I'll start out with what will seem like a double-take: It seems like there's traffic 24/7 in the area. Since about 1970, the 405 freeway has been nothing but gridlock. But as you can see, there are plenty of people willing to tolerate it! All but perhaps 1 or 2 of the tribal casinos in the area have a junket bus. In fact, the casinos down here have an effective public transportation network that is ridden by all sorts of people. Here is a picture aboard one of the nicer shuttles--likely better than Harrah's: It looks emptier than it actually is and would be later: the bus was about 50% occupied by the time we got there. Unlike the day trip, the night trip makes one stop about two-thirds of the way there (presumably to pick up one or two "red card" holders who coin in a minimum of $250,000 over six months). Us video poker players only accrue at one-fifth the normal rate, making it difficult to get even the next level card. Our only stop was in a park-and-ride lot, and we laid over for 30 minutes because of better-than-the-usual traffic. As I mentioned in my Spotlight TR, there is one really bad side to these buses and the casino--especially at night. This bus (the one you see above) has, and has had, some pretty seedy people on it. There are some small-time drug dealers who ride in the back (and who have served time) along with a smattering of homeless people who ride the buses as a form of shelter. The situation is a combination of dangerous and sad the farther you go back. While on the layover, I overheard a couple of people saying things like "you gotta be street smart." I'm thinking there are people dealing drugs to people in the high limit room. About 10 minutes before the bus left, there was someone talking in a loud voice about going to the "smoke shop" at 8:00 PM and how he wanted to meet someone there. He said at least one Spanish obscenity, figured that riding the bus would not get him where he needed to go, and then left the seat next to me and got off the bus. For those considering riding the junket buses around here, be aware! In any case, back to the matter at hand: trying to recover my losses from yesternight's trip. We got off the bus about 2 1/2 hours later and I noticed that the plastic xmas trees were going back into the warehouse until next Christmas. These are all plastic trees. Notice the two on the left have interesting hair-dos! I decided to play some live poker and that turned out to be a mistake. I bought in for $100 at a 1/2 NL table and tried to play a tight game. However, there were a lot of solid rocks at the table and I opened up way too much. The people sitting next to me could tell I was a beginner and the person to my right actually showed me his cards (J-T suited) and said that that was a "pretty good hand." I decided to play 2-5 suited (that's a two-card double inside straight flush) without any action except matching the big blind. I was hoping to connect from below. The flop gave me a 4 card flush. Now being a novice, I should have not opened up so much and probably should have tossed my cards, but I foolishly raised and was matched and raised by another player. I felt buying the turn was prudent (???) and I was being read by player, who, by the way, raised to $20 earlier. Sensing some temerity, he went all in and I conceded to his J-Q suited connectors which brought him a pair. (The flush didn't materialize and I had Q high.) I cut my action later figuring the table was loaded with sharks and decided to study up for any future play. Run! Back to the machines. I went between deuces bonus and Jacks or Better and melded this and a few other 4OAK's: Now slots were a different story. I decided to play 20c-a-spin penny slots on a double/triple stars machine in the non-smoking area and was pulling the handle until the machine broke down, lights off, and spun the stepper reels slowly. I had to call an attendant. Now I figured that because I had good play recently (several thousand coin-in per session), I could ask the attendant for a free buffet for the trouble. So I did! The attendant said that I should use my comp dollars (which accrue at 0.25%). I disagreed and felt that my past play warranted a buffet. I asked for a host and she reluctantly paged one. About 5 minutes later, a man in a black suit sauntered by my machine and just ignored me even though I was looking right at him. He just kept on walking and for a moment, I thought that that was just normal security. But it was probably the host who decided to just write me off. That wasn't too cool especially considering Brian (another host) wrote me an ecomp when I asked on another day. But nevermind...I probably shouldn't come during graveyard. Instead, I had a slice of pizza, which was pretty good. But the real comeback came on Deuces. I've cut my deuces play considerably owing to a 20,000-hand dry spell on premium hands and a 0.09% reduction in overall return, but I was chasing and felt I just had to go for it thinking I was due. Within about 50 hands, I wiped out my hold `em loss with a nice draw for 5 aces paying $100. And later, this... I had drawn (and had even been dealt) natural twos several times on natural games, but almost never on deuces wild. The ship finally came into the harbor for a $250 payoff. There were plenty of 4 to a royals through the night, but that 5th card just didn't come. Nevertheless, I had a pretty good time at the casino and resolved to (1) study up before playing live at the tables, and (2) not come during graveyard. Thanks for reading!