Sorry this is so belated and so long. Things have been pretty crazy since my return. I've got to preface this report by saying I'm not much of a writer. I just think about what went on in the trip and write it down as I think about it, so I apologize if the read isn't smooth. The last two days of the trip report will follow shortly. ENJOY Thursday The day started off early with a wake up call to my mom at 5:00 to make sure she would be on time to pick me up so we could meet my sister and her husband to go to the airport for our 10:50 flight. I showered quickly and packed up the rest of the things that Iâ€™d need for my stay. When I was all done, I noticed that I still had way too much time before mom arrived so I threw Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark in to the DVD player. The movie was over by the time that mom arrived at 7:30. We threw the luggage in to the back of her car, and said goodbye to my wife and son, who was up getting ready for school. Mom and I arrived at my sisterâ€™s house at 8:00, and transferred the luggage in to their car. We hit the long term parking lot and made the trek to the bus stop in the 9 degree weather. It just so happened that we picked the one bus stop that had a broken heater. Luckily the bus arrived about 5 minutes later. We loaded up and hit the check-in for Southwest, and all received â€œAâ€ group boarding passes. Satisfied with this, we decided to go and hit the magazine stand, and the deli. We grabbed reading material, coffee and a $6 dollar turkey on white-bread sandwich before heading to the gate to wait for our plane. Everyone was disappointed when they announced at 10:40 that our plane was just now leaving Chicago due to inclement weather. Everyone managed to make it through the next hour until the plane finally arrived. We got in line and managed to get seats about 3 rows back from the front. Score! Our first win of the trip! The plane loaded quickly and we were off to Vegas at around 12:45 on a very uneventful flight. The plane landed safely and we picked up our luggage before heading off to the Alamo rental lot, where we reserved a full size car for $15 per day. We settled on a Dodge Intrepid and made our way from the south end of the strip to Circus Circus, so the two rookies could see the strip from end to end. I must say that the whole city has changed so much, even since my first visit 3 years ago. My sister and her husband were in awe of the hotels on the strip. We pulled in to Circus Circus and found our way to a parking spot in the garage. We made our way to the check in desk, and had to wait in line for about 15 minutes, as they were pretty crowded, even at 1:00 Vegas time. We got our room keys and made our way to the room. I must say that the hotel was decent. I was a little worried after reading all the negative comments on it, but I found it adequate for what we were after, and that was a place to sleep. Our view was of the Hilton and Riviera, so we couldnâ€™t complain too much. After unloading, we decided to make our way down to the main casino for a few minutes. My mom and sister settled in on a couple of Monopoly slots, while my brother in law and I looked around at the table games. Iâ€™ve got to say that I was very disappointed with the amount of 6:5 blackjack that I say on the strip, and C.C. had it in abundance. We decided not to play anything for the moment and went back to grab the ladies to head over to Slots A Fun. Mom and sis found another Monopoly slot while bro-in-law and myself took $30 over to the street-side craps table with $1 minimums. Iâ€™d never played much craps so he gave me a craps book for Christmas to prepare me for the trip. We played for a while before losing our $30 buy-in. This would be a common theme for him, as no matter what he did, he couldnâ€™t get ahead. We decided that food and more beer was in order, so I suggested the Mega-Dog at the Ho. We were all amazed with the size of the hot dog, and none of us finished it. I hit the blackjack table with my brother in law to teach him basic strategy, since he wasnâ€™t interested in learning from my sister or mom. He lost a bit more, while I won back my loss from S.A.F. plus $20. Next stop was the Stardust. We were all feeling quite well at this time so the walk was fairly entertaining. Bro in law was very impressed with the Sports Book at the Stardust, and we each decided to make a two team parlay for $10, just for the hell of it. He took Arizona and Arizona St, while I took Stanford and Arizona. Needless to say, Arizona did us both in, so we tossed our tickets that night. Mom and sis played some blackjack while I donated $40 to the three card poker table in about 2 minutes. Not a great experience at the Stardust. We ventured back up to the Riviera and got my picture taken with the bronzed ladies of Crazy Girls. We toured the tables, but Iâ€™m of the opinion