OK, this is my first trip report, so bear with me… Pertinent Info: Air – Delta, tickets were $205 each round trip from Florida. I had $210 left over in Delta credits from a previous trip where Delta stranded us in Atlanta overnight, so only had to pay about $200 for this trip. Hotel – Caesars for 5 nights, military rate of $100/night Car – Alamo, great deal of $117 out the door for 5 days. Gambling – We are small potatoes gamblers, we each had a bankroll of $300 for the trip. Shows – Mystere and Ka (both were half price for military) Attending – my husband and myself. He doesn’t drink, I do. Thursday – Checked the Delta website the night before, just on a whim to confirm our flight times. Lo and behold, our flight heading out had changed from 6:35 am to 6:00 am. Good thing I checked, Had to get up at 3:45 am to make our 6 am flight. No problems, changed planes in Atlanta and got into Vegas around 9:45 am. Stood impatiently by the luggage carousel for what seemed like an hour until our bags finally appeared. Took the shuttle to the car rental place, it went pretty smoothly. I had reserved a compact, asked the guy at check-in if he could bump us up. He said he couldn’t do it without charging us but we should ask one of the green-shirt guys where we go to pick up the car. That worked well and we ended up with a mid-sized. Drove to Wal-mart, picked up some bottled water, wine, a few snacks, a coffee maker and coffee. OK, here’s the thing, it’s not that I am being cheap about the coffee thing. Never mind that it’s about $8 for 2 cups of coffee downstairs. It’s that I like to have coffee first thing in the morning when I first get up, and I don’t want to have to get dressed, traipse through the casino, stand in a long-ass line and then schlep the coffees back to the room. And if I am not the one making the trip, then my husband is, which means something was bartered for that service…What’s with not having coffee makers in the rooms in Vegas?? I have always wondered about this…Anyway, at the risk of appearing Clampett-like, I picked up a coffeemaker for $14.95 so I could drink hot coffee every morning in my PJs to my heart’s content. Check in – Used the $20 trick, which worked like a charm again. I had reserved a regular room. I told the desk clerk that I had heard the Augustus Tower was fabulous and asked if there was anything she could do to upgrade us. She left and checked with the manager, came back and upgraded us. Woo-hoo! She smiled and said, “are you aware that people pay up to $800 a night for this room?” She tried to hand me back my $20, saying it wasn’t necessary, but I told her that I insisted that she keep it. The room WAS fabulous, lots of space, new, modern, had a jacuzzi and a plasma in the bathroom. We were both hungry by now so we had lunch at Spago in the Forum Shops. I had heard good things about the pizza, but after eating processed junk on the plane I felt like having something a little healthier so I had the Thai Chicken Salad and a glass of wine, my husband had the Roast Beef Panini and a soda. Both the food and the service were excellent. Also, they have an awesome breadbasket with a cream cheese spread topped with roasted red peppers and onions. The total bill was about $41 + tip. Went back to the room and changed and headed out to the pool. Caesars has 4 pools, all close to each other. The main pool is round with a large marble gazebo in the middle. It is only about 4 ½ feet deep and there is a ledge running all the way around, so you can step in and out right from your chair if you are lucky enough to get a chair in the first row. Very cool. There were tons of people there but not so many that it seemed too crowded. Great people watching. The servers will bring drinks or food right to your chair, or there are a couple of restaurants you can walk over to. It was about 109 degrees outside, so we were in and out of the water every 20 minutes or so. After a couple of hours we headed back to the room to clean up. We drove over to the Hard Rock for dinner, where we each had the $7.77 Gamblers Special at Mr Lucky’s. We were impressed; we got a fresh salad, a skewer of grilled shrimp, a filet, and mashed potatoes. It was all very good. Total bill was under $25, including my wine. After dinner we played a little slots, my husband won a little, and we headed out. From there we went to Scores strip club. This is just a Vegas thing we do. Very nice club, we drove so we weren’t charged a cover. We had a great time. After a while we went upstairs for some dances then headed out. They announced over the PA that Adam Sandler was upstairs partying that night, but we didn’t see him. All in all, a great first day in Vegas. Friday – As usual in Vegas, I woke up early, about 6:30. Enjoyed my hot pot of coffee J. When hubby woke up we headed down to the pool until noon. Cleaned up and headed over to the Rio to check out the World Series of Poker. First we stopped for lunch at Diamond China on Sahara. The $3.95 lunch special includes a pot of tea, eggroll, fried rice and entrée. Good Chinese food, not what you would normally expect for $3.95. The Rio was crowded with the WSOP going on. I picked up a t-shirt and was heading into the main poker room when someone tapped me on my shoulder. I turned around and stared straight into the belt buckle of Phil Gordon (he is one very tall dude). A couple of guys wanted me to take their picture with him. I gladly obliged, he was going to let me get one too but my camera uses AA batteries and they were dead. I was sooo bummed. He was a super nice guy, very friendly. We left the room to buy fresh batteries and came back. There were several celebrities playing (Annie Duke, Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, Doyle Brunson’s son Todd). We watched for about an hour or so. The room was huge, there were hundreds of tables and there was a lot of energy