Iâ€™m a little sore, maybe a little tired too.. but what else can be expected after 5 days in Vegas and a trip there and back with USAirways. May they rest in peace. Soon, very soonâ€¦ oh â€“ and that catâ€¦. Anyway â€“ Iâ€™m a little ahead of myself here so lets back upâ€¦ Its fall â€“ getting darker and colder and my wife wants to go to England to visit with her family. The original plan was to all head to Florida in spring and get a house there but her dad doesnâ€™t want to flyâ€¦ I poke around the internet and after about a week find a deal in March that will get her and the 2 youngest to England in March at Easter. 2 Â½ weeks. Well I canâ€™t afford that time off work - nor can I survive that long with the in-laws, but she can so I book. Just so happens that the time she is in England overlaps with March Madness.. oh dear, what a shameâ€¦ so check out the airmiles and I have enough for an internal flight. I lay on a bit of peer pressure with a few mates and get several maybes and one yes so Iâ€™m booked. Did have to change the dates to take in an extra day at a later point. Thursday. Isnâ€™t Philadelphia lovely this time of year. So Thursday 27th March â€“ after prior evening of preparing (and an hour outside in the cold getting the cat to come in- hell I actually wanted to sleep cat â€“ not be outside waiting for you to get your fuzzy butt back in the house) Iâ€™m up bright and early for a quick shower and final clean up before my lift arrives. The cat is corralled into the dining room and I lock and leave â€“ all is well â€“ the lift is on time and before long I am deposited curbside at the local airport. Check in and go through security â€“ not the quickest bunch ever but I have time so I donâ€™t care. I grab something to eat then 30 minutes later go to the gate. There were a lot of people there and it was only a small plane so they were offering a free flight to those who gave up their seat. I thought about it but decided no â€“ after all I needed to get there before my buddy Miles as the hotel was in my name! So I get through and seated. We are pushed back from the gate and â€¦ thatâ€™s it. Nothing. For 20 minutes we sit there until the issue is resolved. That was enough to screw it all up though. Arrived late in Philly and my 45 minutes to get the next flight just turned into 10. As Iâ€™m as far as I can be from my connection I donâ€™t make it. I hit the service counter and they book me on the next available seat â€“ 5 hours later!! They also put me on standby for the next flight but itâ€™s full already and it turns out to be a no go.. So I go get a coffee and turn on my phoneâ€¦ and Miles has texted to say his flight was delayed by 3 Â½ hours. By my estimate he has already taken off and will arrive at the same time as meâ€¦. I text him back to say call me as soon as you get in. Now Iâ€™m pissed off â€“ I could have taken the next flight in New Hampshire, got a free flight and still get into Vegas at the same time. Plus I could have gone home for a few hours. Instead Iâ€™m in Philadelphia airport for 5 hours, the food options are terrible and there is no free internet. Whoever runs that airport needs to get a grip..its a shambles. I wasnâ€™t happy â€“ can you believe that?? Anyway I finally stumble on a flight direct to vegas, got a bulkhead seat so no moron could use the chair in front of me like a trampoline and a pair of gigging lovers next to me with a 40 year age gap. Good luck to ya kids but lady â€“ asking questions like why is there snow on that mountain isnâ€™t gonna get you much respect. Not that I had much for anyone at that stage. Finally I spot lake mead and we swing into the pattern to land (smoothly) and get to the gate. Phone on, almost first off the plane and off to the baggage claim. I went straight to the bag office as I thought the bag may have made it before me but no â€“ they made it sit around and wait for hours in Philadelphia too. Got the bag (after only a short wait) and a call from Miles â€“ he has arrived and had got his bags too. Heâ€™s in terminal 2 and after working out thatâ€™s different from me I decided that we should just grab cabs and meet downtown as Iâ€™d wasted enough time. Twenty something minutes later Mario Andrettiâ€˜s cab driving brother squeals into the cab stop at The Vegas Club and I bail out wishing that cabs had 5 point seat belts. I pay the man and heâ€™s off laying more rubber onto downtown streets. I get in line for check in and as Iâ€™m just