that the Riviera is having a bit of denial because there wasnâ€™t a single $5 or $10 table to be found. The only thing we could find were $15 tables. It just seems a bit out of place for the location. Maybe itâ€™s just me. Not wanting to start throwing big $$ away just yet, we decided to go for shrimp cocktails at the Golden Gate. We emerged from the Plaza parking garage just as the Fremont Street Experience was starting. We took in the show and then headed in to get our shrimp. As usual, everything was good, even though the cocktail sauce was a bit on the hot side. We decided to play some more table games and couldnâ€™t believe that the lowest minimum was $5. Maybe this was because of Super Bowl weekend? The guys hit the craps table while the ladies hit the blackjack table. We both bought in for $100, and with the exception of one decent roll which we didnâ€™t make any money off of, nobody could get anything going. I also noticed that I had a bad habit of establishing a point, and then rolling the dreaded Big Red right after. I decided to cut my losses, and went to play blackjack with mom. I worked my $25 back up to my original $100. We went across the street to Las Vegas Club, where I found a single deck game with decent rules, even though it was a Royal Match table. I played for a while but the dealer had an amazing knack for drawing to 20 and 21. Not a good evening. I was down $280 from my original 4 day gaming budget of $680. We went upstairs at the LVC and had the graveyard special of steak, eggs, and hash browns for $2.99. It was very good, and a much needed finish to our night. FRIDAY Friday came early along with a splitting headache. I guess all the beer and the cigar from the night before were making their presence felt. I showered and got dressed before heading down to get coffee at the deli counter in the Circus Circus casino while every one else got up. I called the wife to let her know that everything was going fine, since I missed her call the night before. I decided to stick $20 in to a VP machine which had a good pay scale, but alas, apparently my VP strategy isnâ€™t very good, as my money went bye-bye in short order. Things arenâ€™t really looking good for the rest of the trip, as Iâ€™m down $300 in about Â¾ of a day in Vegas, and I only brought $680 with me. Yikes! I went back up to the room and picked up my mom and sister who were finally ready. Brother in law decided to stay in bed for a while longer. We left a note that weâ€™d be downstairs in the casino and for him to come down. The three of us decided to join the ONE Club for the free fun-book. Mom and I took advantage of the $15 for $10 offer in chips. These are the chips that canâ€™t be redeemed for cash, so you have to lose them, no matter what. Mom and I roamed the main casino floor and actually found a 2 deck blackjack game with $5 minimum that paid 3:2 for blackjack. She sat down at the only empty seat and played her $15 up to $40 of regular chips before losing her fakes to the dealer. I switched her, and ended up $50 before deciding to leave the table. Iâ€™ve got to say that I just donâ€™t feel the Circus Circus casino at all. Thereâ€™s just something about it. By this time, the brother in law comes by with Krispy Kremes and we decide that we want to head down strip for a bit. I run over to the craps table and play the $5 Field Bet match play and win. Not a horrible start to the day. Everyone wanted to visit Slots A Fun first, so the Bro in law and I took $50 over to the craps table to try our luck. He gets the dice and starts hitting a few numbers here and there after establishing his point. I decided to throw a $1 hard six bet out, and after a couple of rolls, it hit. I collected $8 and had them press the hard 6 by a buck. Two more rolls passed and it hit again. I kept pressing the bet by a buck and it hit for the last time when I had pressed it up to $5. Like an idiot, I should have been parlaying it, but oh well. I decided to color up $175 bucks after his roll, but for some reason, he didnâ€™t make anything off his own turn with the dice. Just wasnâ€™t in the cards for him this trip it would seem. Next we decide to visit Caesars Palace, so we drive down to the Barbary Coast and decide to walk the rest of the way. We almost died at the hands of an elderly lady spiraling down the parking garage ramp at the B.C, but luckily we were able to maneuver out of the way. We headed through the casino and over the crosswalk to the Palace. Great looking place, although it doesnâ€™t seem to be our style. Weâ€™re definitely not the high roller types. I did see a sugar daddy in the Forum Shops parting with some of his money to outfit his much younger and better looking sweetheart. I had to laugh at that. After Caesars we headed to the Mirage to check out the sights. My bro in law is still hurting from the losses the night before so he doesnâ€™t