just got back from what was a fun but interesting trip. sorry if this is all over the place! . . .we flew out from st. louis non stop for 216 dollars through american. it was a good flight with no problems due to the extra security. we arrived at mccarran at around 2:30 and took a shuttle to our hotel downtown. shuttles are cheap, but its a pain when your sitting there waiting for a shuttle to fill up. we only paid 5 dollars a piece but i swear we sat there for 20 minutes waiting for 1 more person to fill the shuttle. we finnaly got to the hotel which was just as i had pictured, the "gold spike". this was the coolest place to stay. we walk in and within the first 2 minutes we see some guy getting arrested. to make the "floor show" even more fun, he was resisting and security had to keep punching him. it was almost like i had been comped front row tickets to the big fight! lol. we got our room which was a suite on the 7th floor, it had a balcony, 2 rooms, with 2 tv's and a couch in the living area. well worth the 40 dollars we paid. i started gambling right away and after an hour on there 2 dollar blackjack tables broke even! almost every dealer i played with couldn't count very fast and really had to think about the game. this was my kind of casino! the people i was playing with were for the most part crazy! on one hand the dealer showed an ace and someone with a blackjack took even money. so a guy sitting at 3rd base who didn't have a blackjack asked for even money. they dealer laughed at him thinking he was joking, but sadly this guy wasn't joking, he really wanted his even money. to make the situation even more funny, neither the dealer or the player spoke very good english. the man kept saying he wanted his even money but the dealer just dealed the hand straight through. next i wanted to see the western. i had heard so many bad things about this place that i had to see it. we walked over to freemont st and asked a security gaurd for directions to it. after he warned me not to go there and said if we insisted on going to make sure we were back before dark, he pointed us in the right direction we started walking. playing at the 1 dollar blackjack table there, we were sitting by this guy who starts talking to us right away. he's telling us stories about how he was at the orleans the night before playing high limit poker. he kept going on and on about how there was 25,000 dollars in a pot that he lost. he said that he had 4 of a kind and another player beat him with a royal flush playing a 5 card stud game. SURE. . . . . now i might be crazy but i don't believe they play 5 card stud at the orleans and if you have that kind of money to play high limit poker why the heck are you sitting at a one dollar table at the western playing blackjack. i just kept smilling at him and tried to looked shocked. we left there, i was 10 dollars down and one of my friends was 20 dollars up so it was a fun stop for us. we got back to freemont and decided it was time to eat, we ate at freemont casino. they had an steak buffet that was nothing but average to below average. after dinner we went over to binions and stayed there for a couple of hours. i did really well. i always seem to do well here. although you can't double after splits anymore. i left there around 50 bucks up playing 5 dollar blackjack. i would have been up a hundred but i decided to drop 50 dollars in a video poker machine on my way out. one of my friends hit a full house and was on fire from the tables and was up close to 150. from there we gambled at a couple of other places and my friends headed back to the room. i stayed for a while and played some more at freemont casino. after about 2 hours at a 5 dollar table i broke even and headed back to the room. i met my 2 friends back there to find out, one of them--gary, had only brought 130 dollars with him and lost 90 dollars that night. the next night we moved hotels to the flamingo. i liked the gold spike so much that i really wished we would have stayed there for the rest of the trip, but my friends were anxious to get to the strip. the check in line was very long so we got our bags checked and decided to go get breakfast, i like the flamigo brunch. i think for the price its a pretty good deal. after brunch, my broke friend said he wanted to sit and bet on some horses. so me and my other friend dave went to play some blackjack, we both did pretty well and went back to meet gary at the sports book. when we get over there he informs us that he lost his last 40 dollars and had no way to get anymore money. we decided now was the time to go and get our room keys because theres no worse place to be than in vegas with a guy that has no money. me and dave were so pissed at him for losing everything by the noon on the 2nd day of our trip. we waited about 10 minutes got our room key and walked over to caesars palace. broke gary walked over with us but quickly decided to go back to the hotel room. he said he stayed there for the rest of the day. me and dave stayed out the rest of the day and night and gambled and saw crazy girls at the riviera. we both liked the show. it wasn't anything like i had seen in vegas before. it was pretty much like going to a strip club and i wouldn't have wanted to take my wife. we saw skintight at harrahs last year and i felt the opposite about that show. i felt out of place there with my buddy since most of the seats seemed to be filled with couples. anway. . . . i was up about 100 dollars for my both days and was feeling pretty good about they way things were going. the next morning my broke friend started asking for money. i quitely left the room but my friend dave gave him 50 dollars. we hit the nicer places on the strip that day (without deadbeat gary) and i had my first losing day managing to give back my profit for the previous 2 days. i decided to play hold em at the excalibur and after about 4 hours ended up 80 dollars. i decided it was time to go back to the room. when i got there by broke friend was there and i when i asked him what he did today he said drank and gambled. so the 50 dollars that my friend dave gave him, he gambled away and didn't eat anything. me and dave decided it was time to leave him and went and gambled some more. i went to the imperial palace and saw a 9/6 jacks or better game. i decided to put 20 dollars in. after i had played for a few hands i realized it was a dollar game, i figured i would quickly blow my last remaining credits and moved on with a lesson learned, next hand i hit 4 kings for 125 dollars and walked away, i went to the blackjack tables and ended up another 20 dollars. i headed back to the room and called it a night. monday was much of the same with nothing really big to report. my broke friend gary kept asking for more money but we both refused. nothing major happened over the next 2 days. my winning streak finnaly came to an end. i didn't really see gary to much for the rest of the trip. to our knowledge the last time he had eaten was sunday morning. i wasn't going to give him anymore money though. the last money that dave gave him he wasn't even smart enough to get some food with, i sure wasn't going to give him more gambling money. our plane left tuesday morning, broke gary asked to have his plane seat changed because he was mad at us and didn't want to sit near us. i couldn't believe he was mad at us. oh well, i said if i'm gonna lose a friend it might as well me a needy friend! i started with 350 dollars and came home with 175, so all things considered i thought it was a pretty good trip. a few points, 1. i definately like gambling downtown better. better odds and you can't beat that old time vegas feel. 2. my favorite buffet was at the rio 3. if your going to vegas make sure everyone your going with has enough money to cover themselves because its annoying to have someone keep asking you for money the whole time your trying to gamble!