I went out with my recently retired dad, spending most of our time downtown. As this was at least a dozen trips for each of us, we spent virtually all our time gambling vs. sightseeing. Sunday, July 12-- Leave my house in Madison at around 3:30am to pick up dad in Milwaukee for our 7:15am flight on Air Tran. Flight is smooth and a little early. We stayed at the Golden Nugget, taking advantage of an e-mailed special, $49/night with one night free, total after taxes about $166. We took the bus downtown. For those who donâ€™t know, you can catch the 108 or 109 bus at ground level at the airport and get to/from downtown for $1.75 in less than an hour. Because it was only about 10:15am when we got downtown, we stopped at Fremont for the champagne brunch. Signed up for the Boyd card so we could use a 2-for-1 coupon. Very good deal for $10.95 with a nice carving station with beef, ham, and turkey and excellent fresh fruit. Waitress kept the champagne coming which we enjoyed. After waiting about a half hour to get through a decent sized line to check into our hotel, we got settled into our room on the 19th floor in the south tower. I asked about an upgrade to north tower but didnâ€™t want to pay the extra $25/night. Iâ€™d stayed in a south tower room on my last trip in October but this one seemed a little nicer. Had a nice view of the valley to the west. Never a long wait on the elevators, which was nice. Weather throughout the trip was standard for Vegas in Julyâ€”sunny and hot. I donâ€™t care how â€œdryâ€ the heat supposedly is, 110 degrees is pretty freakinâ€™ hot. Coming from a climate with plenty of humidity, my nose dried out a lot and was a minor inconvenience, although I never experienced any nosebleeds. We headed to the El Cortez. My dad lost a quick $60 on BJ, then hit the sports book to play the ponies which is his favorite activity. I rotated between $3 craps, $3 BJ, $0.25 roulette, and $5 pai gow poker. Drink service at ElCo throughout the trip was spotty, sometimes OK, others not, although the waitresses were always very pleasant. By early evening, my dad heads back for a change of scenery and I follow him not long afterward after losing about $90. I head to the Golden Gate and stay at the craps table for the duration of the evening. GG has followed the recent trend in Vegas by adding some scantily clad women on the floor to dance for the playersâ€™ enjoyment, and now theyâ€™re dealing BJ too. Being your typical 37-year-old heterosexual male, I considered this to be a fine upgrade. Think I played till about 1:30am and pretty much made back what Iâ€™d lost at ElCo. Craps dealers were very helpful and made all players feel welcome (even evil darksiders like me). Drink service was great throughout the week at GG. Those waitresses have some years on them but quick on their feetâ€”which to me is the most important factor. Had a pretty good run and end up just about even for the day. As Iâ€™m leaving, the floor person gave me a coupon for a free shrimp cocktail. Didnâ€™t ask for anything, but then again, itâ€™s $1.99. Maybe dad will want it. I crawl into bed around 2am, grateful weâ€™d had the huge brunch but regretting my failure to stop for dinner after all those Miller Lites. Also regretting forgetting to stop at the Walgreens on my walk back from ElCo to get some saline solution as now Iâ€™ll have to soak my contacts in some water overnight. Oh well. Monday, July 13â€”I woke up a little slow around 8:30 and toss and turn in bed until 10:00ish. Contacts are extremely dry, so I know I wonâ€™t forget that saline solution today. My dadâ€™s already down in the GN sports book, and I head to Magnoliaâ€™s coffee shop at 4 Queens. I prefer Binionâ€™s coffee shop but they werenâ€™t open yet. Took me 10 minutes to see my waitress but after that the food came quick and the club sandwich was OK. I pick up the saline solution and after dropping that off, head back to ElCo. At ElCo, I mostly play craps and have an interesting experience. At one point, the table is about 6 darksiders all betting the donâ€™t. And all making money. Weird to hear people openly rooting for 7 and everyone cheering when it comes. So this is what it feels like to be a right side better! At about 3pm and up about $30, I decide Iâ€™m hitting the Strip as I have a ticket to see Mystere at 9:30pm. My dad doesnâ€™t want to join me on the Strip as heâ€™s doing his thing in the ElCo sports book. I didnâ€™t do any sports betting, but my dad seemed to like it at ElCo. I take the Deuce and get off at TI to get my ticket which Iâ€™d ordered online for 25% off before arrival (1st row in section 202 on the aisleâ€”great seat