want to gamble. We saw the white tiger on display, checked out the pool area, and the big aquarium behind the check in desk. We also walked around the Volcano area which was halfway interesting. The group decided that gambling and beer was in order, so we headed for the Casino Royale, which I decided on from hearing about it on this board. Joined their slot club, and took advantage of the free beer coupons, as well as their match plays. The bro in law and I decided to try our hands at the craps table again, and both bought in for $100 at the $2 table. Things started out choppy, and with the exception of a 10 minute roll on my part, finished that way as well. I started to â€œsetâ€ the dice and had some success placing the 5 on top of the 6 before throwing them. I donâ€™t even think this is a real set, but it was working for me. I was getting chastised by the box man after a couple of my rolls ended up with one die coming up short of the wall. I didnâ€™t have much experience, so it was hard getting my throw down. My brother in law said something to the effect of â€œstop busting his ballsâ€¦â€ and almost got escorted out of the casino. I guess the crew was just looking for something to get riled up about. I left the table to play some blackjack, and ended up with a very surly female dealer. I wasnâ€™t paying attention to what was going on while she was shuffling, and without looking at the table, I went to place my bet. She just happened to have started dealing, and she ran me up one side and down the other, all but screaming at me that I canâ€™t place a bet after deal has started. Iâ€™m fully aware of this, and just didnâ€™t notice her dealing, but she wasnâ€™t getting that it was just a mistake on my part. Mom and sis happened to be sitting at the same table, and both looked at each other as if to say â€œWow, whatâ€™s the attitude forâ€, and the dealer proceeded to scold them, saying that what I did was wrong. Sis is very confrontational and doesnâ€™t back down easily, so she not very quietly asked the dealer if she just didnâ€™t want us playing at her table, which brought the suit over asking what the problem was. We all got up from the table because of this dealers attitude, and it was apparent in talking to the suit that he wasnâ€™t worried about he situation that much. We decided that the Casino Royale wonâ€™t be getting any more of our money on further trips to Vegas. Thatâ€™s too bad too, because they have great odds on craps. Since all of our losing streaks were still intact, we decided that some food was in order. We stuck close and went to the Chipotle next door to the C.R. The food was good and the prices were much the same as at home! It was my turn to pick where we went so we decided to drive to the Rio for a bit after checking out Big Elvis at the Coast. We checked out the whole casino including the shop that sells movie posters and autographs. I must say that theyâ€™ve got some very high quality wall hangings in there. Saw the sky parade which was pretty cool for the first 5 minutes or so. I spent a little time checking out the scenery at the Tilted Kilt. (What can I say, itâ€™s hardwired in the brain. ) We got a call from my wife that my son was very sick and running a fever of 104 with bronchitis, and on top of that, it was supposed to snow 18 inches on Monday morning when we were to be flying back. This pretty much put everyone in a bad mood because even though we were having fun, we didnâ€™t want to have to stay in Vegas for another day. We spent some time walking through the Rio, and then decided to check out the Palms. I never played at either place, as I just wasnâ€™t feeling it. We headed back to C.C. to change clothes and decided to go to NYNY for dinner. We parked at Excalibur and made our way through the maze of people all the way to ESPN-zone which was fairly crowded as well. I had a shrimp fettuccini dish that was very good. The whole table started off with Chili-Cheese fries that were also great. Service was a little slow, but thatâ€™s to be expected on a very busy Friday night. We all got to see a very colorful individual screaming at the Milwaukee Bucks who obviously didnâ€™t cover in their victory. He actually threw his hat across the room. Ah well, such is the life of a sports junkie. We all headed back to the hotel for some sleep before our trip to the dam the next day. I let everyone know that I was going to try my luck at the BJ tables at CC before I headed up to bed. I sat down and after about 20 minutes, Iâ€™m up $50 at a five dollar table. The brother in law shows up behind me saying that he didnâ€™t think Iâ€™d have any fun being by myself, so he came down to keep me company. I got up and we went back over to the craps tables. He said he was going to try one more $50 run, and as youâ€™d imagine, he lost it fairly short order. We decided to call it a night for good this time.