Here is my first trip report. I have broken this up into sections so those of you who are just interested in one aspect of my trip can skip to that part. Want to say again had a great time in Vegas for NYE. Flight & Transportation to Hotel – 12/28/2010 Flew out of Cleveland on SWA, this was only the second time I have flown this airline and found the flight attendants to be very cordial. One thing I noticed is that since SWA doesn’t charge for checked luggage that the overhead storage was not an issue like I have experienced in the past on other airlines. Flight out to Vegas was uneventful for the most part. Hit some really rough air around Denver and the captain asked everyone to be seated including the flight attendants, but that seems to be the norm for this time of year in the Denver airspace. Arrived in Vegas on time at 6:30 p.m. local time and proceeded down to luggage. Knowing that I would have to wait on the luggage to arrive on the carousel I ventured outside for a badly needed smoke. Luggage arrived and I stepped into the cab line with no waiting and walked immediately to our cab. Arrived at the Flamingo (supposed to be Caesars, more on that later) and did not get long hauled. Traffic was not bad at all, cost $15.00. Flamingo The check in line at the Flamingo at around 7:15 p.m. was very long, bypassed that line and went straight to the Diamond check-in. No one was in line and check-in was a breeze. The VIP staff was very friendly and welcoming. Ended up with a nice view from room 19050, the room was on the south side, front corner with a very nice view of the Bellagio fountains. I switched back over to the Flamingo because I would have been the only one in our party that was staying at Caesars, I wish we had not switched. My general impression of the Flamingo itself is that it is in need of desperate repairs and updating. The carpet walking to my GO Room/Luxury View was filthy, absolutely dirty. The room itself I will have to say was very clean and unique with its strange dÃ©cor. Overall the room itself was not bad but the general surrounds of the hotel detracted from my good experience with the room. I found the coffee bar in the hotel lobby with is a Mrs. Fields affiliate to be just ok. Most of the days we were there they kept running out of Blueberry muffins very early in the morning and I did not care much for the coffee. However the service was always given with a good attitude and a smile. I would only recommend staying at the Flamingo if you can get a Go Room with a decent view and the location on the strip cannot be beat. I however don’t plan on staying here again but will definitely be back to try the slots again (see below). Gambling I will break this section up into two subsections, slot machines and blackjack. In between my slot play there was BJ play I will just cover that in a separate section. Slot Machines This trip was very different than any other trip I have taken to Vegas. I found a few slot machines that were very good to me. I normally am not a big slot player but this trip I seemed to luck into some very good paying machines. The first machine that I found was on the night that we arrived and it was a quarter machine at the Flamingo called Dragon Wheel slot machine with bonus spin. View attachment 2435 There were only two of these machines that I was able to find in Flamingo. I sat down and put a twenty dollar bill in and after only a few spins this is what popped up: $250.00, I will take it after only being in Vegas less than 2 hours. This is a good start for things to come…as I sat at this machine for the next 2 hours hitting it again 3 more times for 1000 credit each and 4 times for 500 credits each. In total I took $1500 from the machine my net winnings on this was $1350 as I only put $150 in it of my own money. My partner had similar luck on a machine right around the corner from my machine I don’t recall the name but his net winnings on that machine were around $1600. By this time we take a break and walk over to Harrah’s area for a Starbucks. The next day 12/29/2010 we went to the Monte Carlo as we were going to see Zumanity at New York, New York (see my review below) we like the Monte Carlo overall. Had a bit of luck with a couple of machines, sat down at this Bonus Frenzy and after a few spins this happened Another $250 in my pocket with very little invested in the machine. Kept my luck going with this machine hitting it 2 more times for 1000 credits each. Went on over to NY/NY to see our show. On 12/30/2010 took a ride downtown to walk around haven’t been down there in a couple of years. Played some slots but didn’t hit anything significant. Played at GN and Binions but only had some small hits, less than $100 each. We ended up breaking even on this downtown visit so we headed back up to the strip for some