Hey everyone, i found this board a couple of weeks ago, and found it to be a good tool for dealing with vegas withdrawal. July was my first trip out there and i had an amazing time. Anyway i enjoy the advice and tips that float around this place, and would like to make a few friends so maybe i can meet up with more grizzled vegas veterans when i go out next time (planning for 2nd week of june). I went with my best friend who i have known since i was 6. We are both 21. This trip was conceived on the jersey shore last august, when my friend began vomiting in the sand from a few too many beers in the heat. He said " we should go to Vegas next year" I replied "We HAVE to!!! Major planning for the trip began in march. There was a third friend who had a timeshare condo at the grand desert that we could stay at for virtually nothing. He told me to include him. It was going to be the 3 of us until on the night of june 30th, he told me he couldn't make the trip due to not getting a job he had assumed on landing a long time ago. He only had $300 that wouldnt be going to his bills and whatnot (he has a wife and kids, he's got a few years on me). So now i had to book a room, money out of my pocket already! On July 4th weekend nonetheless. This was the only time any of us could be free for vacation due to classes and other job obligations. On that night, i looked for a while on hotel deals, less than 36 hours til i left for sin city. Long story short, i booked Stratosphere and it came to 170 per person (including fees) for 4 nights (split between 2 people. not a bad deal in retrospect i think). We took off from JFK airport at around 10 am, flight only delayed for 30 minutes. We arrived in vegas about noon local time. We took a cab to our hotel, i think it cost 33 dollars. The driver spoke poor english and probably took us the long way. In any case, we checked in to our room and decided to get something to eat at lucky's cafe. It was about 130 pm, service was slow, but the food was good. I had the ribs over fitters appetizer for lunch. I think they were short on staff. After going back to our room, i collected myself and started gambling. I was big on roulette, and played for around 40 minutes. I think i dropped 80 bucks. My friend watched most of the time, he didnt have as much money to blow. It was the light up table, which was a nice touch. After that i relaxed in the room for while, showering and thinking about where to eat for dinner. It completely escapes me where we ate the first night. Might have been back alley bar with the all you can eat tacos and certain beer for 9 bucks (could have been another night, not sure). We started walking towards the center of the strip, checking out each casino on our way except for Circus Circus. Outside of the very large gift shop, there was a group of Freedom for Iran people/sign holders/chanters. Got a picture taken with the chant leader and went on my merry way. I played $5 blackjack at the sahara for a few minutes, won 15 bucks and decided to keep my winnings . The sahara didnt seem dirty as people say, but i was kind of dark, smokey and uninviting. It seemed like a place that is on its way out soon. I didn't have any ambition to come back. We walked further and went in the Riviera. At this point my friend wanted to gamble a bit, so he played roulette since he was more of a gambling rookie than i was ( i at least went to AC once). He was up 40 then proceeded to drop it, then lost another 40 of his own money. His dewars was expensive that night. The Riv was kind of bland, yet i liked how well lit there table area was. Nothing great about the place, but i wouldn't rule it for next time. We walked a bit further, checking out the shops selling shirts and other novelties. There was a lot of construction past the Riv, I think where fountainbleu is supposed to be. We decided to call it a night and head back. It was around 11pm. We stopped in the NASCAR cafe at the sahara for a couple drinks. They had 1 dollar kamikazees. I had a few, my friend didnt want to drink. May have played a little roulette or blackjack on the way back to my room. I dont remember. went to sleep about 1230. Woke up on friday july 3rd about 8 am, we went down to the buffet. For 12 bucks or w/e with the players card, i think it was well worth it. Not the best buffet, but still pretty damn good for 12 bucks. Better than a lot of buffets in Jersey. I was happy with breakfast. After that i suggested just taking a look at the tables to see how people were doing. That never works and i end up losing about 50 on roulette. It's ok, i still havent taken anything from my bank account. I am still playing with 200 or so of the original 325 i took the morning of my flight. We go back to the room and began talking about calling up one of numbers on the porn slapper cards. Even then i knew that anything in the phone book or on a card was an agency and they would charge a lot plus the stories i've heard to avoid these things. I start looking at