Brenda and I returned from 5 days/nights in Las Vegas a week ago today staying at the Tropicana 6/16 - 6/21. This was our seventh trip to Vegas since May, 2002 and we had a great (but exhausting) time. Be aware - this will be a relatively long report. As a result of the amount of gambling we've done on our earlier trips to the Tropicana, our (new) host comped us up front for full RFB (room, food, and beverage) for these five days/nights and this included an entry into their "$75,000 Rumble in the Jungle" Slot Tournament. Details of this tournament will be included in this trip report. Our host also arranged to have a limo pick us up at the airport when we arrived in Las Vegas. BTW, here are the '8 Simple Goals' I had for this trip: 1. Don't miss the plane 2. Drink alot (alcohol, of course) 3. Gamble alot 4. Win some $ 5. Don't forget to eat 6. Don't get gout (again) 7. Stay hydrated 8. Sleep a little Day 1 (Wednesday, 6/16): We're up at 4:30 am and neither of us had gotten much sleep. We left the house heading for the Austin-Bergstrom airport at 5:39 am. We have a nonstop flight on Southwest Airlines. We arrive for curbside check-in at 6:22 am and received two 'A' boarding passes. I had to wait about 15 minutes for wifey to park the car and return via the shuttle from long term parking. We get through security without a problem and head down to grab a breakfast sandwich. Since I've been directed by my liver doc to lose weight, we split a sandwich. Normally, I end up with my sandwich and half of wifey's. I've lost 24 lbs. since late Feb., 2004 but I'm sure I'll gain at least a few back over the next five days. We board and take off on time and I use our drink coupons to have a couple double bailey's on the rocks. Life is good. We land a few minutes early and we're the first passengers off the plane. We meet our limo driver on the way to baggage claim. We pick up our bags and head to the Tropicana. We arrive and leave our luggage with the bell cap folks. I tip them and the limo driver and we head over to VIP services for our check-in. It's about 9:25 am and our room isn't ready yet. Not a problem - I fix a drink for each of us. I pour myself a tall bailey's on the rocks and wifey gets a bacardi light rum and diet coke. On to the casino floor. Of course if I had known what the future held for me, I would have steered clear of the blackjack tables this trip. It's very warm in the casino. Apparently, they lost power about 2 am the night before. Some sections of the casino floor are dark but they do have some air conditioning on near the table games. I'm told they're on backup generators. By late afternoon, all power was restored. Brenda heads over to one of her full pay deuces wild (FPDW) video poker machines and I scout out the blackjack tables. There are a few $5 and $10 tables and a $100 table open but no $25 tables which I was looking for. I ask the pit supervisor when they plan to open a $25 table and I'm told it won't be until 11 am. For some reason, they seem to be short dealers at the moment. During this trip, I noted that the Tropicana had (in the busy evening hours) several $5 table open where the dealer hits on a soft 17, a couple ugly single deck $10 tables with no mid shoe entry, no surrender, dealer hits soft 17, and blackjack pays 3-2, a few other $10 tables where dealer hits soft 17, a couple $25 tables where the dealer stands on soft 17, and an occasional $25 table that gets changed to a $100 table when requested by the only player(s) at the table. I head over to find Wifey and tell her the news. I decide to play some deuces wild on a machine next to wifey. After 45 minutes, I'm down $75. Wifey is about even. Not a good start to the day for me. I quit and head to the blackjack area since it's almost 11 am. A $25 table opens and I play for about 4 hours and lose $1000. Well, at least they let me play and drink for a while. It was a slow steady lost of green chips. Around noontime, wifey had gotten the room keys but was told the room hadn't been cleaned yet. After I quit around 3 pm, I head to the room to make sure it's cleaned. Yes, it's cleaned. I head down to find wifey playing a 'Wheel of Fortune' slot machine. I thought we broke that habit but I guess the pull of the wheel was too much this time. Fortunately, Brenda was ahead $340 after almost an hour on that machine so I wasn't too worried. Usually, the wheel takes any $ we drop in so we try to stay totally away from any slots. This was the last slot machine wifey played at the Trop this trip which was fine with me. Wifey decides it's time to quit playing so we can get settled into our room (#1418) in the paradise tower. Great view of the south end of the strip. I drop off our luggage ticket at the bell cap desk and take the elevator to the fourteenth