Ah, March Madness. The gambling, the drinking, the eating, more gambling, more drinking, and lots of fun! I will try to make this as short and condensed as one can for 5 nights, knowing you have a novel coming soon from Mikey! I arrived 3 hours early on Wednesday at noon via Southwest! The cab line was a nightmare, so I decided screw it and took a Limo that was able to take the Interstate and avoid the mess on the strip and got me to Harrahs in no time. Normally you want to take advantage of the full hour Limo but by myself I just wanted to get there! The driver even had a secret shortcut off the freeway that took us through the TI parking area to avoid the strip traffic lights. He said he used to drive in NYC and always had secret shortcuts! While I waited for my partner in crime to arrive, I started the gambling epic early. I hit the Sports book at Harrahs where we were staying 5 nights all comped. After checking the point spreads, I liked Syracuse, U-Conn, Alabama, and De Paul 1st round Thursday games. I placed my bets and was off to dink around for a few hours until "Boat" arrived. I did not take my own advice to stay away from the slots at Harrahs because all the table games were 15 or higher minimums. So by the time he arrived at 5pm, I was down a couple Hundred and starving. We decided to catch a quick sit down meal at the Garden Cafe. I had the $9.99 all you can eat Prime Rib, which was excellent as always. After supper, we decided not to beat ourselves up at the High minimums here, but to try our luck at Poker in the MC room. So we caught a cab to the Monte Carlo and were seated within 20 minutes at a 2-4 game. The tables were full with 10 players. The mix looked split between locals and MM goe'ers. I took a few free looks while getting the feel of the table. It was my buddyâ€™s first time at live Casino poker, so he was trying to learn the table manners and all. After a turn around the table, I started going in on some pots. I got lucky on a couple hands and caught a card on the turn or river to win. Then I lit up! I was on fire. I would get a K or Q with a 10 or 9. Almost every time, the flop would get me 3 of a kind or at least a high pair. I started taking them down regularly. Sometimes, I bluffed to the river if no one raised just to try and catch a card. This kept the table guessing. Meantime, My buddy could not catch a break. A few times at least during the night, he would get pocket Aces busted at the river because being a 2-4 low limit, someone always stayed just to try and catch the cards! Then one of the young guys at the other end hit 4 of a kind! Problem was he did not realize that the pot had to be $20, so he did not make his buddy stay in. All his buddy had to do was call at the river and he would have won the $71 progressive pot! So the rest of the night the whole table kept reminding him, if he gets a good hand like that hint to make someone stay in! Pretty soon I had the guy at the end of the table getting hot under the collar as I kept busting his chops. About that time he started to go on tilt. He was bound to take me down. He raised before the flop to try and scare me out (Yah right, itâ€™s a 2-4 game dumb **S). So I had a Q with a 7 kicker and decided to spend a little to see him out. The flop came Q, Q, 7! Hello, jackpot! I played first and decided to look disappointed while checking. Luckily the guy in front of him called and he of course raised! So I was immediately re-raising! This got a puzzled look on his face and he decided to re-raise again. I called thinking perhaps he had the other Q with a higher kicker and might catch a higher pair. I donâ€™t recall the last two cards, but they were of no help to either. I checked the turn to be safe and bet the river to have him call as well. After that hand he was full bore on tilt, betting to take me out. But every time, I topped him with a higher pair or 3 of a kind. I even caught a running flush to beat his 3 of a kind once. At one point, I saw a heavy set man walk in with a green Hawaiian shirt that was almost identical to this guy at the end of the table. So I looked up at him and said, â€œOh look your brother is hereâ€. He looked up puzzled, then caught my drift and chuckled all the while getting hotter under the collar. Soon, he was wiped out and left with tail between his legs. The table churned and soon it was all MM newbies. This was dangerous, as they would stay in just to try and catch a card. After the best Poker dealer; Mike took his turn, we got the worst dealer ever! He was a big, tall red head and was very grumpy. Granted there was a lot of newbies on the table, even my buddy, who I had to keep telling when it was his turn, or he would try to bet $2 on the river. But this dealer was very cranky about it. Mike, the great dealer would be patient and just guide those new players through. So after 4 hours, I decided to color up ahead $150! Meanwhile my buddy was winning a