Final tally. This is the type of a trip I had not experienced before. Sort of a WTF(?) trip. Leaving the 12th for Vegas so had to have the farewell dinner of sirloin, stuffed chicken breast and bacon wrapped filets with corn on the cob and always the pinto bean concoction. Having a final Goose Island IPA waiting for the temperature to settle. Ahh, the day before. Flights were SWA, 104 $ each way. WTF is up with that? Started booking back in April or May for October trip and kept checking the prices for that trip and saw the lower prices in September also. Wife said why not and I said ok WTF. Booked and then checked to see offers. There was a video poker tournament at the Cal with free nights 12-14 and had four free nights at the MSS which added up to seven nights and found me heading to the airport about 4:00 a.m. on the 12th with much anticipation. I booked the rooms on line –b-connected member page-- in July and then in between that time and now, snail mail brought the offer for the vp tourney. Reading to find out more facts I noticed the caution which determined the powers that be had agreed 72 hours should be somehow placed between stays at downtown properties. WTF? I had stayed (and again in October) at the Gold Coast / Orleans prior to moving to another Boyd property without any window restrictions between reservations. WTF? I called and talked to a host at MSS and said if it was impermissible to have such back to back reservations I was not sure how I was able to book on line but wanted the option to pay the nights at California and not MSS since the first three days were weekdays and not the weekend rate. She took my player’s number and pecked and sighed. Then she said oh yes I see it now. But I will tell you I know nothing about it. Reservations approved it so let it go and enjoy. WTF? I reiterated I wanted to avoid the higher weekend rates and if a bind developed could I retroactively pay for the first three nights and retain my four night free offer. She said to ask for her by name if a problem arose and she would just comp the nights in question. WTF? So we are back to the airport with TSA pre and sitting at the gate with 45 minutes to spare. No problems and arrive on time. Beat it down to the zero level to catch the WAX 10:10 stop (as listed on the web page schedule) and my phone said 10:14 as I exit the doors onto the lot. A bus is idling and I begin to walk quickly but it is the CRX or some bus not the WAX. WTF? Missed the bus by a couple of minutes I guess and now have just under an hour wait. But I’m in Vegas so all is good and the morning is cool and oh look, a schedule of times in the little waiting area and this schedule says 10:14. WTF? Look around to see what is what and here comes the WAX. Cha-ching!! First win. Get on, get down with the peeps and head downtown. At this point the peeps consisted of the driver and me but off we went on time with the correct schedule. By the time I get off there must be well over three people on the bus beside me and the driver. I wave and head off through the Fremont walkway under the canopy. It is so refreshing to leave the Texas heat / humidity and walk in the mid 80’s with less than 20% humidity. Already the business side of FSE is in second gear. I look for the nearest occupied circle and walk 30 feet right of it. Then left and then another right. Ding Ding Ding! I am at the back of the California and heading through the newly renovated Holo Holo Bar area and spot the front desk. Check in at the Cal goes smoothly west tower on the 21st floor (which is like the 8th floor because of the missing floors above the M level) WTF? AND they give me a GOLD CARD!!!! Cha-chingching!!! Get to the room without too much trouble, unpack and organize my thoughts for the day. Plan to head to Boar’s Head Bar to have a brew or three before lunch. Take a picture of the room number and head out. IPA is available and off we go. I had checked my point total prior to starting and it was listed at 261439. I check daily (usually on the way to coffee and Bailey’s) and prior to playing craps so I can see what credit I am given during that session. Play a little vp and head to 777 for a bit of lunch. I’ll use the gold card thank you very much. I left hurriedly before they could get on the speaker and announce—gold card player, table 42—and the spotlight shines around like an NBA game and settles on table 42. I have a new approach (again? WTF?) in playing vp which is simple and quite silly but works for me. I put in 20 $ (used to be 100) and play til I double or zero it out. If doubled, I cash out and insert another 20. Repeat. If doubled again, I insert the previous TITO and cash out