I'm going to immitate my pal peanutmnm and post my trip from the 'other' board. Hope you enjoy! â€œMy boozy, bleary, bloodshot eyes could not believe what they sawâ€¦.â€ Iâ€™ve just returned from the airport and finished unpacking. Now itâ€™s time to relive the trip! This was trip Number 5 for me. The impetus was a meet at the Palms on 30 May. Iâ€™d been planning this trip since March. I was really looking forward to it as work has been very hectic. I needed a break! Sunday, May 27 My lovely bride dropped me at Pensacola Regional Airport for my 1:20pm flight on American Airlines. Sheâ€™s agreed to let me go solo for the second time as she absolutely hates flying. She will be spending a couple of days at the IP in Biloxi as an â€œOh yeah? Well I can gamble tooâ€ rebuttal to my trip. Itâ€™s no big deal - she knows I love Vegas! Flight left on time and arrived in DFW on time. That was where the â€œon timeâ€ part of the trip ended. My connecting flight to Vegas was delayed, once, twice, three times my baby! Instead of arriving in Vegas at 5:10 pm, it was after 8pm when I got there. I took the shuttle from concourse D to baggage claim. Just like my last trip in December, my limo driver was there holding a placard with my name on it. Nothing says welcome to Vegas better than this! To make thing even more pleasant my driver was the same one my bride and I had in December of 2005 - he had been transferred to Orleans from my beloved Stardust. Baggage always seems to take forever. As we waited I struck up a conversation with my limo driver Tom. Finally my bag arrived and it was off to the limo. I settled myself in and helped myself to a bottle of water. From previous experience, Iâ€™ve learned the value of hydrating. Now, for a week before leaving, I drink lots of water. While in Vegas, itâ€™s the same deal. My driver took the tunnel (who cares?) and arrived shortly thereafter at the Orleans. This is my second stay here. This trip my host comped 5 nights up front. I also have received mail offers for a Memorial Day slot tournament, $50 in food credits, and $100 in players card credit. I really didnâ€™t need the food credits as my host had me set up for $100 a day for food - how could I possibly use all that? I asked for a room (2177 or 2178) in the new tower facing the strip. Nothing on the 20th or 21st floor was available so I settled for room 1656 overlooking the pool and points north. Got to the room and it was pretty similar to the room I had on my last trip. Oversized, compared to a standard hotel room, it featured a sofa, chair and coffee table sitting area. The bathroom was rather small, but functional. The window in the shower is an interesting feature. Something to look at while performing the perfunctory! My view was just more rooms in the other wing of the hotel. The TV was a standard 27 inch, but who watches TV anyway? The room also had a functioning safe, something my last room lacked. It came in handy to lock up most of my bankroll, at least, for awhile. I unpacked a few things and then called the Canal Street restaurant to see if they could get me in. They couldnâ€˜t. My second option was the Prime Rib Loft and they had no problem working me in. I purposefully hadnâ€™t eaten much all day in anticipation of dining well at Canal Street, but the Prime Rib Loft would do just fine. I headed down since they were closing in 30 minutes Many people hate dining alone but it really doesnâ€™t bother me. I ordered the small prime rib, baked potato and salad. The service was great and the food was even better. Total price for the meal with a Manhattan on the rocks was about $44.00. Full as a tick, I headed out to make the rounds of the casino to see what changes had been made since my last stay. Pretty much, things looked the same. My first stop was the Players club to activate my $100 free play. Now I know many casinos do this differently. In the Orleansâ€™ case, you had to use the entire amount of free play on one machine. My plan was to play 25 cent Video Poker (VP) at one of the bars and start drinking as many Crown Royals as possible. But the idea of playing the whole $100 on one machine wasnâ€™t really appealing. So I changed the plan and bumped it up to 50 cent VP. I decided to start my vacation at the Mardi Gras bar so I bellied up and started playing what I call â€œdouble round-de-roundâ€. This is where I play each VP game on the multi-game machine. So lets say the first game on the top left side is Bonus Poker. I play two hands. If I win the second hand, I play another, and another, etc. If I donâ€™t, or when I stop winning, I move to the next game (i.e., Deuces Wild). I seem to have some luck doing this. I hate it when I play one VP game and it sucks my money quickly. When I play round-de-round, I feel Iâ€™m giving each game a chance and maybe the odds will be better. Who knows? Seems to work for me. Before I started playing, I ordered my favorite poison, Crown Royal and Diet Coke (go on, gag away - I like it!). After reading some advice about the benefits of using $2 bills as tips, I tipped for my first drink with a $2 bill. I expected some kind of reaction. The bartender didnâ€™t even bat an eye. As a matter of fact, neither did the cocktail waitresses. They regarded it with no more excitement than if theyâ€™d seen a dollar bill. I wonâ€™t be bringing $2 bills any more! Is there anything better than that first drink on your vacation (Iâ€™m not counting the Manhattan!)