little back. Soon though, his inexperience showed and he went crazy on a bluff. The sad thing was, at the end, he lost to another bluffer with a card one up of his! So, by now it was 2am and we decided to call it a night. On the way back, my buddy kept asking the driver if he knew any good hookers. He said sure and handed us a couple slap cards like they peddle on the streets. Boat in a â€œseriousâ€ voice told the driver this one does not look good. Do you have any better looking? So the driver kept handing more cards out. Funny thing was all had the same phone #â€¦ Boat then asked if they would come to your room and he said â€œsureâ€. Boat kept stringing him along and got him to admit he got some credit for recommending these â€œgirlsâ€. He even had a code at the bottom corner of the card you were to give to them so they would give him his cut. Then my buddy asked if this was legal? So the cabby said, â€œhave you ever tried the chicken ranchâ€? Now that Boat got the cabby to admit this was not legal, he said oh, I couldnâ€™t do that it is illegal? Just then a police wagon pulled up along side and I told Boat and the driver, they were both going to be spending the night in the Clarke county hotel! I am not sure the cab driver ever caught the drift that Boat was yanking his chain the whole time. Thursday: We got up by 9:00 and decided to catch a good breakfast at Harrahs buffet, which I hate because I can never eat $12 worth of food for breakfast. The food was ok, nothing spectacular. Then we decided to catch some rays since it was hot and sunny outside! The Harrahs pool was closed so we caught the shuttle to the RIO and layed out at the pool for a few hours. RIO has a nice pool area, similar in size to Luxor. By now, my Alabama bet did not cover by Â½ a point and Syracuse was having their hands full with BYU! So we decided we had enough sun and headed back to Harrahs and watched the second half of the Syracuse game at the La Playa lounge. My home state Northern Iowa Panthers were giving GTech all they could handle, but in the end lostâ€¦ Syracuse managed at the very end to cover, so I was now 1-1 on games. We then decided to clean up and head down the strip to find a $5-10 table since Harrahs was all $15 and higher with the crappy 6/5 B.S. We went down to Barbary Coast and to our amazement all were $10 or higher! So we decided to hit the IP where we already had players cards. Boat sat down at a $10 table and I found a seat on another $10 table next to it. Both were 6 decks but with traditional BJ rules. I bought in for $200 and was up and down for a bit. Then 3 girls from NJ sat down and the table started to win a bit. They were betting pretty aggressively and seemed to know good basic strategy. They won more than me. After an hour or so, Boat had gone from up a few hundred to losing it all to one crappy dealer. He is always up a lot on BJ at some point in every session. But he always gets a â€œrakeâ€ dealer come in and he is too stubborn to get up. Soon he is â€œall inâ€ and the house always beats him in the end! Boat went back to Harrahs and I stayed another hour or so, as we had a real fun dealer â€œRayâ€ who was joking around with all of us. He even convinced the pit boss to let him skip a rotation as we were all having fun and doing so well. Then when the dealers changed, so did the luck. I played another hour or so before cashing out down about $100â€¦ By now it was suppertime, so I met back up with Boat and we ended up at Outback next door. I know many will chastise us for eating at a place we could eat at anytime. But I love the Outback as they cook my Fillet perfect every time and the prices are fairly reasonable, where you can get a good steak with tators and a salad for under $20. Besides Boat had never eaten there and we wanted to stay close to Harrahs and eat somewhere that had the games on. By now, UConn did not cover the 1st half bet and that was our stack up game for the day. Go figure. I did get lucky with De Paul who covered the 6 spread in overtime! After supper we went back to IP to play more BJ. We got lucky and sat down at a table that was still $10 as most were $15 by now. Soon that changed but the IP is real good about letting players grandfather in! We must have played for a few hours betting 10-20 depending on our win streaks. We could never seem to build past 20, or 25 per hand then lose and start back at 10 again. By now the effects of many comped drinks started kicking in. About that time, a guy at the end of the table bought in for $500 and began betting $50 a hand. He caught fire and kept parlaying his bets. He could not lose no matter how bad a hand and how good the dealer had showing! Soon he had a huge stack of black chips and was betting 3-5 hundred per hand! The funny thing was this guy knew nothing about BJ. The table had to help him all the time because he tried twice to split 10â€™s!!! The thing was, he kept winning and luckily