The wife and I have returned to Vegas to celebrate our 13th anniversary! We haven’t been since 2008, so we were both ready for our 9th trip to Vegas! Monday Aug 6th I never thought this day would come! Got the kiddos all situated with the sitter at our home and off to Chicago Midway for our 9:15PM Southwest flight. Had decent boarding position and we opted to take row 13 since we were celebrating our 13th anniversary! During the flight, I had 4 Southwest drink coupons ready to go with the intentions of using all 4. HOWEVER, they began drink service and used my first coupon on a beer. This is where it gets a little funny. Even though it has been a few years since we have been to Vegas last, we always fly SW and I always have my drink coupons for the flight out, however the last 3 trips, once my first drink is ordered, I usually tip the flight attendant $10 and from there I’ve never had to use my coupons at all on 3 consecutive trips. On this trip, I did the same. I tipped the flight attendant $10 and she completely looked at me like I had 5 heads! She tried to give it back over and over again, but I insisted even though I’m starting to feel like this flight will be different than the other. W, btw is slipping down in her seat in embarrassment. So the attendant took my ticket and the tip and I was hoping for the best. Yes, I brought my coupons to USE them on drinks, but I had always drink for free once I had put down a toke on these previous flights! So, once they brought out the drinks, the flight attendants all seems to disappear!?! Later in the flight, I actually used the call button to order another drink. The same attendant responded and seemed annoyed that I ordered another beer. Apparently, annoyed to the point that I never received that beer (to which she apologized when we were walking off the plane) Was looking for a little more of a “party – we’re going to Vegas” attitude on the plane, but no dice! We landed in LAS at around 10:50PM and headed to the car rental center. Once at the rental center, I head over to Hertz and was immediately told that the type of vehicle in my reservation (Chrysler convertible) was unavailable, thus he would upgrade me to a 2013 Ford Mustang convertible for free. YES, I’ll take it! We get settled in the vehicle and off we head to the Mirage! I know it’s a Monday evenings, but I don’t remember traffic on the strip being so smooth last time…. We arrive at the Mirage and it’s time for the $20 trick! My wife just shakes her head when I do this and refuses to stand at the counter with me even though it has worked for us every trip but once. I approach a pretty young employee named Connie with the cash tucked in the DL and CC. Hand it over and asked for a nice high room with a view of the strip. “We here on our anniversary and we just love the Mirage, blah blah blah” She tells me she’ll see what she can do. She then calls a host and asks to release a room. She gives us a room on the 25th floor strip view, right over the volcano. In my book, it’s a win. It’s what I asked for! I’ll take it! W and I head up to the room, drop the bags and make it back down to Carnegie’s for a bite to eat. As we’re eating, there are 2 women next to us eating that we’re both convinced are working girls. Suddenly, they both rise from the table and start quickly walking out of the place after almost finishing. A waitress SPRINTS after them, catching them just beyond the Carnegie’s entrance and reminds them that they haven’t paid. They tell her that they had to use the restroom (yeah, right). Waitress demands a payment or a CC before they go (there’s no bathroom at Carnegies) The women take GREAT exception to this, waitress signals someone to call security, women pick up on this an pay immediately, never to be seen again. Waitress comes by our table and tells us that happens ALL the time. We finish up and head onto the floor for a quick session, cause it’s now 1AM Vegas time (3AM at home) I head to the tables and W wanders the slots. I decided on some roulette. When I play, I use a martindale-like strategy using the outside bets only. I take a lot of heat from other players, dealers, pit bosses, etc on how unexciting and boring my type of play is, but I just give them the “slow and steady” response. In fact I played for 2.5 hours on the same $100 buy in and would walk away with $260. In fact, I played with a nice couple from Canada who after an hour or so, started asking to explain my strategy clearly taking note of my wins. I was happy to share and before you know it, a lot of the table was now shadowing my bets. The dealers just grinned and shook their heads. Everybody ended up or even, so the table atmosphere was good. However, my first game of choice is craps, but there was virtually NO action at any of the 3 open tables. I hate being the only person at craps table, thus why I chose roulette. At 3:30AM, I colored up and found W, only to learn she was a little over $200 down (man I gotta teach this woman some table games!) Oh well, up about $60 for the first session. Time for bed! Tuesday Aug 7th Like many of you, I CANNOT sleep in Vegas. I’m just too excited to be in this town. So after getting to sleep at about 4AM, I was back up and showered by 7:30AM and ready to get back downstairs. I kissed the wife, who responded