the one ticket showing the upside. I continue until I run through that day’s session, that day’s money or whatever. It helps me keep track of my progress or lack there of and causes me to think about where I am during my play. I only have one TITO as I continue to reinsert and then cash out when the 20 has doubled. Sometimes you get a premium hand and that sends you past the 40 $ mark and then the gaming begins. Ok, let’s try to get to “X” $ but not fall below a new baseline. Only once progressed to 80 $. Generally fell back to baseline but above the 40 $ goal. I know. You are reading this and saying WTF? IDK. I need something to help me keep from falling into the zombie zone of playing vp without thought other than strategy. Now the IPA zombie zone is unavoidable. One must simply succumb. I see Olegg and he is working his “Monday” since it is his first day back from two days off which coincidentally is uncanny in real life as it really IS Monday. So I get another IPA and settle in. Nothing remarkable but nothing irrational either. Ended the day even. EVEN? WTF? Go over to the California to freshen up and make a bet on Pittsburgh for 50 $. Thanks Big Ben. Come back and sit around playing vp until about 5:15 in the p.m. and head over to the Pullman to have a bite. Not really hungry as had the 777 earlier but can’t miss as it is only open Monday and Tuesday prior to closing and moving back to the Cal. Timing or WTF? Have the French Onion Soup and salad at the bar. Bartender is attentive and food is fabulous. Drink water. I drink water with every meal as hydration is a potential vacation disrupter if ignored. I know I know. The IPA has water as an ingredient but apparently it is not provided in adequate quantity for hydration. WTF? Used the gold card again and was immediately recognized as a premier customer who was really treated as a mere mortal during my meal. My chest is puffy. I am tired and heading back to the room for a nap / crash for the night around 7:30 p.m. and slide by to pick up a quick sundae from Lapperts. Only a single as this is a solo trip and no need to get two spoons or be polite. Yummy. I know it is sometimes considered rude to eat in front of others but I couldn’t resist in the elevator to take a few bites to the oooohs and awwwwws of my fellow passengers. I settle in and watch the last of the Steelers incredible win (incredible because I bet on them). Usually I make a 5 $ bet and for 5 $ somehow someway the team is notified of such a wager and then choke up from the pressure. I can kill your favorite team in a matter of seconds. Want the Cubs to win the pennant? Send me the funds to bet on their opponents. A sure bet for the Cubs. Just be sure to add airfare and hotel fees. Tuesday is the first day of the two day tournament. I was stoked!! At 63 I was one of the younger entrants. I can outlast these blue hairs any day. My white hair demands it as a matter of pride. If wecould just get some humidity pumped in the room they would wilt for sure but that possibility wasn’t looking too promising. I scored 834 points. 133rd out of 153 upon completion of the first round. Damn!! WTF? It was like a quickly paced poker tournament where the blinds fly skyward and you don’t get the cards but the players that do just smirk that smirky smirk and look at you like there is some sort of caste system employed and you are located in the basement. But I got three free nights for the humiliation and A GOLD CARD so they could just smirk all they wanted. We will see who laughs last and laughs loudest. You wait. Round TWO is just 23 and a half hours away. I had missed an opportunity to meet with Tring at the Linq due to conflicts and his leaving this afternoon so that got all fouled up as I could have gone down Monday in the p.m. had he been available. Next time I hope. Also had a blowout with my bracelet / wristband which split the die. Damn it. WTF. Will work on repairs prior to next trip. Hopefully not an omen. Go back over to the Boar’s Head for some coffee and Bailey’s prior to having breakfast / lunch or brunch. Rat bastards A conspiracy at best. I am white and they are blue so that is just the way the world is stacked against me. I notice on the vp the various machines have varying offers. I had seen the DDB progressive at the quarter level but not bonus poker, bonus deluxe and double double bonus poker plus. They were older machines and all had the same jackpot of 1181.98. I was quite impressed as I put my 20 $ bill in and pressed 25 cent JoB and began my assault. I was killing time until I could have 777 fare with the gold card and now hopefully with a different waitstaff due to my incognito-ness being blown