opening negotiations on an upgrade from the south tower (I got as far â€œHi how are youâ€) Miles turned up. I (ignorantly â€“ I might add) turned away from the desk to greet him as I hadnâ€™t seen him since I was best man at his wedding over 2 years previously. I was still talking to him as I handed over my license and c card and he was telling me about the maniac who drove him from the airport. Er â€“ dude â€“ we were at the airport together and I beat you here â€“ your cabbie has lots to learn!!. Anyway this seemed to amuse the girl behind the counter and as I turned my attention back to her she completed the transaction and handed over 2 room keys. Complimentary upgrade to the North Tower. Win number oneâ€¦ and I needed it. So up to the room. It was fine. Had two beds, small desk, bathroom and separate toilet/ bath. No extractor so the aerosol body spray had to be used a few timesâ€¦ perfectly adequate room - overlooking the Cal so nothing to speak of there but I wasnâ€™t there for the view â€“ it was just somewhere to crash and it was fine. After dropping the bags it was time to get out there.. my original plan of being there a few hours earlier and loading up on beer and water for the room was crushed. Therefore it was straight off to Main Street Station to get the buzz started with Black Chip Nitro.. a very good and moorish beer. At last â€“ Vegas!! Lets get it on! Following the mellowing out on black chip was a little walk through Fremont. Checking out a couple of casinos and down to the El Cortez for some drinking and cheap pai gow and blackjack. I hit the pai gow table first and taught Miles how to play so we sat and talked, drank and played cards for a while. I was texting Aaron (Aggie182) who was on his way downtown and wanted to meet up for some drinks. Pai gow turned a little sour and Aaron seemed to be a bit late so Miles gave up and went to play quarter roulette whilst I decided to finish off my cash at the table and move on â€“ anyway I was down to $10 when Aaron appeared (he told me Iâ€™d recognize him easily as he was wearing Texas A&M stuff â€“ as if that was going to mean anything to me!!). He joined me at pai gow and we then seemed to spend ages there getting good drink service and having a laugh whilst also actually rebuilding my buy in! Eventually we called it quits and I introduced Aaron to Miles who was still at the roulette table (can you image how long it takes to lose a buy in when your total bet each spin is a buck?). Anyway Aarons buddies were heading back to the strip so he was off to meet them â€“ meanwhile with a decent buzz on and bodies still on different time zones drunken early morning food seemed like a good idea.. so I texted Dougie to go for a kebab - and got a reply back that he was in the golden gate dinerâ€¦ now that sounds like a plan!! So we cashed in and headed up there. Having no idea who was with Dougie â€“ and having never met anyone before I poked my head into the Diner and saw Dougie immediately â€“ hanging out with Mikey and Al. We pulled up next to them and got stuck into the late night menu and heard some stories about the goings on that weâ€™d missed â€“ and yes Terry, you were taking all the blame for the glow sticksâ€¦ damn funny though. I naturally ordered steak and eggs- perfect late night Vegas food. Miles ordered the corned beef hash and still living in England had no idea what it was â€“ he thought it was hash browns. Needless to say it wasnâ€™t what he expected so he took some crap for that.. and rightly so. A lot of fun was had at the late night breakfast â€“ including some ripping the crap out of the newbiesâ€¦.all in fun though. We may have been a little loud for the other patrons â€“ but what the hellâ€¦ With a long day ahead we called it quits and bailed out.. I think Mikey was getting a little concerned that we were following him when we were still behind him in the Vegas clubâ€¦ er like we said earlier Mikey â€“ we are staying in the Vegas club tooâ€¦ Made it back to the room and after a long day (at least 24 hours for me and well over that for Miles) crashed straight out. Friday. Poker, Party, Lovely Ladies and a trip to the island. So after a very long Thursday, plenty of alcohol and late night food - guess what â€“ I WAKE UP EARLYâ€¦ oh my god canâ€™t I get any sleep here? Obviously not. So a stroll down Fremont is called for â€“ with a quick visit to the Fremont Street office for coupons and Walgreens for essentials (water!). As we