? I started using my free play and on my second run on DDB VP I caught the Aces without a kicker (2,3,4) for a nice $400.00 win! What a great start! After finishing my free play I cashed out with $480 and headed out to see what I could see. After that I decided to see if I could find the Deuces Wild VP machines near the Keno lounge. Speaking of keno, why not bet a few numbers? I bet a five spot and, as usual, no luck. On the way back I passed the Megabucks dollar slots and had to throw a twenty in. Iâ€™d vowed that on this trip Iâ€™d give them a shot every now and then - you never know! Well, got bupkiss on that, so I moved on. I headed over to the Cabaret bar with a progressive VP jackpot. It was up over $1100. The JOB VP is not full pay but is 9/5, just short of full pay. Guess thatâ€™s why they call it short pay! Sometime during the evening I talked to Isles1 (Isle) & Homersimpson969 (Homer). Isle was staying at the Gold Coast and Homer was at the Orleans. Weâ€™d been talking about this trip and planned to meet each other and lay an eyeball and a handshake on each other. Things were going great. I was up about $500 but it was nearing 3am and I wanted to get up at a reasonable hour to have breakfast with Isle and Homer. With a heavy heart, I ended my first night in Vegas and headed to the room. Monday, 28 May Thanks to going to bed at a reasonable hour, I was up at the crack of 5am. I just canâ€™t sleep in Vegas. I had many â€œplansâ€ this trip. Iâ€™ve been accused of having too many, but this time it was more like checking out new places at a leisurely pace. Got ready and headed down for some gourmet coffee at Seattleâ€™sâ€™ Best. After getting my coffee I laid down some keno bets and played some DW VP near the keno area. Very relaxing. I took terrible notes on this trip so if I have the times and places wrong I hope my fellow travelers will forgive me. I met up with Isle and Homer and we sat down for breakfast at the Courtyard CafÃ©. I think both Isle and Homer had French toast and I had the Jambalaya omelet. It was awesome but a bit spicy requiring a purchase of Pepcid AC later on! We all seemed to get along well. I mentioned my plan of visiting some off strip properties and both of them seemed game. Isle had a rental car and offered to do the driving. Since I had no rental car (I never get one in Vegas, trust me, this is for your safety!) I readily agreed and off we went. The first stop was Tuscany. Although not large, it is a very nice property. We signed up for players cards and used out free play on VP with no luck. We also had match plays and I believe I was the only one who won. Next stop was Terribles. Again we signed up for players cards and got free t-shirts. Isle has some match plays from POV and Homer and I used them (thanks Isle!). I won again. I think Homer lost (again). We played a little VP and then left. No wins! We moved on to the Westin. This place is beautiful! We signed up for players cards and took advantage of their $25 for $40 play. Westin has FP 9/6 JOB VP on the casino floor but not at the bars. Isle and I played and cashed out a few bucks ahead. I believe Homer lost his. It was only around noon but we were fatigued and headed back to the Orleans. I think we all had plans on a short nap. Isle and I had plans to attend Peanutmnmâ€™s meet at the Bellagio at 7pm. Homer had other plans. I actually laid down for about 5 minutes when I got a call from Char, another board member staying at the Orleans. We talked for a bit and agreed to meet a bit later. I couldnâ€™t sleep after that so I headed back down to the casino and met Char at Terrible Mikeâ€™s. She was getting ready to scarf down a burger and fries. I was still too full from breakfast to eat so I just stole a couple of her fries! Char was planning to see Big Elvis down at Billâ€™s (formerly the Barbary Coast). As tired as I was I couldnâ€™t pass up a chance to see BE - Iâ€™d tried and missed him several times before. So we grabbed the shuttle and were down at Billâ€™s almost an hour before the show. Soon after arriving at Billâ€™s we ran into Blazing777s. A fine gentleman. We chatted a bit but the gambling bug was biting me so I excused myself and headed to the VP bar. I had sworn I would