My husband B and I planned a trip to Vegas to join my sister-in-law C. She lived there with my brother for 12 years, but relocated to WV last year after he passed away. She still loves Vegas and likes to visit with us. While we were there, B’s two sisters and their husbands from Florida also came for a weekend visit. B and I spent a few nights at the Rio, then joined C at a Marriott time share across the street from Planet Hollywood. We were in Vegas for 12 days. That was our typical trip duration over the past several years, but recent health issues have made that more difficult for me. Future trips will likely be shorter – not the three or four days that some people spend, but maybe 8-10 days. TRANSPORTATION We flew on Southwest Airlines from Akron/Canton thru Atlanta. The trip was partially paid for by a voucher earned when B gave up his seat on an oversold flight last October. In the past, we always rented a car, but during our last visit, we left our “home” casino only a few times and the car spent most of the time in the parking deck. A rental for the two weeks would have been $650. We knew we could take lots of cabs for that sum. I arranged for Belltrans airport shuttles because we would be arriving late and leaving early. Then I looked into Uber. I knew they were operating in Vegas and decided to give them a try. It was a resounding success and I will plan to use them on all future trips. Our first Uber driver also drives for Lyft and with his referral, I got $5 off each of my next ten rides. That made most of our rides cost under $3. Pickup was quick, drivers were pleasant, cars were clean and the payment process was simple. What more could you ask for? WEATHER The weather was unseasonably cool while we were there. And Vegas had rain for three or four of the twelve days we were there. It was a family joke with my brother and SIL that it rained EVERY time we came to visit. It was in the 60s and low 70s while we were there. It finally hit the 80s on our last day in town. Oh well. It never rains inside the casinos. DINING At the Rio, we had breakfast at the Hash-House-a-Go-Go for two mornings. Their servings are huge and I can never finish everything on my plate. One morning we decided to go to Burger King for a quick breakfast sandwich, but were surprised to learn that the BK on the second floor was closed. No one I talked to knew what was going in its place. So we walked over to the café (correction: TGI Fridays) at the Gold Coast. The next day we had a bite at the café by the Rio sports book. Once we moved to the Marriott we had yogurt, fruit and muffins that my SIL picked up on her way. Dinners at the Rio and some at Planet Hollywood were at the Diamond Lounges. Fare at these locations is quite limited compared to the Caesars Windsor DL where we frequently dine. We had a few dinners at the Planet Dailies café at Planet Hollywood. We had dinner once at the Gordon Ramsey Burgr restaurant at Planet Hollywood. We also ate at the Gordon Ramsey Restaurant at Caesars. A couple of our dinners were more interesting. We had BBQ at Ellis Island. It was quite good and service was lightning fast. We had a fabulous dinner at Hugo’s Cellar at the Four Queens, to celebrate the birthday of one of B’s sisters. C and I also used our annual Total Rewards Diamond $100 dinner certificates at the Ruth Chris Steakhouse at Harrah’s. Let’s just say we never went hungry. ENTERTAINMENT We attended only one show – Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn on the first night of their 2016 series of shows at Caesars Palace. We had seen both acts separately at Caesars Windsor years ago. The joint show was quite good, with selections by each and other songs together. My one complaint is the way the lighting crew flashes blinding lights out into the audience. I HATE that. It seems to be the thing at all music concerts these days. My eyes are sensitive to lights anyway and it was an annoying problem even with my sunglasses on. To make matters worse, I have pinched nerves in my neck that cause intense pain with certain head movements. And there is nothing like a bright light in my eyes to make me move my head in the wrong way. So I spent much of the show with my head in my lap. At least the music was good. GAMBLING Now for the really important stuff I play video poker 95% of the time, with the rest spent on Let