from my first visit. No big wins again nor big errors so off to lunch I went. Had salad and a burger. Yummy. Sparse crowd (probably all were watching the blue hairs at the tourney racking up those points) which was nice. Only autograph sought was for the bill. And here is a nice tip for you my good man. I would have placed 14,080 on my card at the end of this day for my two day total thus far. You have to remember a lot of time was taken by the tournament’s 20 minute session earlier and the registration on Monday but three free days is three free days. Ate at the bar again at the Pullman / Redwood and had the French Onion Soup again (all caps is only the first time FOS is mentioned each trip) with the bone in rib-eye. Holy crap as Frank Romano was so apt to say. It was good. Almost full I waddle back over to the Cal and get the double scoop hot fudge sundae for room consumption (although some elevator time is needed as well) Going down the hallway I notice the cameras in the ceiling pointing this way and that. I hold up the dessert to remind those beady little eyes one cannot spy adequately without nutritional substance within the working day. (There was a debate some time ago about whether there was video surveillance at some hotel or other for assault or access to rooms without authorization etc. and I can’t remember as I think it was about some strip hotel I won’t ever stay at but for some reason the sight of the cameras triggered that little action of synapse which caused this run-on sentence to leap from the keyboard). So, up and at ‘em for day two of the tournament; the day of reckoning; the day of revenge by the basement people; the day the blue hairs had been warned about would eventually come but had not yet experienced. Machine 42. 1,173 points. ! How can you be expected to be in top tournament form at 9:00 a.m. in Vegas? With the previous day’s score this new total put me in a pretty ripe spot if 97 people don’t show for day two as my tournament total was still behind their first day’s total. The fix was in and it was masterfully engineered as designed. I don’t need this. I strode from the tournament area as if I had hit three Royals and was in the commanding lead which would not be easily challenged. People noticed. Went to the sports book to redeem my Pittsburgh wager and the sign said closed for lunch. Wow. A communal lunch group. No one available for tending the counter at 9:25 in the a.m. Not sure what time zone I had been dropped into but it wasn’t 2 or even 3 p.m. It was a nice sign though. Went to BH bar and began slamming the coffee and Bailey’s until 9:40 when I uttered enough in a very low tone. On my third day in Vegas. I needed to atone for my tournament showing and needed to do something quick! Nothing for 20 minutes and TWO twenties being inserted without a withdrawl. WTF? Then at 9:52 again in the a.m. I made up for all transgressions. White haired people of the world would unite behind me and the blue hairs would mark this day in infamy. Diamonds baby! Held four with the missing queen appearing as if from the ashes of my embarrassment earlier in the day to make all right with the world. And not on lowly quarters either; noooo, this was on ½ dollars like Ben Franklin used to grace only to be replaced by JFK in 1964. Even the thought of having to share with Uncle Sam didn’t damper this moment. I was back!! In the chips. The game was on. 20 to the bartender and 20 to the slot lady that kept bringing all those scratch cards all the day long and back to business. It was a dry couple of hours until the 790J of clubs showed their faces with room for a 10 spot in the middle. WTF do you think happened then? The appearance of the 10 merely made the party happen better but only on the 25 cent level. One can afford only so much for Uncle Sam. Tomorrow was moving day so it was off for some much needed rest and contemplation of dinner / nutrition since the Redwood was relocating and closed this day and the next. The new renovations looked new but it also looked awfully bright. I like the subdued lighting of the old Redwood which created a sense of coziness and warmth. Perhaps it was fully lit for some form of renovation which continued. Decided on the prime rib special at the Café at the Cal. Even with the Gold Card you have to eat with the little people at some point just to keep it all balanced. It was ok. Not Redwood quality or Prime Rib Loft at Orleans but café quality which was, well WTF. It was 9.99 or somesuch but actually it was free. I had the Gold Card. Also had a lot of water. Made it by the sports book and got my Pittsburgh ticket redeemed (it was past lunch I guess) and went back up to the