Day One: Flew out of Houston on Monday May 7th at 6:00 am on SWA; I had booked the flight in February before prices went up. The sub two hundred dollar round trip price seems to have vanished since then. The conspiracy theorists here in Houston blame it on the United/Continental merger that has eliminated most price competition between SWA and Continental. Originally I had three nights comped at MSS with a $10,000 slot tournament entry and went ahead and paid for Monday night ($36.00 Ruby rate) for a four night stay. Several weeks ago I received an two night comp offer from the Plaza with $50.00 free pay, so I booked that for Monday and Tuesday nights. Oh yea, this was another one of my "Business Trips". I was attending Interop (IT convention) at Mandalay Bay. I had won an up-grade to a Full Conference Pass from a vendor so I could attend all the special events and after parties that my little heart desired. I arrived at LAS at little after 7:00 am on a half full flight and made my way through a very crowded McCarren to the baggage claim area. I was amazed at all the people up and flying out of Vegas this early on a Monday morning. Observed many hung over and grumpy individuals on my walk through; I have never attempted the early departure from Vegas, looked painful! Any way, grabbed a cab for a short trip to Mandalay Bay to get my credentials for the conference. I checked my bags down-stairs by the cab stand, the Bell Hop sort of had an attitude since I was not staying there. Slipped him a finsky, and we were instantly best friends. Ferris Beuller was correct. Made the long trek from the Cab Stand to the Conference Center took care of "Business" and retrieved my bag from my new best friend. Then walked across the street, purchased a three-day bus pass and caught the SDX to get to beautiful Downtown Las Vegas. Got off the bus at around 10:00 am and stopped by the Fremont for a couple of $2.00 Heinekens, ahhh hit the spot! Got another Heineken to go and made my way through Binion's, through the Cal and over to Main Street Station. For the first time ever for me a room was not available for an early check-in, but the very nice clerk said it would be ready at 1:00 pm. Checked my bag with the Bell Hop, handed him a fiver, and now had another best friend! I had enough points on my Bconnected card to eat an early lunch at the Triple 7 bar. Had an average burger and fries with a couple of excellent King’s Kölsch Ales. The beers and friendly staff made up for the average food. Now it was time for Video Poker! Now I have hovered within 2,000 points of moving from Ruby to Sapphire status at the Bconnected slot club for years. As I tend to go to Vegas at the same times, May and January, my points always fall off before I return. So this time I promised myself that with my modest bankroll I would stick to low variance 9/6 JOB with the goal of racking up points and obtaining one of the coveted blue cards before I switch to higher variance DDB. I know I have such silly goals in life; my friends and family don't understand this, but I know many on this board understand my semi-obsessed aspiration. So instead of diving in at seat #1 and going after 4 of a kinds on DDB as usual, I sit at the end of the bar by the Buffet line. And my new modified routine starts; put the ole' Ruby card in, put the twenty in, select JOB, order a Pale Ale. Well I sit there happy as a lark, satisfied with my flushes, straits, occasional full houses, and many two-pair. Well five or six Pale Ales later I still have my original 80 credits left, my strategy is working!. Had a great early afternoon, put another 700 points in the card, was now drunk and loud telling stories and lies to anyone who happened to sit within ear-shot. Well I waltzed my very tipsy tail-end to the front desk and was assigned a double-queen room on the 14th floor overlooking the Plaza. Picked up a six pack of Heinekens and went upstairs to unpack. After these chores were done, and a couple of Heinekens too for good measure; it occurred to me as I was admiring my view that I needed to check in my room at the Plaza. So I grab another Heineken and head down stairs, across to the Cal, over to the Las Vegas Club (yes it still smells like farts in there) and cross the street to the Plaza. Now I have not stepped into the Plaza in over ten years, I have no idea why they sent me a comp? It was about 3:00 pm and there was no line at the front desk. I gave the lovely young clerk my license, credit card, with $20.00 in-between. That's right, a "Jackson Sandwich" or "The Ole' Twenty Dolla Holla" as they say. Without a bat of the eye, she welcomed me, confirmed my comped status and gave me the pass-keys to a room. She said with the sweetest smile "It's only a one bedroom, if you would like to wait an hour I can put you in a two bedroom?" Well now, that's three best friends I have made today. I said "The one bedroom will be fine, I am here all by myself (wink, wink!)" Oh the stupid things I do when I've had a few? She just giggled and said have a nice stay. Stopped by the gift shop, got a six-pack of Heinekens, went through the casino which did have a peculiar fruity odor, but not too bad though, and found the South Tower Elevators. There was a cute female security guard checking room keys. I made a stupid comment that this six-pack was my luggage and I did not need any help with it. She did not giggle. Up to the 24th floor, room 2446. One bedroom, large living room, one and a half baths, small wet bar, two flat screens w/many channels, and a large very comfortable king size bed. Two doors; one in bedroom and one in living room, the furniture was all new and nice, all the light fixtures worked, very sparse artwork, and a Krup coffee maker with plenty of little coffee packets thingies. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Living Room Living Room View Full Bath and Half Bath Bedroom Room Number (Why did I not remember this picture later that evening?) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Anyway put up my luggage in the fridge, took pictures of the room, had a couple of Heinekens, set up the coffee maker so all I had to do was push the button when I needed a cup and went down for a serious perusal of the Plaza Casino. Went over to the slot club, picked up my Plaza Card and corrected all of my information on file. Yep I was correct, they had no records of my visit there for over ten years. Told the attendant how much I liked my beautiful suite; she double checked her computer and raised her eyebrows and gave me a unbelieving look. I said "It's amazing what a Jackson can do for a Front Desk Clerk's attitude", she said "Yea...try it here." I did; and she put a C-note on my free play instead of the fifty that came with my comp offer. And yes, another best friend I now have! Now I would like to tell you about how I found a good VP machine and turned that free play into some major cash then back to MSS for more low variance JOB like I had originally planned. But sometimes after ten or fifteen beers one changes their plans. So at about 4:00 pm my plans changed to this: Go Play Blackjack with a Table Full of Obnoxious Loud Drunk People! Now for those that might have the idea that finding a blackjack table full of obnoxious loud drunk people would be problematic at 4:00 pm on a Monday afternoon, you have never been to the Plaza at 4:00 pm on a Monday afternoon. I had several tables to choose from at $5.00 to $25.00. Now these tables are full of nice middle-age middle-class looking tourists of mixed gender....and most of them are loud, obnoxious, and hammered at 4:00 pm! I'm in heaven! Sat down at a $10.00 table with shoe and played $10.00 - $25.00 a hand with no particular strategy other than drunken hunches after drunken discussions with my table mates. I shared the table with 2 drunk brothers from Ohio that cussed continually, and a nice middle-aged lady from California who was even more drunk and had a bigger potty mouth than the Ohio boys? Many others came and went, the table stayed full the whole time I was there, My table mates accepted my obnoxious bragging about my Suite, Texas, SEC football, etc. without any complaints. Oh, and I had decided to switch to drinking J&B Scotch, as I have had enough beer (drunken logic?) Drinks came fast, frequent, and strong. We were all tipping $1 - $5 a round apiece. After several hours I was up $400.00, seeing double, and had declined to show my Suite to the nice lady from California several times. When all of the sudden, the brothers decided they did not like each other anymore. One brother took exception to the other and literally punched him so hard he fell out of his seat.... Security! Off they went assisted by about half a dozen security guards, it was sort of scary and hilarious at the same time (drunken logic.) Well I colored up and was going to cash out and get something to eat. Pit boss was in no mood to comp a meal after security had restored order, yea I tried, but she was not going to be my best friend? Well as I was walking (stumbling) towards the Cashiers Cage; I decided on another change in plans. That's right... there was a Craps table full of obnoxious, drunk, loud people, I needed to play Craps! What could possibly go wrong with this idea? Well... after a $300.00 loss later, and me being borderline full-tilt, I decided to cash out and get something to eat. My session was like this; make pass line bet... take double odds after point established... come bet... take double odds... make another come bet.... take double odds... seven out. Rinse...repeat.... over and over. Dammit! And I of course did not slow down my intake of scotch... cause I was tired of beer... remember? Some how I made the journey to McDonalds....why McDonalds? I don't know (drunken logic strikes again.) Make it back to South Tower Elevators and was stopped by very large female security guard. So this goes to prove the high level of security at the Plaza, very drunk individuals that can barley walk or talk cannot just get on the elevator here. She politely asks me and about a dozen others to show their room pass cards. While everyone else simply whips out their keys, I go on a drunken game of find my room card while trying to hold my two McDonalds bags and a very large orange drink. You know; check shirt pocket... nope; put the bags on the floor check front pockets...nope; pick up bags, hand the drink to the un-amused security guard, check left rear pocket.... nope; put down bags again and check right rear pocket..... bingo! So I pick up bags, retrieve my drink from the pissed security lady and am granted admittance to the elevators. The doors close and I wonder "What floor am I going too and what room number did I have again?" Anyway, I just push a number higher that everyone else on the elevator. They all get off at their respective floors and I take a ride up, then back down to the first floor. I get off and the security guard, just shakes her head at me. She says "Let me guess, you forgot your room number?" I mumble "Yes Mam". After I show her my ID, she radios someone and says, 2446. And I did manage to find my ID in the first pocket I checked this time, I'm improving. Well I made it up to the 24th floor and guess what? Yep, I forgot the room number. Back down to the first floor, as the doors open, the security lady just says "Oh Lord save me, its gonna be one of those days again.... follow me." So she escorts me to room 2446 opens the door for me, and I put my drink and McDonald sacks down, reach into my pocket for a tip, but she was already gone. Dang, just like the Pit Bosses here the poor woman did not want to be my best friend either. The next thing I remember is waking up at 1:00 am in a big huge king sized bed, butt naked, with a McDonalds sack full of kids-meals toys in one hand and a bottle of mouthwash in the other? Now for those wondering why kids meal toys and mouthwash.... hell if I know? Anyway, I get up, go push my coffee maker button, get dressed, use mouthwash, and count my cash (amazingly I had $50.00 more that I started the day with.) Grab my coffee, and head back to my other room at MSS. Thank goodness they had changed security guards down stairs, I was cringing at the thought of confronting the original lady again. So I got back to my room, drank some water, took three aspirin, got a wakeup call for 8:00 am and so ended my first day in Vegas. OK, that's Day One and I still have not hit my first Royal Flush or met Royal Flusher yet.... stay tuned!