First, a requiem for the Barbary Coast â€“ it was a great little place with a great location. Old dependable, especially on the weekends when the table limits got too high at the bigger strip places, you could always find a $5 blackjack or pai gow poker table even on Saturday night. But alas â€“ the â€œHarrificationâ€ is complete. They advertise â€œalways $5 blackjackâ€, but now itâ€™s 6:5. We wonâ€™t be back and I can see the wrecking ball in the future. A sad farewell to a favorite place. Now back to the reportâ€¦ Those looking for buffoonery or drunkenness on our part can stop now as this trip is strictly rated PG13! This was a â€œfamily tripâ€ with 30-somethings daughter and son-in-law for some low limit poker, shows and time together. Add to that son-in-lawâ€™s mother and aunt visiting grandma who lives in Vegas. Wednesday: 6a flight, arrive around 9:45. Check into Ballys at the airport, donâ€™t score an upgrade but later this turns out to be a heck of a deal (more later). Off to the new car rental facility â€“ the whole process is easy, some kinks still in the process (Budget fast break board was not working, no maps available) but in all easy in-out and direct access to the Strip and the interstates makes the location a winner. We enjoy the drive down the Strip and arrive at Ballys. Room not ready, so off to our favorite games while waiting. DH plays pai gow poker and I head to the Bellagio to check out the WPT main event and watch a bit. They are down to 48 players, I spot a few faces that seem familiar, plus Doyle Brunson in the room watching the action and Phil Helmuth playing. You canâ€™t really see the action, but fun to watch those who will be taking millions of dollars in prize money. Checked out the Conservatory to see the spring display and then back to Ballys where the room was ready. Large â€˜upgradedâ€™ room. 24th floor but no view unless you like the back of Paris, PH and the airport. We check everything out and all seems great except a strange charge on our account (what the heck is this? â€“ this is the first day!) A call to the front desk and â€œweâ€™ll take care of itâ€ (more laterâ€¦) We have tickets for Spamalot for tonight, so after a nap, we head to the Wynn to pickup our tickets and possibly a stop for some poker along the way. We check out a few places along the way just to see whatâ€™s up â€“ Billâ€™s, Venetian to checkout the poker room (nice), pick up the tickets and then decide to wander to the TI poker room for some 2-4 limit. I like the changes to the TI â€“ it always seemed a bit dark before the remodeling, but now the casino seems to have a bright new feel and good vibes. The poker room is a bit out of the way but very pleasant. Not a lot of tables going as one of the tournaments had just ended. We played about 2 hours and had an enjoyable afternoon with friendly opponents and good dealers. It seems to be a good place to play. We end up collectively even as I am down about $33 and DH is up about $35. We took a quick walk to the food court at the mall for an inexpensive sandwich meal before the show. The usual choices plus some nice sit-down places if you arenâ€™t looking for anything special. We locate the showroom and then sit down to play a little VP before the show. I was amazed to find some full-pay .25 JOB machines in the Wynn. Thatâ€™s unheard of on the strip. After donating to the cause (hoping we might get an offer in the future!), weâ€™re off to the show. Spamalot was fun. We sat in the mezzanine (fancy for balcony) in the 3rd row and the seats were very good â€“ the theatre is small and all seats have great views â€“ no worry if you get the less expensive seats as you can see the actorsâ€™ faces even from up high. The show is good, silly fun, as expected. John Oâ€™Hurley as King Arthur is amazing; he deserved the standing ovation at the end. About the time we get out of the show, we get a call from DD and they have arrived and will meet us at Ballys. They score an upgrade on their late arrival â€“ to a â€œviewâ€ room at Paris as Ballys was out of non-smoking rooms. Well the view was the backside of the Eiffel tower and a hint of the strip, but a nicer room that what they had at Ballys. They hit the poker room immediately while we are about out of energy, throw some money at the machines and finally give up after 36 hours with about 2 hrs sleep. Thursday: We meet up with the kids and SILâ€™s mom for lunch and some VP â€“ the Bellagio buffet is the choice since SIl and mom had never eaten there. Lunch did not disappoint! Food was wonderful, desserts even better and we even won $5 on keno (woohoo!). The WPT event is down to 3 tables, so we take some time to watch a while and locate a friend also in town for poker playing in the Bellagio poker room. Show-time approaches, they have ticket to LOVE, we have ours for Howie Mandell so we head our separate ways for the evening. We had a few hours before show-time so we head to the MGM for a couple hours of poker. For the MGM it was rather tame, no drunken kids with sunglasses at the 2-4 table, and I am up $35, DH is even for the afternoon. Howie Mandell is a lot of fun if you enjoy his style of humor. His show is a lot of ad-lib interaction with the audience, like Robin Williams, he is able to take a concept and quickly work it into his routine. I had seen him about 20 years ago in LA and liked him then, and this show definitely fulfilled expectations. We laughed until we cried. A walk down the strip back to Ballys and a short spell at VP donatingâ€¦ until we about fall asleep at the machines. Time for sleep as Friday is â€œFamily Dayâ€. Friday: Today we meet SILâ€™s Grandma and aunts at Samâ€™s Town which is close to Grandmaâ€™s house. Samâ€™s Town is enjoyable, lots of VP and a poker room. We head to the poker room with DD to buy into a 2-4 table. What fun! We were the youngsters at the table; I doubt anyone else was under 80. Of course they all know each other and the dealers. An enjoyable group to play with, little old ladies who buy-in with $20 (because they know they can win a few pots with $20, why spend more!?!) At one time the table was even with 5 women at one end and 5 men at the other. Iâ€™m up $50 after a couple hours of play. Friday nightâ€™s family adventure is the 7p tournament at the Sahara. First a run at the craps table, the first roll was fine, earned a few chips and then it was downhillâ€¦ I opted out after losing Â½ my buy-in. In the tournament I was card-dead; the few hands I did play didnâ€™t win. I finally had to go all in after a couple hours and my KQ didnâ€™t pick up anything on the flop, so it was out for me. SIL was out a few minutes earlier, DH and DD followed a while later. Meanwhile, SIL and I played a little 2-4 while waiting, much like the Samâ€™s Town experience, it was a bunch of regulars and dropouts from the tournament. I played enough to recoup my entry fee. We all had a great time. Saturday was checkout day. We check the TV screen and WOW â€“ no charges for 2 of the nights. Evidently the front desk really did fix the strange item on the bill! So starting the morning well â€“ SCORE! We head to the MGM which is the best place to find both 2-4 and 3-6 games at all times, plus easy return to the airport later that evening. We had a few comp dollars from the poker room, ate lunch and then hit the tables. Today however there were the drunk WSOP wannabees all around and the poker was a wild ride. DH couldnâ€™t win the hands he should have won and finally gave up. I played 6 hours total, playing tight and was able to rebound after losing Â½ my buy-in on a couple huge hands. But alas the suck-out continued and after 6 hours of the rollercoaster was down only $32 â€“ not bad entertainment and spent some enjoyable hours with a few nice folks. The bittersweet moment had come and it was to leave our favorite place â€“ 4 days 3 nights is about right. We had a fun-filled time, a nice weekend with the kids and a nice break from the work routine. We are already making plans for our next â€˜family adventureâ€™.