we were able to show him that had he split, he would of lost and screwed the whole table. Soon the entire Pit Boss crew was hovering and trying to figure out this guy. By now everyone at the table started winning and Boat who was at 3rd base saved the table over and over. The Pit crew soon realized that it was just stupid luck for this guy coupled with a good 3rd base to help the table. They tried everything to get the winning streak to end! They even told the dealers to â€œslow downâ€ the game! At this point the guy must have had 8-10 thousand in black chips!!! Low and behold they bring in the â€œrakeâ€. This was a dealer â€œKimâ€ â€“ oriental, that had beaten up Boat and I when we first sat down. She had caused me to have to re-buy in to keep playing. We all told the guy to cash in and take the money and run. He along with the rest of us played a round with this dealer though and sure enough she started to â€œrakeâ€ it all back in. By now Boat had amassed a big pile of green chips, probably over 1,500 worth! But Kim soon took a bite into that stack as well! Finally, the guy next to Mr. Lucky convinced him to color up as he had lost like 3 - $500 hands in a row! He probably still had 4-5 grand that he cashed inâ€¦ Meanwhile Boat was back to the same old pattern, where he gets stubborn and with all the alcohol in him, thinks he can beat a â€œrakeâ€ dealer. Soon the 1,500 in green were gone and I was down to nothing as well having just scraped and clawed the whole night to even stay at the table. It was late by now and we were both pretty drunk so headed back to call it a night. Friday: I got up early to put in a couple bets I liked, then hit a dollar double diamond at Harrahs. After losing $20, I put in $100 and started playing max coin. Well, soon after going to 2 coins, I hit a RED 7, with double diamond, double diamond!!! Woohoo! $640 bucks! So that put my credits over 700. I decided to play to 700 and cash in. Well I did not have many over 700 so went to one coin. MISTAKE! I hit Triple Bar, double diamond, double diamond!!! Another $160 with just one coin. Now I am almost to 900 and decided to play up to 1,000 or stop at 800â€¦ Shame on me, I did not learn the 1st time to stick with max coin and did it again, only playing one coin thinking the â€œhot streakâ€ would end. Low and behold, within a few pulls I hit Triple Bar, double diamond, double diamond again for another $160!!! This put me like 5 short of 1,000 on the machine. So I gave it a few more spins and cashed in at $975!!! This was a good start to the day as it erased all me previous losses for the trip and put me up a couple hundred! I met Boat back at the room and we decided to grab a bite to eat. By now it was after 10:30 so all the cheap breakfast was over, so we grabbed a subway sandwich next door and then decided to watch the games. The sportsbook was packed and soon a casino host told us that they had set up big screens in the theater where Clint Holmes plays! We were there dude! We got a front row cushy half moon booth to sit at and watch the game. The bad thing was there would be no comped drinks up here and they had the Sam Adams girls pushing their beer as a promo, but for $5 a bottle! No matter as we were both pretty hung over from the previous night and did not want to start up that early anyway! Well the games sucked as our Stanford 1st half bet was a total loss by a wide margin due to the â€œfixedâ€ referee crew! I have never seen a worse officiating crew in my life! I have to give credit to Nevada as they were on fire but the calls were ridiculous! My luck at sports bets was hitting a serious losing streak. I could not win a game for the life of me. I decided to take a catnap, while Boat finished watching his NC State 1st half bet come in â€œbarelyâ€. Then we wondered the Harrahs casino a bit playing a few slots, especially the Kenny Rogers nickels, which seemed to be hitting. By now it was late afternoon and I realized we missed the noon T2V poker game at the MC! So we decided to use our comps from BJ the night before at the IP. I was happy with how quickly they racked up! I had played maybe 5-6 hours on a 10-15 per hand average and they gave me over $50 in comps. Boat like an idiot, did not give them his ID at the table Thursday night so his average play of probably $25 a hand went unrated! None-the-less, we had a nice dinner at the â€œRib-Houseâ€. We both had steak, which came with traditional barbeque style entrees; baked potato, baked beans, corn on the cob, and a house salad. All was real good and I had a glass of house Merlot, which was decent enough. After comps, the meal was only $10-20, so a cheap steak dinner! After dinner, it was back to the BJ tables at IP for another run. Since we ate early, we were able to get grand fathered in on a $10 table before they all went up to $15 again. This time I convinced Boat to use his playerâ€™s card. We played the night there and nothing