had coupons we went into the Fremont for a 241 buffet. Will I never learn? The buffet is adequate â€“ just. 241 â€“ is the price it should be. Anyway the eggs are ok as are a few other bits â€“ watermelon, cantaloupe is fine â€“ I mean how can you screw that up.. it was just a filler anyway. My low expectations were met. By 9.30am weâ€™d also checked out the poker rooms and decided upon entering the 10am Binions $50 tournament. So I coughed up for that and at 10am was sitting with some 40 other people ready to play. It went fairly well â€“ laid down a lot of rubbish and played a couple of decent hands to keep the chip stack reasonable â€“ never got any decent hands to really push it but kept away from trouble too. Before I know it Miles is out â€“ (having been knocked out when getting all his chips in with KK then having his opponent beat him on the flop) and Iâ€™m hanging on to a few chips - then off to the final table â€“ as one of 9 as 11th and 10th were eliminated on the previous hand. Neat being on Binions final table with the glass bits for the cameras and the raised stage! However Iâ€™m the shortest stack on the table â€“ Iâ€™d been card dead for ages and it didnâ€™t look like changing. I pinned my hope on the fact that only places one to five were paying and that nobody would get too deep in a hand for fear of being knocked out just before the money. My second hand at the table was something like A10 â€“ so I throw in my final few thousand and see the big stack call me with a pair - which held up and it was all over. OK â€“ not bad â€“ at least Iâ€™d played it right to get that far! 2 Â½ hours to end up with nothing though â€“ that was harsh..at least now I could drink! SO I grabbed a quick beer and then headed back to the room â€“ we were supposed to be meet Chuck and his wife (Flagger and MrsFlagger) at Ellis Island before the party as well as meeting aaron. So after cleaning up it was off to find the deuce at the transportation center and a scenic view of the strip â€“ plenty of time to look about as the deuce isnâ€™t the speediest method of transport after 1pm. Anyway we get there and contact Aaron, drop off some stuff in his room then its off to the IP poker room to get on the 2 4 limit table. Damn I sucked at that. Couldnâ€™t do anything right and it wasnâ€™t long before I stepped out of the way to avoid losing any more. Then we met up with Aaron again and headed over to Ellis Island. A nice slow walk in the beautiful sunshine â€“ hot enough to want a beer when we got thereâ€¦ which we did with Chuck and Laura (Flagger and msflagger). I think everyone had the steak special there â€“ and it hit the spot just fine. Nice dinner with some fun people. After filling our stomachs we headed back to the IP for a bit more gambling before Aaron collected the chocolate weâ€™d brought (English chocolate for the party) and we headed up to the party. I did nearly bring a couple of girls extra to the party as we met a couple in the elevator who were just getting their buzz on for a bachelorette party and were wowed by my English accent. Had that ride lasted a few floors longer then Iâ€™m sure we could have added them to the group - not sure Angy would have appreciated drunk people at the beginning of the party though.. Aaron was rolling his eyes at all this because he knows his accent just wasnâ€™t going to cut itâ€¦ damn aggieâ€¦ Iâ€™m sure everyone has seen the pictures of the party by now â€“ loads of people, a great welcome â€“ saw just about everyone there â€“ plenty of short conversations â€“ no time for long ones. Did get a good one going with Eric â€“ (btw Eric â€“ Benny Hill isnâ€™t humor.. thatâ€™s a conversation that has to be continued at some point!) but as with the others it always seemed to get broken up due to new people turning up. Had a hell of a lot of fun â€“ drank tequila (I hate tequila!) and some very large rum and cokes â€“ Patti â€“ you make some great drinks!! I also had the pleasure of spending some time with Don and his wonderful wife Jenniferâ€¦ outstanding peopleâ€¦ Hell most of the people there were outstanding â€“ canâ€™t say that for all of them â€“ only because I didnâ€™t get chance to meet all of them!! Really enjoyed it and anyone who has the chance to go to something like that should do it. I thought Security were a little sour when they wanted the music turned down â€“ just at the time when carnival court were going to be getting louder. When they turned up later again