Hey guys, just got back from a quick trip to Vegas. Got in Wednesday morning and had a quick and easy check-in at the airport. The $20 trick did not work, though. Regardless, I got the Bungalow Suite for $79 a night from an email offer. Took a cab to the hotel, got on the elevator, and then nearly lost my breath (in a bad way). The only other time I stayed at the MGM, we were in the VERY LAST room of an Emerald Tower hallway. It literally took us about 10 minutes to walk from the elevators to our room. So when I got off the elevator and saw that long hallway again, I nearly collapsed from the flashbacks. Anyway, the room this time wasn't too far away from the elevators and it was very nice. King size bed, full size couch, two comfy chairs, a table with two chairs, and a bar. The "bedroom" was separated by the entertainment center. Bathroom was big and had a separate tub and shower. I immediately took off to the Monte Carlo, Luxor, and Excalibur to check on poker lesson times. Stopped and had some lunch at NYNY, and played a little blackjack at the Luxor. Man, has that place become rundown or what? It stinks in there, literally. Anyway, a guy at my table was betting green chips, but standing on 13s, 14s and 16s. Way too much bad play for my blood. I got up and walked away once I made my buy-in back. By the time, my buddy got to town. We took a cab over to the Orleans to check it out, since we're staying there for New Year's. Not bad...our dealer was also from Texas, so we hit it off. And the Orleans has some very cute waitresses. I think I fell in love twice. Anyway, talked to the pit boss about comps...he says my play ($20-$50 bets) would probably get the room comped over New Year's, considering I play for a few hours a day. And has anyone been to that Terrible Mike's liquor store in the Orleans? Sheesh, CHEAP prices. We headed back to MGM and used a coupon for free buffets. Average food. Then it was back to the room for a quick nap. My friend's best friend (she just moved to Vegas) then came over and we commenced with the heavy drinking. After getting sloshed, we got dressed up and headed down to Studio 54. It was alright...not real crowded. There wasn't a whole lot of pretty girls there either. But anyway, we danced until 2:30am or so and I got the itch to go play blackjack again. So I left my friend there and headed for the tables. I started getting tired around 4:30am, so I cashed out up around $100 or so. Headed back to the room, where I was met by my friend and some girl he met at 54. They "needed the room." So I headed back down to the tables and proceeded to lose $500 in 40 minutes. I went back to the room and walked in on them and said "I'm going to bed. Finish if you want to." They took off to her room at the Tropicana, thank goodness. First day, down $650. My sister and brother in law got to town the next morning. We hopped in their rental car to go check out downtown (my friend had never been down there.) I'm not a big fan, so after seeing Binion's and the GN, we headed to the Monte Carlo for poker lessons. Because of some very, very rude blackjack dealers there, I HATED the Monte Carlo. But their poker room looked nice, so we gave it a shot. And I am glad we did. After the lessons, we played 7 card stud for about two hours or so on $40. We had a blast. It was our first time to play poker at tables. Great time there. After that, my sister and brother in law headed back to their room at the Bellagio. They weren't really impressed by the rooms, by the way. They said the service was great, but the rooms were fairly ordinary compared to other places. My friend and I crashed so we could go to Club Rio for Latin night...but we never woke up. Only getting an hour of sleep the night before will do that to you, I guess. Friday, we checked out of the MGM and headed right back to the Monte Carlo for more poker. I played for two more hours on $25...but my brother in law got on a good roll. He was winning hand after hand. My sister had to drive my friend and I to the airport for our flight, but bro-in-law was still going when we left. My sister dropped us off and we headed for our gate. Turns out the bro-in-law played for more than five hours before they closed the table. He got comped a coffee shop meal. I finished the trip down $800, all from blackjack. After 12 trips to Vegas, I've had it with blackjack. I consider myself to be a good-very good player, but I don't have the patience or the money to ride the waves. So I'm giving it up for a long while. It was MUCH more fun to go play poker for a few hours and spend about 1/4th of the money. And my opinion of the Monte Carlo has taken a 180 degree turn. In fact, we're trying to find a good rate to switch our New Year's plans there. The dealers and higher-ups in the poker room were great, and it's an awesome place to get your feet wet playing poker. T-four months 'til lucky trip #13.