never play VP on the strip again. The paytables were horrible. Horrible! But I needed to get my â€œgambleâ€ on so I plunked in a twenty and ordered a drink. The funny thing about paytables on VP is that they donâ€™t apply to the top amounts. Just a few hands in on deuces wild I hit the deal button and all four deuces came up! A $250 win! I cashed out quicker than a jackrabbit on a date and went over to flash my TITO (thatâ€™s Ticket-In, Ticket-out for those that want to make this into a perverted thing!) to Char and B7. Shortly after that we snagged front row seats in the lounge and Big-E came out in all his splendor. Yep, heâ€™s big, and big on sounding like Elvis! This free show is fantastic and I highly recommend it. Before the show his announcer comes out and asks for song requests. There is some audience participation and some goofy, fun stuff included. Youâ€™ll enjoy it - trust me! Near the end of the show his announcer, er, announced that Big-E has lost over 430lbs through diet changes, walking and swimming. Now I have never seen the man before, but if I mentally added 430lbs Iâ€™d say heâ€™d have been close to 900lbs. Heâ€™s still huge. I salute him for working on losing weight and wish him well. He sat for much of the show, but did get on his feet and show a few â€œmovesâ€ every now and then. Iâ€™d been invited to play in the Memorial day slot tournament so I had to get back to the Orleans to register. I grabbed the shuttle and headed back. I quickly got registered with a 10am and 1:30pm session for Tuesday. Iâ€™d made plans to go to the Shelby museum and visit the Cannery with Homer so I thought this might throw a crimp into my plans. Iâ€™d made dinner reservation at Canal street and Char had no plans so I asked her to join me. Neither of us was starving, so we split the tower of seafood appetizer and both had Caesar salads. The service was outstanding. Unfortunately, I didnâ€™t read the fine print about the tower of seafood appetizer. It included raw oysters and clams - Iâ€™m not a fan of either and neither is Char. We did enjoy the shrimp and cracked crab as well as the cervici. All in all it was great but I wish Iâ€™d brought more appetite so I could have tried the filet. Maybe next time. It was now time for the meet with Peanutmnm at the Fontana bar at Bellagio. Char and I took he shuttle to Billâ€™s and walked across the bridges to Bellagio. There were quite a few folks that showed up. The Fontana bar was nearly empty. We took over the place and were playing $1 VP at one buck a hand. They will serve you top shelf hooch even if you play one coin at a time. Isle showed up and ordered a Tennessee highball. Itâ€™s a very delicious drink made with Jack Daniels Single Barrel. I enjoyed a couple but the sweetness was too much for me so I returned to my standard Crown Royal. I actually won about $50 at the Fontana bar. I cashed out and tried a shot at the Double Diamond 25 cent two coin progressive. It was up to over $59,000. Of course I had no luck, so I said my goodbyes and Isle and headed back for the shuttle. Now there were a lot of folks at this meet. I enjoyed talking to all of them. And as good a note taker as I am, I wasnâ€™t in the mood for taking notes. Char was, however, and I think she recorded everyones name. I salute her! I recall meeting splittinsevens, Blazing777s, Pnut and his lovely bride Lynne, Char, Isle1, pebbles, mizblackjack, marlo, and many other. If I left you off the list, blame it on senility and inebriation! I got back to Orleans about 9pm and decided it was time to pay my dues. I played for hours and pretty much maintained my cash balance. I was still ahead a few hundred. At one point, some gal Iâ€™ll call ugly Betty sat down and struck up a conversation with me. Man she was a chatterbox! My boyfriend is in Iraq, my brother just got back from Iraq, I hate my mother, I hate my fiancÃ©/boyfriend, you sure are cute for an older guy (huh?), Oh, you were in the navy? Itâ€™s Memorial day, let me buy you a drink (no thanks, Iâ€˜m comped). And on, and on, and on. I was as polite as I could be. I endured this barrage for almost an hour praying Iâ€™d lose my buy-in. Finally I did and excused myself. Whew! Shortly after that I turned in at a conservative 12:30pm with hopes for a new Vegas day! BLACK Tuesday, 29 May Didnâ€™tâ€™ get up until 7am - a new record for me! I had the slot tournament to attend today. First, I had breakfast again at the Courtyard CafÃ© with Homer. The service here is excellent and for coffee shop food, it is delicious. I had the California Eggs Benedict and Homer had the steak breakfast bowl. It sure looked good! Iâ€™ll have to try one before I leave. We talked about squeezing in the Shelby museum after my 10am slot tournament session. There was 3 hours before I had to be back. I decided if I did lousy in the session Iâ€™d