places online and sheris ranch is the closest place ( I am a sucker for convenience, even though the chicken ranch might have been technically 90 feet closer). I'm hesitant to write up details for the sake of being recognized online. I will say that i enjoyed the ride there and back, getting a real good buzz in the car both ways. Our driver was really cool, a guy in his 60s from brooklyn, he got us some drinks. We talked Giants football most of the ride. I really enjoyed the ride. The girls at the ranch cost a lot more than i would have thought. I Didn't bring nearly enough money, and didn't want to take any out on a card (wasn't sure how it would appear on my statement, that's part of what worried me). I sat at the bar and waited for my friend to finish up business. After seeing a few of the women, i will probably bring sufficient funds for next time if i don't have a girlfriend. I will always remember the drive back coming over the ridge, seeing the stratosphere and the rest of the strip looking real close and it still being about 30 miles away. The natural beauty of the region is pretty awesome by itself. The rest of the day was somewhat of a blur, but we went to the Bellagio for the buffet and it was worth the 1hr 15 minute wait and the $35. Best buffet i have ever had PERIOD. There were 2 guys talking about Jesus over a loudspeaker outside the Bellagio. Maybe they were struggling actors. Night was punctuated by winning $65 in roughly an hour on blackjack at strat before going to sleep. Fun day. Saturday we decided to check out Freemont street. But not before the breakfast buffet at strat, and me losing some dough on roulette (100 i think). It was a hot July 4th. We walked in a bunch of shops and casinos on freemont. Ironically neither of us gambled anything, the cheap tables didn't entice me. Some new orleans themed place with only slots had a big set up of Daiquiri machines in the back. Not cheap, but i got a football sized multi flavored Daiquiri that was 13 bucks. I was fairly drunk about halfway through it. Someone told me to look for Micke tanno at the plaza, him being from my area of NJ, something about replacing Danny Gans' act (IIRC he died about month prior to my trip). After walking out of the plaza we head towards what i think is main st station. There was a bum outside and i didn't want to give him money for his drug habits, but i did pour him some of my daiquiri that he thanked me for. After making feeble attempts to look for women in the back of main st station, we took the Deuce back to the Strat (saying that aloud just sounds funny). Bill Maher was performing at the Orleans that night and i had planned on seeing him before i booked my trip. My friend and i ate a quick meal at the Strat buffet (got the all day pass for 20 bucks, once again: convenience). Took a cab to the Orleans because the buses were not going to get us there in time. I think the driver took industrial way. It came to $22 I think. Maher put on a good show, over 90 minutes, better than the one i saw a year earlier in NJ. I got a free drink at the bar with my ticket stub. I met Jim Fassel's (former NY giants coach) cousin who was sitting at the bar and we talked football for a few minutes. Nice guy. I played blackjack for maybe 15 minutes and won $45. I tipped the dealer a 5 and put a couple 20s in my pocket. Orleans is a place i'd consider going back to, maybe even staying, they seem to have good deals. We took the shuttle to the flamingo, went into bill's for the steak and eggs late night deal (i think the 20 dollar trick would have defeated the purpose of a cheap meal), but it was a 45 minute wait. Took the deuce back to the hotel and had some dessert plates from the buffet. Sunday was spent mostly at the pool and losing money at roulette. It was ok, i stayed under budget. I did manage to hit a few numbers over the course of the weekend, but i think my total gambling losses were around 450 (not bad for 4 nights in vegas). I wanted to see penn and teller, but never got around to buying tickets. I felt helpless because i had to leave the next day. There were a few things i wanted to see and do but didn't. Next time i guess. Monday our flight left about 4pm. I spent a couple hours playing blackjack, i think losing 30. I was still up 100 something at blackjack in Vegas (thank you $5 tables). I had a few drinks at one of the bars in the delta hub, a football kind of themed bar. I'm glad i did, the alcohol helped me ease into my trip back. After getting back home at 130 am, i went to bed around 230. I was very depressed the next day. One of the most depressing days i ever had. I did not want to leave Vegas, If only my friend didnt have class on wednesdays (he wanted tuesday to recover) i would have stayed another day or 2. I contemplated moving out there for a while. Boy can i not wait to get back. Hope you enjoyed my TR. Maybe i can meet up with some of you when i go back. I'm planning on 2nd week of June as i mentioned before. Long ways from now.