do it and the casinos are not happy about it. Showtime â€“ Its 915 and we are at Ballyâ€™s and need to be back down to Treasure Island by 10PM for Mystere. We decided to hoof it, hell we could see it from Ballyâ€™s . Well we had to walk as fast as we could which at times was not very fast with all the people and we got to Treasure Island right a 10 PM. The show is really overwhelming. It was a great production and there is no doubt that these people are very talented. I saw humans do things that if I were watching it on TV would swear to be computer generated. Amazing, but maybe it was because we had been walking since 1PM but we didnâ€™t leave with the same energy that we did with BMG back in April. I am not saying I donâ€™t recommend it because it is a great show but I would see BMG again before I went to Mystere or â€œOâ€ for that matter. As soon as the show was over we cabbed it back to the Mandalay Bay and CRASHED. Monday August 27th We were up at 9 AM so that we could be ready to be picked up for our Timeshare pitch at 10AM. We were picked up promptly but in the â€œpitchâ€ the day before they said it would take 1 hour of our time. Man were we in for a surprise, three hours later and pressure from their loan officer and even the general manager got to a boiling point and finally my wife just said â€œI am done here, can we please leaveâ€. The obliged and we headed back to the MB. We were both frustrated but figured we got free tickets to a show. I guess if it were our first day or 2nd day in Vegas we wouldnâ€™t have minded but it was our last day and we didnâ€™t want to spend three hours getting pressured to spend 30 grand in a timeshare. When we got back I wanted to check out the Luxor as we stayed their on our last trip and had yet to step foot in their this time. We walked over there and I stepped up to a table and promptly saw two people right in a row PSO (point-7-out). So I played the dark side and stayed there until it was my roll. I raked in the cash, everyone was getting frustrated but I was winning playing the dark side. When it was my roll I played the pass line and got 2 points very quickly before passing them on myself. I had a really good session, it wasnâ€™t one of my biggest sessions of the trip by far but I was proud that I had the discipline to play the darkside and WIN. After returning from the Luxor we decided to check out the â€œbeachâ€ at Mandalay Bay. This place was great, I really like that you have to have a room key to get in. No exceptions, we found out the hard way as my wife forgot her room key and we tried pleading with the guy I mean it is obvious we are married but he stood firm. So back to the room to get her key. I am glad they do that I could only imagine how busy they would be if they let anyone in. The beach was really cool, and if you lie in a chair and close your eyes it even sounds like waves hitting the beach. The beach was full but not crammed and the other two pools were practically empty. We had a wonderful time and just vegged for a couple of hours. I headed back early to get in one last session before our friend was picking us up for dinner and â€œback to realityâ€ trip (Airport). I headed downstairs and by now all the craps tables were at least $10. I didnâ€™t mind as I usually bet at that level to start, especially on 3/4/5 tables. I continued to roll well which was nice cuz there were two dark side betters playing and they quickly learn when I was rolling to either sit out or switch to the good side. One man was playing right next to me and play and interesting twist to the darkside. He was playing the donâ€™t pass and place money on the 6/8 (60 each) when neither one of them were the point. He would hit them once back them down to 12 each and then full press every other hit. He really did well because we would hit some 6 and 8â€™s and then 7-out. He really made a killing. Once we got on a good roll he would switch to the pass line. I got to talking to him and he plays in a lot of Craps tourneys and I know they are more about luck and hitting the streak but I liked his approach, something new. Right at the end of the session there was a pretty high roller coming up to the table, started with a 10K marker and plopped down 4800 in cash (gulp). He also was given 3000 in â€œgaming chipsâ€. He was real funny to watch, he got on a pretty good roll but had quite a production on each roll. He would first place both hands on the layout and warm them up. Then grab the dice and set them just they way he wanted (not like a dice setter), then the good part; he would back away from the table, adjust his glasses, look around and get this â€œninjaâ€ look on his face. Then he leaned way down almost putting his chin on the dice and would STARE at the back wall, then after about 5 seconds would every so gently throw them. It would take him a good 30 seconds on each roll; I tell you if lo-roller Shane would have tried that the pit crew would have a fit. But the pit crew, boxman and pit boss watched and just let him do his thing. Hell he had 500 on pass line and 2000 behind it (point was 9). He was probably risking 5-7K a roll and was very generous with tipping so no one said a word to him. As soon as he finished his roll I colored up and we left with our friend. Boulder Station â€“ My friend took us to Boulder Station for our â€œlast supperâ€ and really loved the food there. Canâ€™t remember the name but it is the Mexican restaurant there. They had an awesome Salsa bar and wonderful food. We walked around a bit and I really want to check this place out on our next trip. Like the atmosphere, definitely local but had a good look and feel about it. Well off to the airport for the ride home. About the only excitement at the airport was some college age kid who was SMOKED yelling at the lady at the ticket counter. Good thing his girlfriend was there or he wouldnâ€™t have gone back to Minneapolis that night. The trip is over and I already want to go back, what it is about that damn town that does it. Really is nice to get away from reality and 5 kids to be one yourself for a few days. I realize now that for us 3 Â½ days is not enough and from our first trip that 5 nights is too long. Next trip 4 full days and nights. Probably wonâ€™t be till around March/April unless Mandalay Bay sends me another cool flyer!!!