in the room! We hung out at the Rio for a while and played some slots, my husband won a little. While we were waiting on the valet to bring the car around, I noticed a Rolls Royce and some other sports car parked behind cones. The valet said they belonged to some of the poker players but he couldn’t tell me who or he would lose his job. We just guessed who they might belong to. Went back to the room to clean up and then over to Ellis Island for the $4.99 steak special. We were seated in 10 minutes. As usual everything was good, you get a salad, filet, green beans, potatoes and bread. I know a lot of people complain about Ellis Island, but we have always had good luck here, and this meal was no exception, the steaks were very good. The total bill was $16. I feel bad for the servers here, since the food is so cheap they must get lousy tips, so I always leave at least $10. We headed over to the MGM, where we had tickets for the late Ka show. The seats were about half way back, no complaints about the view. We both really enjoyed the show, the “floating” stage was really cool, and I liked the Asian theme. My husband said he thinks this is his favorite Cirque show, I still like Zumanity better. Headed back to Caesars, gambled a little and went back to the room. Saturday – Hung out at the pool all morning. Ordered lunch poolside from Snackus Maximus around noon. Husband had the meatloaf sandwich with mushrooms and gravy and I had a swordfish wrap thing with peas, carrots, onions, egg, and potatoes. It sounds weird but it was really good. Both sandwiches come with fries and a clump of frozen grapes. As soon as we finished eating, we headed back up to the room to shower. And then it hit me. I spent the next 2 hours with the most severe case of food poisoning I have ever had. Just a couple of comments on the bathroom in the Augustus tower room: 1. The floors are exceptionally clean, if you find yourself with your face right on the floor itself, you can smell a chlorine-like sanitizer smell. 2. Next to the toilet, they cleverly put 2 toilet paper holders side-by-side. If the rolls are properly full, this feature provides a comfortable place for your head to land when you are too weak to hold it up. A very thoughtful touch. After every trace of swordfish had been expelled from my body, I called guest services to explain what happened and ask that the charge be removed from my bill. They said they had to send up an EMT to take a report. He arrived and I filled out the forms, he said the guest services manager would review it and remove the charge. By now, I am 95% better and just want to get out of the room. We headed over to TI, where I wanted to play in one of their poker tourneys. I only recently started playing poker online and hadn’t played in a real tournement before. For money. With live people. Where I was fully dressed. There were 28 entries and I made it to the final table where I finished 5th. WooHoo!!! I took $105 for 5th place, it was very exciting! We watched the Giants beat the Yankees in the sports book then left TI and drove over to the Gold Coast to try their $10.95 steak special in the Monterrey Room. It included a T Bone steak, potatoes, salad, 2 other sides, and a beer. My husband said it was pretty good, I was still a little queasy so I nibbled on a couple of pot-stickers from the appetizer menu. Food was decent but we probably wouldn’t go back to the Gold Coast. There was no valet and parking spaces were scarce. Also, there were a bunch of teenagers running around, both inside the casino and out. We headed back to Caesars, by now it’s around midnight. The scene around Pure nightclub was unreal. There must have been 1000 people in line to get in. We checked out the Pussycat Dolls Pit area. The dealers were in Pussycat Dolls costumes and there were some dancers on little stages. We then went over and hung out at the Shadow bar for a while, then headed back to our room around 2 am. Sunday – Went to the Peppermill abound 9:00 for breakfast. I had the Peppermill omelet, which had turkey and cheese and was topped with hollandaise sauce. My husband had a ham and cheese omelet with tomatoes. Both came with really good hash browns and toast. Everything was great. The bill was about $30. We then headed back over to TI, I wanted to play in the 11 am tournament. I signed up and didn’t need to report back for another 45 minutes, so I sat down at a Wheel of Fortune .25 machine and fed it $5. I was just playing one credit at a time, just killing time. I hit a 7 with 2 of the 5X symbols, and cashed out for $782.00!!! I was happy but irritated that I had only played one quarter, when I usually play at least 2. Still, it was my largest slot machine jackpot ever! (I hit $450 on a .25 machine at Casino Royale back in January). Didn’t make to the money in the poker tourney but still left TI with a fat wallet! Went back to Caesars and had lunch at Spago again. I was dying to try their pizza and it did not disappoint me. I had a glass of Cabernet and my husband and I munched on the bread basket and split the Pancetta, Onions, Gruyere Cheese pizza. It was excellent. We tried to get them to put the Red Sox game on but some people were already watching the Mexico vs. US soccer game. We then hung out at the pool for a couple of hours. Cleaned up and then it was back to TI to see the early Mystere show. We had great seats, just to the left of the stage, 4 rows back. We really enjoyed the show, it was kind of like O, with no water. Had dinner at Canter’s Deli, a Rueben for my husband and a grilled cheese on rye for me. Decent food. Gambled a little more at TI, then headed back to Caesars. When we dropped the car off out front, there was a movie crew setting up to film scenes for a new move “Iron Man”, with Robert Downey Jr, Terrence Howard, and Gwynetth Paltrow. We hung around for a while watching, but no big names