it was clearly time to be leaving before we got Angy in any more trouble so we left and headed downtown. After wondering around for a bit and being killed at blackjack again (a recurring theme of the trip) we hit the coffee shop at Binions and loaded up with drunk food before calling it quits. Saturday. Helllooo Kitty! And how to win a car! When in Vegasâ€¦.. buy something to take home. It was an early start â€“ and a big day.. the day of the T2V poker tournament. I had a little shopping to do â€“ as did Miles so we got out early onto the deuce and up to the forum shops. The deuce is much quicker in the morning and we were at the shops before 10am. Naturally we did the man shopping. Find the list of shops, decide which ones to hit â€“ then go get a coffee. I ordered a double espresso and a decaf because I didnâ€™t want too much caffeineâ€¦. Yeah â€“ Iâ€™m still not sure about that myselfâ€¦.. Anyway the Sanrio shop was first on the list â€“ all that Hello Kitty stuff.. saw some Kitty crocs that my smallest would love and then had to check with management on her shoe size. That naturally took a ten minute conversationâ€¦.mmmm.. which resulted in her feet being too large and the ones in the shop not fitting her .. oh well. I ended up with a load of drawing pads and stickers plus a Hello Kitty Stamp â€“ when it was stamped the hello kitty glass figure on the top lit up and played music. Excellent â€“ I now have a card protector!!! After that we hit another couple of shops and were out of there and into Treasure Island for some gamblingâ€¦ I took another hit at the blackjack and got bullied away from the tables. Penny slots were slowing down the hemorrhaging of cash so I was happy to do that. After a while there and Miles yet again being successful at roulette it was time to eat and get to the poker. Cantors Deli was the sensible option so a couple of huge sandwiches later we waddled out of there and up the strip to the Pink chicken to give us time to find the Poker room. Located with no problem and chatted with Dougie then a few others as we waited to get started. Poker was fun â€“ a lot of fun. I ended up sitting at the same table as Sin and Miles. That meant I got to see Miles go crashing out of the poker first with a pair of kings being taken down by Sin! Second time in 2 tournaments he went out with pocket kings! Nice one Sin Still Miles did get the consolation prize of a carâ€¦ a toy Charger.. Strangely Mikey also had one â€“ but was denying that heâ€™d got it from being knocked out first last yearâ€¦ sure Mikey, sureâ€¦ Had chance to have a chat with a few around me - including Lars Vargas â€“ funny stuff. I did get to knock last years champion out of the competition when he decided to tangle with me (sorry Eric)! Then Joe Schmo (Mike E) was claiming that it was his first time playing in a tournament and then was tangling with everyoneâ€¦ definitely a degenerate gambler there Mike!! Anyhow the hands he was showing were sometimes pretty weak so I decided that as he was playing weak hands Iâ€™d try to isolate him in a showdown.. which I did only to find out that my hand wasnâ€™t strong enough after the flop compared to Joe Schmoâ€™s hand. Ooops. Anyhow the turn was a nothing but the River card paired my 2 to give me a stronger hand and take Joe Schmo outâ€¦ OMG â€“ that was such a lame way to beat anyone. Sorry Mikeâ€¦. Iâ€™m still embarrassed about that one! Anyway I got overconfident after that and got involved in too many hands and finally got caught by Lars who took all my chips. And HE didnâ€™t even apologizeâ€¦.. I busted out about Â½ way and took a quick break. I then had to pay Aaron $10 as we had a last longer bet. Bastard. By the time I was back the 3/6 table was full so I hung around watching and chatting. Got to chat with Falcon Rob as well â€“ never got chance for a beer with you as you had to go work â€“ sorry about that. When the tournament was finally over the cash table also broke up (I did enjoy watching Angy betting on the cash table though â€“ I think she was driving the dealer nutsâ€¦) and it was time to head our separate ways. We bailed out of the back of the Flamingo and jumped in a cab. The guy was another loon and his mood was not improved by someone in front of us being indecisive about which way they wanted to go and which lane they should be in so they kept weaving between lanes and not letting us get through. The car was silver with â€œkikkyâ€ on the back â€“ anyone know