floor. Our room is just off the elevator just the way we like it. While waiting for our luggage to arrive, I call house keeping for additional towels. They arrive and I tip the guy a couple bucks. Our gift basket of goodies arrives and I tip the guy a couple bucks. In the past, our gift basket was always round but this time we get a bigger rectangular shaped basket with more goodies than in the past. We had a bottle of Estancia Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 (one of Brenda's favorites), a can of mixed nuts, a couple bags of cashews, a bag of trail mix, an assortment of cheeses, a couple beef summer sausages, crackers, apples and oranges. Our luggage also arrives and I tip them too. We check the safe and make sure that works before we unpack. Great, it works - let's unpack. Next, we take our smallest luggage bag on wheels out for a walk to Walgreens. We pick up bottled water, diet 7-Up, and some miller light for our small in room refrigerator. Upon returning, I felt like crap. I think it was a combination of the heat outside and the fact that I already forgot two of my '8 simple rules'. I was dehydrated and I hadn't eaten anything for the last 12 hours. Of course, I also drank alot, mostly bailey's. Perfect recipe for dehydration. By the time we returned from our walk and loaded up the refrigerator, it was time to get ready for dinner. We have dinner reservations for Savanna Steakhouse at 6 pm but arrive 30 minutes early and are seated right away. Wifey orders the Shrimp Cocktail appetizer, French Onion soup, and the 'create your own surf and turf' of Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail. I order the Shrimp Cocktail appetizer, Dungeness Crab Bisque soup, and the 'create your own surf and turf' of Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail. Wifey also chose a Merlot (I believe) while I order Champagne with dinner. Dinner was excellent with no room for dessert. We take the leftover steak and lobster back to the room. We packed zip lock baggies for our dinner leftovers. By now, we're both tired and I'm still not feeling that great. We decide to call it an early night (it's almost 8 pm local time, 10 pm CST). Day 1 Gambling Summary: Blackjack (me) - down $1000 Video Poker (me) - down $75 Video Poker (wifey) - down $90 (4 'wild royals') Slots (wifey) - up $340 Day 2 (Thursday, 6/17) & Day 3 (Friday, 6/18): You might wonder why I'm combining days 2 and 3. Well, I never got to bed Thursday night so I decided to combine these two days. More on that later... Wifey is out the door Thursday morning by 5:20 am. I decided to sleep in till about 6 and I'm moving a bit slow this morning. I leave a note for house keeping to please leave us extra towels and I leave $5. I did this every morning. I meet wifey for breakfast at 7 am. Wifey already played 100 minutes at video poker before breakfast. Like I said, I'm moving a bit slow this morning. We eat at Calypsos's 24 hour cafe. Brenda has a cheese burger and I order the grilled rosemary chicken sandwich. Both were pretty good. Of course, I finished up my breakfast with a couple scoops of french vanilla ice cream. By 8 am, I decide it's time to make some of my $ back at the blackjack table. Unfortunately, the dealers had something else in mind. By 8:45 am, I'm down another $1000. That's it for me and blackjack for a while. Find wifey who just sat down at a VP machine. Wifey asks me what I want to do. I really didn't want to spend the day by the pool so I decided to play some VP. I find a machine and start playing at 9 am. We both have cell phones which worked out great but at this time, we weren't within eyesight of each other's machines so it wasn't possible to watch a chair while the other used the rest room. By 11 am, a machine opens up next to wifey, she calls me on her cell phone and I'm happy to move to another machine so we can play side by side. In that first two hours of VP, I had lost $32. Not too bad - at least I'm losing money at a slower pace. When we play $.25 deuces wild, we always play max. (five) coins. This will turn into one long day of gambling for me. Like I said at 11 am, wifey and I are playing side by side. Around mid day, I take a short break from losing more $ (at least I'm losing it slower than I was at the blackjack table) and head to our room for some of our left over steak. I bring some back and that's our lunch while we continue playing VP. In the first 1 hour 50 minutes play next to wifey, I lose $100. Over the next 4 hours, 10 minutes ending at 5 pm, I only lost another $25. Wow! Maybe my luck is about to change. By 5 pm, between us, we have played 18 hours already today of VP. Earlier in the day around 3:30 pm, I headed over to the Hawaiian Room in the Island Tower for registration for the Slot Tournament. Here's the tournament format: Each entrant competes one 15 minute session in each of four rounds. Round assignments are determined by a random draw 30 minutes before each scheduled session. I selected the 9:30 am and 1:30 pm sessions on Friday with the same time slots on Saturday. The lowest score of the four sessions will be dropped. Here's the prize structure. 