it Ride. I am mostly a quarter player, but sometimes will bump it up to $.50 if I’m on a roll. This trip I played High Card Flush for a while. I never hit any of the big hands, but I was there at the Rio when a player got a 7-card flush (for $1500) and he had to go to Planet Hollywood to get his ID before he could get paid. It takes some getting used to evaluating a hand only for its flush value. Four of a kind – nothing. Full house – nothing. I would play it again when looking for a diversion from VP. My video poker results were mixed – as usual. I played some DDB, DB, TB+, TDB, DW and Super Triple Play. Sometimes I got the right hand at the right game; other times not. So I got 22224 at TDB ($500), I got AAAA4 at Super Triple Play DDB ($1000), but I got 4444A at DW ($5) and 44442 at DW ($18.75) instead of the $100-$500 it could have been in the other games. I had some really good days and some not so good days. I hit two royals at the Rio – both progressives - one for $1025 and the other for $1084. THURSDAY 4/21 Our first day at the Rio, I played some DDB and TB+ with so-so results. I hit 9 quads all day, only one of the bonus types: 2s at TB+ for $150. The guy next to me hit a royal. This was the only other royal I saw for the whole trip besides my own. FRIDAY 4/22 Once again I played DDB and TB+. My game choice was decided by which bank of machines I was playing. The Rio has two banks of slant-top progressive machines. At the bank near the sportsbook, I played 9/5 DDB (97.873% ER, plus a little more for the progressive RF). But the DDB near the Masquerade Bar is 8/5 (96.786+% ER), so I played 7/5 TB+ (97.673+% ER) on those machines. I would usually play whichever bank of machines had the highest progressive payout. I hit quad Aces twice at TB+ for $300 each. I also hit a diamond royal at DDB, holding just the AK. Very nice way to start the trip. Quad count for the day: 11 SATURDAY 4/23 I started out playing TB+ because the royal progressive was higher (since I had hit the other one the day before). I hit quad Aces twice again and then hit a club royal, holding the AJT. This was the same machine I had hit a club royal on last November. Quad count for the day: 7 SUNDAY 4/24 We played for a few hours at the Rio before taking our first Uber ride to the Marriott Grand Chateau time share. After connecting up with my SIL and checking in, we went over to Planet Hollywood. We played for a while at the VP machines that had been so generous last fall, but they were ice cold. I didn’t hit a thing. Quad count for the day: 5 MONDAY 4/25 We returned to PHO for a dismal day at VP. I got my first and second dealt quads of the trip (6s and 8s), but only one other quad all day. It was awful. I tried escaping to Let it Ride for a while, but couldn’t hit anything there either. I considered returning to the Rio where I had done better, but I know that previous results do not guarantee future results, so I stayed put. TUESDAY 4/26 We returned to PHO and I tried VP again. Here I played mostly 9/6 DB (97.806% ER) vs 8/5 DDB (96.786+% ER). After playing a short time I was dealt quad 3s for $100. Maybe things were picking up. Then I got quad Aces (with a kicker that didn’t matter in this game) – frustrating when that happens. Then I got quad Aces again for another $200. That time I was dealt AAA33. I dropped the 3s and drew the fourth Ace. Nice! So I bumped it up to $.50 and got quad Aces a third time for $400. This was much better than the past two days. I tried some DW for a while – and hit a natural quad, another of my least favorite things. Quad count for the day: 6 WEDNESDAY 4/27 Another typical day at VP. Hit Aces w/k again at DB, and two more natural quads at DW (dang!) Played DDB for a while but couldn’t hit a low quad with a kicker. Just for a change of pace, I decided to try some TDB. I don’t play it very often because it can make a huge dent in your bankroll. The fact that it was an 8/5 game (ER: a pitiful 95.969%) makes it even worse. But on the second hand I was dealt 22244. I made the correct play, holding 2224 and drew the other 2 for $500. Quad count for the day: 12 THURSDAY 4/28 We played for several hours at PHO. I played DB with no quads. Then I tried some Super Triple Play. Their DDB game is 7/5, but quad 5-K pays 500, 2-4 w/o/k pays 800, 2-4 w/k and Aces w/o/k pays 1600, Aces w/k pays 4000 and a