So far this year I/We have been to Vegas twice. Once in January, and again in April. These trips were closer together than normal for a couple of reasons. The main reason the April trip happened was due to the fact that my significant other came home from the January trip up $4,700 and I came home down only a few hundred. So with gambling budgets intact and flights paid for with her winnings we booked the April trip. The second reason for two trips so close together ??...The unbearably brutal winter we experienced this year. We live in northern Alberta, Canada and we have harsh winters most every year but this year was more brutal than usual. It turned cold in early fall and seemed like it stayed at -40 Celsius to -50 Celsius for the last 5 months. So I'll start off this report with a quick report on the January trip followed by the April trip, thus the TWO FOR ONE. I will be typing mostly by memory so the details may be jumbled a bit. Hope it's not too boring. My hotel of choice is the MGM Grand. I have been through most every hotel/casino on the strip and some are very nice ( aria,cosmo,wynn), but they just seem too “fancy” for me. Then you have places such as Excalibur, Circus Circus, Luxor etc that, for me, are just too run down and/or dirty. MGM just feels right and it’s home for me. Also, I find MLIFE properties to be better for gambling and dining. So….the January trip. Our host set us up for five nights in a suite in the grand tower which was nice. Here’s the view from our room. We also received $400 in free play and $100 per day food and beverage credit. My uncle would also be arriving a day after us with some of his work friends. He is recently divorced and was looking to get away and have a good time. Another couple was to arrive the same day as us but a little later. We ended up only seeing them and my uncle once the whole trip…everyone off enjoying themselves in their own way and on their own schedule I guess…which is the way it should be. I hate going on vacation and having to waste precious Vegas time waiting on others or waiting for plans/decisions to be made. I never plan anything….just go where the day takes me..which is usually to a slot machine or walking the strip. I’m a pretty easy going guy and not hard to please. Give me a cold beer and stroll down the strip and I’m a happy guy. DINING: Let’s start by saying that I tend to revisit the same restaurants once I find something I like. I will try new spots but I usually only eat one good meal a day in Vegas so I usually go where I know there is something on the menu I will enjoy. Breakfast usually does not exist in Vegas for me..normally just a coffee and a muffin. Breakfast is pretty much the same everywhere, so why waste a meal on it, and I don’t like a big meal first thing in the morning. We have also dined at a few “celebrity” chef or expensive restaurants and have not been at all impressed so we’re not into that fad. We ate at grand wok as per usual and it was good. Also tried the new pub 1842 at MGM and were very impressed. We both had the NY steak and it was awesome. The fries were great to…nice and crispy. The steak sauce was the best I have ever tasted…it was wine based and I even dipped my fries in it…I still think about it..lol. We returned another time and tried the 1842 burger which was also excellent. While walking the strip we stopped and had lunch at bubba gump shrimp…I love seafood but this was the most disappointing meal I may have had anywhere. Had several kinds of shrimp and they were all not good. Will never go back there. Service was good but food was horrible. This is all I can remember for dining in Jan. GAMBLING: We always play slots, if I happen to be on my own I will play a little BJ or Roulette. We walked the strip daily and would drop $20-$40 here and there. Penny slots mostly but they are a money suck and we had no luck with them the whole trip. One day in particular my spouse couldn’t miss…everything she played she won on. We walked the strip and at Paris she put $100 in a $1, max bet $2 wheel of fortune machine..hit the wheel spin bonus and wins the top prize of $1000. Awesome and obviously, very lucky. So we continue down the strip then cross the road and head back stopping at Cosmo to get a players card. Here she finds the same WOF machines and puts another $100 in..gets the bonus and again hits the top prize of $1,000…WOW!. So within an hour she has hit two one thousand dollar pays..but she’s not done yet. She has something like $1,060 on the WOF machine so decides to play it down to $1,000 and…hit another bonus spin and it lands on the $500 wedge. Meanwhile I blow through a hundred or so and win nothing. So the rest of the