1st place $30,000 2nd place $10,000 3rd place $5,000 4th place $2,000 5th place $1,000 6th - 25th $300 26th - 75th $100 76th - 250th $25 Besides signing up for our four sessions, I pick up a gift ($25 cash plus a carousel photo frame thingy). Not sure what we'll do with it. I take our gift to the room and we head over to the Welcome Party (Dinner Buffet) just before 5:30 pm. We were hoping to grab a quick bite and then get back to our same VP machines. They had prime rib, beef tips, broiled swordfish, chicken, and a lot of other stuff I can't remember and of course the desserts had there own little corner of the room. The buffet was okay, we filled our bellies and got the heck out of there. By 5:45 pm, we're back at our machines side by side. Wifey decides to call it a night by 8 pm. I tell wifey not to be surprised if I play all night - I'm on a mission to get either 'four deuces' or a 'royal flush'. So I keep playing and of course, I keep drinking. I alternate between coffee drinks and planters punch. By 1:30 am, I'm really tired and I'm starting to hallucinate. I keep thinking I'm seeing someone just behind me usually on the left side. I guess I need some sleep, but did I mention, I'm on a mission? After all the hours I've put in, I still haven't even gotten four deuces once. So I play on. Just before 2 am, I hear our favorite waitress come in. She doesn't see me yet and would be surprised to see me here and not Brenda since she knows I usually stick to blackjack. About 2:30 am, she spots me and starts bringing me coffee drinks that I've never heard of but are strong. I explain that Brenda went to bed about 8 last night but I'm on a mission to hit something on this machine. About 4 am, Brenda calls me on her cell phone and wasn't worried that I hadn't come back to the room but she really didn't think I could play all night after playing most of the day. By 4:20 am, Brenda joins me and we're playing side by side once again. We play until almost 7:30 am and take a short break for their breakfast buffet which is part of the slot tournament comps. We both had made to order omelet's and a bowl of mixed fruits, orange juice and coffee. I left after maybe 10 minutes to try and get my same machine. Wifey would follow shortly and we're playing side by side again. Around 9 am, wifey plays both machines so I can pick my slot machine for the first of four of my slot tournament sessions. Brenda doesn't like playing the sessions but I do so it works out great for us. After I pick my machine (#22), I come back and watch wifey play while someone else is still playing the machine next to us. At 9:25 am, I head back to where the tournament is being played, a roped off area near the Harbor Bar area. I play my session and boy is it hot. Well, it is the 'Rumble in the Jungle' Slot Tournament so what did I expect. I got a miserable score of 11,173. As I looked around near my machine, I was the lowest score I could see. Not good since I was planning to win the $30,000 for wifey. I head back to wifey who had just gotten the machine next to mine. So once again, we're playing side by side. By the way, from 11:10 pm Thursday to 7: 20 am Friday, I only lost $50 on VP but still hadn't hit 'four deuces' once this whole trip. This machine will not break my spirit!!! By late morning, we're getting hungry again so wifey heads to the room and grabs the last of our leftover steak and lobster tail from our refrigerator. Yummmm! Okay, this will hold us till dinner at 6 pm. We continue to play and Wifey hits a couple 'four deuces' today before my next slot tournament session at 1:30 pm. At 1 pm, I once again head over to pick my machine number for that session. I pick # 64. I also pick up a stuffed animal as a gift. I come back and play a bit more VP next to wifey until 1:25 pm. Wifey plays both machines while I play session #2. This time, my score is 11,099 for a two session total of 22, 272. Later this evening, scores will be posted after 9 pm. There are somewhere between 300 and 400 entrants in this tournament. After those two sessions, I was in 315th place and the last paying place for $25 was 250th. We continue playing VP but I'm really zoning out and continue hallucinating. I swear someone's standing behind me on my left side. But every time I turn around to check, there's no one there. A couple times, I took a few minutes to take a quick walk to get an ice cream cone or