Even though Iâ€™ve written several trip reports in the past, this will be somewhat different because the travelling companions were different from past companions. It all started back in January. My past golf buddies wanted to mix some biking in with golf and travel, settling on bike week in Daytona. Well, that was too early in the season for my tastes, so I made alternate arrangements. This trip was myself brother in law T and brother in law S. Iâ€™ve been in Vegas at the same time as each of them, but we didnâ€™t necessarily travel together in the past. So, we booked the flights at a smooth $200 RT from Milwaukee. Iâ€™ve been going to Vegas for almost 40 years, and donâ€™t recall fares that inexpensive. As the week prior to departure dragged, the weather forecast in Vegas kept me going. This trip had virtually no itinerary within the trip. Weâ€™ve all been there plenty before, and we didnâ€™t have too much on the agenda from any of us. The only place we all agreed to visit was the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. Not so much to buy, pawn or sell, but to see the infamous stars and surroundings. More on that later. DAY 1 Departure was scheduled for 7:15 am on Saturday. Arrived at the airport about 5:45 and saw the security line grow from 25 or so travelers to a line of several hundred in a matter of 5 minutes. I waited to meet S&T just outside security. I decided to get a spot in line and have them join me before it got out of hand. The plan worked to perfection, as they arrived shortly before we began the Disney World line shuffle. After waiting 45 minutes for de-icing, we departed MKE and actually arrived on time at 9:30. We didnâ€™t have a long wait at baggage claim for checked luggage, and headed to the car rental site. In a matter of minutes, we were on our way to the Monte Carlo in a brand new Ford Fusion. I appreciate the freedom of a rental car, and for a total of about $150 for 4 days, including gas and valet tips, it makes sense for our agenda. We got to Monte Carlo before 10:30. We had reserved two comped rooms and T figured heâ€™d get a room and see how the charges were handled afterward. His rate was about $350 for three nights. Stay tuned for that reality. All three rooms were ready and we were all unpacked, changed into shorts and back downstairs to the food court for a quick bite for lunch. From there it was exploration of MC. There were some new slots since my last visit a year ago. I found my old standby in a Happy Days carousel. Most of the BJ tables were $15 min and 3:2 whether they were double deck or shoe games. The other table games were generally $15 min. It was incredibly crowded, but, after all, it was a Saturday. I played several penny, nickel and quarter slots, not hitting anything major and only ahead about $40 until we decided to go for a walk to the PH at about 3:30. For those of you new to the City Center mazeâ€¦â€¦..I suggest you avoid the west side of the street. To accomplish a walk of about a quarter mile encompasses a walk of about a mile, up and down several flights of stairs through a glass menagerie. We didnâ€™t even go into the Aria. Iâ€™ve watched this monstrosity being constructed over the last 4 years, or so, and view it as nothing more than a blockage to the lights of Vegas Iâ€™m accustomed to seeing. We stayed in the PH for an hour or so, T walked out with $500 of their money playing $1 slots. S and I were even. The table minimums were similar to MC. I really like the energy of this place, but at over 60 years old, I seem a bit out of place bobbing my head to the musical stylings of Lil Wayne and friends. We headed up the east side of the strip to MGM. Along the way, we came across what I believe is the new direction of Vegas atmosphere. Along the street in front of all the small junk retailers were: A little person Elvis, cute as can be, A Michael Jackson wannabe painted head to toe in gold, some fairy god mother type, and some dude painted head to toe in silver. I also believe I saw the little person from the movie Jackass, but Iâ€™m not sure. Heâ€™s not high enough on my list of people to get autographs from. It was so crowded on the street that it was difficult walking a straight line for very long. The MGM stay was short and sour. I dropped $125 trying to partake in a non-existing Monopoly Big Event game. I went back to MC, in disgust, and watched TV on my 25â€ 1985 model for a short while. It even had a choice of 12 channels available. Wow, this is the big city, Bubba. We left valet at MC about 5:45. Even after several attempts at investigating my valet ticket, they convinced me that I was the confused one. That black Maserati parked there is not mine, the beige Fusion over there is. How silly of me. We