Given my previous apparent inability to start, write and complete a full trip report - I have decided to instead write a pre-TR to which I will append post-trip musings/findings in roughly 14 days (I may try to provide live updates but this was an 'epic fail' on my previous trip, and in all honesty I will probably only post when I win the Lion's share). I hope this is acceptable to Sonya/the moderators and certainly preferable to a TR that takes me three months to complete. In all honesty - the text to follow is probably dull to most but may become a point of reference for me when I am worse for wear after 30 bottles of Corona and forget who I am. On the basis my name is not really Vladimir, it might be the case that we end up with some kind of Liam-Neeson-Unknown situation on the Strip. I am currently a matter of hours (dozens rather than a couple) from departure. It was £200 cheaper to fly via various points in Europe, via Philadelphia to Las Vegas. Having read (enjoyed and ideallised) a number of Royal Flusher's reports, this was a no brainer in the spirit of Savvy Vegas. At least another hour at VP gained. The planning for the trip started last June(ish) when there were three participants, the flights were booked in November when the three had reduced to two and the hotels were finalised in the last few hours when I have emerged as the sole traveller to have found my way through the maze that includes both time off work and a disinclination for family life (the perfect Vegas client?). Admittedly I was overcomped on previous trips but the Stratosphere 's offerings have not overly impressed this time round. I am comped in Strat Select for three nights (down from a mid-level suite for the last two years), which I have upgraded to a 'Strip View Garden Studio'. I understand the garden means it has a hot tub - which perhaps did not reflect my initial understanding. I did try to upgrade to a Star Suite but was told there was no availability, an explaination I struggle with considering I have genuinely been the only person in the casino on occasion. That said I was sick on my last trip from an unspecified buffet - so that did bring my time of play down somewhat - but I did spend a good amount of time at $25/hand blackjack, which improved my tier rating but apparantly not my comp value to the casino. My bankroll is not huge and in fact probably qualifies as no-roller, $2500 for what could have been six nights (now 4 - to be explained). On the two previous trips I have lost $2300 (where I would have had to walk back to the airport if I had been travelling alone) and $1600, which might be middle of the road for the strat. In my six trips I have stayed solely at the Stratosphere, but this time may be different. As a combination of my desired room at the Strat being unavailable and the fact that I only get one holiday a year - I am looking at trying somewhere different for the final two nights. The budget for accomodations is $300, and I am looking at either a standard room at an upmarket joint (Wynn is within my grasp on an email offer), or an upmarket room at a standard joint (with the added bonus of being compable on future trips). The gaming budget would be $1000 (in addition to that mentioned previously) for the two nights and I would be grateful of any suggestions. I am yet to book a profitable trip to the promised land, so I am also looking to change my routine for other activites (is this savvy as well?). In the past - the only scheduled other activity is a first night dinner at Fellini's. I may change this for McColl's grill this time - saving Fellini's for departure night from the Strat. I have had plenty of intentions in previous trips, many of which have been unfulfilled. Those that carrry over to this trip are: Bacchanal Buffet, Rio/Palms, 'real' Handpay and actually manage to leave with a profit. My final pre-trip musing is not easy to contemplate. It is in fact difficult and sad to say. Perhaps echoing Beejay's recent announcement - I am not looking forward to this trip as much as usual. Not even half as much. I have almost no buzz, I haven't been able to hear the slots chiming away in the background whilst I while away my final days at work. I haven't been able to taste my first Vegas steak whilst watching repeats of MvF at home. I have not been able to smell vegas every day in recent months, unlike every day since I first set foot in a Vegas casino 1763 days ago. I still read this board every day - I revel in the TRs of Flusher, Beejay, Natedogg and numerous others, but somehow this trip, even going to Vegas as a whole does not feel 'right'. Have others felt like this? I will continue to go to Vegas for the rest of my life. But perhaps not every year, perhaps not even once every five years. Will something change things for me on this trip? Or could Vegas Trip VII really be the final frontier? Comments of course welcome - and I will try to keep you updated as the trip progresses (really!!).