blow off the rest of the tournament. If youâ€™re not getting the numbers right from the start, itâ€™s a lost cause. So I had my session, scoring 13 thousand plus points. I was on the upside of the pack, so it looked like I should return for another session. Top prize was $15,000 so itâ€™s nothing to sneeze at. We bolted out of there after the session and raced down the I-215 (15?). Got off at Speedway exit and checked out the museum tour. Very cool place! Lots of Shelby Mustangs I will never be able to afford. After that, some guy asked us for a ride back to town. Er, no! How the hell did you get out here? So we raced over to Craig Rd and checked out the Cannery. Iâ€™ve always wanted to visit this place. Itâ€™s beautiful. Lots of hardwood floors and mahogany VP bars. We signed up for a players card and got a free t-shirt. Played some VP with no luck and then shared some of Homerâ€™s match plays. I lost, he won. Hey, whatâ€™s going on here? Homer got me back to the Orleans in plenty of time for my second session at the slot tourney. I didnâ€™tâ€™ do so well this time, only 11,000 plus points. But still enough to warrant my playing in the final session on Wednesday at 10am. Isle, Homer and I had plans to visit Fremont street that night and have dinner at MSSâ€™ Triple 7 Brewpub. I decided to get something light to eat since we werenâ€™t leaving until after the 5pm meet at the Orleans I had planned. I stopped into Big Alâ€™s Oyster Bar and had a bowl of New England clam chowder. Oh man, how did I miss this place on my last trip? The chowder was awesome! You couldnâ€™t have a spoonful without finding big chunks of clams. I was very impressed and vowed to return. I gambled for awhile and all of a sudden, something funny happened. I started to lose. What the hell? I was still playing on Orleansâ€™ money but it was slipping away! I fortunately stopped in time before it was all gone and then it was time to head to the meet. The Orleans meet was sparsely attended, but then, I expected that. With three meets crammed into three days, what else could you expect? Isle, Homer, Char and I attended and someone brought enough free drink coupons to keep the alcohol flowing for nearly an hour at the Mardi Gras bar lounge. Then all of a sudden, Duck showed up. Heâ€™s a relatively new member of the board and was a great guy to talk to. There was no mistaking him with his Hawaiian leis with a rubber duckie ornament. Then, BigJohn showed up. Heâ€™s a big (no pun intended) poker guy. His wife showed up as well. After about an hour more the meet broke up. Char had a little thing downtown and Homer, Isle and I invited Duck to join us at MSS. He agreed so we were off in Homerâ€™s Chrysler Pacifica to the MSS. Let me tell you, this is one slick vehicle. I donâ€™t know what kind of gas mileage it gets, but itâ€™s very comfortable to ride in. It might be my next vehicle. We parked in MSSâ€™s garage and took the slowest friggin elevator on the planet earth from to the bottom floor. It was also the smallest elevator on earth. Duck, who is about 8 feet tall had to â€œduckâ€ to get in. We four maxed out itâ€™s capacity and I was fearful of any noxious emissions on the ride down. Fortunately, no one vapored. We took a peek at Pullman grill and it was closed on Tuesdays. So we were definitely headed for 777 Brewpub. I ordered a black chip porter and the $7.25 prime rib special. Duck had eaten earlier so no food for him and Isle and Homer had burgers. My prime rib was excellent with baked potato and green beans. The burgers reportedly were burnt and nasty. I tried not to listen to their complaints as I relished my second prime rib of the trip. We gave the MSSâ€™s bartop VP machines a shot. I had great luck here last December with multiple quads. Alas, this trip, I couldnâ€™t get a twenty to last longer than my drink order. Disappointed, we left for the Fremont street experience via California and various detours. We caught the first show on Fremont and it was tremendous. I hadnâ€™t really seen many of these shows since 2000 on my first trip. This show was about gambling, with lots of graphics of roulette tables, dice, cards, and womenâ€™s mouths. Some may say that is what it is all about! We did the rounds and ended up touring the Plaza, a joint Iâ€™ve never been in. It doesnâ€™t look that bad and I didnâ€™t notice the smell many talk about in the lobby. The buffet is a joke though. It looks like a holding tank for people who donâ€™t understand what good food tastes like. After that short visit we headed back to MSS, picked up my next new car and drove back to Orleans via the strip. I say the strip because Homer took a wrong turn on Flamingo and we made about twelve lane changes to get to the right turn to get back. It was fun being in Vegas strip traffic and not being behind the wheel though, and I made a