went to the Silverton to meet a resident BIL, and had the buffet for dinner. When S signed up for the players club he received this box of Sham Wowâ€™s as a gift. He figured it was the perfect gift for his wife. No need to look for jewelry later. I used 2:1 from ACG without a problem. T loved the crab legs. In fact, it was dangerous sitting at the same table. Drawn butter, crab meat and crab shells were flying everywhere, because he probably hadnâ€™t eaten in several weeks, being single and all. The other items were above average for the net price. It was nothing special, but nothing upsetting either. We decided to use up 4 seats at a BJ table. $200 later, I was back at slots, dropping another $100 into their non paying variety. I returned to the same BJ table to find S&T up about $400 each, while the resident clearly showed there is no inside information, and lost $200 like I did. S, T and I returned to the real strip. At about 11, I dropped them at NYNY because they were winning and not ready for retirement. I went to my room, reloaded a bit, and played a variety of slots at even money. The tables were absolutely packed, with little chance of getting a seat. Went to bed about 12. DAY 2 Itâ€™s a new day. Upset that I didnâ€™t salt any money away yesterday, I was determined that today would be an improvement. The coffee at McDonaldâ€™s in the food court set the tone. I first visited old reliable, Happy Days. I was playing at 4x on the â€œRichieâ€™sâ€ machine when the random bonus appeared and gave me 39 free spins. On one of the spins, 5 of the scatter symbols appeared, already paying $10. For those of you who play this game, you realize that the player touches one of those symbols on the screen to reveal the credits won. I finally selected the right one, and was awarded another $200. I think I cashed out $250 on that game, not bad for pennies. I played a little Pai Gow Poker and won about $50. I retreated to the room to put my slot ticket and chips into the room safe. The three of us went to Ellis Island, at my suggestion, for breakfast. I know this place is a dump, but I had $10 MP to use, and an empty stomach. I lost the first MP. They put up a stink about me not having the ACG book with me, because they wanted to see me tear out the coupon. I later won $70 playing some Monopoly bonus game. Being 9 am on a Sunday, we thought it would be a good idea to hit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. I had googled it, so I knew about where it was. There were about 20 people in line outside the store. We parked and went to the end of the line. We inquired if the â€œclosedâ€ sign on the door was meaningful. The people in line told us that yes, it was closed. What the hell were these people doing in line in front of a closed pawn shop? We decided to visit the TI, walk across the street and stop at the casinoâ€™s along the way to Billâ€™s, where I promptly lost another $10 MP. We tracked through Caesarâ€™s and the Mirage before getting our car at TI. This little adventure into places I havenâ€™t visited in a while, took several hours, and done at break even. We headed back to MC, parked and went our own ways for a couple hours. I went to NYNY, without luck, and into the Excaliber. I was interested in doing the daily mini Holdem tournament the next day, and wanted to investigate. Although Iâ€™ve stayed at MC, NYNY and MGM for about the last 10 years, I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve set foot in this place in all those years. Once in, I recalled why. Lots of families, a goofy layout, and crappy atmosphere, in my opinion. I dropped $50 or so into slots and left. On my way back to MC, I stopped to watch a guy heading up a new version of 3 card monty on the strip between NYNY and MC. Apparently this scam is new to the world, because I saw him take $300 from some unsuspecting soul. Are you kidding me? Around 5:30 we decided to head downtown. Most of us havenâ€™t been there in several years and I had many MPâ€™s to invest in. I had an ACG coupon for the Flame Steakhouse in El Cortez. We parked at Binionâ€™s and decided to just eat at their cafÃ©. We all had the overpriced, greasy grilled ham and cheese sandwich. We proceeded to the Vegas Club. I had 3 $10 MPâ€™s, so I had to go table to table in order to play all of them. Can you say zero for 5? Iâ€™m not sure, but I think thatâ€™s far below â€œexpected valueâ€. We went across the street to play a $ 5MP at Golden Gate. I broke the cycle and won. T was playing $1 slots there and used my card to accumulate the points necessary to get some T-shirt that Iâ€™ll probably use when cutting the lawn this summer. We did the usual downtown stuff. We caught a couple overhead shows that celebrated the LSD days of