I just got back Sunday from a 10 day, 9 night Vegas poker trip. Due to some financial setbacks before the trip and some pretty bad losses the first couple of days, I elected not to play event 7 of the WSOP. I stayed 3 nights at Bally's, 3 nights at the Gold Coast, then 3 more nights at Bally's. Bally's nights were comped through Total Rewards. I booked the Gold Coast through Hotels.com for $37/night + $3/night resort fee. Given the amount of VP I ended up playing at GC and Orleans, this may have been a mistake, but I really didn't expect to be messing around on VP that much when I booked. I won't be doing a chronological trip report except for the poker section. You may want to skip the poker section if you don't like rambling rants. My general day for this trip was out of the room around noon, play some poker/gamble, eat around 3-5, more poker/gambling, maybe eat something, retire between midnight and 6 am. Given the length of this trip and my poor early results, I retired closer to midnight than 6 am most nights. Given the monotony of my daily routine, I'm just going to categorize things that I think are of interest. Don't expect to get any information about pools, clubs, or fine dining. Airport I got into McCarren about 9:50 am Vegas time. Baggage claim and cab line were very quick. I was at Bally's by 10:30 am. Cab drivers I got tunneled for the first time ever. I didn't realize what he was doing until we were almost in the tunnel. We had a discussion about it, but since I'm a pussy I didn't just give him $15 and tell him we could discuss it with the taxi authority if he didn't like it. Other than that, the few times I took cabs everything was fine. FWIW, if I rented a car I would probably take the tunnel to anywhere west of the Strip. It's a lot farther, but very easy and quick. Hotel rooms I was in a Bally's North Tower Deluxe, then a standard Gold Coast room, then a BNTD again. The Bally's rooms were very spacious with a desk and sofa. The GC room just had a desk, but was also decent. The bathroom at Bally's had a lot of marble. The Gold Coast bathroom had the Coast standard window in the shower (no tub). The shower also only had a floor-to-ceiling half wall, not a curtain. Not too much water got into the bathroom proper, and it looked kind of cool, so I guess it was OK. Dining Given that this was a solo trip, I was more concerned with speed and convenience than fine dining. I have a bunch of TR points and coupons, so I hit the Harrah's dinner buffet, the Flamingo weekend brunch, the Rio Carnival World buffet and the Paris dinner buffet. None of these buffets was particularly impressive. The Paris buffet was probably the best, but really we're talking about quantity not quality here. The Flamingo buffet was just crap. The only good things they had were bacon and a salad bar with real bacon bits. On second thought, that may have been the best Harrah's buffet I had. The only good thing I can say about the Harrah's buffets was that the prime rib was tasty. The Gold Coast buffet was also pretty weak IMO, but it was cheap. I had it twice, the second time because I'd accidentally accumulated enough points on VP for a freebie. Apparently, I'd played a couple of hundred hands of 50 cent JOB on a ?x points day when you needed 250(?) points for a buffet. Unfortunately, I'd already had the buffet that day. The day was Monday. I'm not sure of the multiplier or the point requirement, but it didn't take me more than a half hour. TGI Friday's at GC -- I ate the Steak and Lobster special. It was $14.99 from 3-6 pm. I would equate it with the old Bourbon Street steak and lobster. Not bad, but definitely not a tremendous value. Burger Brasserie at "Paris" -- I had a decent burger with some very average onion rings here. A strong man could throw a bowling ball into this joint from the giant Bally's slot machines at the beginning of the mall between Bally's and Paris. I'm convinced that they associate this place with Paris so they can charge more for food. They did have a 2 for 1 drink special running all the time and a decent sports bar atmosphere going, so I'd give this place a decent rating. I did try to eat here a second time, but it was after their kitchen had closed at 10 pm. Tequila Bar(?) at Bally's -- When I got shut out at Burger Brasserie, I went to this place. It's right next to the Sidewalk Cafe, which is only open 6am-2pm. Since the Tequila Bar serves food from 2pm-6am, I suppose it's the backup coffee shop for Bally's. I got a decent burger and fries for less than I would have paid at the Burger Brasserie, but the burger choices were much more limited. The fries at the Tequila Bar were included with the burger and definitely trumped the onion rings at the Brasserie. Victorian Room at Bill's Gamblin' Hall -- I've got a weak spot for this place. I've been to the VR at least once every time I've been to Vegas. Harrah's has devalued the prime rib special (8 oz $14.95) to the point that I can't recommend it, but I always hit it up every trip. It's a tradition with me. On a positive, it was a great piece of prime rib. Carnegie Deli -- I used my $15 Mirage poker comp to defray about 1/2 the cost of my Reuben at CD. I was only able to eat about 1/2 of the sandwich, so I boxed it up and took it back to my room. I was amazed at