were in the scenes they were shooting. Monday – Husband slept in till around 10. We hit the pool for a couple of hours (no more poolside lunches for us), then showered and went over to Mandalay Bay to the Burger Bar. Husband had the Kobe Beef burger with added mushrooms and onions with fries, I had the regular beef cheeseburger with added caramelized onions and sweet potato fries and a glass of wine. We both agreed they were the best burgers we had ever had, and the service was great. Good thing, because the tab was $42! I had stopped at the Player’s Club desk on the way in to see if there were any comps available, they guy said I could have $20 off at the Burger Bar. That worked out well. One thing about our waitress – She was totally friendly when she took our order and brought our drinks, then a few minutes later she breezes by like she doesn’t know us from Adam, even though my husband’s soda needs to be re-filled. Huh… Then here she at our table all friendly again, asking if we need anything. A little while later, again she struts past us without even glancing in our direction. Weird. Then she walks by again, going in the same direction. Wait a minute, how did she get…what’s going on here? It turns out she has a identical twin sister that works there also! Played a little slots at MB, didn’t win anything, then left. Dropped the car off back at Caesars and walked over to the Flamingo. I found a $10 blackjack table and proceeded to lose $100 in about 20 minutes. Bummer. Walked next-door to Bills and signed up for the new players cards. They gave us each a $5 match play coupon. I took both coupons and a $5 bill over to the $5 blackjack table. Big Elvis was singing close by. Over the next 2 hours I had a ball as I proceeded to turn my $5 into $150, while drinking pina coladas and watching Big Elvis. He has lost 450 pounds, you know. For the first 30 minutes or so it was just me and the dealer. At one point, I hit 3 blackjacks in a row on a single deck game! Good Times!! Later, we got the car and headed over to Hash House a Go-Go on Sahara. The place was not very busy, but after all it was a Monday night. Somehow, this meal was a disaster. First let me say my husband is a big eater, meaning he rarely doesn’t finish everything on his plate and mine as well. Also, at home we eat somewhat healthy most of the time. However, we had been eating such heavy meals over the past few days, this was a rare occasion that he wasn’t actually starving at dinnertime. He ordered the pork tenderloin with blue-cheese mashed potatoes. I ordered the fried salmon with pecan glaze, also with mashed potatoes. First, they brought out 2 gynormous hot biscuits covered with a honey-butter glaze. I picked at one with my fork and it was great, I finished almost half of it. It was so heavy (I’m guessing they use lard or Crisco in the biscuits), that half a biscuit nearly filled me up. So, then the food arrives. I don’t know how to describe what they sat down in front of him other than to say the plate was the size of my Thanksgiving turkey platter. There was what seemed like an entire pot of mashed potatoes, topped by enough pork tenderloin to feed an entire 3rd world village. With leftovers. My plate was only half that size, so my meal could only feed a mere half of a village. We each ate a little, and while it was very good, it was very rich. But were kind of grossed out by the sheer volume of food on the table. It was like Cracker Barrel on Steriods! I muttered “there are starving people in this world, this is kind of sick”. Not to sound preachy but I felt it was wasteful and kind of irresponsible. We got the check, paid and left our mountain of food behind. I asked the waitress if anyone had every finished their meal, and she laughed and said no. I had a Restaurant.com coupon for $25 that I paid $4 for, so the bill came to almost 30.00 with tax. We had planned a late night out, but my husband wasn’t feeling well (bummer) so we called it a night early. I strolled through Caesars’ casino and picked up some Pepto for him around 11:00. I stopped at the Total Rewards counter and checked our card but they said we didn’t have nearly enough points for any comps. Tuesday morning – Our plane was due to leave at 12:05, so not much time for anything else. I walked back over to Bill’s and dropped some coin in the machines but didn’t win anything. Turning in the rental car was a breeze and we jumped right on the shuttle. Made it to the airport in enough time to pick up a Starbucks Latte and a turkey sandwich for the plane ride home. One small incident – We had a few leftover bottles of water and Gatorade in the room, so my husband decides to throw them into his carry-on. You have to understand, my husband is a flight engineer in the Navy. He is the rule follower, I am the rule breaker. The guy refuses to jay-walk. He is particularly observant to all rules and normally remembers everything. So we are going through security, we put all our stuff on the belt. When we get to the other side the belt has stopped. The TSA agent quietly asks whose backpack it is she is looking at. My husband says it is his. She asks what sort of liquids he is carrying. He cheerfully says, “Oh, just a couple of bottles of water and a few Gatorades.” Both the TSA agent and myself, as well as the 2 people behind us in line just stare at him for a moment in silence. Finally the agent clears her throat and quietly asks him, “Sir, are you aware of the current regulations that prohibit liquids from passing through the security checkpoint?” He does the V8 thump on his head, and I am totally amused because stuff like this almost never happens with him! With my big slot machine win and the fact that we didn’t make it out to the Rhino on Monday night, we actually left Vegas with almost $1000 of our budget. Well, that can only mean one thing…time to start planning our next trip!