really event full went on except the usual great eye candy around us, and way too many complimentary drinks to be had! Saturday: The usual wake up and rush down to put in our bets to start the day. Then the day went down hill for me! We found ourselves in the high stakes area and I blew $500 in no time on a $5 double diamond after seeing those machines hit jackpots the night before. I was convinced this one would too! It kept showing double diamonds all over the pay lines but soon bled me dryâ€¦ Meanwhile, Boat hit a nice Triple Bar, double diamond, double diamond and cashed in with $800! We then decided to try and catch some games and take it easy for the day after 3 straight days of serious gambling and drinking! Unfortunately, my streak of bad luck with the games continuedâ€¦ The only winner of the day that I found out the next day was the NIT Wisc. Milwaukee game! Soon it was time for dinner already and we decided to eat at the Range. It was good as alwaysâ€¦ Saturday night was blurred from my memory as after all the alcohol intake from the previous nights, to this day I do not recall what went on that night! I think it was another stint of Black Jack at the IP? Sunday: Last full dayâ€¦ We were determined to make the best of it! After sleeping in today, we got up and placed our bets for the day. Then, we decided to use our Harrahs comps and settle the bill. The rooms were free all 5 nights so we just had the food to pay for. I had $60 and Boat had $50 in comps, which covered most of our food bills from Harrahs. The sad thing is, I had played a lot more at Harrahs and mainly Black Jack at the IP, yet I got more comp$ at IP than Harrahs! Then we decided to catch an early lunch at the IP and use our comps, so we grabbed a sandwich at the Burger Palace and watched the games right next door. Oklahoma St., GTech, and Illinois were all winning. OklaSt was the only one I had bet on. After catching the 1st half, we wondered the casino at IP a bit. We though about walking down the strip, but when Boat hit the 90-degree heat, he soon decided that he would rather be back in the casino. So we went back into the IP, which by now was our main home for the weekend. Boat likes the â€œSpin the Wheelâ€ slots and they had a bank of quarter ones there. We both got to spin the wheel several times and I cashed out up $30. Boat ended up playing his all back. We then played VP for a while. IP has a few 9-6 full pay JOBâ€™s next to those Spin the Wheel quarter slots. Boat had better luck than me and hit a 4 of a kind once. I think I lost about $60 before giving up. Meanwhile, I had started the drinking binge again! Boat decided since he had to leave early Monday, he was not going to partake in all the Alcohol todayâ€¦ We found a nickel Playboy machine that I decided to play since I had great luck the entire trip at the $1 playboy carousel at Harrahs. It seemed every time I played the dollar version at Harrahs, I would win $50 each time and cash in right away. Anyway, the nickel version was a nine-line machine and kept us going a long time before I finally went to max coin â€“ 45 at a time and soon was out. Boat was in a mellow mood today and after the slot stint I found a $5 craps table and realized I had not played yet this weekend. We had intended on going downtown tonight to find low limit action. But the table was wide open and I wanted to try my luck while getting a spot next to the stick person who happened to be Bettie, a very nice craps dealer that I recalled from previous tripsâ€¦ So Boat decided to rest a bit for the afternoon and I gave a good Craps run. My first turn at it, I had good luck and hit a few points as well as the 6 & 8 a couple times. I even called out a 2 way hard 10 and hit it next throw! By now, my shooting was causing the table to fill up fast. I finally 7-out after a real good run! The dealers were trying to make sure the cocktail servers kept me full as they could tell my setting was working. I tried to play conservative with the rest of the table and played a couple 6-8â€™s or a place bet here and there. But no one else at the table could hit squat! Soon it was back to me. The table knew of my good run previously and so when I hit a point after a couple 7â€™s and a Yo, they were in for some heavy action. Wouldnâ€™t ya know it my first throw after the point, one dice took a big bounce off the wall and rolled all the way down past the stick man and me. You guessed it. Out immediately. The kid shooting next, did ok for a bit and hit a point immediately, before a couple 6-8â€™s for me. Then it was another quick turn around the table. I had started with a buy in of only $100 and had put a couple green chips in my pocket from my first good roll. But I was just hanging in there from the rest of the table. They seemed to set a point of 6 a lot, which would cause me to up my odds bet and each time lose! My 3rd go around, I hit a point immediately and the dealers