the deference that the Carnegie go-box got on the Strip. Normally, nobody bothers to move out of my way even if they're just rubbernecking at whatever. Amazingly, anybody who saw the go-box just got out of my way. It was like Moses parting the Strip Sea. I may just put all my personal effects in a go-box next trip and carry it everywhere. Canter's Deli -- I think I like Canter's better than Carnegie. The portions are more manageable and it's cheaper. Given that it was 100% paid for by accrued TI poker room comps, it was a no brainer to eat there twice. Table Games I didn't play a whole lot of table games, because I was short rolled and didn't feel comfortable playing at a high level. Blackjack I view BJ as a luxury in Vegas. Given the bath that I was taking in poker early in the trip, I wasn't feeling very luxurious so I didn't really get a good survey of BJ conditions. Suffice to say that the low limit games made me want to play Pai Gow Poker. The Gold Coast had decent DD games at $10. I believe they had some decent shoe games at $5. I generally was checking in the afternoon and only between Monday and Thursday. HET didn't seem to have any non-6/5 BJ at any limits I saw. MGM/TI did not appear to have any good games at low limits either. Normally, I expect them to have good rules at $25+ a hand, but I wasn't really interested enough to look. Pai Gow Poker I saw a lot of cheap Pai Gow during the day and particularly during the week. $10 PGP seemed very available. I played some at the Hilton, but the drink service was poor so I took the Monorail back to the Center Strip. Video Poker I didn't see any playable VP on the Strip. I wasn't in the high roller areas, so there may be som FP JOB around. In general the best JOB I saw was 8/5 with a lot of 7/5 and 6/5. Be careful, because it wasn't uncommon to see all 3 paytables side by side. The Gold Coast had several banks of VP that were FP JOB at the 50 cent level. I generally played a bank by the pit. Be careful, the 25 cent JOB is something like 7/5. The GC also had a lot of 9/6 Double Bonus Poker. They also had a lot of 8/6 draw poker where max coin quads paid 130 instead of 125. I don't know what the return on this paytable is, but it's definitely not FP. I played a couple of strange VP games that I'm sure are really bad, but kind of fun. The first was a bonus VP at Casino Royale. It's triple play VP, but you can pay up to 10 coins/line and the additional 5 coins go to random multipliers. I lucked into a couple of bucks on this game, but I'm certain it has a horrible payback. Remember, it's at Casino Royale. The next one was at the Palms. You get dealt 8 cards and have to make a 5 card hand and a three card hand. The 5 card has to pay out (minimum hand is 2p with Qs on top) and the 3 card hand has multipliers based on whether you can make a pair, straight, flush, trips, or straight flush. The 5 card hand doesn't have to beat the 3 card hand, so if you make trips+2 pair it's best to play the 2 pair up because of the huge mulitplier for trips. I didn't win squat on this game, but it's fun and challenging and plays pretty slow since setting your hand is not standard like it is in regular VP. Poker My primary game is NLHE. I was shortrolled and trying to avoid ATM trips early, so I was limiting myself to 1/2 and 1/3 games. I ran worse than I ever have in Vegas for the first 4 days and ended up making 4 max ATM trips a day. It was so bad that I was preemptively hitting the ATM so that I could do an 11pm/1am double up if I had to. Never had to do the double walk of shame, but I was thinking about it. Fortunately my online bank account refunds all ATM fees. Normally I would just do a trip budget and not hit the ATM, but I really thought from past trips it was unlikely I'd actually need to hit the ATM and wasn't too concerned with losing the original BR + a couple of thousand. I hate playing small during the WSOP. The 1/2 and 1/3 games have stacks all over the map. There are a bunch of players playing proper short stack strategy and also a bunch of tourney donks who think it's a good move to shove a pair of 5s for $80. There are usually a couple of guys sitting on huge stacks who've been playing for a while and are trapped because they have to chip down if they move. A full buy-in is trapped in the middle. Regardless, this is the box I decided to put myself in to start the trip. I got pounded the first four days by a combination of card deadness, bad beats, and just bad play. Honestly, it was mostly bad play after bad beats. I could have failed to lose about $1k if I would have just made the right folds/not bluffed. I didn't, so I was in a hole. Regardless, by Wednesday I'm down about $1.5k with $1500 left. The $2K includes all gambling losses, since I really don't expect to win at anything but poker. Still, this is by far my worst Vegas trip gambling ever. I'm stuck at the action free Gold Coast with the Palms and Rio as my only close poker options. It I were running better I'd cab it to the Strip, but I'm just totally shellshocked at this point. I'd brought "The DaVinci Code" and "Angels and Demons" by Dan Brown on the trip to read on the plane and during down time, but I end up reading the rest of the "Code" and all of "Angels and Demons" on Tuesday night and Wednesday. After I