I get so much enjoyment out of all the information on here, so sharing some details of my recent birthday trip. * Stayed at the Venetian for 3 nights- arrived Friday 8/11, comp'd first and last night. Middle night was $239 plus tax ($270). No resort fee any night. * Last night (8/14) was at Cosmo. Booked using Marriott points (45,000 points). Paid $50 for upgraded room plus resort fee. Got a fountain facing room, and was able to check in around 10:30am * Ate at Yardbird our first evening- wanted to try it. Just had a few apps, and they were solidly ok. Nothing great (chicken slider type thingies, watermelon and cornbread). Eh. * Finally (finally!) after seemingly walking by it 500 times, we tried Carnival Court our first night. Had. A. Blast. Cliffnotes: VERY strong drinks...whatever you're used to getting, these drinks are 2 to 2.5 times stronger. Bartenders are crazy talented and fun. Music is good and crowd gets into it. For 35+ age group...it's awesome. * Within 30 minutes of my first VP gambling session I hit a Royal on a 10-line, .25 DDB game. I held 2 cards and the pretty thing popped up on line 9. Stunned, happy...played off it for most of the trip. * After 50+ trips, finally spent a fair amount of time at the pools. We (wife-to-be) and I enjoyed it. Surprised the water is actually chilly (was expecting bath water). Felt good getting in though. Drinks / food poolside not cheap (figure $100 to $110 for 3 drinks each, including tip). Went every day, and will include this in future trips. *Quickly realizing BJ conditions on the strip are deteriorating at a rapid pace. Best games I found, luckily are at high limit in TI ($25 DDBJ) and Mirage (same game, but I believe Mirage hits S17). Won $1100 in short time at TI and won $1000 in about an hour at Mirage. Put me firmly up for the trip with the Royal. * Aside from those BJ tables, just oodles of 6:5 at lower limits. Even saw some $50 6:5 tables. Talked to one dealer at Cosmo and she said 'it's not that big of deal, that winning comes down to nailing your doubles and splits'....not sure if that was a company line or not, but if you're giving me $60 instead of $75 for my minimum BJ bets, it's going to make a difference. * It was so bad, after seeing Carrot Top we walked back from Luxor to Cosmo, stopping at NYNY, Aria and PH...and we literally couldn't get a seat for under $50 at any table...all were full and nary a 3:2 in sight. Finally settled at a $15 table in Cosmo party pit (yes, 6:5) so that I could play with the low rolling (but winning trip) wife-to-be. * Took an Uber out to Palace Station to try the famous Oyster Bar Pan Roast. Didn't fully understand how small the seating area is and when we got there the line was 20+ deep. Stood for 20 minutes and didn't move....so we didn't get to try it. Went across the street to Landry's and regret that. Awful food (east coast seafood snob here). Only bummer of the trip. * Went downtown one night. Such a drastic difference from the strip, and we love it. Played pitch at Fremont for a few hours and then wandered up to the Downtown Grand- our first visit there. What an awesome little place. Love the inside ambiance and feel to it. We'll be spending more time here in the future. * Eats worth mentioning: Giordano's outside of Bally's (awesome pizza, which we didn't get this time), also great chopped salad and bruschetta); Tao- a pit pricey, but very good; Jaleo at Cosmo--our go to meal every trip. Amazing tapas; The Henry- gotta get the short ribs eggs benny. Trust me. * Generally good service entire trip from front desk to maid service, and including interaction with pits and dealers, bartenders and wait staff. Standout service at Tao and Jaleo. * Used two cabs (calling my buddy LV Cabbie Chronicles on Twitter) and rest was Uber. Uber is about half the price, but at least at the Venetian, they make you work for it. You now pick up on 2nd floor, back away from the casino entrance. Most other spots were a bit more convenient. * Could not buy a premium VP hand beyond the rare royal. Had enough quads, but no kickers. First two days of gambling were among best ever. Last two among the worst. Variance. * Amazing run at Luxor, pre-Carrot Top. Playing Freebet, low rolling at $10 a hand. Bought in for $100 and proceeded to not win 15 hands in a row (a few pushes and rest losses). Dealer was pretty much ripping on me, as were others at the table. I had to stick around to see if I could win a hand...finally did after buying in for another $100. Why can't wins go that way?? * Next trip will either be a hopeful comp at Cosmo, or we're headed back to Red Rock. Strip conditions are getting silly and while we like the convenience of choices on the strip, grabbing a car, heading to RR where gambling conditions are generally favorable, we'll choose to spend our dollars there.