We just got back on the red-eye this morning from a 3 day visit â€“ hoping to get most of this down before I forget the highlights. We left NC about an hour late on Wednesday evening â€“ thunderstorms shut the airport for a while and a lot of connecting flights were diverted elsewhere for fuel. Unfortunately for many people (but good for us), connections were missed and our sold out plane was only about 2/3 full, so room to spread out. After sitting on the runway in a torrential downpour and hoping the storm would pass we took off, arriving only 45 minutes late, got the bargain car from Budget ($100 total for the weekend thru smarterliving.com) and then off to the Mirage. Almost no wait at check-in, we headed up to our Tower Deluxe room on the 25th floor, private elevators for 24 & 25. Not bad choice, the same furnishings as the regular rooms, but a larger bath with separate shower and whirlpool tub. Unfortunately not really a two person whirlpool, but we made do anyway. The private elevators were nice, never crowded and didnâ€™t have to wait long. Plus we had a great view of the pool area and the dolphin habitat. I found a good rate by lurking on the hotel website and grabbing something reasonable about 3 months ago. Later these same rooms were going for 250-300 a night. The â€œexcuseâ€ for this trip was the large bridge tournament at the Rivera â€“ we have found that helps keep our expenses in line, as playing bridge for a several hours a day cuts down on how much we would potentially lose elsewhere. We both like playing the tables so much that a pure gambling trip could prove way too expensive for our budget! This way we enjoy our favorite hobby and then also have time for Vegas too. Once settled in, we headed to the Barbary Coast around 11p as the table limits at the Mirage were a little high â€“ the only $15 Pai Gow poker table was full and also no blackjack under $15. We like the Barbary Coast as you can always find $5 tables at any time, there is usually a pretty good band and some decent (but not perfect) VP games. I won about $40 on nickel VP, husband lost about the same on Let it ride. About 1:30a jet lag was kicking in, so we headed back to our room. Thursday, woke up early (6a) and decided to head off strip for breakfast and supplies. Found a IHOP on E. Tropicana, the special was a huge country fried steak and egg breakfast for $3.99. That was enough for a family of four! Walmart for bottled water and snacks and then off to the Riv for bridge. We met some friends from NC and agreed to meet them for dinner -- they are recently young retirees (50â€™s) and have been traveling the country visiting friends and playing in as many bridge tournaments as possible, including this one and two prior tournaments in LV and Reno in March where we also spent time. They like to find the bargains, including free hotel rooms for the week (not luxury, but OK) and they usually know where the â€œcheap eatsâ€ are found. We let them choose, and Terribles was the place for dinner. We trust them enough, so off it was to Terribles cafÃ© for dinner. Again, a great bargain â€“ tequila marinated rotisserie chicken dinner for $4.99 with salad, etc. And the chicken was great. Our friend hit the $3 craps table for a while and managed a $100 win in about 20 minutes on one playerâ€™s long roll. After dinner, we decided not to play bridge, but try a little hold-em instead. After reading the posts here, decided that either the Luxor or the MC was the choice for our first real game. Cruised on over to the Luxor and found the poker room. Itâ€™s not a big room like either the Mirage or Bellagio, but comfortable and they always have a $2-4 table or 2 open. In 5 minutes we had a couple seats at the table. A nice mixed group, a twin guys in their 20â€™s, a couple other 20-somethings, a poker dealer, a couple older gentlemen, and us, me being the only woman at the table (and intimidated since I had only played on the computer and watched WPT on Wednesday night!) I had already decided to play conservatively (the big 10 hands) so I wouldnâ€™t go broke quickly. Since this is limit hold-em it was comfortable to take it easy and watch how the others play. First hand was pocket 9â€™s, stayed in for the flop and then bowed out as the betting seemed to indicate they were not the winning combination. Soon I got A-A, which turned into 2 pair, played it to the river â€“ only to be beat by a small 3 of a kind. The rest of the hands were awful for a long time, threw in most of the hands unless I was one of the blinds. The â€˜big 10â€™ were few and far between. So I started playing quite a bit looser, generally getting in with an A or K. I won a few pots, basically staying in when I knew I had a pretty good hand, the other players were fairly aggressive at time with the betting, I guess hoping to scare me off, but I stuck with the ones that should be winners. The worst bad beat â€“ had K7 and stayed in for the flop which was a 7 and a pair of 8â€™s â€“ not bad. Fourth street brought the 3rd 7. Only one other player was still in the action and we traded bets. I had 7 over 8â€™s but he had 8â€™s over 7â€™s! Too bad, it was a nice pot. Later I got another AA and went to the river with the player who was a dealer with another full