them?? We wondered around downtown where I took another beating at blackjack and roulette (whilst Miles was winning again) then just drifted around. Plenty of others from the poker were also downtown and watching people with bunny ears and light up devil horns recognize you and shout out your name was a little unnervingâ€¦. But funny too. Thanks Lynnie and Pattie!! Bumped into plenty of others and I think it was Sin who invited me to join you all at Hogs and heifers which I declined. I really should have gone as I couldnâ€™t win at anything and it would have been more fun than taking a beating! Sorry folks â€“ Iâ€™ll know better next time. I did meet Vegas Tonya at the Roulette table where her and Miles were betting up a storm.. I checked who she was as Iâ€™d seen her chatting to Al in Binions before she joined roulette â€“ just why sheâ€™d be suspicious of someone asking her if sheâ€™d been at a party at the IP the night before I donâ€™t knowâ€¦. And how did I miss her at the Party? â€“ maybe itâ€™s because she was so quietâ€¦..well compared to Sandra.. The evening finished up in The Vegas club where I had found a cheap slot that was keeping me even money whilst getting good drink service. That was as close to a win as I could get at that point. So far financially Iâ€™m taken a beating and nothing was getting me out of it. Iâ€™d even lost at Pai gow. Miles was ahead of the Game playing roulette of all things!! I had to have a winning session soon.. didnâ€™t I? Sunday, bloody Sunday? More Lovely Ladiesâ€¦â€¦ Would it be more bloodshed today.. or bankroll repair? The day started with a leisurely brunch at Main Street Station. Food was good but the champagne? Garbage â€“ total garbage. Worse still it was serve in a plastic glass that had such thin edges that you felt you were about to cut your lips. Very disappointed with that aspect of the brunch.. made it feel very cheap. Naturally Iâ€™d turned down a far better brunch at the Circus Circus Steakhouse just so I could be downtown for poker Sunday!!! Yep â€“ this was going to be my big poker day â€“ at least I hoped so. Otherwise missing out on the other brunch was to come back to haunt me. Over to Binions for the 10am buy in. 40 something people and I played ok. Not great, not bad just ok. Managed to see Miles bust out before me and at the break he told be that heâ€™d got all in on a pair of kings and lost again!! Thatâ€™s 3 from 3!! Awesome consistency. I held on until about 20th place â€“ just couldnâ€™t build a chip stack or even get cards. Very average performance â€“ but given that Iâ€™d been losing everything Iâ€™d take average. It was just over 2 hours that I lasted. Found Miles at the roulette table â€“ winning again and both decided that the Afternoon tournament was a must. Binions were putting up a $10k prize pool for it. So I bought into the 2pm and, after taking a walk, sat down to play. There were a couple of locals at my table â€“ talking about where theyâ€™d played and money won and good games etc.. bit mouthy but thatâ€™s fine.. I just sat and stayed quiet. First hands landed just after I saw that there were over 100 in the tournament. All I wanted to do was throw it away and not go out firstâ€¦.. I look down and see 2 ladies â€“ nice starting hand. So mid position I limp into the hand and nobody is betting and the flop is rags. I push out some cash and everyone folds except one of the locals in seat 1. nothing on the turn and I push some moreâ€¦ about a third of my chips are out there now.. Iâ€™m called and see nothing on the riverâ€¦ heâ€™s either slow playing a very big hand that he held from the start (and I donâ€™t think he is) or he is just playing to see how Iâ€™m playing. He may have landed a huge hand (a straight) on the flop and is letting me bet or he has nothing and thinks Iâ€™m stealing. Anyway I check and so does heâ€¦. He shows a small pair I turn the ladies over for the win! Phewâ€¦.. At least everyone saw me bet with a strong hand. About 4 hands later I look down to see the Ladies again!! I bet and it ends up with me and the same guy leftâ€¦ another 1/3 of my chips go in and this time his Jacks are beaten by my lovely ladies â€“ which I show much to his disgust. I then go ahead and steal his blinds with a bet as he is short stacked and doesnâ€™t want to bet with meâ€¦ I show nothing when I winâ€¦. A few hands later he gets busted out by the other mouthy local at the table and then rebuys (one rebuy in the first hour allowed). After 45 minutes I look down to see the ladies again and get in a hand with someone else. I end up losing to Kings but show the queens anyway and the first mouthy local isnâ€™t happy â€“ starts going on how many times Iâ€™ve had them and that heâ€™s counting. 