So my wife and I went back to the promised land from Sept 1 – 4 for our 10-year anniversary and a vow renewal at the Las Vegas sign. My wife hasn't been back since our son was born. I haven't been as dutiful a father, going back twice a year. Here's the summarized recap since I can't break myself away from the tables for a live report. Warning – this will be a bit on the long side and probably lacking pictures in a few places you might want to see them. I don't do food pics, sorry. The original plan: Thursday: Drop the kiddo off with my mother about an hour away, then come back that hour to the airport. Flight out at 3:25 PM EST from JFK. Download Lyft for a ride to Linq. Play off the free play. Monorail or Lyft up to the Stratosphere (our first place staying in Vegas, still have a soft spot). Back to mid-strip for my wife to sleep and me to do a chip collecting run. Friday: Breakfast at Hash House. Check out the Avenger Station at TI. Head down the strip for some more chip collecting. Over to Paris/PH to get some rated play in. Britney Spears concert at 9PM. More chip collecting while walking back to the Linq. Saturday: Breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi. Play in Paris & Bally's. Wife back to Linq for hair and makeup, me on an off-strip chip collecting trip. Lyft down to the sign for the vow renewal. Up to the Cromwell for dinner at Giada's using my diamond voucher. A ride on the High Roller. Wife to bed early, me staying up all night for… Sunday: A 6AM flight back home. (There's a 6 in the morning, now?) Unfortunately, we didn't want to get home too late to pick up our son, and flights on Labor Day were just crazy expensive… On to the reality, or where the plan comes together and breaks down: Flights: Our flight out of JFK on Thursday was delayed due to rain. But they loaded us in the aircraft anyway and we sat on the taxiways. As we got towards the head of the line, the pilots let us know that our flight corridor was closed and we had to wait some more. Finally, we got a new route, but they had to ensure we had enough fuel to make it (ya think?) and check that they wouldn't time out. "Keep those seat belts on, because as soon as we get the go, we're gone…" Not sure when it started, but all movies on the personal entertainment are now free regardless of class, so yay Delta. I watched "Captain America: Civil War" almost entirely on the ground, then "Eye In The Sky" in the sky, which was pretty good. Wheels up at 5:02PM EST. Wheels down around 7:05PM PST – actually not too far off schedule for a 90-minute delay. The flight back was entirely uneventful, despite having to be at the airport around 4:30 AM. No personal entertainment on this plane, but let's face it, I was sleeping anyway. Transportation: I've used plenty of Uber, but since Lyft was Johnny-come-lately to New York, I've never used it and I was still eligible for the promos. Downloaded the app while taxiing to the terminal and ready to go. The trip to the Linq was great and free except for tip. (Well, he dropped us off at the pick-up spot instead of the hotel entrance, but whatever). The two other times we used Lyft we had something I've never had happen with Uber. Both drivers cancelled presumably when I finally entered the destination – from Linq to the Las Vegas sign and from Mandalay Bay to Cromwell. Oh well, we got another driver and it worked out. As everyone by now knows – both cheaper and cleaner than taxis… which brings me to the taxis. After the Britney concert, I was planning on another Lyft, but there was surge and a wait, so we just hopped in a cab. There was an extremely long line, and I'm a bit embarrassed to say how fun it was to skip the line. Can't do that with Lyft! We also took a cab back to the airport in the interest of time and having zero [email protected] In the interest of completeness, we also took the monorail down to MGM. The Food: Here the plan hung together pretty well. Friday morning, we had breakfast at HHAGG, another place where it pays to skip the line. I got the same thing I always get – Corned beef hash, coffee and a bloody mary. My wife got a smoked salmon scramble. Still too much food, still really damn good. Friday night was a slice for me, Earl of Sandwich for my wife. Saturday morning was Mon Ami Gabi (bonus points for finding a pattern here). My wife got the eggs Florentine, while I got corned beef hash, coffee and a bloody mary. Again, the food never fails at MAG. We had a new waiter, and it showed. I tend to have sympathy for new employees (it reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer joins the Navy) I can overlook the forgetfulness in refilling coffee, etc. Then I tried to charge the meal to our room, he came back and politely explained that the Linq was not affiliated with Caesars. Uh… OK. Please try that again? And here we go! He's got the folio! No… his manager assured him that the Linq is not a Total Rewards property. I showed him my TR card, which on the back clears states both Paris and the Linq (in all caps, to boot!) Well that seemed to work and we still gave him the same percentage tip as always. Finally, Giada's on Saturday night. It was our first time here and we opted for the tasting menu. What can I say – off course the food was good. It wasn't the very best meal I've had in Vegas, but it was damn good. We both had the Lemon Crema Spaghetti with Shrimp. Then I had the Tenderloin and she had the salmon. Honestly, the winner was the sweet