said â€œwhats your hurryâ€â€¦ Then I established the same point again, a 5â€¦ This time the stick gal â€“ not Bettie, kept trying to set them for me on a 2-3 and said heres your five. Each time I would adjust them back to a 3 on top the 1, or the â€œsmall Vâ€ and started on another good roll. I began pocketing a couple more green chips and hit a few more points along with a 6,8 and a 9 or two. Finally, my streak ended and by now I was well over double my buy in. The table was full again and sure enough, the other shooters kept setting a point of 6 or 8, so I would stack up on the odds. This killed me and by the time it went another round, I was depleted to only 4 green chips in my pocket. It did not even make it back to me, so I decided after playing a couple hours that I was happy just being even. I then went over to the Elvis quarter machine that my wife insisted I play as she had hit 600 on it over Valentines weekend. Well I got a bonus or two, but could not get Elvis to sing! A young good looking gal next to me kept hearing Elvis sing and would hop from one to the next gaining a little each time. I finally had to put more in the machine, so like an idiot, dropped a hundred in it as I was already down 60 on this Elvis. I wanted to here him sing Damn it! I had several beers in me by now and was clouded on judgement. Soon, I had to go to the boys room and had $80 left on the machine yet. I asked the young gal to watch the machine for me, she said sure. Well IP only has one bathroom in the whole place and your always stuck behind slow people on the way to it. While in there I realized being a ticket machine, the gal could easily press cash out and grab the ticket, be gone before I could even zip up! So I scurried back to the machine and found her still there but running out of credits. I was happy to see an honest person again. She soon ran down to two credits, which is bad because you need 3 to here Elvis sing. So I gave her a $10 to put in and said thanks for being honest while I was gone. Not too mention she was really cute and nice too! So she played on my $10 and soon hit an Elvis but for only 25. Meanwhile her boyfriend comes along. I was not having any luck and soon went through that hundred while having to watch the machine tease me with the double diamonds on all three lines, but above the line! So I decided to grab a Margarita at the bar right behind me. They make great Margaritas at a couple of the IP bars there. Just donâ€™t get one at the bar by the elevators as that bar sucks! Anyway, I talked for a bit with a nice young gal from Denver who unfortunately had just lost her job. Being drunk and my last day, I was in a flirty moodâ€¦ Trust me, my wife can attest; I will never ever do anything to hurt her. I was just having a little harmless fun with this good-looking young gal. We talked a bit longer until her mom who was with her said they needed to go to make their show reservations. At this point it is my last full day, I am drunk already, and I had gone through my budget and had to hit the ATM again! Oh well, its all-good entertainment! So I decided to catch up with Boat and make a final run! On the way out, a wheel of fortune dollar progressive caught my eye as the jackpot is up to over 5 million! I put in a hundred and soon hit the WOF. It landed on $500!!! Woohoo! That will get me started again! So I cashed in, ordered another good Margarita and headed back to meet Boat. I found him in the room getting changed for the night. We still planned on a downtown run. I told him of my good fortune at IP. We decided to catch dinner there and use our comps. We ate at the Pizza place, which by the way was really good. My wife would be impressed as being Italian she is always looking for a good pizza pie! I was good and toasted by now. Boat still had not touched a drink today. After dinner, we changed our plans and decided to make one last big run at the Harrahs high stakes, by going in for $250 each on a $25 machine! This would give us each 5 pullsâ€¦ I started and put $200 in. I got one-mixed bars with a double diamond right away, which would have given us a $50 profit each. But that is not what we were here for! We were after much bigger fish! Soon my buy in was gone and it was Boats turn. He hit nothing and we realized we picked the wrong machineâ€¦ So we took our last $50 each over to the $5 double diamond progressive carousel. On Boats buy in, we hit Triple Bar, double diamond, double diamond! Now thatâ€™s a good start. We cashed in and split what made us up $150 each. For some reason Boat decided to slow down and we would each play our own machines. This is not typical of him, but then again, he had not been drinking all day like me. He played a long time on a $5 machine. Then I said I was going to make another run at the $1 playboy that had been paying me all trip. Sure enough, I hit it for another quick $50. I then found Boat back at the high