more gambling. We went back to our lucky machines at the Flamingo and ended up hitting again however this time is was on the Dragon Wheel Bonus machine sitting beside the first one that I played the day before. The lady sitting next to me playing the same type of machine was doing well also, I counted she hit 10 bonus spins within 30 minutes. It was crazy how “loose” these machines were acting. While playing my machine is lady playing a dollar machine lets out a scream and starts jumping up and down. She ended up hitting a Triple Double Diamond for $5K. That caused some excitement and when the slot guys arrived they said that was the second time that week it hit for $5K. Of course after the lady who won got up everyone was tried to get on that machine. I stayed with my ATM, I mean my slot machine :evillaugh as it was paying out smaller amounts than $5K but it was paying. I ended up hitting this Dragon machine again 4 times for 500 credits each and once for 1000 credits. I didn’t play slots again until 1/2/2011 which we found ourselves just wandering the strip stopping into a few different casinos, Bill’s, Harrah’s, and Paris. Was hungry and ate a Paris (see my review below) and afterwards decided to try some slots. I ended up sitting at a 2 credit $1 machine that had a 100 times pay wheel; I don’t remember the actual name of the machine but ended up hitting for $1000 after only spinning a few times (was sitting a machine less than 5 minutes). From the Paris we went back to the Monte Carlo as my partner was having very good luck at a Triple Diamond Frenzy machine there. I sat down beside him on a Bonus Frenzy machine and wasn’t doing so hot. So I moved down to the next machine which was a Flaming 7 machine. Put in twenty and ran through that in no time flat. Put in another twenty and after a few spins hit this Actually now that I look at the picture again it was after one spin that I hit this. Again I cashed out with $250 winnings and headed on over to the Blackjack table (see review below). Overall this trip was a success with the slot machines. My partner had even better luck than I did with his slot machines that he played. I will post his pictures once he uploads them to the computer. Blackjack Before going to Vegas I posted a question on here about Blackjack and what everyone was seeing as far as the dreaded 6:5 and the better 3:2 odds. Most of those who responded said they could not find 3:2 Blackjack on the strip for anything less than $25 a hand. I found this absolutely not true at least when I was there. I found 3:2 Blackjack for $10 a hand at Monte Carlo, Bellagio, Treasure Island and Mirage. Found $25 a hand 3:2 at MGM, Paris, Flamingo, NY/NY. All the BJ games at the Flamingo under $25 a hand were 6:5 payout. Went downtown on 1/2/2011 and played BJ at the Golden Nugget 8 decks from a shoe. Got there around 1:00 p.m. and found a $5 a hand table paying 3:2, DAS w/Surrender. Bought in for $200 and was up and down for about 2 hours. Finally the pit critter comes over and she changes the game over to $10 a hand. Everyone except one guy and I leave the table as we are grandfathered in at $5 a hand. I start spreading my bets between $10 and $50 and don’t seem to be drawing any attention to myself. I’m up about $150 at this point. I finally get into a heads up situation with the dealer and start spreading my bets from $25 to $100 again not drawing any attention from the pit critters. I ended up leaving the table $1600 up but not before the pit critter comes over and hands me a two person comped buffet voucher. My partner and I are hungry at this point so we say what the heck and found the buffet to be very good (see my review below). Again I’m back at the BJ table that I left earlier and noticed they kicked it up to $25 a hand and lowered the one beside original table to $10 per hand. I liked the dealers at my table so I went back and bought in for $500. I spread my bets between $25 and $100 with no attention from the pit critters. I got into a streak where I did not lose for 18 hands. It was one of the longest winning streaks I ever had. I ended up splitting ACES 3 times and won all three hands with $100 on each hand. 4 hours later I pick up my chips and head to the cashier up $3000. This is the first time I played BJ at the GN and ended up having a host meet me near the cashier stand giving me her card and telling me to call her if I ever need anything while I’m at the GN. I told her I was coming back in March but staying on the strip she advised she would comp my stay at the GN if I decided to come downtown and stay. I thanked her and might take her up on the offer for a few nights sometime. I played Blackjack at the Monte Carlo off and on during my stay. Found at least one table of $10 a hand paying 3:2 every time I was there. All of my $100 plus