Thanks again to everyone on this site- Without your help I could not be giving this Long Winded Trip Report: We arrived in Las Vegas approx. 10:30 a.m. and went to our Hotel (Fitzgerald’s). The next 5 days were one of the best vacations you could ever ask for, everything went smooth and it was a very economical trip. I will try to break this up into categories in order to cut down on me detailing every little thing into a Novel. HOTEL - Fitzgerald’s was a terrific place for us to stay and we will strongly consider it again for our next trip (hopefully next year). The staff treated us very well, they allowed us early check-in & later check-out to coincide with our schedule. I forgot to pack shaving cream, notified the housekeeping dept. and they brought some right up for me. We feel more comfortable downtown. It is more convenient for lower stakes table games, and everything is a short walk away. The Fitz also is close to the Public Transit Bus stops. DINING - The California Casino’s Market Cafe- We both had the $5.99 Prime Rib Special that included Salad Bar and Dessert. I felt it was an excellent bargain and a good meal to start out the trip with. Roberta’s Restaurant in the El Cortez- WOW! No one should try to eat as much King Crab Legs as they serve on the Tuesday Night Special (2 people for $20.00) Considering the “no-frills” look and feel of the El Cortez, the Dining Room is very impressive and the extremely professional staff treats you like a High- Roller. I hope they are still running that special on my next trip. If I lived in Las Vegas I would be a Tuesday Night Regular at Roberta’s. Aladdin’s Spice Market Buffet- I was hesitant about paying $20 for a buffet, but I guarantee we will eat a dinner there again on our next trip. I have read that some people rate the Paris and Bellagio Buffet’s even higher, I don’t know how they could be. My wife and I feel that that was probably The Best dinner we have had since we have been married (11 yrs). The selection of the food and the terrific quality made this buffet very memorable. I don’t even want to take the time to talk about the dessert table there, but lets just say that my pants are a little tougher to buckle this week. The fact that there were so many nationalities displayed, and the chef’s cook the food right in front of you, gave us a chance to try some food that we would probably never order off of a regular menu. The Marinated Lamb chunks on skewers at the Middle Eastern station surprised me with the great taste & the Seafood was as good as quality as any restaurant I have ever ordered from. Fitzgeralds Molly’s Buffet- Considering that I have not read many favorable comments about Fitzgerald’s on the message boards, we were pleasantly surprised with their breakfast buffet (it helps when you get it “comped” 2 days in a row). They had a Great selection of breakfast food and pastries, but best of all they had 2 chefs making you personalized omelets or pancakes/french toast. The service was wonderful, and quality and selection of food was all you could ever ask for at breakfast time. ENTERTAINMENT - We saw 4 shows this trip and were not disappointed with any of them: Larry G. Jones (Fitzgerald’s) -Called the man of 1002 Voices, he does a 5:00 p.m. show for the price of a $3 drink. Larry does mostly musical impressions, and does about 80% of them with uncanny accuracy. He also did a killer Bill Clinton impersonation several times during the show. While he is not the headliner that you would make a special trip from The Strip to Downtown just to see him, if you are in the Downtown area you won’t be disappointed by his act (and it saves an hour that you aren’t giving your money to the casino’s). Folies Bergere (Tropicana)- We wanted to see a “Vegas Show” with the Showgirls and the fancy costumes, that is exactly what we got. They put on a terrific show that celebrates the changing of women throughout history. We saw the 7:30 show which is full costume, where the 10:00 show is has topless segments The two names you will remember when you leave are Traci Ault and Wally Eastwood. Traci is the lead singer/showgirl who has an amazing voice and looks. Wally is a Juggler/Comedian who has the most amazing hand/eye coordination I have ever seen, wait until you see him playing songs on a keyboard using balls instead of his fingers. The price for this show is $44.95 but look at my Casino comments further down. Mac King (Harrah’s)- After reading so many good reports on the internet and seeing the 10 minute preview of his show on the www.lasvegastalk.com website my wife and I made seeing Mac King (magician/comedian) a priority. Are we glad we did, we laughed so hard that we cried, and to top it all off my wife got called up on stage to “help” him with some card tricks. Mac does some incredible slight of hand stunts that leave you scratching your head on how he did it. The best thing about his show is that he doesn’t have the