point of rubbing it in. What an ungrateful free-ride-slut I am! :} We parted ways and I started hitting the VP hard. I decided to make this my late night since I didnâ€™t have to be at the slot tourney until 10am the next morning. Big mistake. This is a key example of what not to do when you are up a few hundred dollars. You get to feel invincible. You fuel that emotion with alcohol. Then you crash, and then you burn. Youâ€™d think I would know better. The book I brought to read on this trip was â€œWhale Hunt in the Desertâ€ by Deke Castleman. It is about hosts like Steve Cyr luring suckers in to play high stakes and lose their a$$, all for a few comps like suites and high-end meals. Great book - I recommend it. So I lose most of my extra money Iâ€™m ahead. This is just playing 25 cent VP. Sooo, I go get more out of my trusty safe. Iâ€™m on full tilt. I even started playing $5 machines, something I never do! Before the bleeding stopped, I had lost almost all of my bankroll but $300. It was 5am. I was mortified, pi$$ed off, and depressed. Iâ€™m really surprised I didnâ€™t throw in the last $300, but I knew I had 2 days to go. I dragged my miserable, losing a$$ to bed. Wednesday, 30 May Iâ€™m an idiot. That was the thought I went to bed with and the thought I woke up with. It was about 8am. Iâ€™d only gone to bed around 5am. I felt like a cat had used my mouth as a litter box. But I had to pull myself together. The last round of the slot tournament awaits. After a lot of water and some coffee, I planted myself at the #22 machine at the tournament. There are red, white and blue balloons, loud music old farts will enjoy (wait, Iâ€™m one of them!), and a smarmy announcer to egg you on. I push and push at my button, and, nothing happens. Everyone around me is getting large numbers, I canâ€™t get those special â€œblueâ€ sevens that add up 1500 points. At the end of 15 minutes, I have one of the worst scores of the tourney. There are about 250 people in the tourney. Before the third session, I check the tote board and found I was 93rd. Only the top 100 get to finish in the money. Iâ€™m doomed. So I call Homer to see what heâ€™s up to. He and Duck are having breakfast in the Courtyard CafÃ©. I only am now starting to feel like eating, so I join them and order up a sausage and egg breakfast bowl. It was good, but Iâ€™m still in my funk. We part ways and have a few hours until the mega-meet at the Palms. I decide to kill time and save my shrunk bankroll and take the shuttle to Billâ€™s. I havenâ€™t visited Ballyâ€™s since 2000 so I pop in there for a look. It still looks as ho-hum as it did in 2000, but I play some VP at the bar just for old times sake. Iâ€™m sucking down water like there is a shortage to try to â€œget rightâ€. I actually lasted awhile on my twenty and decided to cash out while I was still alive. My ulterior motive for coming to the strip was to take a last whack at the Double Diamond 25 cent two coin progressive. It was at $59,000 on Monday night and today it was already up to $67,000 plus. How is this possible? Itâ€™s just a bank of twelve 2 coin 25 cent machines. Not wanting to be bothered with all that thinking, I plopped in a twenty and wailed away. I went through the entire twenty without one single hit. Maybe thatâ€™s how thatâ€™s possible. That was the ultimate indignity for me. I headed back towards the exit to catch the shuttle to Orleans. On the way I noticed an old slot I hadnâ€™t seen in years. It was a Triple-Triple Diamond. I hadnâ€™t seen one of these since I was in Foxwoods casino in Connecticut in the 90s. I had to give it a pop and that was when things started changing. I caught two double bars and a triple triple symbol for a nice 80 dollar win. I breezed out with new hope! After returning to the Orleans on the shuttle something occurred to me. It seemed like every time I tipped more than usual, I won. Coincidence? Maybe. I tipped the shuttle driver a bit more than usual and then hit the VP bar. I started winning! Not much, but enough to stay ahead. It was time for the mega meet at the Palms. Homer was gracious enough to drive again, so he, myself and the man we started to call â€œThe Duckâ€ headed over to the Palms. The Palms is a gorgeous property. Lots of beautiful people, even on a Wednesday afternoon. We parked in the garage and hiked over to the meet area, I forget the name of the bar, but itâ€™s near the Mexican restaurant. There were already lots of folks there. LVNorm, PattiefromOntario, Blazing777s, splittinsevens, dmjewel, marlo, mizblackjack, kiddo, Char, Wordlay, er Wordlady, Alora, Duck, Homersimpson969, Isles1, the list goes on to the umpteenth number. I didnâ€™t take notes (remember, I was still depressed). For the many I have missed, take comfort in the fact that I witnessed Char taking copious notes. You will be mentioned! Shortly