I hate starting with an apology, but my trips are fairly boring since I seldom do much more than gamble. That's why I don't usually post trip reports, and this one is no exception. Unlike many trips where Ms. Gecko joins me after I've been in Vegas solo for a few days, we both went out and back together this time. Atlanta's notorious traffic is never a problem when you leave for the airport around 5:30 am and we were adjusting our attitudes in Delta's Sky Club before 7. With a few more drinks during the flight (we still had drink coupons expiring the end of the year); we were in darn good spirits when we landed on time at 10. We debated whether to take a shuttle or cab to Gold Coast, especially since it was cold, windy, had been raining, and looked like it was about to again at any moment, but decided to "gamble" that we wouldn't get drenched taking the more "frugal" approach. Namely, we caught the 108 "limo" from the airport to Flamingo and then the 202 to Gold Coast. Okay, it may not have been first class transportation, but thanks to our "old fart" cards and 2-hour passes, it only cost a total of $3. The timing couldn't have worked out better either, as we didn't have to wait at either stop more than a couple minutes and the rain held off until we were in our room by 11. Since Ms. Gecko's gambling style is nearly identical to mine, we usually split gains (or losses) down the middle. It's almost like playing two hands. The logistics can get confusing, however, so this time we each contributed an initial $400 to a common stash envelope at the get-go, which we used for all buy-ins. As has become our habit, we started off with a little bar top VP. I couldn't win anything and was down to my very last hand when I hit a full house followed by FOAK. Up over a hundred, we left the bar and started in on BJ. We loved playing the Lucky Lucky side bet, and were very disappointed to see that they had all been replaced with Lucky Ladies. I heard a rumor in October that Lucky Lucky was going away, and it proved accurate. NUTS! That was the only side bet I consistently played, which was always fun and often profitable. Anyway, we made another quick hundred, had a very nice lunch at the Noodle Exchange, and went back to the tables before heading to NYNY for a 4 o'clock meet at Times Square Bar. We took the free shuttle to Bill's, walked to Bellagio, rode the tram to Monte Carlo, and over to NYNY. Fortunately, the sky was starting to clear, but it was still cold and windy and anything but a pleasant walk. (Always taking stairs instead of elevators and escalators doesn't make it any easier.) We arrived about 15 minutes early, but didn't go in as were just weren't in the mood for putting up with a loud and overly friendly sax player. I'm afraid we're totally burned out on sax thanks to the FSE-guy and just hung around the outside of the bar for around 20 minutes looking for VMB people – whatever that means. We also found it uncomfortably warm in NYNY, so we said the heck with it and went back to GC the way we had come! Our apologies for being party poopers – we're seldom at our best on arrival day. Wednesday was pretty much back and forth between VP and BJ without making or losing anything. All-in-all, it was about as unproductive and unexciting a day as you can have in a casino, but a least we got free buffets out of the deal. Thursday started off as a repeat performance of Wednesday; that is, until lightning struck. Despite not usually playing Lucky Ladies, I had $1 on it when I was dealt two Queen of Hearts. That would have been a 200:1 win by itself, but goes to 1000:1 if the dealer also has a BJ. She was showing an ace. She called the pit boss over before checking her hole card, and miracle of miracles, it was a 10! I had never hoped to see a dealer get a BJ as much in my life. The boss asked why I hadn't bet at least $5, while I was thrilled to have just bet it at all. The addition of 10 black chips to my stack was a beautiful sight. We played for maybe another hour without adding or subtracting more than a few bucks, had another good lunch at the Noodle Exchange, and checked out to go to Sam's Town. Even with the extra $1000, we still splurged a total of $2 for the 202 "limo" from GC to Sam's. Once again we didn't have to wait over a couple minutes for the bus to arrive and we were in our room less than an hour after leaving GC. (I had posted a few weeks ago to see if anyone knew if you could get an in-room coffee maker like at the Fremont, but didn't receive an answer. A phone call resulted in "No – we don't provide that," so I brought a cup, immersion heater, and supplies. That proved unnecessary, as our deluxe inside room had a fridge and coffee maker with supplies. (It's good our desk clerk buddy was on duty when we checked in.) As usual, we started at the bar and each hit FOAK at the same time. Unfortunately, we gave back much of our VP wins at BJ, but still managed to squeak out a small gain. It was a very good day. The "master plan" on Friday was to play enough to get seafood night comps. We usually play BJ at MSS on Fridays, where getting compled is a sure thing, but since we did that the previous few months, we wanted to have it at Sam's. We probably put in 6 or 7 hours without going up or down enough to count, but at least got our free $20 buffets. Not a totally bad way to spend the day and we don't even want to think about eating anymore crab anytime soon. Saturday started with small BJ losses, so we took the shuttle downtown and played BJ at MSS. Like a repeat of the previous day; we put in a lot of "work" with nothing to show for it, so we returned to MSS, caught the 202, and went to Ellis Island. Unfortunately, unlike the previous two visits when we hit FOAK in Sept. and then our first royal on Halloween, we came up empty. We sure as heck weren't empty after we ate at the BBQ restaurant, however! We used our final 2 for 1 coupon and had our usual chicken and ribs combo. We noticed, however, that there's now a $5 shared plated fee listed, though that wasn't a factor this time. This is one rare instance where it doesn't have anything to do with money – just too much food. We've shared that meal a couple times without being charged a split plate fee and still couldn't polish off everything. The recent health reports are a thing of the past and the meal and service were as terrific as always. Oh, you now have to swipe your player's card at a kiosk to get the cheaper prices. We tried some more VP and BJ at Sam's on Sunday without success and decided to check out earlier than planned and move to Suncoast for our final two nights. But as we were walking toward the cashier cage, who should we bump into other than Santa Claus himself! Mrs. Claus, spotting Ms. Gecko impersonating Ms. Reindeer, asked if she could take their picture together and was nice enough to email us a copy the following day. Photo attached, with Ms. Gecko holding our good buddy, Vern the Turtle, in his holiday attire. We've usually done quite well at Suncoast, which is our favorite among the seven Boyd/Coast Vegas properties, but Sunday just wasn't our day. NOTHING went right. We couldn't win a thing at VP or BJ – in one of those horrible, but too frequent occurrences. If you have 20, the dealer has 21, doubling on an 11 always results in a losing stiff, and … well, we've all been there. At least we realized that we were cursed, decided not to fight a losing battle, and saw "Skyfall." No, we don't go to Vegas to see movies, but I'm sure the tickets cost a whole lot less than what would have resulted had we had kept playing. By the way, it's a pretty good flick. It was tough getting back into the playing mood Monday morning. It's always that way approaching the end of a trip. If we're ahead, as we were, we don't want to risk giving it back or possibly even coming home losers. And if we're down, we don't need to risk digging a deeper hole. Nonetheless, we bought in for half our usual amounts, played it extra safe, and each doubled our buy-ins. With confidence somewhat restored, and most of the previous day's losses recouped, we celebrated by seeing "Jack Reacher," which we enjoyed even more than the Bond movie on Sunday. We tried one more BJ session after the movie, lost a little, and quit ahead for the day and the trip. We tried a little VP Xmas morning, just so we could get our "free" morning drinks and say we played, won enough for breakfast, and that's all folks. We were scheduled for the 10 am shuttle back to McCarran, but opted for the 9 o'clock WAX just to get the hell out of Dodge. Yeah, we were tempted to try gambling in the final hour, but that's usually a horrible idea. You typically lose with no time to recover or get on a terrific winning streak and be forced to leave. Why would anyone subject themselves to that? All-in-all, it was an enjoyable seven nights, we both came home with more money than we left with, and of course, a few more pounds. It's just disheartening that our last couple winning trips were due largely to a royal and side bet flukes, and we're now looking into trying again next month.