I go to Vegas for Super Bowl weekend every year but there are so many old friends and family that go I don’t get to spend much time with my best buddy Pete that weekend, so we plan a trip later in the year for just the two of us and this year we booked May 2-5 before the fight was announced and we got comped room at Orleans. Pete and I met in college and he has slowly lost his eyesight over his lifetime to the point where he has just a little peripheral vision remaining, but he deals with it well and it has never affected his sense of humor. He is the funniest guy I know and we always crack each other up when we are together so we were both greatly anticipating this trip. We mostly play video poker (Pete can distinguish card suit and denomination by looking at each card slowly). Saturday 5/2- My Southwest flight from Dallas originally got me into Vegas around 8 P.M. but then Pete booked his flight which landed at 4 P.M. I wanted to be there when he landed to help him navigate the airport so I changed to a flight landing at 3:30, only downside was I was changing from a non-stop to a flight stopping in Oklahoma City. This actually worked out great as 60% of the fliers departed in OKC and after the attendants completed their headcount I was able to move to the exit row where I had all the legroom I need. Even had the center seat open which is a rarity. Land on time and I figured I would have just missed the Kentucky Derby but found a bar in the airport and saw the race was going off in ten minutes. Of course I lost my bets (haven’t cashed a derby ticket in 37 years), then waited for Pete to arrive. We shuttle to the rental car facility where I had booked with Thrifty for the first and last time. The counter line was at least 25 people deep and I was congratulating myself for signing up for their Blue Chip program so I could bypass the counter! So we head to the garage where there is another line 25-30 deep of people waiting to get their cars. Are you shitting me? We wait about 15 minutes before we get our car, I drive to the checkout gate and the woman there scans the windshield and mutters something like “ooooh, this car isn’t active”. I’m not sure exactly what she said as I am not sure English was her first language. She mutters something else, then closes the booth and walks away for about a minute, comes back and I guess she resolved the issue and we were free to go, but I’ll use other agencies from now on TYVM. We head to the Orleans via 215 and Decatur to avoid the strip madness due to the fight, get checked in and have dinner at Koji which was fine, then get our feet wet with some video poker. I thought about betting $40 on Mayweather to win $20 which would pay for breakfast but decided not to since we couldn’t watch the fight, and I find boxing boring anyways compared to MMA. We usually play side by side but if I am losing I may head elsewhere but always try to make sure Pete is situated and knows I’ll be back. He always plays $.25 VP and once in a while will try $.50 and usually double double bonus with Joker Wild sometimes, but since he can barely see the screen I often check to see what game and denomination he is playing because he has been known to mistakenly switch from say DDB to Bonus and get disappointed when he hits a quad. In fact when we sit down to play Pete will tell me “John, set me for $.25 DDB” and I will make sure to pick that game and denomination for him. I also have to ensure his players card gets entered correctly so he accumulates points of course. So I lose $20 quickly and tell Pete I am heading elsewhere and will return. I lose another $40 in another machine but at least it took a while, and return to find Pete playing nickel DDB. I say “Pete you’re only playing nickels” and he replies “Crap…no wonder my $20 is lasting so long!”. We cracked up at that even though this isn’t the first time he has done that. He has been known to do the opposite also, put in a $20 and play $1 VP and go broke in four hands hehe. We crash after not too much longer. Sunday 5/3 We decided to have breakfast at Blueberry Hill off-strip and it was great as always. We then discussed what casino to head to and decided to check out Red Rock as neither of us had been there before. It is a very nice place, we stayed there for about four hours and I hit a video keno 5 spot for $200 and 4 aces for $160 there. From there we headed to the South Point which is where we go for the yearly Super Bowl watching party and which we both like. I pull in to valet and the guy getting out of the car right in front of me is someone I used to bowl with and play poker with in California 15+ years ago. Hadn’t seen him in so long I wasn’t 100% sure it was him, but sure enough it was. Small world, etc... We caught up on life and then Pete and I headed to his favorite VP machine in Vegas, one he has hit two royals on, but it was taken. Instead we decided to put $20 each into a penny slot and try our luck. Now I mentioned Pete’s eyesight earlier. Because of his condition he relies on sound more than the average person. For example, we can sit in the race book and each time a race goes off he knows what track it is just by the announcer’s voice even though there are ten tracks or more racing, even the obscure tracks. When playing VP he can see the card denominations and suits since they are large, but on a slot machine he really can’t see any of the symbols so he listens for the sounds of the machine each spin. We picked some lame machine and Pete asks me “how do we