I had never been to Vegas by myself, and since I'm an extremely low roller, and all of my friends are either big gamblers or no gamblers at all, I thought that going solo would be the perfect way to have fun. Most of the solo trip reports I read on here seemed like very decent, fun trips, so I thought I'd see if this travel method would work for me. It didn't. Who I am: I'm 27 years old (28 in February), live in Fullerton, CA (near Disneyland, 4 hour drive from Vegas), married with my first child to be born in April. What I wanted from this trip: An early birthday present for myself. I really just wanted to get away before the stress of having a newborn baby kicks in. I wanted to try out the new Star Trek slot machines because they looked really cool (http://www.ggbmagazine.com/articles/Star_Trek). I wanted to try out one of those virtual table things, assuming they had lower limits than actual table games. I wanted to visit the new Eastside Cannery. I wanted to eat at the Hash House A-Go-Go. I wanted to visit Frankie's Tiki Room. I wanted to see the Encore. I wanted to try out the video camera I bought. I generally just wanted to visit as many casinos as possible, even if it was just a quick "walk through" to see what's up. I wanted to keep the budget DOWN. Cheap was the order of the day. I brought $200 to last me through 2 days. The Trip: In order to save money and avoid traffic, I decided I would just drive up to Vegas early Saturday morning, rather than book a Friday night hotel room and drive up after work Friday evening. I had planned on booking the Eastside Cannery for $59 a night, but then found the Tuscany available for $32 on Hotwire and went for that instead. I figured better to use the 30 bucks I saved gambling than stay in the nicer digs. I also figured Tuscany was more centrally located than Eastside Cannery way out on Boulder. Anyways I got up at 4 in the morning, showered, stopped at a gas station to make sure my tires were properly inflated and topped off the tank, and was on my way. I was hoping to get a sausage chili and cheese sandwich at Tommy's in Barstow, but they didn't open until 7 AM. Bummer. I rolled into Stateline around 8 AM. From here on out I'm going to document everything casino by casino. Casino #1 - Terribles Primm Valley: I was getting hungry and a casino is a casino, so when I rolled into Stateline I headed to Terrible's so get some grub and gaming action. I headed to the coffee shop there and saw a couple of Wizard of Oz slot machines vacant right by the door. I ha three singles and thought "Oh, what the heck" and pushed them in there. Several flying monkey bonuses later, I had $50 in the till, so I cashed out and headed to breakfast. Good way to start the trip! For breakfast I had the $7.99 T-Bone steak and Eggs. The quality was about what you'd expect for an $8 steak and egg special at a crummy casino. But it was filling and not expensive, so I was happy. After breakfast I headed over to the craps table with my slot winnings. 3 seven-outs later, my winnings were gone. Well, so much for starting up. I headed over to the pit and found an empty double deck table with a $5 minimum. Had a seat and played for a good hour and a half with a great dealer from Long Island. had fun conversation, and ended up $20. Things weren't too bad anymore. I wanted a shot at some big money, so I went to the Megabucks machine with $40 and... and... and... lost it in about 2 minutes. "Why the hell am I playing slot machines?" I thought to myself, "I'm a table games player." Oh well. I figured Terrible's was cramping my style, so I hopped in the car and headed for Vegas. Casino #2 - South Point: One of my intentions for this trip was to visit as many casinos as I could. I thought about stopping in Jean, but was antsy to get to a "real" casino in a "real" town, so I bypassed it, and instead stopped at South Point. This place was really nice. I parked in the parking structure and walked into a high-cielinged gigantic casino. There must have been more than 100 tables in their gigantic pit, but they only had 5 or 6 of them open. A sign of the times? I don't know, but all of the tables that they did have open were pretty full, especially those with $5 minimums. "Hey look at that!" I thought to myself as I passed the monopoly video/reel machine (you know, the one with the screen that looks through to the reels... this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzN6wOGZShM ... So I went and signed up for a slot card. "Do I get any special free play or anything for signing up?" I asked the lady. "Nope. Here's your card." Oh well. I put $40 into the machine. I walked away with nothing. Not even a bonus round. "Why am I playing slots?" I thought to myself. I tried to find a spot at a $5 blackjack table, but there was none to be had. "Hey look at at that!" I thought to myself as I passed the Star Trek slot machine. I plopped down and pushed in $40. This machine was really cool. I did get to play a couple of bonus rounds, but the $40 again disappeared fairly quick. "Why am I playing slots?" I thought to myself. $80 gone at this joint and I didn't even get a drink. That's it. I'm leaving. South Point might look big and pretty, but it sucks. On my way out the door "Hey look at that!" I thought to myself as I passed a really cool looking Indiana Jones game. Guess what? another $40 gone. "Why am I playing slots?" I thought to myself... Well that was that. $120 of my $200 budget gone at one casino. No more slots. Period. I drove to the strip. Lessons learned: Slot machine designers are really good at what they do. The games are all really neat and fun to play, but the money disappears quickly. I wish I could play these games for fun, not for real money. I'd gladly pay $40 to be able to play any one of those games at home for keeps, but $40 for maybe 20 minutes of play, forget it. Casino #3 - Tropicana: I can't check into my room at the Tuscany until 3:00 PM, so I figure, what's a good way to kill three hours? I know. I'll park at the Tropicana, walk all the way up the strip to the Wynn, stopping in each casino, then walk all the way back down the other side to NYNY, stopping in each casino, cross back to the Trop, drive to Tuscany, check in and crash for the night. After all, I've got these really comfortable sandals on. It's cool out, and walking is good for you. Stop laughing, all of you. I pulled my car into a very seedy looking, very old parking structure, walked through the "Garden room" area of the hotel, down a very long, very low, very smokey hallway and into the Tropicana casino. What a contrast this place is compared to the South Point. Very low ceilings, very dark lighting, and very crowded. I didn't gamble here. Didn't fell the need to, but boy does the Tropicana reek of old Vegas. I'm surprised that it has lasted as long as it has in the condition it is in. With how packed it was in there and the location they are in, I don't see how they are losing money, but apparently they are. I think that with a good investment in nicer facilities and proper management, that property could easily be turned around. Before leaving I did a loop through they whole casino to see if they had any "virtual" table games. They didn't. Casino #4 - MGM Grand: The MGM Grand was also very packed. I was hoping to play some Sigma Derby, but I didn't have any quarters, and there weren't any seats available anyway, so I just did a loop around the casino, again looking for virtual tables. They had none, so after looping all the way back to the Monorail station, I headed back out to the street. Man is walking up the strip on a Saturday rough. There are just tons of people everywhere. The sidewalks simply aren't designed for the amount of tourists that are walking up and down the strip. Add to the mix the porn slappers, street carts, crossings, and I'm surprised that things actually were moving out there. On the corner just past M&Ms world Coke was outside handing out free cans of Coke Zero. I tried it. It didn't taste as good as regular coke. This is getting really long. Post #2 is coming up shortly.