house. He had pocket kings full. After about 3 hours I was worn out, ready to cash out and the last hand before the big blind came my way, I got my 3rd AA of the night and proceeded to win that pot on the last hand. It was great fun, I would not hesitate to play again. The dealers were friendly, drink service was great and the clientele seemed to be a really nice mix of players. They also offer no-limit games and scheduled tournaments. My husband played another hour or so, the rest of the players were really nice, they said please stay but I was brain dead and needed to do something mindless like VP for a while. I colored up about $30 after tips, not bad at all. Iâ€™d recommend the Luxor for anyone who wants to give poker a try. Friday we played a mid-day bridge event and came in 3rd overall. Then off to Paris for dinner, as we had around $50 in comps left on the Connection Card from our trip to Reno in MarchSince it was Friday night and traffic was heavy we walked to Paris (only 105 degrees), scored the comp slip / line pass in no time, we to the head of the line at the buffet and were seated immediately at 6:30p by-passing what looked like an hour wait. . (We just missed Big Elvis at the BC â€“ but saw him walking down the Strip right after his show ended) The buffet was excellent, quality about the same as Bellagio, but the offerings are not as unusual as Bellagio. Plenty of seafood, veal, lamb, etc. good veggies, breads, and we both had no problem finding plenty to eat. I think it is every bit as good as the Bellagio buffet, it just has less of the exotic gourmet offerings and more familiar foods. We hung around in the casino long enough to build up another $12 in comps for our next trip I guess, and then walked to NY-NY for our tickets to Zumanity. Zumanity is definitely an adult show. If you can imagine a bawdy cabaret style show â€“ however done with the Cirque du Soleil style, then you have the right idea. Anyone offended by language or sexual innuendo should stay away. However it is great fun with a lot of audience participation (beware, donâ€™t sit up close to the stage if you donâ€™t want to be involved!) There are plenty of acrobatic acts to let you know it is a Cirque show. We definitely enjoyed it. After the show, a slow walk back up the strip with a stop in the Bellagio to check out the conservatory, fountains and the WPT poker tournament that is going on there thru the 4th of July weekend. Back to the Barbary Coast, hubby decided on 3 card poker and I played VP since there wasnâ€™t a blackjack seat open. If Iâ€™d only learn to stop when I was ahead! Quickly up $25 on a quarter deuces wild machine. But nooooo, I gave it all back and then someâ€¦ Hubby did win about $50 on 3-card and we headed back to the room and the whirlpool around 2:30a. Saturday, up early again, We had to checkout of the room, and then headed to the Riv again for bridge mid-day. You could tell it was the weekend, the only parking place at 10a was on the roof of the self park and it was the last place found. Not so sterling bridge this time. We decided to leave the car parked where it was and head over to the Stardust since we had never been inside before. I found a friendly blackjack table and he found pai gow poker. We played a couple hours. The bj table was a lot of fun, however very up and down â€“ each time I thought I was getting ahead, the dealer would get cruel and start drawing small cards on hands that should bust. Decided to call it quits about 30 down, meanwhile hubby won $80 at pai gow poker. Played a little vp until time to leave for the airport. Stardust has a pretty fair assortment of full pay JoB quarter machines, for those interested. Drink service was very frequent, about twice as often as you needed it to come by. There was also a poker room, fairly busy with lowest game of 3-6 limit. Airport was very smooth, quick return on the car, security was very fast (less than 10 mins total in line at 9p) and then home on time. It looks like a lot of new security check points will be opening very soon, at least for the D-gates. The glass walls are up and equipment is being installed, so maybe the dreaded 2-hr lines will never happen again. We had a great time, came back tired, full of good food and ready to plan our next trip. We lost a little but consider that the cost of entertainment (under $200, but I was still playing on â€˜their moneyâ€™ from my Reno winnings). Empty monorail cars are running constantly, maybe that is hope that it will be open in the fall finally. Construction is a really pain around the Wynn â€“ TI â€“ Caesarsâ€™ area. Spring Mt Road and Sands is really torn up, lanes are closed and it is very confusing for drivers and walkers. Caesars construction on the Forum shop north entrance has that end closed down and the sidewalks are blocked, so it was really easier to cross over and walk the other side of the strip. We were glad this time to have a car and be able to go back and forth at will, with traffic, the heat and all, we would have spent far more on cabs than the cost of the car. We donâ€™t know when our next trip will be. It seems like I donâ€™t have enough vacation time â€“ work seems to get into the way of vacation planning. Hope you enjoyed this and thanks for reading!