elaborate stage of some of the better known magicians (Siegfrid & Roy, or Lance Burton to name a few) and he doesn’t use fancy props or showgirls, BUT The quality of his show though is still as good as it gets, he amazes the crowd by using a deck of card, goldfish, rope, a worm, a carrot & a chair just to name a few of his props. And his down to earth country boy demeanor make you laugh until you hurt. There is probably not a better place to spend $14.95 in all of Las Vegas. Rick Thomas (Tropicana)- an act that we did not plan of seeing but when the tickets were handed to us(see below) we said “why not”, and were we glad we did. Rick is a magician that puts on a spectacular show that is the opposite of Mac King. Rick’s show has the fancy stage tricks, 4 lovely assistants that would rival any showgirls in Vegas for beauty, the blaring music, and our favorites: A 500 pound White Bengal Tiger and a Baby White Tiger. He interacts with the crowd well, and has makes you believe in real magic. This is another afternoon show that costs $14.95 that you will not be disappointed in. CASINO’S- This is just a few random thoughts so I don’t bore you with the details of everyone that we visited. Fitzgerald’s- Enjoyed it very much. The staff was very friendly, the Black Jack Dealers and Pit Bosses treated us well. The $3 BJ tables and $3 Craps tables fit in well with our normal limits. The “Fitz” also had the most attentive cocktail waitresses anywhere that we went. I did not think that we had given the casino enough action to get many credits toward food or gifts, but when we bought some souvenirs in the gift shop they checked my card and took $12.50 off of the bill El Cortez- a hidden downtown gem that we would have never ventured to if it were not for these message boards. Their $2 BJ and $1 Craps limits were a “low-rollers” paradise. The drinks were nothing special, but it is hard to complain when they are free. Paris/The Venitian/The Bellagio/Monte Carlo- These are all exquisite looking Casino’s that are enjoyable to walk through and look at the sights and the uniforms (especially of the cocktail waitresses)but they are so elegant that it makes someone in my economic bracket feel like I don’t belong there, and I know I cannot afford to gamble there for long. If I cannot find a $5 BlackJack table in the place, I know it is not for me. Though we did go to the top of the Eiffel Tower at Paris and I didn’t think that darn elevator was ever going to stop going upward(it would be great to see the Bellagio Fountains from there). Tropicana- Surprisingly good reasons for signing up for their Players Card- We had planned on spending the $44.95 each to see Folies Bergere, but were informed that when we got their card that if we each gambled for 1 hour each right away that we would be eligible for a pair of free tickets to the show. Not only did we get the Folies tickets, but they gave us tickets to the Rick Thomas Magic Show and 2 Tee Shirts for free. In that “forced” hour that we gambled I think we lost about $20 dollars between us, so it was well worth it. Monte Carlo- If you want to learn about Craps, they have FREE LESSONS 3 times a week. We took the hour to learn what we could and that gave us the confidence to play Craps the rest of the week (and I won $100 at a Craps table the next day!) Aladdin- Their “No-Risk” Slot Tournament is a brilliant marketing strategy on their part, but still not a bad deal for the customer either. For $25 dollars you are entered into a slot tourney that you can play anytime you wish between 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. For your entry fee you play their “tournament machines” until your 300 credits are exhausted and they write down you point total. You then have you choice of several gifts that included an Aladdin Denim Jean Jacket (wife) and $20 food voucher (me). They then also “charge” your Players Club Card with $10 credit on certain machines in the Casino. All in all it was a good way to try the tournament (even though there is only one winner per day) and to basically get a free pass to that incredible buffet. PERSONAL NOTES- We had one of the greatest vacations you could ever ask for- We ate like kings, gambled from 5-12 hours a day, saw 4 shows, visited several of the newly built casinos for less than $600 dollars (not counting Airfare and Hotel). For 5 days of gambling we had a combined total loss of $129 dollars, if I offset that amount against the 2 cases of “Free“ Corona I drank + other drinks and comps, I feel like we won overall I think the fact that we played mostly Black Jack and Craps, which are the games where the Casino’s have the least amount of advantage, helped us have a very economical and wonderful vacation. If we stay Downtown next time we will take the time to find out where to purchase the Bus Tokens or the Monthly Pass. The $2 at a time does add up awfully fast, but it beats driving in that crazy town.