to pick up our daily deck of cards at the promotions desk. We pretty much decided that after dinner, we would call it a night. I was exhausted. We both stopped around 4 pm to get ready for dinner. While I was getting ready, wifey went back and played about hour or so. And she hit another four deuces for $250. That's three today and I still hadn't hit my first one. Well, I guess as a VP rookie, I needed to put in more time to earn my 'stripes'. This trip I've played the most VP I played in our previous six trips combined. Like I said, I usually stick to playing blackjack. But as you might recall reading earlier, they (blackjack dealers) ran me off the tables so I'm now hooked on VP. We meet and head over to Pietro's for our 6 pm dinner reservations. We each order the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail with Harlequin Sauce for an appetizer. Brenda orders the French Onion Gratinee soup while I order the Bisque de Lobster. For the entree, we order the Chateaubriand for two. For drinks, Brenda has an Estancia Merlot and I choose Champagne. Dinner was very good. For dessert, we each had their fantastic chocolate ice cream. I love their ice cream - so creamy. Of course, we have leftovers again for our refrigerator. After dinner, we decide to call it a night. I am so tired. Day 2/3 Gambling Summary: Blackjack (me) - down $1000 for the day, down $2000 overall Video Poker (me) - down $507 for the past two days (15 'wild royals'), down $582 overall Slots (wifey) - down $20 for the day, up $320 for the trip Video Poker (wifey) - up $245 for the past two days (25 'wild royals', 3 'four dueces'), up $155 for the trip Day 4 (Saturday): We're both up early and we're at our VP machines side by side at 4:20 am. We play about three hours before stopping for our second breakfast buffet. Once again, we each order omelets (made to order), grab a bowl of mixed fruit, orange juice and coffee. I left after maybe 10 minutes to try and get my same machine. Wifey would follow shortly. Would you believe while we were gone (maybe 10 minutes), someone hit the royal flush ($1000) on the machine Brenda had been playing. Unbelievable! My machine is jammed - won't take any cash so maintenance works on it until almost 8:15 am (30 minutes). I finally sit back down and start playing again. Shortly after I sat back down, our waitress came over and slips me a folded up napkin with $20 to place a bet on the Cubs in the Sportsbook. She's not allowed to place a bet herself. The bet had to be made by 10 am for today's game. Wifey was playing at another machine but comes by about 9 am to play my machine while I pick my slot machine (#28) for session three of the slot tournament. I also picked up another little stuffed animal as a gift. I stopped by the Sportsbook and placed the bet on the cubs. That's the first time I've been in the Sportsbook at the Tropicana. I head back to watch wifey play deuces wild until about 9:25 am. Time for session #3. This time I score 12,101. Better than my earlier two scores but I probably won't get any cash this tournament. Back to the VP machine. Brenda has just gotten her machine (next to mine) so we're going to play side by side once again. Around 11 am, I watch Brenda's machine while she goes back to our room for some of last night's leftover dinner. She brings it back here so we munch on some leftovers while playing VP. At 1 pm, I head over to the tournament area to pick my machine (#72) for my last session of the tournament. I also picked up another little stuffed animal. I play a bit more VP and at 1:25 pm, head over for session 4. This time, I score 13,631. After dropping my low score, I have a total score of 36, 905. It will be very close whether or not I make the cutoff where the top 250 places get some amount of cash. I play until about 3 pm and head back to the room to relax. Wifey plays until about 3:30 pm and comes back to the room. Wifey is ready for the awards dinner which is at 6:30 but it's early so she goes back down to play a couple more hours of VP. I decide to relax and take my time getting ready for dinner. I meet up with wifey and head over to the awards dinner at 6:30 pm. Dinner was buffet style again and while Brenda had a glass of red wine which she didn't care for, I had a glass of champagne. During the awards dinner, we also meet up with our new host. I also found out during this dinner that I finished the tournament in 250th place, the last place to receive cash ($25). After dinner, Brenda decided to call it a night while I was going to give blackjack another shot. I played from 7:30 till about 10:15 pm and dropped another $1500. I simply could not get anything going. Time for bed. Day 4 Gambling Summary: Blackjack (me) - down $1500 for the day, down $3500 overall Video Poker (me) - down $375 for the day (4 'wild royals'), down $957 overall Slots (wifey) - didn't play today, up $320 for the trip Video Poker (wifey) - down $760 for the day (6 'wild royals'), down $605 for the trip Day 5 (Sunday): This is our last full day. Wifey and I wake up early and head to the Calypsos cafe for an early morning breakfast. Wifey ordered another cheese burger while I ordered an omelet. Wifey also ordered a chocolate shake to help her sore throat. The smoke is really bothering her this trip. It was during breakfast that I realized I seem to have lost (misplaced/dropped) my button down black sweater. It wasn't in the room this room and I remembered that I had it with me when I stopped playing yesterday afternoon around 3 pm. After breakfast, I head over to security to figure out where 'lost and found' is just in case someone found my sweater and turned it in. Security gave me the phone number for 'lost and found' and told me I could use the wall phone nearby. I spoke to 'lost and found' and described my sweater. They didn't seem to have it but offered me what they said was a very nice gold golf sweater. I declined. Oh, well... By 5 am, we're playing side by side once again. Before 10 am, our waitress comes by and slips me her winning cubs ticket. I needed to cash it in for her. For her initial $20, she gets $34.50 back. Occasionally, one of us would get up and take a quick walk to grab a couple ice cream cones or just to stretch our legs. Around 3 pm, I went back to the room to see if I had a message from our host since I mentioned to him last night that we'd like a couple tickets to the comedy show this evening (Sunday) for the early show. He said to get with him today and he'd take care of it. I had no message so I headed back to the casino floor. I figured if I didn't spot him near the table games, I'll try to page him. There he is - I stopped and asked for the tickets and he gave us the comp coupon after typing it up on the spot. Wonderful. Went back to my VP machine that wifey was playing along with hers. We played a bit more and since our host started today at noontime and we had dinner reservations for 6 pm and the comedy show starts at 8 pm, I figured I better go back and check with him about getting a limo lined up for our departure to the airport in the morning. When I find him again in the same general vicinity of the table games, he didn't look too happy. Seems he's the only table games host around and he tells me that at 7 pm, he's gone. I knew he would be on vacation starting tomorrow. I asked him if I should page the host on duty later in the evening to see about setting up a limo for us in the morning. It's a good thing I checked with him because he told me that when he leaves at 7 pm, there won't be any other hosts around tonight. He sets us up right then and there for the limo. We'll meet the driver out front at 6 am. I shake his hand and thank him. Back to playing VP. I wasn't gone very long and wifey was occasionally playing my machine but mostly just hers. Like I said, we have dinner reservations at 6 pm but neither of us want to leave. Today, wifey hit 'four deuces' again, her fourth time this trip. I still haven't hit it once and neither of us have hit the 'royal'. We play on. As 5 pm rolls around, I'm thinking I won't be going back to the room before dinner and we have each played VP (deuces wild) for over 52 hours (104+ hours total) and although wifey has hit 'four deuces' four times for this trip, I have not gotten 'four deuces' even once. Of course, neither of us have hit the elusive 'royal flush'. But guess what happens at 5:12 pm???? I hit the 'royal flush' I couldn't believe it when I saw it on the screen. I had to look at it a few times to make sure that's really what it read. Finally! On a $.25 machine, playing max. (five) coins, that's $1000. Well, that certainly helps. I'll still be down this trip for VP but remember, I didn't hit the 'four deuces' even once. When the guy comes over to hand pay me, I was surprised he paid me in all hundreds. I figured he would have busted up that last large bill hoping too get a nice tip. Well, I dug in my pockets and tried to give him $10 but he wouldn't take it. You see, he knew how long I've been playing that machine this trip and knew I hadn't hit any 'four deuces' so I was way over due. He said if I hit another royal, then I could tip him. That was really nice of him. I'm sure I'll see him again on the next trip. Well, we quit around 5:45 pm and have to wait for hopper fills on both our machines. We head over to dinner just before 6 and I feel so relieved. I did it. I hit the royal! Earlier in the day, wifey was telling me that she wasn't sure I deserved to have dinner at Savanna since I haven't done anything to earn it. Well, wifey