the 60â€™s. They paid tribute to Jim Morrison and other deceased drug addicts. We enjoyed the street artists and typical downtown fare. On our way back to MC, we again stopped at the Pawn shop. That closed sign was placed neatly in the door, just beneath the â€œopen 24/7â€ sign. This time there was no line outside. We drove the strip back to MC, catching all the lights we canâ€™t see because of the City Center. It was now Sunday night, and the traffic had thinned accordingly. I played BJ and Pai Gow Poker for a while before going to bed around 12:30. I broke about even during that stint. Day 3 Our supposed last full day here. S and I ate breakfast at the MC CafÃ© on his room credit. It was good, but typically overpriced. About 9 am we departed for The Oleans, Palms, Gold Coast and Rio. No real agenda, just wanted to visit an off strip area. I had 2 MPâ€™s at the Orleans and ran into a real knob of a dealer. The first one I played required a double down. There was a significant amount of discussion of rules as to whether I was required to bet $20 on my double down. I would have welcomed the opportunity, but the floor decided that the coupon was only a match play, not a double of my initial wager. I won the hand. We all played various Video Poker and slots for a while. I asked T to apply for a players card because the pit scanned mine prior to the MP bet, and the ACG coupons limit you to one per year or something. T got his card, and I gave him the ACG coupon. He placed it under his $10 bet at BJ, while sitting at first base. Get this! The dealer on the next table, which was being played, leans over to look at the coupon. He hollered over to Tâ€™s dealer that â€œwe donâ€™t accept those pink onesâ€. The floor looked at it, ran Tâ€™s card through the system and told the dealer that â€œyes we doâ€. The next dealer said â€œwell we donâ€™t on swing shiftâ€. Like, itâ€™s none of your business, dude. T went on to lose the hand. I merely thanked the other dealer and told him I hoped he didnâ€™t hurt his neck watching a table other than his own. Jag. We were going to rent Harleyâ€™s today. The day was sunny, windless and was going to be about 78 degrees, perfect riding weather. Weâ€™re just morons, because we didnâ€™t. Instead we went to the other casinos mentioned above. None were kind to any of us, but occupied our time until about 3 pm. The walking did us some good, given the beautiful day. I apologize for missing the 3 person meet. Wrong place, wrong time. After arriving at MC, I wanted to rest a while before going to dinner. Just as I laid down I got a phone call from T. Because I prepare his income tax returns, he had a question for me as to how to deal with this 1099G thing he just got. I ran downstairs and found him sitting in front of a $1 slot with a 7, 2x and 4x symbol neatly lined up on the payline. Just then, the attendant came back to deliver his tax form, and 25 nicely lined up benjaminâ€™s. Very cool for T. Dinner was on T, and we went to EI for a 2:1 menu ACG coupon. After mentioning the coupon to the hostess, she asked me for the ACG ID card. I had just removed the whole pile of coupons I had from my pocket, and put them in my suitcase at the hotel room. She wouldnâ€™t allow us to use it. Fair enough, it was my fault. Just a warning to you that plan on using the ACG coupons. Overall, use of the ACG coupons came under more scrutiny this trip than previously. We all decided to get the steak special, and enjoyed them as usual. We played a little BJ there after dinner and had a laugh. When coloring up after winning a few bucks, the dealer gave us our green chips back and colored up the red ones. Only then did I notice there were no black chips in his tray. Not that weâ€™re big players, but no black chips at all? We proceeded to the Hard Rock. Itâ€™s been several years since Iâ€™ve been there and I was surprised at the new layout in the casino. I was familiar with the circle casino, but hadnâ€™t seen the addition to it. I lost the MP (can you sense a pattern here?) and won $125 on a 25 cent WOF. We spent the rest of the night between MC and NYNY, with nothing major happening at either place. Very uncrowded on Monday night though. I sure miss the open lounge at NYNY that featured live music. Day 4 The last morning had little of urgency. MC was full up tonight, so we couldnâ€™t get a late departure. I raided the in room safe and cashed in the change, tickets and chips Iâ€™d accumulated. It amounted to about half of what I brought with me, so all in all, not a profitable trip, but not bad either. We all checked out at 10. T got all his nights comped as well. We headed to the TI to T could cash his winning NASCAR bet from the weekend. I parked at the Mirage and while they went to