finish up with "Angels and Demons" I decide to hit the Palms up. There's no action there. I head over to the Rio. I more or less break even. Back to the Palms for 1/2(maybe 1/3). I fall into a great game, but just don't get much traction. I win a hundred, but there was a lot more to be had if I'd run a little better. Unfortunately instead of going to bed, I put the hundo into a BJ game. I get up about 50, then this meth head dealer pushes in and just destroys me. I generally don't mind losing my BJ money, but this wasn't the right time and it wasn't even fun with Mr. Meth. Thursday I make my final walk of shame to the GC ATM, then check out and head back to the Strip. I've got about $1.5K in my pocket and I'm $2K down on the trip. I can't afford any more BJ, PGP, or VP. I can play a penny slot if I feel compelled to, but that's it. I check back into Bally's, get my room with no problem, then start playing again. I play a session each at Bally's, Mirage, Venetian and TI. I don't make any headway, but I don't lose anything either. Beddy-bye. I start it up again. I play Bally's, Mirage, and TI. These three sessions result in a $300 loss. Ouch! I decide to check out the Bellagio. At this point, I'm not necessarily on poker tilt, but I'm definitely on trip tilt. I don't care if I hit the ATM every day. The floor at Bellagio isn't too busy to talk to me about a seat for once. Given that I no longer care about BR at all, I ask him for 2/5, 5/10 NLHE and if he has any 15/30 LHE going. There's a list for 2/5 and 5/10. I have to go to the center podium to check on 15/30. WTF? The center podium is 15 feet from where we are. These nimrods can't talk to each other? Amazingly, there is a 15/30 seat. I buy in for $1K. I don't play a full orbit on 15/30 before a couple of players leave and the table captain (a moderately hot 30ish Cuban girl) decides that we need to draw for seats and break the game. There are 6 players and 5 seats. It severely pisses me off that a viable game is being broken because TC won't play short. I draw a 3. Some poor bastard draws a 2, so at least I have a seat at the other game. As soon as we get seated, TC decides that we should return to the original table since it's larger. Everybody but me agrees. I don't disagree, but my blood pressure is around 5000/1500. I'm on complete raging life tilt. We go back to the original table, but now I'm in the 1 seat. I hate sitting next to the dealer. In retrospect, I see the benefit in not irking the other players at the table. TC has put me in such a rage that I'm not willing to give anything up to her. NL has somewhat broken my LHE game, because I focus on playing against possible huge late street errors. All of my bad NL habits are consumed in the fires of my rage. I'm playing the absolute best technical poker I can in a highly technical game. In an amazing turn of events for this trip the deck just starts hitting me in the face. I'm playing well, and the cards are running my way. After about 2 hours, TC has been crushed to the felt. She makes some feeble claim that she has to go home to her husband, and bails. I'm completely purposeless and lost. Where is my adversary? I realize that I've had as much of a victory as possible in poker, so I rack up and head to the cage. I've got 4 racks and some change. Given that this is a red chip game, that's $2K+! The disaster trip is now back between the ditches! It's back to Bally's for me. It's still too early to sleep for a poker god like me. I get into a 1/2 game. I bang around in this game. It's up and down, but I manage to build up to around $350 from $200. Somehow, I'm allowed to draw to a K high straight flush in hearts. My opponent is sitting on A8h on on T9hXxXx board when my KQh sees a beautiful Jh. Ship the all-in pot and the 550+ Hi Hand Jackpot. I tip the dealer for the pot ($1), and wait for the jackpot payoff. I'm thinking about whether to rebate my opponent his last bet back (I wouldn't want this from him) when he leaves. He's busto, so my dilemma is solved. I toke the dealer $50 for the jackpot. After a couple of hands, I realize I've done about as well as possible and head up to the room. It's my last full day in Vegas. If I want/have to I can play for 36 hours straight and still make the plane. I'm sitting at $800 down with $2700 in pocket. I start playing at TI since they comped my lunch at Canter's Deli. No real action and then the game breaks for the 2 pm tourney. Time for the Mirage. My first big hand I get crushed. We're all in on the turn with me holding the nuts (Broadway) versus top two (AQAQ). River Q = me lose. Rebuy! I bang around for a while and manage to recover the beat + a buyin. I decide to attempt the Venetian. As usual the Venetian has good games, but there are decent players in the games also. I make a huge error with QQ on a 7h6h6s flop and overpush a raise. The poker gods are sorry for all the beats they've put on me in the past week and pay me off with a river Q. Much respect to my opponent. He turned up his 76, flipped it over, and tossed it into the muck without saying a word. Obviously we both know what happened. My suckout puts me up $200 for the trip. Nothing notable happened on Sunday. I played at Bally's until time to hit the airport, won about $30, then rode the big jet airliner.