SF pays 700. All other payouts are as in a regular game. The game requires a 6-coin bet for this added payout. I since learned from the Wizard of Odds that the ER for this game is 96.5462%. The Video Poker for Winner software allows you to change pay tables on games, but I couldn’t find a way to set it to require a 6 coin bet per hand. (If anyone knows how to do this, please let me know. I set up the game, but with a 5-coin bet. I’m not sure if the strategy would be the same for 5 vs 6 coin bet. Does anyone know?) So even though I wasn’t sure about the correct strategy, I played it and had some luck, hitting a SF and 2s and 3s w/k. The machines where I initially found the game are upright machines just outside the Planet Dailies Café. Uprights are hard on my neck & shoulders, so I didn’t play long, but I kept wishing they had it in a slant-top version. Three days later, I found them. (More on that later.) We quit early that day because we headed to Fremont Street to meet B’s sisters and their husbands. Before dinner at Hugo’s Cellar, we played some LIR at the Golden Nugget. The family took up the entire table. The birthday girl won nicely, I broke even, but the rest of them lost. After dinner we headed back to our time share and turned in for the night. FRIDAY 4/29 We returned to PHO where I played 9/6 DB all day. I had a nice run of quads, including two SFs that were 9-K of Diamonds. In neither case did I save the 9 (although I would have if it had been included on the deal), but it was tantalizing close to a royal. It was the best run of quads I had all week, with a total of 15 for the day. SATURDAY 4/30 I found some slant top triple play games in quarters and had some luck. I was dealt a SF – again the 9-K of diamonds. It was a little tempting to toss the 9, but I kept it. I also got another SF and several quads. I also played some single line DDB and hit Aces and 4s w/o/k. Quad count for the day: 11 SUNDAY 5/1 I played some single line DB and hit 2s, 3s and 4s. Fortunately, (because of the game I was playing), there was no kicker on any of them. I tried some DW again – why do I do that??? I hit 4444A for 20 credits! Then my SIL let me know that she found some slant top Super Triple Play machines. I had a terrific session, first hitting quad Aces w/o/k. A short time later I hit Aces w/k for 4000 credits. I also hit several more quads. I would like to say I walked away with a grand, but that was not the case. That 6th coin takes a toll. And the 7 payout for the FH also takes a toll. Then you hit a quad and you get a boost. And then you pay the toll and pay the toll and maybe hit another quad. I feel like I’m having an extra dose of adrenaline pumped through my system when I play it. And I have to admit that single line play is a little boring after. I don’t know how it will be to play single line games exclusively in the future when that game isn’t available. Quad count for the day: 14 (not counting DW hit) MONDAY 5/2 I played more Super Triple Play at PHO and got killed. I hit a couple of quads and a SF, but mostly I just fed the bill acceptor. So I moved to single line play and had a nice run of quads, including Aces. I can’t believe I did it, but I tried DW again – and again hit 4444x. I’m swearing off DW for the foreseeable future! Maybe if I hit the Deuces once in a while it would make up for that, but it’s been years. Quad count for the day: 12 (not counting the DW hit) TUESDAY 5/3 This was out last day to play. I played the usual suspects: DDB, DB and Super Triple Play. I hit 2s and 4s at STP, a SF at DB. But again I fed those STP machines. They are fun, but tough to win. Quad count for the day: 11 VP Summary Royal Flush: 2 Straight Flush: 9 Aces w/k: 5 (but only once when it counted) Aces w/o/k: 8 2,3,4 w/k: 8 2,3,4 w/o/k: 25 5-K: 72 Natural Quad at DW: 7 (Dang!) Total Quads: 118 Dealt Quads: 4 Quads from holding 1: 5 Quads from holding 2: 66 Quads from holding 3: 43 Four to the royal: 97 I got a fair number of quads, many more SFs than expected and two Royals. I had quad 4s an amazing 15 times (including the two at DW). If I had avoided the table games, I probably would have come out ahead. But they always tempt me because they are easier on the eyes, neck and shoulders than vp. So it was a losing trip, but not terrible. Certainly not a loss that would make me reconsider going to Vegas!