agreed, I sure earned it now. We decided to share a Shrimp Cocktail and skipped the soup and salad. We were hoping we'd be able to finish our entree of Filet Mignon. Brenda once again had a Merlot while I chose Champagne. Dinner was great but Brenda couldn't finish hers. More leftovers for the refrigerator. After dinner, wifey plays VP for 30 minutes and hits her fifth 'four deuces' of the trip. We cash her out and head to the comedy show. I give the guy who seats everyone $10 so we can get a seat up close to the stage. Nice seats. The three comedians were Christine Stedman, Scott Angrave, and Greg Morton. All were great! At times, I laughed so hard, it hurt. After the comedy show, wifey's throat was still bothering her so she headed back to the room to call it a night. I wanted to take one more shot at the blackjack tables. I was debating whether to invest $500 or $1000. I decided another $500 was all I was going to risk. No one was sitting at the $25 tables so I thought I might play a little more VP. The machine I hit the royal on was taken so I played at another. I played for an hour from 10 to 11 pm and played even. Okay, time for one last shot at blackjack. I played for an hour and lost the $500. That's it for me. I head back to the room. Day 5 Gambling Summary: Blackjack (me) - down $500 for the day, down $4000 overall Video Poker (me) - up $650 for the day (1 'royal flush', 11 'wild royals'), down $307 overall Slots (wifey) - didn't play today, up $320 for the trip Video Poker (wifey) - up $355 for the day (13 'wild royals', 2 'four deuces'), down $250 overall Day 6 (Monday): Day of departure. We both wake up about 5:30 am. We waited till the morning of departure to pack which has usually worked out well for us. After getting pretty much packed up, we head down to Calypsos's for breakfast around 6:45 am. Wifey has the cheese burger again while I go for an omelet. We both order a chocolate shake. After breakfast, we check our final gambling numbers at the promotions desk and grab out cash back of $70. I still had a few chips in my pocket so I cashed them in and we head back to the room to grab our bags. We're all packed up (at least we thought so at the time) and head to the elevator with our bags. We were scheduled to meet the limo out from at 8 am and it's almost 8. We are planning to return for their Wine and Roses Slot Tournament in September but have no idea what our rating is for this trip since I didn't get much time in at the blackjack tables but combined we got an awful lot of hours at the quarter machines. The trop doesn't really distinguish between slots and video poker. I guess that's good for us. Just in case we might have gambled enough to get some help with our airfare, I left a note for our host with a copy of our airfare itinerary with the main casino cage. This way, when our host returns from his vacation, he can check our account and see if we qualified for any help with the airfare of $440. I planned to call our host by mid July to check on our rating for this trip and also find out what our overall rating is and then book our September trip. This was our seventh trip to the Trop since May, 2002 and after six trips, our overall rating was a 2. We wheel our luggage outside and the limo is here. On to the airport. We had no problem getting through security but the plane is late coming from who knows where. We were scheduled to take off at 10:15 but it looks like we'll be 20 minutes late. Not even close. Right after we boarded, I realized I forget to empty the bottom dresser drawer in our room. How could I do that??? I take out my phone to call VIP services to see if they can throw the clothes I left in the room into a bag and hold it until we return in September. I was about to make the call then decided to first check with the flight attendant. No can do - they already backed away from the terminal. Can't use our cell phones. I'll have to wait until we land in Austin. I figured we'd be taking off soon but after another 10 minutes of not moving very much, the Captain makes an announcement that we're held up for some VIP. We had to wait (he said) another 15-20 minutes and then would be number two for takeoff. The VIPs plane was just sitting there waiting for it's occupants to board but whoever it was, they were important enough to cause everything else to come to a standstill. We ended up leaving 1 hr. 10 minutes late. The pilots were able to make up 40 minutes of that time so we landed only 30 minutes late in Austin. As soon as we landed, I called VIP services and explained my problem with leaving clothes in the bottom dresser draw in the room. They were very nice and said they would contact housekeeping and that my host could mail my remaining clothes back to Austin. I explained that my host