after we arrived, I mistook Wordlady for Alora. I introduced myself, got hugged, and then was marched over to Alora and introduced as Wordladyâ€™s ex husband. I defended myself as being estranged because she abused me for making me take out the trash. It seemed a plausible excuse at the time. I also met Doxie - she is a classy lady and one of the most friendly people Iâ€™ve ever met. I was proud to meet you Dox! After an hour or so the meet broke up and we went our separate ways. Homer signed up for a slot card and got ten bucks free play so he used it on a quarter Wheel of Fortune progressive machine. I believe he turned it into fifteen buck - you go Homie! Homer wanted a fancy dinner at Emerilâ€™s at MGM. We all figured reservations were in order but somehow, that didnâ€™t happen. I suggested Don Miguelâ€™s since they had twofer coupons for the Fajita dinner, we opted for that. Duck couldnâ€™t join us since had a â€œtiny little thing downtownâ€. Oh, no, he was meeting friends for dinner. So Isle, Homer and I put on the feedbag at Don Miguelâ€™s. I love this place. Never crowded, good, authentic Mexican charm, and great food. We stuffed ourselves with fajitas. During the meal, Isle suggested the Paris breakfast buffet at 7am Thursday morning. I agreed, wanting to limit my gambling after last nights disastrous results. Homer had a â€œtiny little thing downtownâ€. Oh, no, he was going to Harrahâ€™s to see a group perform (sorry Homie, forgot the name). For the next few hours, I battled my way through some small wins. After all was said and done, and a boatload of Crown, I was up $300 for the day, restoring my meagerly bankroll to about $600. I hit the hay at about 12:30am. Thursday, 31 May With little effort, I got ready to meet Isle at 7am. I was pretty refreshed, having not downed too many Crowns the previous evening. I was even beginning to get more lighthearted about the trip. Sure, Iâ€™d lost most of my bankroll, but I was on vacation! I vowed to have a good time on my last day in Vegas. Even with what I had lost, this was still a cheap vacation. Iâ€™d met and become friends with many new people. Life is good. Isle was at the entrance awaiting me in his blue G6 Pontiac chariot. We cruised the strip in very light traffic. It was cool to see the strip so empty. We arrived at Paris at about 7:15am and made our way to the buffet. There was nobody in line and Isle had ten dollar off coupons, making our price for the buffet a very inexpensive $4.70 cents or so. The Paris buffet was excellent. Although the drink service was lacking, the food was superb. I introduced Isle to eggs benedict. He had never had it, but of course, heâ€™s young, and has time to learn! I sampled many things, but canâ€™t eat as much as I used to. But then, I came upon the crepes station. Had to try one so I had a pre-made apple crepe and was blown away. I never go back for seconds these days but had to try a freshly made one. Had a blueberry with raspberry sauce and it was just heaven. I couldnâ€™t finish it but I sure enjoyed it. Isle had one as well. After breakfast we walked around the Paris casino. We used the â€˜facilitiesâ€™ and were impressed with itâ€™s ambience. Did I just say that out loud? I meant it was pretty fancy. Back in December of 2005 I missed a DaveyDoesMore meet at Paris at the Cabaret lounge. I looked and looked for this joint and thought I had found it. I sat at this bar for an hour and nobody showed up. Turns out I was at the Cabaret bar and not the lounge. We found the lounge and after 18 months I feel like a dufas. Nothing new. The plan, yes, I said plan - mostly Isles, was to visit the New Frontier for a goodbye look for starters. Isle had never seen Sigma Derby. I had made plans to meet dmjewel there at 8:30am. We were there by 8:30, and took a cruise around the place. I showed Isle the Sigma Derby machine and he was fascinated by the mechanical horses. We headed over to the bar with my favorite slant-top VP machines and bought a roll of quarters. I talked with the bartender who turned out to be a third generation Frontier employee. His grandmother had worked there in the 50s. All this came about from the simple question of me asking how he felt about the closure. He, and many employees are truly saddened, as you would imagine. We let him regale us with some stories of the past then moved on to play some Sigma Derby. We split the roll of quarters and just played some races. I played all the longshots just for fun. Isle played it tighter and won some races. I won none, as you would expect. Once 9am rolled around I called dmjewel but got his voicemail. Since he hadnâ€™t shown up we played some match plays and lost, then decided it was time to move on. I called Homer to see if he wanted to join us. He had had a late night so he declined. Isle wanted to visit Samâ€™s Town, Fiesta