I meant to get this report out a little sooner after I returned from Vegas. I really enjoy writing and ready these. Hope you'll enjoy. My wife and I had intially booked to flyout on August 31, but my daughter’s soccer team scheduled a tournament for Labor Day weekend. So, I was forced to pushout our travel by one day. Since we were going to be in Vegas until Friday, September 6, I sacrificed one night in town. This trip, like my last 5 to Vegas, has been 2/3 for work (I run a 100 person conference) and 1/3 for pleasure. Day 1: Sunday, September 1 We flew Southwest on the way out, and there is one daily Nonstop flight from RDU to McCarran. Luckily, the time of the flight worked out great for our schedule. My daughter’s last soccer game ended at 11am, and we were off to the airport at 12:30 for a 2:30 flight to Vegas. After checking our bags, breezing through security, and sucking back a couple of beers, we were on the way to Vegas. I loaded up my Kindle Fire w/ Season 3 of The Killing, and next thing I know, I’m looking out the window at Lake Mead. We landed about 30 minutes early (around 4pm) at McCarran. My conference was held at Planet Hollywood, and because I was the planner of the conference, I was able to negotiate Diamond status for the next 6 months, Limo transfers and a Le Mans Suite room at Paris. Our Limo driver met us at baggage claim, and by 4:45, I was checking in at Paris. Our room was 3027P. From my previous experience w/ Le Mans Suite (I have stayed at Paris on two other occassions, both in a Le Mans Suite), I knew all those rooms face East. I was pleasantly surprised to have a view of the Planet Hollywood and the Cosmo Pool. One word of warning, there was a concert one night at the Cosmo Pool, and it is LOUD. I could clearly hear the music from that concert in our room. After dropping our bags, the wife sent me on a Walgreens run for water, hair dye , eye drops, etc. Upon return, I switched out our Dinner reservations at Gordon Ramsey Steak that night to the next night on Monday. Then, I made one of my frequent stops in the Diamond Lounge for a couple of drinks, and to catch up on email for a few minutes while my wife unpacked. When I got back to the room, we ordered up room service. My club sandwich was huge and very good. After eating around 7pm, we decided to head down to the casino. My wife only plays Black Jack, and while I play a variety. My favorites are 3Card Poker, Craps, Poker and the themed 1 cent video slots. In my last 3 trips, 3 Card has been the most lucrative for me (won over $1000 on 3CP each trip). However, this year that wasn’t the case. We decided to sit at a $15 minimum Black Jack table to start. I quickly lost $100 out of my $140 buy in there. So, I decided to hit the 3 Card. Because it was the last night of Labor Day weekend, the casino was hopping, and all the 3 Card Tables had a $10 Minimum. I found one to my liking, and bought in for another $200. Within 15 minutes, it was gone. I got a flush on my first hand, and proceeded to not get any cards. This wasn’t the way I wanted to start. My wife was holding her own at Black Jack, but I decided I needed a break. I grabbed a bourbon and ginger in the Diamond Lounge. After 20 mins or so, I headed back out to the Craps table. Paris is my favorite place to play Craps. I guess mainly because I’ve won a lot there. As I am sure a lot of my fellow VMB Craps Players , I am superstitious about Craps. I will only play at a table where I can get position to the immediate right or left of the stickman. They had 4 tables going, and I found a table where I could get a spot to the immediate right of the dealer. I bought in for $300, and within an hour I cashed in for $850. Usually, I am not a great shooter, but I did have the longest roll of my life, making 5 points including hitting 4 points for my $5 Fire Bet. After I cashed out, I bounced around a few of the penny slots, and won $50 on the Family Guy slot. Like any other time I go to Vegas, the nervous energy building up to the actual trip doesn’t allow me to sleep very well the nights leading up. I think I slept 6 hours total the two nights leading up to our trip. The lack of sleep, plus the 12+ drinks I had over the day, led to an early night for me. I was back in the room asleep by 11pm. Day 2: Monday, September 2 I rose early around 6am. My wife decided to get up too, and while she dyed her hair, I decided to venture out. My 1st stop was to pick up a Bloody Mary at the Le Central bar. With Bloody Mary in hand, I headed over to Ballys. To my surprise, the casino was rocking at 7am. Most of the crowd was there for Drai’s. I walked over to the entrance of Drais to see that there will still people waiting to get in. The casino was full of 20 somethings that had spilled out from Drais creating a good people watching experience. I hung out at Ballys for a little while, and decided to head over to Caesars to try the fabled Bacchanal Buffet. I headed over to Caesars, and