I arrived in Vegas around 1 PM on Sunday, Sept. 20 and left around 3 PM on Friday, Sept. 25. Travel to and from the airport and the flights (on SW) were uneventful. I paid the $10 each way for early bird check in and did get a higher number than I ever did before. I think I was the fourth person to board on the way back. Stayed at the NYNY again to take advantage of the $29 rooms they offered me. The Park Ave. room was nice and quiet. Although I did play a few slots this trip most of the trip I was playing poker. I played at the Excalibur, MGM, and Harrahs. To say the least the Poker Gods were not kind... On my previous poker trips to Vegas I have been able to win enough to cover all of my trip expenses and have cash left over. This would not be the case for this trip. I did cash third in the 9AM tourney at the Excalibur on Monday and cashed second in the 3:30 tourney at Harrahs. The rest of the time was spent being completely card dead and experiencing some of the worst bad beats I have ever received. One example was being the first one knocked out at the final table at the MGM 11AM tourney when my AK fell to A2. The highlight (or lowlight???) of my poker experience was when I was all in with a full house and was beaten by another players royal flush. Yes, I finally saw a royal flush at a live table, and I was all in against it. Sigh.... Now, having said all of that, I really had a good time. I love playing poker and sometimes things just run this way. I feel, all-in-all, I played fairly well although sometimes I got a little tired and played poorly. I ended up about $500 down including paying for food (not including travel or lodging). The funny thing is after I got back home I was playing poker at home with my wife, her sister, and her boyfriend. There was no money involved it was just for fun and, of course, I kept getting great cards and winning hands - go figure A few observations on the trip: Just say no to the Excalibur tourneys. They have a very poor blind and level structure. They start out at 100/200 blinds with 15 min. levels. Skill takes second seat to luck in these tourneys. The MGM has some really good tourneys at 11 AM and 7 PM. The morning tourney is a $60 buy in and the top payout is usually $1,200! They have a great blind and level structure. I will definitely play this tourney again. The 3:30 tourney at Harrahs is fun but this one might be better on weekends. It is a total of $100 buy in (with add-on) but there were only two tables when I played so the winnings were low for the buy in. It is a knock-out tourney where you receive $10 for each player you knock out. I took second but never knocked anyone out(???). The Tropicana is looking nicer than I have seen it look in years. The new owners are making their presence felt. Although I have seen it in various stages of construction, now that it is nearly complete I saw just how HUGE City Center is going to be. It will be a major change for the South Strip when it opens.