room to assess damages, pack a bit and prepare for moving day tomorrow to the MSS. Gold Card was good until noon on check-out. Breakfast at perhaps the coffee shop at Fremont. Never had been there but it was a coffee shop and it was breakfast and it was free with the GC. Got up and finished packing; checked my point balance which showed 280,108—approximately 18,700 points had been added. Of which total included approximately 3,000 points played at California. Since you are not supposed to be able to stay at each without the 72 hour break period (WTF), I was not too keen on playing a lot at the Cal and then getting an offer I couldn’t use back to back. Had one premium hand of 4-3’s on bonus poker in the little alcove overlooking the craps tables where the real money is changing hands. But another quarter level win which is fine by me. Drink service at the Cal is not like that of the MSS on the floor. Seems like they really stretch their service staff over larger areas and frequency of suds is lacking. Although it could have been being tucked away in the little alcove area makes you go unnoticed. Not sure. Check out was easy once they stared at the computer screen and looked at each other and then made a phone call. Then the code was the problem. F6 was heard a few times but maybe try F4. WTF? Finally all was cleared (I think the total was 147 and change) and I was set to go. Could I get a receipt? Didn’t need one as all was comped (she said). I noted her name tag for later reference in case all was not comped and I had to come back and straighten things out in a most distasteful way. I couldn’t tell you her name now though. But I could have if I needed to. Check in to MSS was easy at 9:40 or so and I was not Gold Carded nor given the highest of high floors. I got to check who was entering and who was leaving the parking garage. From the third floor. WTF? How the mighty have fallen. Saw the host(ess) I had talked to on the phone and waited in a line of two in order to speak with her and clarify / confirm our conversation over the phone. Oh yes she remembered. What was my player’s number again? Her job is to remember junk like that but I gave it to her with a smile. It is not my job to recall names from desk clerk name tags. Oh my she says. They gave you a gold card at the Cal by mistake. WTF? Room charges rushed through my head but she also said it showed to be all clear. Note to self; ignore eye to eye contact when passing through the Cal this trip with anyone in a Hawaiian print shirt or a tie. I got my 35 $ in free play and proceeded to turn it into a vast fortune in only a few short hours. I turned it into 36 $ in 7 minutes playing vp at the quarter level. Oh goody. Money to spend on the parlay card (yellow is my choice) and it is Thursday so all is well once they come out about 11 or so. Got a 3 $ scratch card this day so things are looking toward the positive side. Time passes. IPA passes and I am off to check on the availability of the scratch cards at the Cal. They are in and I make my 5 $ wager as well as some other parlays for 10 $. Freeplay totals 36 $, I spend 25 $ and suddenly I am playing on house money. WTF could go wrong. I end Thursday at 294546 total on my account which is about 14,000+ for Thursday’s play. And tomorrow is Friday and that is pancake day at EAT on Carson Street. I can hardly sleep. But I do and seldom hear the traffic in and out of the garage but do hear one train pass through the hallway. After a filling double stack of pancake with bacon (crispier than normal please) I head up the street only to be lured into the doorway of the Donut Bar. No IPA but a strawberry filled donut with whip cream. I find a little more room. They are open until they sell out. It was busy. I ate on the way back down the sidewalk to MSS for a good Bailey’s and coffee. Get back to MSS and decide to skip lunch. Or drink lunch. Play vp until approximately 2:30 and am getting a bit weary and in need of a nap. One 20 to go so let’s pump it up to $’s and do four spins of the wheel or deals of the card. Wham bam—nothing. Only 10 $ left until nap time. What’s this 10-Q-J of clubs challenging me to take them and discard a 8 or 9 of diamonds or somesuch? I had a gold card just yesterday in the a.m. Hold and draw and what is this crazy world coming to. I hit a TimSpeed level Royal!!! Cha-chingchingching!! That 50 center had only been half speed but now I was up with the big boys. WTF I called the attendant but they did not come so the bar did. Perhaps my tenor is not what catches their ear. Tips for all! He said quietly. I quickly went to KENO to stop the onslaught of W2g’s but even won 77 on a four bet at that. Nap