day she hits for a few hundred a couple more times and is very happy and enjoying herself…which makes me happy to. Later that night I hit this little gem back at the MGM. So I think its our third day there that we decide to use the freeplay. We tend to play penny slots at $2-$3 a spin or dollar machines at $2-$5 a spin with a scattered $15 a spin game for a $100 buy in. Overall though we are not major dollar value gamblers so when I said we should blow our freeplay in a $40 a spin machine I thought I may have to find a set of defibrillators for the missus. She was a little freaked about that suggestion. Being 5yrs older though and therefore so much wiser, I reasoned that it was FREE money so why not take a chance to win big…if we lose, it cost us nothing…other than the buy in to start the freeplay which we decided would be $100. So we sat down at a couple of $40 a spin slots and put the freeplay in one. Got down to our second last spin and hit for $2,050…WOOHOO !! ..so this of course triggers the dreaded tax papers for a hand pay…because you don’t lose enough gambling they take 30% of your winnings…and this is fair how?….in Canada gambling winnings are not taxed so this 30% irritates the hell outta me. When they take the 30%, they tell you it’s easy to get back when you return to Canada…lies. Anyway…while were waiting for the hand pay the spouse decides to throw a $100 in the $40 a spin game she’s sat at. I say fine, but you realize it’s just two and a half spins right? Well we just had a nice win so who cares. Well, on her second spin this happens …$4,260…WTF just happened????...biggest win ever for us….so now were waiting for two hand pays so I take this time to drop the spouses pants and see if I can get my hands on that horseshoe that’s lodged in her ass. I failed in retrieving it. So we get our hand pays and she puts another $100 in her game just for kicks and hits this…another handpay of $1,545 . Lady luck was my woman’s BITCH. So other than this one winning day, which was awesome…the rest of the trip had been steady losing without even getting some play for our money. These wins we had were very lucky and were hit and runs. It’s sad how the gambling has gone downhill when it comes to the enjoyment factor. You use to be able to put a $20 in and play for awhile….now $20 lasts all of a minute or two. On our last night there we finally got some play and even won a couple times on the penny slots. We walked the strip again and lost all day until we made it back to Monte Carlo. Here we both hit on penny machines for $150 or so. Next we went to NYNY where I again hit for $100 on a colossal reels machine. Meanwhile the missus hit for $1,500 on a pinball machine in the high limit room and it was two separate bonuses so no tax forms…SWEET !!. Now what I’ve been waiting all trip for happens…I sit down to a quarter slot where max bet is 75 cents. I slid in a $20 …and played for 5hrs on that one $20 bill. To top it off, the slot was right next to a washroom and the cocktail waitress came by so frequent that I couldn’t finish a beer before I had another one…the TRIFECTA !!!....THE HOLY GRAIL OF GAMBLING!!...for me anyhow. The only bad part was we had an early flight and had to head back to MGM for some shut eye. I ended up hitting the three blazing 7’s on this game twice towards the end of the 5hrs and took $500 out of the HOLY GRAIL. So we head back to the MGM drunk and feeling a little sad that were leaving in the morning. On the way back to the room we swing by the high limit room and hit these …I don’t even remember what we played but I know I had the smaller win….as usual…lol. So off to McDonald’s and then to bed. I did donate to the lions share every day as per usual but didn’t hit anything. Did manage to rack up a few tier credits though. I had no idea then that the next time I came, it would be damn near impossible to get on this machine thanks to the publicity it received. Spouse is up $4,700 and I’m down $4-$500. We didn’t do any shows this trip. On the first morning of the trip I tried calling my uncles room as he had arrived late evening the day before. It was around 11am and he answered the phone a little groggy. I asked him how his first night in Vegas was and he replied that he didn’t get into Vegas until later tonight…lol…”well”, I replied, “I just called you in your room so your obviously here in Vegas…you got in last night”…SILENCE…then he says…”ummm…yeah …yeah I’m in Vegas…still drunk…I’ll call you later”…hahaha…guess he had a good night. Well, that’s the January trip in what I thought was a “nutshell”…went on longer than I thought…oh well. If this didn’t bore you too much stay tuned for April’s report. Cheers !!