with a good luck “grunt” from the bed (I gamble in the mornings, she sleeps in ) and off I went. I get downstairs to find an absolutely dead gaming floor and I’m not very surprised. There’s nothing going on at any of the tables, just half sleeping dealers I finally come across the “organic” craps machine thing that I kept reading about on here prior to this trip. I sit down and buy in with $100 and off I go. I was the only person playing. As with roulette, I try to stick to a strategy that has been good to me in the past. No different here as I play for about 2 hours and cashed out with $415. Even though there where people that came and went on the game, I was the only shooter the whole time. My only complaints with this game is that there should be a way to speed up to the roll if you’re the only one playin or there should be a “ready” button. Oh and I can hear “c’mon! press the button!” in my sleep! LOL I head back upstairs at about 930AM to wake the wife for her spa appointment. I sit and enjoy my Vodka & Red Bull (that’s my Vegas drink) as she gets ready. I get her all settled at the spa and I head over to Caesar’s to buy tickets for the 10PM Absinthe show. I get there to find the box office hasn’t opened yet, so I head to concierge and purchase out tix there. I bought the VIP 2nd row tix. From there I decide to search for a happening craps table. I really don’t find anything to my liking so I end up back at the Mirage where I play some VP and some roulette and broke about even. For lunch, we head over to the Grand Lux Café at the Venetian for lunch. W and I both love that place. I think they might make the best Long Island in Vegas! Delicious as always and we head back across the street to the Mirage pool. We were thinking it would be hard to find a chair, but it was very easy, however there were none in the shade and it was pretty damn hot. We ordered a few rounds of drinks and hung out at the pool ( and the large amount of kids??) till about 5 PM or so. Went back to the room to get ready for our anniversary dinner. We went to Nove Italiano at the Palms. It was a nice place, but completely empty. We enjoyed a nice window table with a decent view of the strip on one side and the sunset on the other. After dinner, we headed over Caesar’s for the Absinthe show. All I can say is WOW! W and I really enjoyed this show! Caution though, it is VERY descriptive and dirty, which doesn’t bother us and we knew that going in. In fact, we wondered if there were some people in the audience that were genuinely duped thinking that this was something else. We laughed so hard that we both had headaches at the end (I’m sure the all day drinking didn’t help) It was a very intimate setting and the performers were very good. We’ll definitely be back to see that one again. After the show, we headed back to the Mirage for some gambling and drinking. Nothing spectacular to report. By our standards, we turned in a little early this night around 1AM. Wednesday Aug 8th I let W sleep in and I went down to play at 7:30AM. Again, there was no action at the craps, not even one player, so I headed again to the roulette table where I had yet to lose to this point. There were a few other people playing. I bought in with $200 and again began my strategy in action. Usually as a courtesy, I’ll tell the dealers my intentions of just playing the thirds on the outside. The two rotating dealers were very talkative and made for a nice session. Even the boss was a wonderful lady who was very friendly. I played nearly 4 hours on the same buy-in and once I started feeling the numerous vodka and red bulls, I told myself I’d quit. Shortly thereafter, W came down and got me and I was able to color up with about $400. So far this trip, I had yet to lose. That would change and I knew it! For lunch, we drove out to the M casino south of the strip for their buffet. I think the food is pretty marginal, but W likes it because she is a vegetarian and loves their selection. I like the beer that’s included with the buffet. Glad to see they switched to serving it in pint glasses rather than the smaller ones when I was here last. After lunch, W wanted to play bingo. You see, for the last 3 trips, we’ve played bingo and W has won 3-4 times in those trips. She really enjoys it and I just sit there and look at the computer thing and keep drinking, whatever… Well, I guess I didn’t do my homework because we went to the Riviera to play since I found coupons in the Las Vegas Advisor book. We went there only to learn that the bingo has closed because they couldn’t afford to keep it open. Oh well, may as well play while we’re here. W went off to find slots and I found a craps table with some players at it (finally). As I stepped up, I was reminded that I was in an “old Vegas” joint. First I see the pit boss, keeled over the middle desk smoking a big cigar and he was wearing a suit that had to be 20+ years old. Looked grumpy as hell. All the dealers were Asian and questioned every bet I made. WTF?? Like I said before, I go into these games and try to stick to a strategy. My craps strategy consists of winning on any number but the 7 and taking down bets at the right time. Every time I asked him to pull down my place bets, I was completely chided. Oh well, cause it worked and I rolled for about 