Trip Report for 6/17 â€“ 6/22 Samâ€™s Town sends out fliers once a month for two months hence offering 4 days / 3 nights complimentary rooms and 60 $â€™s or so in meal comps (which turned out to be 6 â€“ 10 $ â€œcouponâ€ type vouchers) for any restaurant in the hotel. We usually go Sunday or Monday through Thursday but wanted to experience a weekend in Vegas so we booked Thursday to return on Tuesday. There are blackout dates for Samâ€™s Town, but we made our reservations to fly Southwest in March and waited to see if our dates were applicable. In May, the mailer came and fortunately for us, the dates were open so we made our reservation over the telephone to confirm arrival. Left San Antonio without problems or option to take a later flight and arrived without incident in LV at 11:00 PST. Arrived at the hotel before check-in but were allowed to do so as to the light Wednesday bookings and given a room with a view and our food vouchers. Found the room, unpacked, freshened and went to eat in the restaurant. Then to gamble. I usually play blackjack and the wife VP at .25. We both usually grind it out and take it home for the next trip. Win a little; take advantage of the doubles or splits and continue on until departure. We experienced no trip like this one at the tables. It seemed (although it was certainly not) the dealers had 20 or 19 on 85 % of the hands dealt. I saw 10 â€“ 4 so often I thought they had brought Broderick Crawford back from the dead. Moreover, looking back there was no one to blame but myself as it would have been quite easy to get up and find something else to do rather than continue hitting 13, 14, or 15. However, the other voice in my head said it would certainly turn around as the odds said it had to. The wife usually does well at vp, but this trip (and why not?) she veered from her usual strategy of cashing out when doubling up on her initial investment. Then she reinvests the initial over again so to keep track of her outright winnings and to put perspective on the whole experience. She knows as well as anyone who plays, when the machine has the credits, it is less like real money and less likely to be your money at dayâ€™s end. Well it is true. Alas, I did not suffer alone. I had always wanted to play poker prior to the glamorization by ESPN / Travel Channel of WSOP and WPT but was intimidated by the environment and what appeared to be uncontrolled (?) betting. However, following the lead of the board postings, I went to Monte Carlo for a change of pace and some 2 â€“ 4 $ Texas Hold â€˜em. It was exactly as prescribed: a bit laid back but not too relaxed. Got lucky with a table of low rollers and did not have anyone going â€œnutsâ€ without the nuts. Left up a little and somewhat willing to take a chance on this game when the opportunity arose. Good tables and players as well as managed in a positive way for all. Who could tell the next opportunity would present itself so quickly. My mistake was finding the poker room at ST. It is next to the sports book and that was about all I knew as I passed it each day to bet the game of the day on baseball. Why not try here. I believe (?) there is a difference in quality of player between ST and Monte Carlo as there was more serious table talk (if any) and the money value was different as well. At Monte Carlo, it was like â€œfun moneyâ€ saved for the purpose of vacation and if you lost it you laughed and said a more profane version of â€œoh darnâ€ or â€œshoot.â€ At ST, it was like â€œrent moneyâ€ and bluffing too seriously or raising after a raise was tantamount to expecting one to be asked to step outside. I lost what I had won at MC and looked at my watch and mumbled something about west coast time being behind CST and quickly excused myself. Youâ€™d think they would have you sign a release form prior to sitting down. Maybe it was the timing or the groupâ€”good experience but not one to revisit. Could poker actually be this serious? Some sidelights about ST: great shuttle, good food in the restaurant but service was poorer than in the past; buffet could be improved greatly in variety and quality, room was excellent as well as maid service, and there was no hidden â€œhooksâ€ with the free offer for the stay. However, we will see if they continue as we played much less than previously due to the conditions. We left 60 $ in charges on our card and went for our two night stay at the Palms. First off, we are not â€œPalmsâ€ people. I lost my flat belly about the time of our first child. My 34-inch waist is not in the â€œpotâ€ category yet, but not in the abs commercial either. If it was, I would have had my shirt off too (but alas, my golf tan would have thwarted much of that idea). However, we had never stayed better than Aladdin and wanted to try something as our budget was opened from the three free nights we received. Palms had an initial offer of 