Henderson and Green Valley Ranch. Iâ€™d only visited Samâ€™s Town so I was more than happy to string along. On the way I decided since I hadnâ€™t done much photo taking I would do â€œdrive by photographyâ€. I snapped everything we saw on the strip and even took a photo of Isle piloting the G6. I didnâ€™t take many photos this trip but maybe Iâ€™ll post them and add the link later. We arrived at Samâ€™s Town about 20 minutes later. I love this place. Lots of full pay VP, a friendly staff, and the place is just huge. I steered Isle to the players club and after he got his card we played some 1970â€™s vintage light pen keno. If youâ€™ve never see this it just cool. Itâ€™s a standard keno screen but you put in your money, then pick up the light pen and tick off the numbers you want to play. Remember kiddies, this was bleeding edge technology before you were a gleam in your fatherâ€™s eye! We didnâ€™t win on the lousy buck we invested, so we headed upstairs so I could try some full pay DB VP with a 10/7 payout at the quarter level. I lost, again, convincingly! Isle had more luck investing a lousy five bucks and cashing out at $62.50. After some match plays (he won, I lost) we headed out and pointed towards Fiesta Henderson. This is one of Isleâ€™s favorite places and I can see why. The new garage is completed and very convenient to the casino. I signed up for a playerâ€™s card and got a whopping three dollars in free play which I lost in three pulls on a dollar machine. Itâ€™s a classy joint though and we had fun playing at the VP bar. I actually had one of, if not the best bloody maryâ€™s Iâ€™ve ever had there. The bartender was very friendly, especially considering we were the only customers at the bar! With no luck at FH, we headed out to Green Valley Ranch. Iâ€™d never been here either, but man, is this place beautiful! Very classy. I tried to sign up for a playerâ€™s card, but found out Iâ€™d done it online back in 2000 in preparation for my trip. I never made it there but lost out on the free play since Iâ€™d already signed up. Goodbye, three bucks. We cruised around GVR and Isle suggested the Coffee Bean for a quick pick me up. I got the Caramel Lite at his suggestion and it was fantastic! I highly suggest it. We played some deuces/joker wild progressive nickel game on the way out and lost quickly. What a surprise! It was not even noon, and our daytrip was over. We cruised back to Orleans with me furiously snapping pictures of all the properties we passed. Isle wanted to go to the Silverton that night for the buffet and I promised to think about it but wasnâ€™t sure that was what I wanted to do on my last night in Vegas. I promised to call later. I thanked Isled profusely for chauffeuring me around all morning and went back to the room to take stock of my situation. Iâ€™d had a great time. Iâ€™d met great new friends. It was my last night in Vegas. I had about $500 bucks left. What should I do? I searched my mind, I thought hard. Hmmm, gamble? Yep, thatâ€™s it! I bounced from VP bar, to VP bar, to keno lounge, to slot machine and drank and partied and had a great time. Sometime during the afternoon Char showed up to say hi. She was looking for Doxie and as it turned out, Doxie was playing blackjack right behind us. We said Hi and both turned back to our game - thatâ€™s a true, degenerate gambler for ya! At some point Homer called and was involved in the Orleans Texas Holdâ€™em tourney. He was on break and had got through the first session. An hour or so later I got another call, heâ€™d busted out. Bummer! He dropped by and we chatted as I continued to play as hard as I could. I was up and down at this point and had reconciled that I was going home a loser again. We agreed to my final dinner at Big Alâ€™s Oyster House. I wanted to try the shrimp scampi before I left. We parted ways agreeing to meet later. Suddenly, I started to lose again. Iâ€™d been hitting pretty well on BP Deluxe, but things had slacked off. I called Homer and we met up at Big Alâ€™s. Homer had the New England Clam Chowder (at my recommendation) and the Crab Cakes. I had the Shrimp Scampi. It was excellent! After our excellent dinner, Homer mentioned Iâ€™d stated that Iâ€™d like to play some blackjack but hadnâ€™t the whole trip. Recognizing he was right, I joined him at a five dollar BJ table and proceeded to get our a$$es kicked. We played pretty much perfect strategy and nothing we could do could stop this dealer. You get 18, she gets 19. I once went 6 cards to try to beat her ten and finally she busted out. That was the only victory I remember. After losing fifty bucks of my $100 buy in, I was done. Homer and I parted ways with profuse thanks for a memorable trip and feeling lucky to have new friends. Iâ€™d called Isle earlier to beg off of the Silverton buffet. I was just too tired to venture