per hand play was done at Caesars and still find this to be one of the best places for high limit Blackjack and did VERY well at the table here. Food Golden Nugget Buffet was a surprise this trip. Went on a Sunday evening on a comp (thank you GN pit critter) and found it to be a better buffet than expected. Had many choices of seafood (i.e. fish, chilled crab legs, shrimp cocktail, fried shrimp etc…), the dessert bar was really good. Deserts they had all kinds of pies, cakes, apple cobbler and even hand dipped ice cream. The only thing I noticed was the salad bar items were no very diverse but all in all I would recommend a visit. Wolfgang Pucks Bar & Grill at the MGM is always a favorite of ours. After seeing Zumanity we popped over to Pucks at MGM for a late night meal. I had the Dover Sole which was very good and my partner had Spaghetti and Meatballs which looked and he said tasted very good. For an appetizer we had the Truffle homemade potato chips with Maytag Blue Cheese, outstanding and I highly recommend these. Paris Buffet was VERY disappointed in this buffet and would not recommend it. The quality of food has gone down significantly over the last couple of years. Visited around 7:00 p.m. on a Wednesday and bypassed the long line with the VIP line. Got seated right away and the service itself was very good. I would say about 60% of the hot food items were luke warm at best. The selection of food items was not very diverse, but I did like the desserts. The salad bar had food items all over it, looked like no one had wiped it down all night. The food was not presented in a very appetizing manner either; I know it’s a buffet but at least keep things wiped up. America: Went to this restaurant one day for lunch, nothing spectacular and service was very slow. It took about 15 minutes after being seated for someone to take our drink order. Took another 10 minutes to get the drinks and place our food order. The appetizer arrived at our table 20 minutes later. My partner ordered the Chef’s salad with no tomato but it arrived with tomato. Our server set down the food and ran away so quickly I had to call over a manager to get her to take the salad back and get it corrected. Food quality was just ok, nothing special but I would not recommend. Grand Lux Venetian: We always find this place to be very good. I had the Thai Chicken w/rice and it was very good. My partner had the Pasta Diablo and it was very tasty also. The service was excellent even though we went on New Year’s Eve. I always recommend this place have never had a bad meal yet. We actually ate here twice during this trip. Transportation Learned a lesson this trip, we were downtown on New Year’s Eve during the day and thought as long as we leave downtown by 5:00 p.m. we could get back to the strip fairly easy. WRONG, I know they shut down the strip but didn’t know they did it that early. None of the buses, taxis etc. were going to the strip. We rode the Duce back and traffic on Paradise was bumper to bumper. We made it to Sands and Paradise and everyone got off the bus. We all walked from Sands and Paradise back to the strip; let me tell you that is a long walk in 20 degree weather. I will never do that again. We left downtown at 5:00 p.m. and it took us until 8:30 p.m. to get back to our room, just incredible. I highly recommend the Downtown Express bus from the strip. We rode the Duce to downtown on a Sunday from Paris and it took 40 minutes. We rode the Express bus back and it took 20 minutes to get back to the Bellagio area. New Year’s Eve So we didn’t want to go to one of the Ultra lounges but we wanted to go to just a casino bar or something like that. We ended up at the Venetian for what they called their NYE Mix. You paid $100 and you got unlimited drinks at 7 bars, both in the Venetian and Palazzo. What a joke, you couldn’t get near any of the bars to get a drink. From 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. I only had 5 drinks. We were so discussed that we left at 12:00 a.m. which our passes were good until 2:00 a.m.. Next year I will plan something a little different, probably just hang at the tables as drink service would be faster. Otherwise had a good time though, got to see some interesting characters on NYE out on the strip after we left Venetian. In closing overall had a blast in Vegas but we always do in the adult Disneyland. Got to see it snow one day that was interesting. Played more this time at Monte Carlo than in the past but hey when the machines are hitting, you stick with it. Overall the slots were very kind to us this time. Did very well at Blackjack also, this was a very lucrative trip, one that has been a long time coming. I wish I could say that about all my trips but I can’t but I did enjoy this winning trip this time. Can’t wait to go back in March.