time. Ended the day at 300,220 which was just under 6,000 coin in for Friday. I better find something to do before I hit a 5 $ royal. Ahh, Saturday is coming closer and a trip to the PHofF is in order. I take the WAX / 201 and arrive about 1 in the p.m. I don’t care if I lose 2 rolls of quarters in 2 hours 25 minutes, I love this place. Problem is I left the phone charging in the room and planned to go back for it before leaving and just never did. PLUS football was on everywhere and my parlays were working overtime. Except for Baylor. Worked ok on the multi-teamer but could not cover my three teamer. I seemed to recall Army beat Rice the week before with enough force to have Baylor coast. Wasn’t meant to be. Damn Damn Damn. Ended the day 302,185 which was just shy of 2,000 coin in. Apparently coin in at PHofF isn’t figured into Boyd totals. I go by 777 and pay for a sandwich with points and head to the room after a full day of travel with the peeps on the bus and rubbing elbows with various PB Wizards. NFL is tomorrow and I sleep right to it. My 13 teamer is doing well so far and we have NFL games on tap up through the eventual thrashing of the Vikings by Joe’s Packers. I hope. Same process, Bailey’s and coffee in copious amounts then breakfast at the buffet; quick and comped from the previous night’s stop by the player’s desk then slowplaying as the games begin and the IPA nectar flows. It was getting sweaty now as the Broncos looked like they could hold on and cover the one point I had given up. Oh sweet and only the slaughter at the new Minnesota home of the Vikings would stand in the way of my 500 $ win. And I got 2 points with the Packers. Nervously wiping my brow with a napkin I was sweating the Broncos last quarter when my neighborly vp neighbor asked what was up with the sweat and did I have a bunch of money on the Denver game. I showed him my phone (always make copies of the bets and leave the slips in the room safe) and he said dude. It sounded serious. He said I should consider putting 250 $ on the Vikings. I said WTF? He went through this that and the other and if offered at the time of the wager 250 for the bet would I have done it yadda yadda ya. Ultimately it made as much sense as another IPA so I hightailed it over to the sports book at the Cal and bet 250 ML on the Vikings at +115. My lock of the weekend and here I was betting against it but then again I was assured of a payout. And what if the Vikes won 16-14 or 17-16 or 21-20? I would win both bets!!! Could Sam Bradford run out the clock by taking the ball out of the endzone for a safety insuring the win by one point and extinquish the clock at the same time? WTF . He threw it wide right and the game was over. My sports sage was nowhere to be seen as he had left mid-2 nd quarter from the BH bartops. I collected 287.50 plus my 250 invested instead of 500 $ with a win by the Pack and I was CERTAIN they would win. Not so fast my friend. Had to catch the 5:16 bus to the airport Monday and hit the hay earlier than expected. Final card score was 312,160 (began with 261,439 so over the 7 days I put in 50,721 coin and averaged 7,245 a day although I did have a tournament obligation and PHofF visit to squeeze in. Except for the paltry play at the Cal, it was all at MSS. Final thoughts. They should do something with the Pullman room. High end bar at least. It is gorgeous. I used points three times for food. Once they asked to see my id to match with the player’s card. At 777 when seated I was asked. On a to go order from the bar I was not. At the Market Café she asked on the way out for my card only and applied the points. I thought that was weird and opened those cards left in the machines to the opportunity for “theft”. Still love MSS. Cal rooms are nice as well (if they think you are GC material you might get a better deal, I don’t know). The FSE is much more tolerable with the circles and some of the acts are entertaining in a beggars / I have no talent sort of way. It is sad if you dwell on it but humorous if you just pass by and pretend to not notice how sad some of the performers really are. I am a gold spray painted cowboy doing pantomime. WTF. Maybe there was more to it but I was just passing by and not noticing. I will post pictures tomorrow. They are on my phone. The golf course has wifi which is handy for uploading. I will try to put them in chronological order as they are referenced above. It probably won’t work but you can see the donut and pancakes and view from the table by the window at EAT as well as the RF’s and parlay cards, beer, bloody Mary’s, view from the room, ice cream, etc. Hope you made it this far as it was a mere 4,647 words.