out anymore. This was my last stand, I felt. Deal, or no deal. Win, or no win. Letâ€™s play. I had about $500 left. I hit the Mardi Gras bar, the Alligator bar, the Crawfish bar, the Cabaret bar, the bar who I canâ€™t remember the name of by the poker room bar, Brandonâ€™s Irish Pub, you name it. In the end, I was down to about $280 bucks. Now let me digress a bit. What is that smell by the Cabaret bar near the doors? If youâ€™ve ever stayed at the Orleans, and walked by that bar towards the door you must have noticed it. It smells like rotten eggs. The same smell was there in December when I stayed. I even asked the bartender about it and he said â€œWhat smellâ€? Just curious if anyone ever noticed this. Well, back to our story. I decided that since my best success was the first night at fifty cent VP, Iâ€™d end my stay doing the same. I planned to go to bed by 11pm and it was 10:45pm. I decided that I should end this as close to the room as possible so I wouldnâ€™t be tempted to stop off along the way and put my last few bucks in a machine somewhere. So as it happens, I sat at the very same machine that Ugly Betty was sitting at a few days earlier and was bugginâ€™ me while I played at the machine to the right. I had some early luck. I was employing the double round-de-round strategy at the fifty cent level and quickly hit four of a kind on Bonus Deluxe for a $200 win. Tilt kicked in, and I switched to DDB VP in search of the Aces with a kicker. I ended up down to about $100 and was resigned to disaster. I bounced around to every game offered, but finally returned to Bonus Deluxe with the hopes of a bailout to recoup a couple of hundred bucks. I got dealt a Queen of Diamonds and a Jack of Diamonds. With little fanfare, I held them over the other junk cards and hit the deal button. My boozy, bleary, bloodshot eyes could not believe what they saw. I was resigned to going to bed nearly broke. But unless I was nuts, the rest of the Royal had filled in. Suddenly, I felt myself yelling â€œOh Yeah!â€. My first Royal in Vegas since 2005. And my first W2G in Vegas! The bartenders gathered around and high fived me. I quietly slid over to the next machine and started playing at the quarter level without really paying much attention. I was calculating. The slot folks showed up and did the required ID review. I waited and played tenuously, up and down and not really caring if I lost the twenty. Once they showed back up I was presented with the W2G. As I waited for the payout the bartender touched my on my shoulder. He had the cash! I had never seen this. He peeled off 19 $100 bills and the rest in twenties. Maybe they do this so the bartenders get their cut/tip? I had fully intended to tip them, but oh well, I tipped the bartender and the floor person. Then, the machine jammed up. I couldnâ€™tâ€˜ get my remaining money out. So the floor person summoned the slot techs, and they couldnâ€™tâ€˜ fix it either. In the end, the paid me off my balance and I tipped them too. I knew in my mind what this meant. I headed up to the room and spread my cash on the bed. It was true. It was my last night in Vegas and I was up three hundred bucks and change. Iâ€™m going home a winner for the first time ever! Yeehaw! (Where have I heard that before?) I hit the bed around midnight knowing I had the itch to go back down and play more. I didnâ€™t. I slept fitfully and woke with the same thought Iâ€™d gone to sleep with; â€™Iâ€™m a winnerâ€™! Friday, 1 June My plan was to wake up at 5am and have one last great breakfast at the Courtyard CafÃ©. I packed up and headed down. I arrived at the CafÃ© at 6am. I was seated and was relishing the thought of a ham and cheese omelet. Other people were seated. They were waited on. They received their food. I sat there. I asked for my sever. They said â€œsheâ€™s comingâ€. She didnâ€™tâ€™ come. The others that were seated before me received their food, ate it, and left. My server finally arrived. I ordered my food. Crickets croaked. After 45 minutes I told the maitre de that I was done. As I was doing this, my server was walking out with my meal. It was too late. I had to get to the airport. I didnâ€™t make a fuss, I just told the facts to the maitre de. They dismissed my coffee and bill and I headed out. This was the only negative experience I had at the Orleans. I think the server was just a ditz! To sum up, my flight back was on time and with no muss and fuss. I had a great time! It was my first winning trip to Vegas. My room was comped. My meals were comped. I met great new people and made some new and maybe lifelong friend. As a bonus I won a few bucks. If I calculate in all the tips and purchases in cash, I probably won even more. If youâ€™ve read so for, you must not have much of a life. Or maybe youâ€™re just a Vegas junky, like me! Thanks for reading! Yeehaw!