20 minutes and made over $200. After the Riv, we took the car back to the Mirage, and we decided to walk to Batista’s for dinner. Playing here and there along the way. We love Batista’s. We both completely recognize that there are probably a billion other places to get better Italian food, but we’ve been here on every trip. Food was actually better than last time, in my opinion. And yes, Gordy is still alive and kicking! He wouldn’t tell me how old he is , however the bartender told me he started in 1979. Tonight’s show was the Improv at Harrah’s. We played a little bit while waiting for the show. No wins to speak of. The show was good. While we were being seated, I saw the person’s name tag said Chicago. I told her we were from the Chicago area too, and we realized we lived close to where she was from. She then tells me that she has to take care of her hometown friends, and proceeds to put us at the front table. I go to tip her and she runs off, taking care of the next guests. I told W I’d find her after the show, but she was no where to be found. We gambled for a few hours after the show. Nothing really spectacular to speak of. At about 1AM, I got a hankering for a late night Vegas snack, so we drove over for the $7.77 steak special at Lucky’s in the Hard Rock. Awesome food. Plus, we had never been to the Hard Rock, so we enjoyed walking around for a little bit while we were there. Thursday Aug 9th Like clockwork, I was up at 7AM and down on the gaming floor by 7:30AM. I really wanted to play some craps. Not craps with me as the only player. Not electronic craps. Just a game with some action. Nothing at the Mirage, no luck at Harrah’s. What do I find? Casino Royale, baby!!! I bought in with $100 and here we go. This place is “interesting” The game was actually quite fun, but I was more entertained by the drunk guy who kept asking the CW for scotch when she came buy and she laughed out loud at him. In fact the whole table did. On every seven-out, he would groan and curse loudly. It was like was having a heart attack. So when it was my turn to roll, I began with my rolls that have a higher than usually arc, but always hit the back wall. The bosses here were all over me about my throws. I was warned to keep the arc low and throw more directly at the wall. I was dumbfounded, but I changed up my tosses as long as he was around. What’s the big deal, I was hitting the wall? In fact, I would be warned here, Harrah’s and South Point for my throws. This has never happened before. For lunch, we headed to South Point because they have bingo. Ate at the Coronado Café, nothing really special here. Had an hour to blow before the bingo game. Played some craps and cashed out about $10 up. W hit 2 bonus spins of the wheel of fortune slots of 500 and 100, respectively. We went upstairs to the bingo room and were surprised to see such a decent room with great service. We didn’t win, but we enjoyed the game and everyone there. We’ll be returning to this place. Once we got back to the Mirage, W wanted to lay down before dinner. So she went to the room and I hung out in the sportsbook, watching some games and betting on a few horse races here and there. For dinner, we went to the Sugar Factory in the Paris. WOW, we really enjoyed it here! Our waitress was from Illinois and then through conversation, we realized we knew the same person. What a small world! I asked for the grape crush cocktail and she brought me a root beer float cocktail, which was quite good too. Once I brought the mistake to her attention, she let me know that BOTH drinks would be free for her goof up. Score! We also got one of those big goblet drinks that bubbled and smoked. For dinner, I had the chicken and waffles and W had pomodoro pasta. After dinner, I took another grape crush drink for the road and we walked to the Imperial Palace for the Divas show. The Divas show is another thing we do everytime we come to Vegas. W LOVES it and I think it’s pretty entertaining as well. Was quite surprised to see the theatre was a capacity for the show. Oh and thanks for the construction at the IP, it was SOOOO Hot!!! I was sweating the whole time we were there. Even the performers commented on it after the show. After the show, we gambled more at Harrah’s. I was quite drunk at this point and should have just watched. I was making crazy bets on a roulette table and ended up losing about $400 in a matter of 20 minutes. Finally I did stop and let W play as long as she wished. We then went over to the Mirage and we played some machines for about an hour. Headed to bed about 3 AM. Checking out in the morning. Friday Aug 10th Woke up and checked out to find that $130 worth of our pools drinks had been comped! It’s not much, but I’ll take anything! Checked my MLife account to see that I played myself into the Pearl tier, but from what I read on this board, not to expect much in changes as far as offers are concerned for the new level. Had free passes for the Mirage buffet so we had breakfast there. Went over to Venetian for a little shopping to buy our boys some souvenirs and we checked out Madame Toussaud’s on the way out. Quite enjoyable! After that, our trip has come to a close as we headed to the airport for the flight home. Hope you enjoyed reading. Can’t wait to make it back here next year!