89 $ which we booked and then got the 79 $ rate via internet and re-booked. Took a cab to the Palms and arrived on Sunday about 11:00 a.m. Inquired and were told we could check in about 1:00 p.m. It was the mass exodus of beautiful people from the weekend, which would take the attention of the hotel for the next two hours. We retreated to the Barbary Coast shuttle from the Gold Coast and went to the strip for lunch. Returned at 2:00 and were quickly given a room. Bags came up, we unpacked and went down to try our luck. I must admit, the advertising is correct on the video poker payout at the Palms. After 3 days of drought, it was almost larceny to play at the Palms. Four of a kindâ€™s actually appeared! Even a straight flush was given a fleeting acknowledgement. But the highlight was the poker room. It was not fancy and was more congested than the MC, but it appeared to be approachable for the neophyte (that would be me). It was easily the best part of the trip and I spent a good 15 of the next 48 hours there having a reasonably good time. Highlights: they pay for straight flushes to the 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, ROYAL. All are progressives and return to 50 $â€™s to begin again once hit. An example: A ROYAL was hit about 6:30 in the a.m. Monday. I was playing at 11:30 or so and the gentleman to my right was betting on a straight and being raised by one at the other end of the table. End result is his 10 â€“ Ace straight was beaten by a ROYAL but only paid (only?) 63 $ due to it being hit earlier. The NEXT hand, the gentleman to my right had 4 10â€™s when everyone folded prior to the river. He won 253 $â€™s due to it not being hit for a number of days. All combinations of 4 of a kind were progressives as well. You had to play both of your cards dealt as well to qualify. ALSO, for the month of June, they had a promotion for diamond flushes. If you had one, your name was entered for the drawing the following morning and you had 24 hours to collect. Five names were drawn and 200 $ was the prize for each name. Not a bad result of pulling your name out of the hat. You only had to have a playerâ€™s card and could call in the next morning to see if your name was drawn. If you didnâ€™t have a playerâ€™s card, you had until midnight to secure one and have your name entered. They were bending over backwards to make it possible for you to be eligible. (This was only for the diamonds promotion; straight flushes and 4 of a kind were paid on the spot without any card what so ever) The poker room was made up of young kids (both M and F) as well as players old enough to be in a â€œhome.â€ It was 2 â€“ 4 and if you wanted real action there was a high roller room next door including no limit. Ended up about 125 $ ahead after 15 hours. One note was the friendliness of those in your area of the table with stories and strategies (table talk outside the game itself). No one appeared to be in it for the rent / grocery money that made it more relaxed for all. The dealers were particularly helpful and knowledgeable of the game and how to direct newbies such as myself. They also were able to direct those too serious about losing as to the benefits of the room next door where the â€œseriousâ€ money was. I would recommend the Palms for vp and poker. We had a great time. The room was fabulous and service was above average as well. OUR way of budgeting will probably find us at the Gold Coast and walking over to explore / enjoy next time. It would give us at least 40 $ more per day to lose on the tables / machines. A four or five day trip would be 200 $ or close to it in additional money. If BJ doesnâ€™t improve, weâ€™ll need it. Last notes: The weekend was not what it was hoped to be both in winnings and in appreciation of the crowds. It got a bit old (or we are just too old) to see all the Californians / Arizonians coming in to make a killing at the tables (which few did other than in liquor consumption) or to just see and be seen. It could have been in conjunction with our run of luck, but it seemed be more relaxed and â€œnormalâ€ once 4:00 on Sunday came around. The Bellagion buffet is still to kill for (especially the desserts); the Coast shuttle is quick and comfortable as well as scheduled for minimal waiting; the New Mexican restaurant at Palms was not bad at all although the seating was less than desired. Seemed everyone was parked close to one another and some of the beautiful conversations of the beautiful people were more than adequate for entertainment purposes. However, there was no remote. We will probably revert to Sunday â€“ Thursday nights next time to avoid the crush and rush of the weekend and definitely get bushed up on poker strategies and conduct. It truly is a fun game with the socializing of BJ but not a bet necessary on every hand. Sorry for the length and questions will/can be answered.