2 hands later I get the lovely ladies again â€“ 4th time in a hourâ€¦ the 2 locals have been trading chips whilst Iâ€™m down to my starting chipsâ€¦ the first guy bets and I call himâ€¦ everyone else gets out of the way.. He thinks Iâ€™m bluffing and is going on about me not having queensâ€¦ so he bets and I raise to put him all inâ€¦ naturally heâ€™s unhappy with me for putting him all in â€“ but he calls anyway with a J9 and then starts bitching when I turn over the queens (hey bro â€“ you called with THAT????). Iâ€™m showing no emotion but Iâ€™m laughing my arse off inside when I dump him out of the tourney when the ladies hold up. I get lucky enough to dump out the other mouthy local a few hands later then I hit a straight on a cheap flop and he also doesnâ€™t believe I have a hand. I have a healthy chip stack at this point but go totally card dead. Some loud guy joins the table with a decent stack size and starts to run over everyone. Doesnâ€™t matter what he starts with he hits it and wins.. near the end of hour 3 I look down and see the ladies againâ€¦. I tangle with the new guy bet to push him off the hand and he just re-raises meâ€¦ Iâ€™ve got about 1/3 of my chips in the potâ€¦ and thereâ€™s a king on the flop. Now the guy has been playing with garbage but might just have a hand this time. I decide I canâ€™t take the chance and I muck. He shows me a A8â€¦. No pair - I had the top hand â€“ but he could have hit that ace to finish me. Iâ€™m a bit annoyed that dropped so many chips and got forced off the hand but I think its possible the only hand Iâ€™ve played wrong up until then. At the end of 3 hours we are down to about 40 players â€“ and 3 of the starting 10 at our table are still there â€“ a couple of very good tight players and me â€“ we are keeping out of each others way as all of us have only shown very strong hands. I survive another hour and 10 players more go out. Now everyone is getting closer to the money and (payouts start at 12th) is very invested in the time they have put in. also everyone has got a read on everyone else so I change up and play a bit looser. It enables me to get building chips (especially now we have antes and climbing blinds) to make a run at the money. The short stacks start getting involved as they are running out of options and people start dropping. After 4 Â¾ hours we are down to 14 and cut a deal to take money from the 1st and 2nd pot and pay out 13 and 14 as well. Everyone was in the money!!! From 112 people down to 14â€¦. Shortly after that the short stacks get betting and quickly drop out â€“ before we know it itâ€™s the final table againâ€¦ itâ€™s the first move for me all afternoon. 5 hours into the tournament we start the final. Itâ€™s not long before we lose a few more and there are 7 people left. At this stage there are 3 short stacks 2 large and two medium (including me!). I could probably sit and wait for very good hands or just fold my way to 4th. Then it happensâ€¦. I look down and see AA.. first time all day and Iâ€™m in early position. I bet all in and immediately get called by the other medium stack to my left. Everyone else gets out of our way and we turn over â€“ heâ€™s got my lovely ladiesâ€¦â€¦. Damn. The flop is revealed and the first card is another Ace.. Iâ€™m looking like Iâ€™m going to be chip leaderâ€¦. But the ace is clubsâ€¦. And so are the other 2 cardsâ€¦. I check his hand â€“ its got the queen of clubsâ€¦ Reds. Please, just redsâ€¦. The turn shows a low red. One more, one more redâ€¦. The riverâ€¦ the 2 of clubs. Iâ€™m flushed out. 3 aces beatenâ€¦.. We check stacks and he has me coveredâ€¦. Just. 5 and a quarter hours for 7th place. It pays $500 but I was so close to being chip lead and I know we could have taken out the short stacks then chopped the money â€“ would have been closer to $1500 with the chopâ€¦ damn. Ok â€“ cheer up. I just did better than over 100 people in that tournament and I never showed a weak hand. Probably some of the best poker Iâ€™ve played and I got all my money in on the strongest starting hand. Sometimes though those lovely ladies like to remind you who is boss. Time for a drink. I did see Dougie cashing out of the poker room at that time and had