for $83 after taxes/fees). Pickup line at 4:30pm looks pretty long and Iâ€™m starving, so I figure Iâ€™ll get a bite to eat. I head to Dennyâ€™s next to Casino Royale and have some chicken strips with fries and a salad. Still not feeling 100% so I take my time. I head south and walk through Harrahâ€™s (pausing to watch my boy Prince Fielder hit in the Home Run Derby), then IP and Flamingo. I stopped for an ice cream at Oâ€™Sheas which hit the spot in the intense heat. I make it down to Barbary Billâ€™s and decide Iâ€™ll just head back to TI and play some $10 pai gow if they have it and kill time until the show. TI does have some $10 pai gow but I get smoked and lose about $50 in a half hour. Why is pai gow a push game for everyone else but me? I head back to the ticket line and after about 25 minutes get my ticket to Mystere. I head to Kahunaville and use a 2-for-1 drink coupon to get a couple of beers and watch the rest of the Home Run Derby at a TV back in the casino. Way to go, Prince Fielder! About 8:30pm I get in the waiting line for the show and people watch as the early show lets out. Doors open at 9pm and I grab a tub of popcorn and soda at the snack shack inside and take my seat. Iâ€™d been very curious about Mystere as Iâ€™d heard so much talk about the Cirque shows and obviously seen them around town. I always say Iâ€™ll go see one of the shows and then never do when I get to Vegas because I get sidetracked gambling. Glad I did as it was an interesting show. I can see why people say to sit in the second deck as so much of the show takes place overhead and even in the aisles between first and second deck. I liked the way they used the entire theater. I was surprised to find the theater didnâ€™t have its own bathroomsâ€”is that the norm in Vegas? I would go see another Cirque show but at least now I can say Iâ€™ve done it once. After the show lets out, I cross the street to catch the Deuce. After two full buses driveby, I start walking north and stop at the next stop by Riviera. A guyâ€™s sleeping in the bus stop on the groundâ€”still breathing, thatâ€™s good. Next bus comes by and I get on it. Iâ€™m wiped so I head to the room and bed about 12:45am. Overall maybe down another $20 for the day gambling. Tuesday, July 14â€”I wake up pretty early around 6:30am and decide Iâ€™ll try the Carson Street CafÃ© in GN. A Coke and a club sandwich helps wake me up. I told my Dad to meet me in the California but heâ€™s nowhere to be found. I wander around through various casinos just to check things outâ€”pretty much everythingâ€™s dead at this point. I run into my dad on Fremont, where heâ€™s just bought a $1.99 24 oz. can of beer with 8% alcohol. You know itâ€™s good if they tell you to keep it in a paper bag. I decide to hit the pool for awhile and heâ€™ll meet me there. If you havenâ€™t seen the new pool at GN, check it out. The shark tank is very cool. As I did in October, I capture my inner 12-year-old and go down through the water slide a few times. Had to wait about 10-15 minutes due to all the rugrats staying there. They also have some outdoor BJ tables in the pool area for those interested. My dad does end up meeting at the pool with two of those big beers in tow. We hang out for a bit and then head up to change. We decide to catch the Deuce and stop at the Sahara . Unfortunately, Pops is three sheets to the wind at this point and I encourage him to grab some food. He respectfully declines and hits a BJ table while I take on $5 pai gow poker. While Iâ€™m playing pai gow poker, I can hear my dad across the casino at BJ and later craps. Funny, heâ€™s like my kid. Amidst a flurry of activity all around me, I can still hear his voice stand out in the crowd. After awhile, he just disappears so I assume he headed back downtown. I proceed to stay there for about 5 Â½ hours, having a great time at a table with friendly dealers/floor and fun players. An interesting observationâ€”after several hours I told the floor person at one point that I found each of their various dealers to be doing a great job and worthy of commendation (in spite of the fact that I was losing). Both the dealers and floor were very grateful to hear that and said they appreciated it. I got the sense that they pretty much only hear complaints and donâ€™t get thanked enough when they do their jobs well. Thereâ€™s a lesson to be learned thereâ€”when your casino dealers/floor are doing a great job, tell their supervisors so it gets recognized! I hop the Deuce back to downtown and stop back at the room to see if dad made it back yet. No sign, so I head down to Binionâ€™s coffee shop for dinner. I have their dinner