Follow me here: www.contriboy.com Iâ€™ve had this report on my computer for the past seven months and just now have finally gotten around to publishing itâ€¦.whoops! My brother and I, call him K because itâ€™s the first letter of his name, try and make a yearly trek out to Las Vegas. I get out there much more than he does, but I always look forward to our trips together. This time, weâ€™re booked into the Bellagio on an offer I received from their website. This offer includes a suite (Salone), $350 in freeplay, two tickets to any MGM show and food and beverage to all non-gourmet restaurants. This trip has also been timed in accordance with the Festa al Lago poker tournament. I love poker and Iâ€™ll be playing in one of their $1,000 buy-in tourneys. Thursday â€“ We leave for the airport with the usual anticipation and gusto around 8:30am. IAH is only about twenty-five minutes from my house and we purposely arrive just a bit early in order to enjoy a pre-flight beverage. They might be expensive, but they always taste so damn good, donâ€™t they? Continental gets us to Vegas on one of their 737-900s in almost exactly three hours. Great ride, great plane. Snagged the exit row for both of us the night before as we like to stretch our legs out during the flight. Weâ€™re in Vegas!! Whatâ€™s that? A limo to the Bellagio? Well thank you MGM, that was rather thoughtful of you. We hop in and are promptly dropped offâ€¦very little traffic that morning. Now when checking in, I always like to ensure that I get the best room and view possible. I realize that very little time will be spent in the room, but when Iâ€™m there I want to enjoy it. After exchanging just a few pleasantries we find our room on Bellagioâ€™s lovely 35th floor. A quick hit to the mini-bar pays off in a couple of Heineken and we then mosey on back to the casino. I load up my freeplay and immediately head for my favorite $5 Pinball machine located just outside the high limit area. I turn my $350 in freeplay into $450 cash money and we decide that we need another tasty beverage. We stroll up to the Baccarat Bar and I pop a $20 into the video poker and select the wonderful double double bonus that we all know and love so much. I hold two 9s on the first hand and two more show up on the draw! Four of a kind on my very first hand good for a quick $250! Can you say Hey Now!! K called me a bastard and I told him that if Iâ€™m a bastard thereâ€™s a good chance that heâ€™s one as well. Next, we hit up Olives for a nice lunch and good scotch. I am a foodie, but Iâ€™m really not one to go into menu details, letâ€™s just say it was fantastic. After lunch, we walked to the MGM to pick up our tickets for KA later that evening. We played a game or two but nothing significant, mainly just having some great brotherly bonding time. At this point, the time is about 4pm and K has been hitting to booze pretty hard and wants to grab forty winks before the show. We head back to the Bellagio and agree to meet at the buffet at 7pm. I pass the time playing various $5 slots and video poker and had one great hit on a $25 Pinball machine. $1,600!!! At VP, I caught quad 4s w/kicker and 8s within minutes of each other. I gave a little back, perhaps $500 or so before I met my brother for dinner. I also made a healthy bet on the Phoenix Suns to cover the spread that afternoon, which they did. I was very pleased. He called me another name after I showed him my W-2g. We enjoyed the buffet in record time and quickly decided to enjoy some video poker at the sports bar. I was down to about $32 and we were about to get up and grab a cab to MGM for KA when all the big boy spades expect the King popped up. I held my breathâ€¦.pushed the draw buttonâ€¦.andâ€¦.. See attached. Pic might be a bit tough to see but I think you know the outcome!! At this point for the day I was up about $7,000â€¦very nice. The Bellagio staff quickly forked over forty hundos and we hightailed it to the MGM for the show. KA was a great show. Truly wonderful and impressive. That being said, by this time I was wiped out and had trouble keeping my eyes open. All the alcohol consumed and excitement from day one had finally caught up with me. After the show we both caught a second windâ€¦well, sort of. We walked around and we were kind of in one of those moods where you donâ€™t really want to gamble too much. Is that crazy or do you guys know what I mean? Regardless, we rolled some dice back at the B and played a little BJ. Before we hit the sack I registered for the $1,000 tourney starting the next day at noon. Friday â€“ The morning consisted of an excellent breakfast at the CafÃ©. Iâ€™ve always had a great experience here. This visit was no different. It was at this point where we parted for the day. My tournament was about to begin in the Fontana Lounge, so K went off on his own for the rest of the day. The quick breakdown of the tournament â€“ I thought I played above average poker for the majority of the day. I finished 27th out of 163 people. Most of these players were average to above average skill level. I was card rich for the first two hours and definitely made the most out of it. My 10,000 had become 35,000 before I knew it. I played loose-aggressive during that time and felt as though I had control of the table. My chips were never in jeopardy and I never went to showdown without having the best handâ€¦.until about 11pm. Actually, I didnâ€™t even play a hand between 2pm and 5pm. Card. Dead. What can you do? I would try and capitalize when I was in position and when I thought I could get away with it. Then the almighty blinds caught up and I found my above average stack was slightly below averageâ€¦.actually well below. I made a push with AQ os since it was the best hand I had seen in hours from the big blind with my remaining 27,000 and lost when I never paired. I ended up eight places from the money. Was I a little bitter? Of course. But, I truly had a blast and cannot wait to play in more of these events in the future. Afterwards, I caught up with K, who was very inebriated, and we went downtown and hung out at the oh so very wonderful El Cortez. And I say this with all heart and honesty because I love that place and what it represents. The glitz and awesomeness of the strip will always make me feel at home. But the dirt and grime of whatâ€™s left of the old school downtown is where I am at home. We played craps and roulette at the El Co for a few hours and then made our way back to the B for the night. Sunday â€“ K was leaving at 11am. We got up early, ordered some room service and then went downstairs to the sportsbook to take in the games. Video poker was not nearly as kind as it had been the previous day, so we slow played it and drank ourselves silly. K left for the airport and I just continued with what Iâ€™d already been doing. I thought about hitting the poker room for a while as I was not leaving until the next morning, but I really try, and try is the key word, to not drink and play poker. I find that I am a profitable player so long as I stay away from the booze at the table. If Iâ€™m drinking I get carelessâ€¦.imagine that! So I placed an unsuccessful bet on the Bengals against the Browns that gave back a bit of my profits. Probably should have just sat down at the poker table! No worries though, as I mainly hung out in the Caesars book and watched football and played VP on the Bâ€™s dime for the rest of the day. Left the next morning around 9am with no room charges and feeling fantastic! Any time you actually leave Las Vegas with extra coin in the pocket is a red letter day. And while waiting for my flight at the airport I got back the $$$ I had lost on the sports bet by hitting the $1000 spin on Wheel of Fortune and another $750 on the Star Wars penny slots (@ $5 per spin though). Got home safe and sound. Thanks for reading!