corn with spicy sausage. The Hotel: This was our first time staying at the Linq. We've done the Strat as previously mentioned, and the Flamingo became our new home, but honestly it's getting a bit tired. On my solo or guys trips, I stay at PH, so Linq seemed a good compromise. I like the feel in the casino, and the location can't be beat. So sometimes I do the $20 trick, sometimes I don't – it's almost a coin flip in my head. I figure I don't spend much time in the room, so is it really worth it? So this time I didn't. Imagine my surprise when we got upgraded from a standard room to a suite. That's my first non-tipped upgrade, and on a holiday weekend! The room was pretty damn good. In fact, the USB charging in the lamps are a great idea. The Keurig is a nice touch as well. No complaints at all, I'd be happy to stay here again. The Entertainment: First up, Avengers Station @ TI. I had a Groupon which included entry, the device rental and a printed ID card. I love the MCU movies and used to read the comics, but I'll admit I went in to this sure it would be a bit cheesy. And I'm sure my wife was just humoring me. Wow, we were wrong. It was actually really well done! The technology was awesome – it uses beacons so as you move from room to room, the app moves to the next section. Lots of cool props to check out, and a great Heads Up Display simulation. My wife is a sucker for those green screen photos at the end of things, so sure enough, had to buy that. (No, you can't see it - the unspoken rule is I'll pay for them, but they stay in a drawer!) Friday night was Britney @ PH. We were seated just off center in the second tier. I'm probably not the demographic for this, but it was pretty good. She still looks great and can move. Yes, she's lip synching. Finally, the High Roller. I had used my diamond tickets for this and had the vouchers. The line was actually… a line. I've never seen a line for the High Roller. So the employee tells us we need to convert the vouchers into real tickets on that line. "No problem", says I. "Where's the diamond line?" "There is none", says she. "You get on the end of that line, wait an hour." "And have a good eve, madam," I say, and off we go back to gamble. With a 6AM flight, we weren't wasting our last night on any lines. So strike that from the plan. The Vow Renewal: We use the Wedding Wagon, which I'm pretty sure I read about here. Absolutely 100% worth it! We arrived right around the same time, which it important when it's 100 degrees out. Reverend Peck was great, and his wife Pia is the photographer. The ceremony was short (by our request) but very nice. Interestingly, I'm in an uncommon field, and they were both in the same field in England before moving. The Chip Collecting: So when I first started coming to Vegas, I collected used playing cards. Then I upgraded to $1 chips. Finally, I upgraded to $5 chips, so now I need to go back to lots of places I've been. Couple that with the desire to concentrate my play with just a few loyalty programs, you'll see some obvious ones here. On Thursday night, when my wife went to bed, I walked through the nearby casinos that I hadn't already got a $5 from: Casino Royale Venetian/Palazzo (also got two Silver Strikes including a red cap) Wynn Treasure Island Mirage On Friday on the way to Britney, we took a monorail to MGM and hit: MGM Grand New York-New York Mirage It was getting late and I needed to get the tickets, so we skipped Aria. Then post-concert, was too tired so skipped Cosmo and Bellagio. On Saturday, while my wife was getting all made up, I walked from the strip to: Ellis Island Tuscany Silver Sevens Hard Rock Then after the vow renewal, I got a bonus chip from Mandalay Bay, which is nice since it's soooo far south. The Gaming: I keep detailed logs using an app, so I can get pretty specific, but, well… Here's the starting bankroll: And the ending bankroll: Yikes! I basically play 30% pai gow, 30% three card, 20% other carny games (UTH, flush, Crazy 4, Miss Stud), 10% blackjack and 10% VP. I hit exactly 0 premium hands at the card games. No trips or straight flushes at 3 card, nothing better than a flush at pai gow, UTH or Crazy 4 and not even trips at Miss Stud. The best I can say is that I turned $225 free play into $353 cash at DSTP Deuces Wild... which I then promptly gave back at pai gow. The final night at 4:55AM (apparently), I did hit 4 deuces on two lines out of five @ the Flamingo. Of course, since I was almost done, it was only for nickels. On a plus note, I played two games in field trials, and one game that was new to me. Deal & Reveal is a blackjack variant at Palazzo. If the dealer had a 2 through 6 up card, he'll reveal the down card. If the dealer has an ace, he'll first peak and if it's a ten card, it will be tossed an another drawn. The penalty is the old 22 push. Wiz sez the edge is 1.11%. 9 Card Fortune Flush is at Bally's. There are three community cards and 6 personal cards. The catch is your bets have to go on Red or Black before the deal, but you can make a flush in either suit in your chosen color. Wiz sez 2.17% and EoR of 1.15%, not terrible for a carny game. I also finally played DJ Wild at Harrah's. Not bad, but couldn't get anything going. Conclusion: And if you made it this far, allow me to congratulate you! And I'll let you in on a secret – my wife just called and told me she found $10 in PH chips. So I guess I did come home with something after all! Uhh... when do I get to go again?