get into a bonus?” and I tell him I don’t know. So I am looking for whatever symbol and quantity we need for a bonus, we hit one and it makes a different sound and Pete says “I think we got one” and I tell him “yes, but I think we need three of them”. A few more spins we get two of them and Pete says “we got two that time”. A short while we are spinning and a guy walking behind us coughed and Pete says “Hey, that is a new sound!” thinking we hit some special symbol. I start laughing my ass off and Pete has no clue why until I explain that the sound didn’t come from the machine. We almost fall out of our chairs laughing and a few people look at us like we are crazy. And we never did hit a bonus but we didn’t care at that point. Back to Orleans, dinner in the Cantina then back out on the floor. I hit a few quads on bonus poker deluxe to get me back to even or so, then hit a keno six spot on 4 card keno dimes for $160 so I am ahead for the first time. Sweet! Pete isn’t hitting much so we wander the casino and end up in the race book. Pete asks me what race is coming up and I tell him there are 9 minutes until the 9th race at Mountaineer Park, so I am going to bet #9. He asks me to read off the horse’s odds so I do so for the 9 horses and he says “I am going to bet a trifecta box with the 3 and the 8 and one other horse. Can you tell me the names?” So you need to know that hitting a trifecta means you pick the horses that come in 1st, 2nd and 3rd. A trifecta box means your three horses can come in the top three in any order- say you box 1, 3 and 5, then you win if the horses come in 1,3,5 or 3,5,1 or 1,5,3 etc. You also need to know that a couple times in his life Pete has tried to juggle two girlfriends at the same time without their knowledge and each time he failed, and I rag on him about it a bit. So the horses enter the track for the race and I am reading off the names to Pete. “#1 is Elusive Threat. # 2 is Advanced Design….#6 is Philanderer. Pete, you gotta include that horse!” He laughs and then says “no I don’t, I’m not married!” I read the rest of the horses and he decided that 3, 8 and 9 will be his three horses. The race goes off and 8 wins, 3 is second and there is a photo for third between 9 and another horse which we can’t see. After a couple minutes they put up the result and #6 Philanderer came in third and nosed Pete out of his trifecta. He was bummed until I told him “Dang Pete, if you were married you would have hit the trifecta” which was good for a laugh. Monday 5-4- We stayed at the Orleans all day and it was an uneventful day other than one incident that might have turned serious. Pete occasionally plays video keno but had never played 4-card keno until I explained to him how it works and told him I would get him all set up on it. We went to a bank of machines by the keno lounge, there were six slant tops in a row with one guy sitting at the end machine on the right (#6). I sit at #3 and Pete sits at #4 and puts in his $20. I get his card in, then ask him what numbers he wants to play and I get them all marked and Pete is good to go. I start playing my machine and Pete starts reaching around for an ashtray. There isn’t one in front of him so he reaches to the machine to his right and this trailer trashy guy walks up and says “what are you doing? That is my machine”. Pete says “sorry, I didn’t know” and the guy says “I have money in the machine”. This may have been true, in fact it was likely, I think the guy had just come back from the restroom and maybe had told the guy on the end to watch his machine. I figure the guy is pissed because he thinks Pete was going to cash out whatever money the guy had in the machine and didn’t realize Pete couldn’t see whether or not there were credits in the machine. But then the guy says “what happened to the money I had in the machine?” and I know Pete didn’t cash out anything and I figure this loser is trying to accuse Pete of something he didn’t do. So I stand up, 6’4” and 235 lbs, and tell the guy “He DID NOT take ANYTHING from your machine!” and that shut the piece of shit up. Best part, literally two minutes later Pete hit his machine for $160 and I wanted to make sure the asshole saw it so I loudly said “NICE HIT PETE!” and then added “AND YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO STEAL IT!” Justice served. Tuesday 5/5 We played a bit at Orleans after breakfast in the café, then decided to try the Silverton until it was time to head for the airport. I hadn’t been to the Silverton since it was Boomtown and it was nice. New signups for players cards get a buffet after earning 50 or 100 points (forget which) so we had a late lunch there. Pete isn’t big on buffets but for free he was fine with it, I was able to call out all the offerings and put what he wanted on his plate. Pete hit a couple quads there and made a little comeback before we had to leave town. We were both flying Southwest but out of different terminals, his flight was before mine so I got him to his gate and made sure he got boarded before I headed to my gate. Final thoughts- We never went on the strip so I didn’t notice the town being busier than normal due to the fight. The airport was busy both on Saturday and Tuesday so I imagine the strip was hopping. I was really surprised the airport and car rentals were so busy Saturday since many places don’t allow Saturday check ins. Orleans was reliable as always, Red Rock is very nice and wasn’t crowded at all Sunday, will likely take the wife there next year.