a quick chat. Looks like the Sunday at Binions was the only success up to that point for both of us. At least I had another couple of days - Dougie was out the next morning. The budget is contained now. The beers are required and the rest of the evening consists of being beaten at blackjack (oh my â€“ surely not!) and playing some slots etc etc. just mooching around and relaxing after the monster poker session. We did head over to MSS to eat at the 777 in the evening and I have to say that the food there was very very good. Beer went down well too. Oh yeah and Miles â€“ got dumped out of the tournament after a couple of hours â€“ he went all in with KK and lost. 4 out of 4!!! Sweet! Sadly his run on the roulette finished and he started getting killed on that and blackjack. It was almost as ugly as my run. Monday. The other Brit departs. Final day for Miles. The boy was on his final day so it was all about mooching around and playing a few more games. Some blackjack and roulette was played (I lost) and breakfast was eaten at MSS again. By noon it was time for him to pack up and get out of there so I waved him off and decided to spend some quiet time in Vegas just walking around downtown and going wherever I fancied. Naturally, starting at the Golden Gate for a shrimp cocktail. Played some slots and did fine on them (actually by fine I mean I didnâ€™t lose money AND I covered the drinks tips â€“ it was a huge result for me at this point!!). I ended up grabbing something to eat over at Careful Kittys as Iâ€™d been playing drunk Gow at the El co again then felt the need to hit Binions for a cash poker game. Looked around and saw a couple of obnoxious people on the 2-4 so I got into a 3-6 game instead. One of the guys playing had been at my table at the Sunday big tournament and was playing a lot of hands â€“ that was in turn getting a couple more people playing and they were all showing their hands â€“ and it was garbage!! Naturally I was card deadâ€¦. I did get a couple of small pots but then the loose players left and were replaced by far tighter players.. The fun went out of the table followed by some of my cash so I called it quits for the night after a couple of hours and hit LVC for cheap slots and a steady flow of Rum and coke. I did get to bed that night - but only just. At about 8pm I remembered that I was supposed to text Sh0ck about something happening at a pool that and I was also supposed to contact Texas Aggie Girl about a dinner at firefly. Sounds like people went to both â€“ and I forgotâ€¦ Sorry folks â€“ by Monday my brain had turned to slushâ€¦ It wasnâ€™t a deliberate snub..just too much poker and alcohol. Tuesday. Time to Quit. Final day for me so I get up and take my laptop and head over to MSS with a coffee so I can check my email. Did that for a while then headed back to the room and packed most of my stuff. I headed down to the desk and secured a late check out then headed over to the Bay city diner for a healthy breakfast of steak and eggs. After that I hit the gate casino for a bit and actually had a winning blackjack session. I was so nervous at that point , given the amount of beatings Iâ€™d taken this trip, that I didnâ€™t push progressive bets anywhere near as hard as I normally do. Still â€“ I pushed my buy in up by 60% - it should have been at least a double but IT WAS A WIN!!!! As soon as I lost 3 hands I bailed. I also hit the Plaza for a while â€“ played blackjack against Robert. Robert deals fast. Very fast. He says nothing. He took 10 straight bets from me before I managed to escape the grip of the autodealerâ€¦. Must have taken all of 3 minutesâ€¦.. damn that was rough. At about that point the champions league soccer started â€“ ESPN2 had the Manchester United vs Roma game on so I decided to take my drink and sit in the plaza sports book and watch it â€“ they had it on one of the projectors in the corner.. good view. Watched the first half there and then moved to the bar for the second half. As I was there I thought I might as well play Video poker and get free drinks. So I throw a 20 in the machine and pick a game to play. Now I have no idea what Iâ€™m doing â€“ apart from knowing that I should play maximum credit and that a royal flush is good as is 4 of a kind. So Iâ€™m playing a few hands to get used to it at one credit a time when bamâ€¦. I hit a royal flushâ€¦. About 5 hands into my video poker career and itâ€™s the royal. Now for a 25c play its not a bad payout