prime rib for $9.99. Great deal as itâ€™s a huge cut with only a little fat. Probably was my favorite meal this trip as it completely hit the spot. I move back to Golden Gate and the craps table. Have an up and down period for several hours but have a lot of fun. This trip Iâ€™m probably playing more craps than I have every other trip combined, as Iâ€™m getting the hang of it. Being a darksider, I donâ€™t need the big cheers. Just pay me. I sense the table turning and I move to a $3 BJ table. They bump it to $10 but grandfather in the other 3 players. I got the feeling the other players didnâ€™t speak much English but we had fun just the same. One of them (â€œRosieâ€) was playing big stacks of red chips but had no clue what she was doing. She could tell I at least knew basic strategy so she kept asking me for help. All the next day I kept chuckling when Iâ€™d play BJ because Iâ€™d hear Rosie's excited voice saying, â€œPicture! Picture!â€ when we needed a face card. I went on a nice run (for a $3 table) and ended up leaving the table up around $65 after maybe two hours. I head to bed around 1:30am or so, pretty much even gambling-wise for the trip. Good news! Dad made it to back safe and sound, he said he thought Iâ€™d gone to Slots-a-Fun and played there for awhile before getting to bed around 10pm. Best news of the night was that he did NOT look like this: Wednesdayâ€”July 15-- I wake up mid-morning and grab some breakfast at McDonaldâ€™s at the Fitz. Some hash browns and a yogurt fill me up. I have about 2 liters of water on the walk over to ElCo and that really perks me up. I play some BJ, roulette and pai gow poker and lose a some. Dad eventually shows up and we play until about mid-afternoon. Iâ€™m losing some so he offers to buy lunch and we head to Binionâ€™s again. He couldnâ€™t eat all his spaghetti and I enjoyed the hot beef sandwich. I want to hit the pool again at GN, and he hits the sports book. I can only take it so long in the heat and head back to the room to change. I go back for another run at the Golden Gate craps table where many Miller Lites are consumed. And hey, the dancing ladies are back! Hello, ladies! I get a call from my old college roommate who usually comes with to Vegas but couldnâ€™t join me this time around. We exchanged a few good laughs as I explained the scene he was missing out on. My dad eventually joins me at the craps table, which makes for an interesting situation as he bets right and I bet wrong. Iâ€™m smart enough to recognize a hot table and I stay idle while he makes some decent money. I take a brief detour to one of the BJ tables where I see Rosie again. I silently chuckle when I see she's now down to playing one red chip a hand. After a half hour I head back to crap. Dad's not smart enough to see the table turning now that the cooler is back (me) and he gives most of his winnings back while I go on a nice run. He cashes out around midnight and I keep going till they close the table at 2am due to no graveyard shift. Feeling like a true degenerate gambler on his last night in Vegas, I head to Fremont and play some more $3 craps for about 2 Â½ hours. At least Iâ€™m smart enough to lay off more Miller Lites. I found the dealers to not be particularly friendly, donâ€™t know if I hit an off night or what. I crawl back into bed around 5:15am. Thursday, July 16â€”I end up waking up around 9:00 and rest in bed for a bit. After showering and packing, I go grab some lunch at McDonaldâ€™s and then pick up a t-shirt for my aunt. We check out of GN right before the noon deadline. I play some $5 pai gow poker to kill an hour while dad hits the sports book. As is the case for the trip overall, I break even. We head toward the DTC to catch the bus and go through Binionâ€™s so I can make one attempt to have one big win. I put $5 each on 32 and 36 on one spin on the roulette wheel andâ€¦ better luck next time. We take the bus back to the airport and check in for our 3:35pm flight home. The lady says theyâ€™re looking for 3 volunteers who would take free round trip tickets for another flight by being bumped to the 11:30 redeye. We debate it and eventually say weâ€™d be willing to do it. Weâ€™re told to follow up with the agent at the gate, but she tells us they already have volunteers, so we take the flight after all. Smooth flight and easy drive back to Madison, and Iâ€™m back to wife and child by 10:45pm. All in all, a fun trip. Iâ€™ll probably be back sometime next spring or early summer. The wife and I are doing a cruise in September so I can always get some gambling out of my system then. Hope you enjoyed the reportâ€”any questions, let me know!