the TI, I went to Wynn to visit a nephew. He has dealt craps there since they opened. He always has some interesting stories from his table. The walk there appears short, and from memory, it should have been. With the over, under around and through mazes on the street, I went places I thought were not where I wanted to be. It seemed to be a mile there and after he showed me shortcut out of the casino, only a quarter mile back. I had to miss some signs or something. That big black building, right over there, is where I wanted to end up. When I got back to the Mirage, it was about noon. I played some slots and got another phone call. About 30 feet away, S had just received his payout for his $1 slot payline of $3600. I just wanna be them for a short time. I put money into some nearby slots, and was awarded a permanent tattoo on my forehead. Something in the shape of an â€œLâ€. We drove to NYNY and hung out playing BJ and slots until we ate at the deli. I love that deliâ€™s corned beef sandwich. S bought lunch given his good fortune this morning. I won about $150 before departing to return the car and get to the airport. Little did we know that now the fun begins. If flight information bores you, you might want to skip to the end. We checked in and were told we had a 20 minute delay for our 6:10 flight. No big deal. The security line was almost non-existent. Iâ€™ve never seen it so short. Once to the crowded gate, we just went a ways down the concourse and passed time until it was 45 minutes to boarding. That was around 5:30. We got up to the gate and saw a plane at the gate, along with about 120 people waiting to board it for Denver. Their departure time was some 20 minutes ago. I inquired as to our flight time, and it was now delayed an hour. Something about this monster snow storm in Denver, and that was where our plane was. A foot of snow, no flights in and no flights out. We were updated every hour. By 8 pm, the situation was the same, and I gathered T & S to make some decisions. Iâ€™ve flown plenty, and have been through this type of scenario in the past. I knew we werenâ€™t being lied to, but that in a weather situation, and a flight gets cancelled, weâ€™re on our own. Our airline only has two non stop departures per day. Both were sold out for tomorrow, and we all had business commitments that kept us from staying another week or so. We decided to stay at the gate until the flight was actually cancelled then go from there. Well, the flight got cancelled at 11:30 pm. We knew enough to rush to be first in line at the ticket counter. We were about 5th in line. I heard the agents saying that the next days flights were oversold. I looked toward the end of the row of ticket windows, and saw Air Tran with no customers. I knew they had a midnight flight, and several flights tomorrow. I ran down there, the other two staying in line at Midwest Airlines. I was able to arrange for 3 seats on tomorrows 1 pm flight for $265 apiece. I called S and he agreed to book it. Hit number one from the snow storm. We would receive $100 refund of our return flight. Next chore was to get their checked luggage, which was actually available. We hopped into a cab, and tried to get a room at MC. Sure they told us they were full up, but look, we just checked out today, had all three rooms comped. Isnâ€™t there something they could do for us? Sorry. The desk clerk was very helpful and called the Luxor for availability. Just our luck they had rooms, but they were $180 per room. No freakinâ€™ way the Luxor is worth that. S suggested someplace off strip and named the Orleans. Get this, the MC desk clerk made the call for us and found 3 rooms at $50 each. Hit number two from the snowstorm, but Bingo! We cabbed over to the Orleans. At that point, all I wanted was a bed. Day 5 I woke early and made calls to rearrange business and home life. After the usual morning duties, I commented out loud that this room doesnâ€™t take a back seat to the MC room. No view, but everything else. I was impressed. I would never stay here for a whole trip, but only because of its location. I love the strip. I bought breakfast at the buffet at about 8:30. Hit number three from the snowstorm. S & T went to play slots, I went to the BJ pit. Whoâ€™s table do I end up at but the knob from a couple days ago. I won $200 in short order, left and asked if his neck was okay. He didnâ€™t get it. T hit a $5 slot for $1050. At 11, we got a taxi and had an uneventful flight home. Summary I forgot how crowded the streets were on a Saturday. I dislike the City Center. MPâ€™s sucked. The entire MC staff is as friendly as can be. The trip was fun, as usual. Not profitable for me, but fun. Learned one lessonâ€¦â€¦â€¦find out your planeâ€™s origin.