â€“ but I could have been playing max credit and hit for at least a grandâ€¦ I think Iâ€™ll now go cry. Especially as just to rub it in Manchester United then score.. I hate hate hate them. Damnit!!!!!!!!! ARRRGGGGG. I cash out after another 15 minutes and walk away in profit. And only slightly disgusted at myself. The rest of the afternoon was spent on a final trip down Fremont just checking out casinos and sitting and playing where I felt like it. Relaxed but by then I was killing time due to the late flight. I donâ€™t even recall where I ate that evening but by 7 30pm I was in a cab and on my way to the airport. Luckily at LAS there is a coffeeshop and free internet so I killed the time waiting for the flight by logging onto the chat room and seeing who had made it back in one piece.. The flight back was very uneventful.. left on time and naturally got in early so I got to spend 4 hours in Philly waiting for my connectionâ€¦ And the one food place that looked good on the way out was open that early â€“ and it was terribleâ€¦ sighâ€¦ The New Hampshire leg home was fine â€“ only problem was when I got home the neighbors had lost the cat!!!! They had also left my back door and front door unlocked. Thanks folks. Nice going. Luckily nobody got in and the Animal hospital down the road had the cat â€“ sheâ€™d been taken there by a well meaning neighbor â€“ although she can make it home by herselfâ€¦ still at least it ended wellâ€¦ I was picturing THAT conversation with the kids. â€œWell I know I said Iâ€™d look after the cat but I went to Vegas andâ€¦..â€ It wouldnâ€™t have been pretty. Footnotes. I hate US AIR. With a passion. Iâ€™m doing direct with Southwest next time. Unless US Air are really cheap (lets face it thatâ€™s why I was with US air this time). The delays just suck the life out of you. Las Vegas club. North tower is good to crash in. Casino is fine. I love the proximity of the casinos downtown. Eats. I had sustenance. That was it. Not one decent â€œgoodâ€ meal. I have to fix that next time. Poor state of affairs. Drink. I did. Plenty. It worked. The Party. Excellent fun. Just not enough time to chat with people â€“ there were plenty I wanted to talk to and it just didnâ€™t happen. So glad I made it though. Blowing out the pool and firefly. Damn me. Brain turned to mush. I screwed that one. My bad and I apologize. Gambling. (excluding poker). Well I hit my first Royal. And screwed it at the same time. Sweet. Blackjack sucked (my normal game). Pai gow even hurt me a couple of times. I tried a little craps and lost a little. That really is a social game so next time I want to play it with some people I know. (Marty â€“ you failed me there buddy ) Poker. Loved the tournament. Lot of fun and I played looser than I normally do. Worth it though. Everyone seemed to have fun (apart from Larry who looked like the human humidifier.) My play at Binions was a lot of fun and I did fairly well in the tournament. Cashing in those suckers is tough though. Sundays 7 or 8 hours wiped me out mentally. I should have cashed higher but I did get my chips in with the best starting hand. 3 aces being taken out hurts thoughâ€¦ My cash game need more work â€“ no doubt. Opportunities There were a few things that I should have approached slightly differently to make the most of the trip. Play full credit at video poker. That little decision only cost me about $900. Focus more on the tourney. When I crashed at the final table I probably could have played it differently. Having pocket AAâ€™s and one more on the flop I may have been able to push the other guy off his QQ and flush draw. That would have meant a far better chance of cashing out higher in that tourneyâ€¦ but I was going for the win and had a very tight table image at that point. Make more of whatâ€™s going on.. join people for drinks and parties. Especially when your bankroll is hemorrhaging and youâ€™ve slowed right up on gambling. People are always gonna be a lot more fun than a slot machine. Donâ€™t let your brain turn to mush and forget stuff. Especially with this crewâ€¦ Thanks for the invites folks â€“ I really enjoyed it and I donâ€™t think I offended anyoneâ€¦ but I canâ€™t guarantee it. I did have a good time though! Dougie â€“ Kebab is on me next timeâ€¦.. To the hosts and organizers and the movers and shakers of this board THANK YOU!!! And naturally, all the Ladies were lovelyâ€¦..especially Miss Jennifer â€“ you are a lucky man Don! Mike. Over and out.