would be in sometime that day but that once he left for the day, he'd be on vacation so I wasn't sure he could mail them to me. Oh well... It was my fault so I'll just see what happens. In case anyone was wondering how long we gambled over those five days/nights, here are the numbers: Blackjack: 8 hr. 30 min. (average of 1 hr. 42 min. per day) average bet: $75 For the trip: down $4000 (ouch) Video Poker: 106 hr. 51 min. (average of 21 hr. 22 min. per day) $8.92 per min. (45,749 hands, averaged 428 hands per hr.) For the trip: down $557 Slots: 1 hr. total For the trip: Up $320 Total Gambling Time this Trip: 116.35 hr. over 5 days (23 hr. 16 min. per day) Total Gambling Losses this Trip: $4237 When we got home and got the mail, we had a invite to the Tropicana's $100,000 Cash Marathon August 12 - 15. A total of 97 winners will share in the $100,000 cash purse. Wow! We thought about it and decided we should go back in August for another 5 days/nights. The problem is that I want to verify our rating for this last trip and see what our overall rating is. We did get full RFB and they comped us the comedy show tickets but since my host was on vacation and I didn't know when he'd return, I decided that on Saturday, 6/26 I would call customer services and see if I could find out our trip rating. Saturday comes, I call customer services and they have to transfer me to the Winner's Club. Well, I was pretty sure the Winners Club wouldn't tell me and I was right. After being on hold for awhile, they finally told me I would have to speak with a host. Fine, please transfer me to a host. They transferred me to a table games host and after explaining that I just returned and we received the invite in the mail, I asked if I should book the trip now or wait until my host returned from his vacation on Friday, 7/2. This gentleman suggested I book now. Okay, what about our trip rating. Shoot, we were only rated a '5' in their 1 - 9 rating system. That still gave us a overall rating of '2' for our last six trips but I was disappointed we weren't given better than a '5' rating. I asked what the minimum rating was to continue to get full RFB but this host said not to worry about it, we had a great rating and would be comped full RFB for the August trip. Okay, I explained that I decided to stay away from the tables games for awhile and wanted to have an idea what our rating might be without playing any blackjack and if wifey and I each gambled about 12 hours a day on max. quarters ($1.25 per hand). This host said he'd have to transfer me to a slot host who might better answer my question. Okay, fine. I asked the same question of the slot host and couldn't get a concrete answer. She said you need to pay $1 machines, max. coin for 4 hrs. per day to have the room comped. She also said to get invited to the big tournaments, we would have to maintain a overall rating of '4'. Hmmm... This trip I got in 8.5 hrs of blackjack and 106+ hours of VP and we were only a 5. Even if we speeded up our play and still got in a combined 24 hrs a day on quarters VP, I don't think we can get down to a '4' rating. This slot host suggested that we play $1 machines (max. coin) for part of our trip. This is why I was asking in the 'Casino Gambling' forum, what other full pay video poker the Tropicana has besides the $.25 full pay deuces wild. I was hoping to find that the Tropicana has other machines (quarters or dollars) that return over 100% payback. Thanks to doctor_al, I now know that the Trop is supposed to have $1 NSUD deuces wild but that only pays back 99.73%. Hmmmm. Well, we might just stay with quarters (max. coin) and play as long as it's fun and see what kind of rating we end up with. If we return to the Tropicana in August, September, and again in December, I think our overall rating will still be high enough to get full RFB but after that, we may not be able to maintain a '4' rating. We'll worry about that later and if we get to the point where the Trop doesn't comp us for everything, then we may have to think about checking out another casino. Maybe the Golden Nuggett. Not sure what full pay VP they have. When I get some time, I'll check into it For now, we're still planning to stay at the Trop as long as they're good to us. My host is due to return on Friday, July 2nd so I think I'll send him an e-mail the day before and explain that we're booked for 5 days/nights in August but that I plan to stay away from table games for awhile and leave it up to him if he wants to transfer our account to a slot host since he's a table games host. Since he'll be returning from a week's vacation, I'll ask him to give me a call after he gets caught up and has a few minutes of free time. Otherwise, I'll try calling him around mid July to see if he'll remain our host.