wandered my way over to Bacchanal Buffet. When I got to the front of the line, they were charging $45 for ‘Labor Day Brunch’. I decided to against it, and headed over to Bellagio. I ended up eating at the Cafe Bellagio for some very good Corned Beef and Hash. After breakfast, I sat at the a $15 BJ table for about 20 minutes, and won $30 before leaving the Bellagio. While I was cashing in my chips, the wife texted me that her hair was about done. So, I headed back to the room to get ready for the Pool. We had a Villa rented for the day, and while very affordable at $189 a day, they took another $25 off because I mentioned I was diamond. We ended up staying at the pool until around 4pm. I then hurried over to the Sportsbook to get my bet down for the Florida St. / Pitt game that night. I put $200 on FSU to cover -11, which they easily did. I headed up to the room to get ready for Gordon Ramsay Steak. Our reservations were for 5:30, and got there about 5 minutes late. However, we were immediately seated. I started with one of the signature whiskey cocktails. Most of their signature cocktail menu consists of Gin drinks, which I am not really a fan. I switched to Red wine for our meal. One slight disappointment on the menu was no White Asparagus soup anymore which we enjoyed immensely on our last visit to GRS. We started w/ Shrimp Coctail and butter poached Lobster tail. For our entrees, we both got the Beef Wellington. Both were great. Our bill ended up being around $275. After dinner, we had planned to head to Luxor to see Carrot Top . However, we both wanted to gamble instead. So, we headed to Monte Carlo. MC is my favorite Poker Room, and I sent the wife over for some Blackjack. I got quickly seated at a $1/$2 NL table, and bought in for $300. Over the next couple of hours, I played at a fairly aggressive table. I ended up cashing for $510. The only notable hand was when I flopped a King high straight and beat trip Kings to a short stack for about a $125 win. After cards, I met up with the wife who won a $100 or so at BJ. We went over to Minus 5 at MC for a few extremely cold beverages. For $35, you get a parka, gloves and 2 drink vouchers. I really liked it. For those of you who haven’t been before, it’s worth a 30 minute or so visit. Everything is definitely made of ice, and it was a cool 27 degrees inside. I’ll definitely return on our next visit. It was around midnight, and the wife was tired and ready for bed. I wanted to meet up w/ my buddies who had just got to town for our conference at Planet Hollywood. I dropped my wife off at the room, and I headed over to the PHo to find my buddies. We played some BJ and lost, played 3Card again and lost. I quickly found myself down $400. I decided to give Craps one more try before heading back. I bought in for another $300 and ended up cashing for a little less than $600. By now, it was about 3:30am. So, I headed back to Paris and immediately crashed for the night. Day 3: Tuesday, September 3 My conference starts today at 3pm. So, my mini vacation is quickly coming to an end. The wife was up early, and woke me up around 7:30. I am still feeling the effects of the night before, but knowing it will be my last shot to play in a poker tourney while, I’m here. I got up, showered and headed back to the Monte Carlo for their 9am tourney. When I got to the MC, I decided to eat at their buffet. I have eaten there before, but it quite possibly was the worst breakfast buffet I have ever eaten. Even the bacon (how can you mess up bacon) was not good. I quickly finished there, and heading over to the Poker Tourney. It’s a $50 buy in, and if you bust out, you can rebuy for the 1st hour. There were only 2 tables going, and eventually, I got up to the chip lead w/ 8 players left. At that point, I went card dead. I eventually busted out w/ 4 to play. No worries, it was a fun and cheap way to spend my morning. Around 12, I walked back over to Paris. Stopped by the pool where my wife had rented another villa for the day. Around 1pm, I went back to the room, and got into work mode for the rest of the day. After my meetings around 6pm, I held a private dinner at SEA: The Thai Experience for 14 people. It was my first time there, and they do have a small private room for a group up to 16 people or so. I do recommend it for anyone looking for good, authentic Thai food mid-Strip. After Dinner, the crowd I was with at dinner was the same crowd I was out late with on Monday night. All of them were out later than I was the night before around 9pm. We hit the $10 BJ table at Ballys, but after 45 minutes or so, I split and headed back to the room for the night. Wednesday, September 4 My conference had a early start. I grabbed at danish at Le Madeline bakery and headed over to Planet Hollywood for set up at 8am. As an aside, if your company is to do a small group conference, and looking for a mid size property in Vegas, you could do far worse than the Planet Hollywood. Pricing