stakes, having sunk a few hundred in the $5 spin the wheel! Thatâ€™s $15 a pull. So naturally, when he did not get the spin, he was out of credits quickly. So he decided we should cut back to $1 machines again. So we stepped down to the area next to the high stakes and I found the â€œBig Times Payâ€ that my wife and I had hit for $600 several months ago. I put in only $20 and was down to my last spin of max coin 2 at a time, when I hit Red 7, Big Times Pay, Big Times Pay! When you hit big times with anything on the payline, it spins the 4th real for 2-10 times the payout. Well, it spun for me and landed on 5X pay! That was 1,500 dollars!!! Suddenly a trip that had slowly bled me down of my budget, had suddenly got me back to the black again!!! All with one payout!!! After that great win, we played dollars a bit more, then getting late, Boat needed to call it a night as he had to get up at 5:30 to head to the airport. I decided to play a bit more and found myself at a $20 Pai Gow table. This was my first time. A guy next to me helped me with the play. I had read up on it previously, so had a good idea of what to do, I just needed confirmation once in awhile. I played for over an hour and hung in there about even. Then they switched dealers and it was almost as if he wanted to clean us out. Now I hate dealers with that kind of attitude. So, after going to the boys room, I came back to see what would evolve. He soon was winning each hand and seemed to enjoy it. Being drunk, I was not going to take this at all. So when a pit boss walked up, I immediately said, cash me in, I am not taking this BS attitude from him! The pit boss and I talked a bit, he tried to assure me that the dealer had no intention of being that way, he was just efficient was all. He tried to get me to make another try at it. But I said no, not tonight! In a way, I was glad that this dealer came along, because with $2,000 in my wallet and being 3 sheets in the wind, I could easily have been in trouble that night. So I called it a good last night and crashed! Monday: Time to leave. Boat and I said good-bye, as he had to leave early. My flight was later, at 1:30 so I checked my luggage with the bell desk and went over to BK at Oâ€™Sheas for breakfast. After that, I wanted to play the quarter Jeopardy progressives that I insisted were to hit this weekend at over 4.4 million! Well not today and not for me. I blew $40 quick and decided that I had not had a diet-Dew for 5 days and was really craving one. The only place I found to have sold Diet-Dew was the gift shop at the Flamingo, so I headed over there. They have the Jeopardyâ€™s too. So I threw another $40 away in those before getting my caffeine rush and heading back to Harrahs. I played a bit on nickels not really hitting anything. It was 11:00 and so I decided to head to the airport a bit early. I caught a taxi and off to the airport we went. The cabbies last name was Hussein, which was a little troublBut I know that is a common name so did not worry about it. We got to the Southwest terminal entrance and the taxis were bumper to bumper all the way in. He asked if I wanted the quick way. I said yes, so he veered off and dropped me off in the parking garage, which left me just a short walk over the walkway to the terminal. I thanked him for saving me probably 20 minutes and it was time to Leave Las Vegas again. Trip highlights: - The MC Poker room is great as always! I wished we had played more than once though! - Mike, the dealer at MC poker room is a true great person and a pleasure to have him deal to you! - The comps at the IP are much better than Harrahs and allowed us to eat free most of the trip. - The cocktail servers at the IP are much younger and far better looking than those at Harrahs. That alone is enough to make you play there more often. - The restaurants at IP are really pretty good and all reasonably priced. - I did much better this time with the Harrahs slots even though I had sworn them off after last time! - It is great winning a nice pot on the last night as you can be assured to go home with the trip all paid for! Trip so-soâ€™s: - Not meeting up with the T2V gang! We kept so busy and I knew they had such a big gang already, I felt it might have been pretty crowded at the LV Club Craps tableâ€¦ - I had the worst luck at BBall betting after doing so good during the regular season. My trip budget actually came from that. - Even 5 nights in Vegas goes by so fastâ€¦ - March Madness is getting pretty crowded, it means a lot higher minimums. We could not even find less than $10 BJ even at Barbary Coast! I look forward to a less busy trip soon! - From the first day, we could tell the dogs were winning the bets and yet we did not change our betting pattern! I look forward to a nice relaxing trip with my wife soon, where we will space out the gambling and drinking with, shows and pools and just touring around! T-???? Need to plan the next trip!