was definitely competitive, and I got group room rates at $69 a night. The staff was helpful, although I did get nickeled & dimed by the A/V company. All and all, it was one of the better events I’ve held in Vegas. In the past, I’ve done this conferene at Paris, Mirage, NYNY and TI. I would rate PHo on par w/ Paris and slightly below Mirage. However, my bill at PHo was 20% less than what I spent at Mirage. That night, I took a small group out to dinner at Benihana. As usual, it was a great meal. One of people in my group, is a Diamond player. She wanted to head back to Paris to try once again to win at 3 Card. Once again, I didn’t. My $300 buy in was gone in about an hour. However, there was a lady sitting in 1st position that hit a Straight Flush & 3OAK within 10 minutes of each other. When she won both, no one would have ever known she won. She remained stoic and bearly cracked a smile. Evidently, she didn’t know that her need for having a good ‘Poker Face’ doesn’t need to extend to the 3 Card table. After my beating at 3 Card, I went back to the Craps table. I bought in for another $300, and proceeded to cash out around midnight for $580. Once again, I hit 4 points on the Fire Bet. This time I only had $2 up for a $50 win. At that point, I decided foolishly to give 3 Card one more try. I dropped $160 of my Craps winnings within about 15 minutes. Around 1am, my wife was still holding her own at the BJ table, and I headed up to the room for another early start for my conference. Thursday, September 5 I woke up about 6:00, and drug myself out of bed. My conference didn’t start until 9:30, but I needed to do a presentation. So, I decided to head over to Planet Dailies at the PHo for breakfast. I had heard some very good things about Planet Dailies. However, I was not very impressed. They do have free WiFi there though, which I used from about 7 to 9:15 to catch up on my work and finish my presentation. The rest of the day, and with an Awards Dinner to follow, I would spend the next 12 hours in the PHo Conference Center. After finishing dinner, I decided to hit the Craps table at PHo w/ some others in my group before heading back to Paris. I played about an hour until 10pm. I cashed out w/ a $90 profit. When I got back to the room, I still wanted to play a little more, but my wife was officially ‘Vegased Out’. She went to bed, and I decided to hit the Poker room at Ballys. I do like that they moved the poker room at Ballys to the front of the casino. However, the atmosphere is still very similar, boring. They had 3 tables going for $1/$2 NL. I bought in for $300. The table was a bunch of grinders and rocks. On two occasions, I got pocket KKs. The first time I raised to $12, and everyone folded. The next time (like 5 hands later), I raised only to $7 ($5 on top of the big blind), and everyone folded again. I’ve never seen so many $2 calls in my life. To further illustrate my point, I got Pocket AAs. The button put up a $5 straddle, with 3 callers in front of me. I raised to $15, and once again EVERYONE folded. The only memorable hand was on another $5 straddle from the button. I was in the small blind, so I called w/ J9 suited. A guy across from me raised to $15, the button called and w/ pot odds in my favor I called to see the flop. The flop came out x -J-9. I checked. The original raiser then bet $20, the button folded and I called. The turn was a K, and I led out w/ $25, and the other guy (who was short stacked) raised all in to $60. I had put him on AA or KK. For another $35, I would pay to see. I called, and the river was garbage. He turned over AA and I won w/ my J9 two pair. That hand got me up to about $120. A few hands later at 2am or so, I cashed in and called it a night. Friday, September 6 Travel day. Before I went to bed the night before, I got all of my stuff situated so I wouldn’t need to spend a lot of time packing the next morning. I woke up around 7:30am, and got everything packed up by 8:30. I had about an 1.5 hrs to kill before heading back to the airport. So, I decided to venture over to Planet Hollywood for one more go at the craps table. However, when I got there, there was no action, and I didn’t want to play by myself. I ended up running $40 through The Hangover slots near the front of the casino. Then, I headed back to the room. 45 mins later, I’m in the Limo back to McCarran. 8 hrs later, I am pulling into my driveway. All and all, it was a quite uneventful trip. My conference went well, and no really big wins at the tables. Last year, I won over a $1000 at a progressive 3 Card table at the Hard Rock, and $600 at the 3 Card progressive at Monte Carlo. I do highly recommend Gordon Ramsey Steak to anyone who hasn’t been. I also recommend a visit to Minus 5 and SEA @ Ballys. Sorry for the long report. I am Diamond w/ Caesars for another 6 months or so, and I am planning a 4 day trip in November. Hopefully, that trip will include a free room at Caesars Palace.