Not your normal Vegas tripâ€¦â€¦.no drinking, staying up too late, or seeing naked girlsâ€¦.Man, almost makes you wonder why I went, doesnâ€™t it? Hahahaha Hit the road before dawn Tuesday morning, and rolled into town around 11:30â€¦..too early to check in, so I turned Right on Tropicana and Las Vegas Blvd, and went directly to the Callaway Center to hit some golf balls. This is the best driving range Iâ€™ve ever been to, and I try to get there every time Iâ€™m in Vegas. They put grass in where the giant lake used to be, but itâ€™s still great. Hit balls, chipped, and putted until around 2:00, then headed off to the Flamingo to check in. I must say up front that my expectation level for the Flamingo was not high. This estimation was completely based on gut feel based on the appearance from the Strip, and a couple of very short forays into the casino. I drove past the entrance on the first passâ€¦.very poorly signed in my opinionâ€¦..circled around and made my way to the Valet, which was somewhat surly and disorganizedâ€¦. Hmmmm this is shaping up pretty much the way I envisioned it. Grabbed my stuff and headed for the check-in desk. Once inside, I must admit that it was nicer than anticipatedâ€¦.lots of marble and goldâ€¦.reminded me a lot of the Golden Nugget. I was first in line, which was great, especially since for the rest of the trip I swear that line was Never less than twenty people deepâ€¦.talk about good timing! I asked the girl at the counter if there was any chance of a â€œBirthday upgradeâ€ to the roomâ€¦.we laughed, and she asked for my ID, and we laughed some more. At the end of the process she told me she upgraded me to a Strip View roomâ€¦.pretty much all I had expected, so that was great. I got to the room, and once again, was pleasantly surprised. Definitely better than anticipated. I was only eight floors up, but my room looked directly at Ceaserâ€™s, and diagonally to the left was Bellagio, and an unobstructed view of the fountains. Nice. I got my stuff organized and headed out to the Las Vegas Athletic Club just up from the corner of Sahara and Maryland Parkway. There are several LVACs, but this is the Big one, and itâ€™s great. Worked out with no time restraints (what a luxury!), then hit the Huge steam room, and then the jacuzziâ€¦nice. On the way out I was looking at the prices in the window of the Massage place that is one of the businesses in the large entry foyer to the club. One of the therapists brought a copy out for me, and started explaining reflexology to me as she massaged my handâ€¦â€¦hell yeah, letâ€™s go! An hour later, I am completely content. I get in the car and head back to the hotelâ€¦.after a few minutes I look around and blurt out â€œwhere the fâ€¦. am I??â€ hahahahahaaa I was such a noodle that I missed the turn onto LVB, and just kept driving! Hahahahaa I was sitting in the car laughing out loud. I saw a sign for the 15, and was good to go. Got back to the hotel, changed clothes, called home, and was ready for some fun. My plan was to walk across the street to the Mirage and play some poker, but much to my surprise, on the way out I saw that the Flamingo had a poker room! Not as nice as the Mirageâ€™s, and not non-smoking, but still! Thereâ€™s something to be said for walking from the tables to the elevator. Another check mark in the good column for the Flamingo. I played for about four hours, and ended the night down about $25â€¦..pretty cheap entertainment. Met some nice people, as you usually do playing poker. So day one pretty much went like thisâ€¦..took a long drive, played some golf, worked out, got a massage, played pokerâ€¦..aaawwww yeah. The next morning I slept in three hours longer than my normal weekday wake-up time, and then headed out to learn, learn, learn. Spent the morning learning, then it was lunch timeâ€¦. Hmmmmâ€¦..eat, or gamble?â€¦. I can eat any day, time for some Pai Gow Poker!! Played for about 45 minutes, and came back down $5, much to the amusement of the table of non-gambling women next to me. Learned for a few more hours, and then I was free again! I had planned to go back to the Callaway Center and hit some more balls, but it is COLD todayâ€¦.I mean legitimately cold. Off to the gym!! Another luxurious no time limit workout, steam room, and jacuzzi. Didnâ€™t get the massage this time, so I was able to navigate the trip back to the hotel without incident... heeheehee Fresh clothes, call the family, and it's off to dinner. There is a restaurant that was right next to the elevatorsâ€¦.Lindeyâ€™sâ€¦.looked at the menu on displayâ€¦. $11 for a saladâ€¦.hmmmmâ€¦.the buffet is right thereâ€¦.gotta go! Once again, pleasantly surprised. The selection was not overly amazing, but everything I had was very good. Now itâ€™s off to play cards! Once again intending to go to the Mirage, but I see some people from the night before, and decide to at least start here, and see how it goes. Of course I never left. Played for about four hours, ended the night down about $30. Off to the room. The Bellagio fountain show is awesome from my window. I call my wife to let her know (again). Sleep in again, then off to spend the day learning. At lunch I decide to check out the pools and gardens of the Flamingo, since Iâ€™ve heard theyâ€™re great. They are! This place was the Mirage before the Mirage! â€œOld school Mirageâ€. Nice. I would definitely stay here again, especially in the summer. It is cold and windy, so I head back inside to get in a half hour of Pai Gow Poker before getting back to class. Of course the women next to me want to know the damage, and I proudly proclaim, â€œup $7! Whoâ€™s the Man NOW??â€ hahahahahaa A few more hours of learning, and Iâ€™m done. I try to get the ladies to stay another night so we can get a limo, see the sights, and have some funâ€¦they want to, but canâ€™t. Itâ€™s my birthday, and I donâ€™t feel like working out. I Need to play cards at the Mirage! Do the change clothes/call home thing, and head outâ€¦..itâ€™s COLD outside!! Iâ€™m standing at the crosswalk to the Mirage, shiveringâ€¦.there are three women next to meâ€¦..I cozy up to one and jokingly ask if I can just stand next to her sweaterâ€¦ we all laugh, and they give me a hard time for not having a jacket. Turns out they are on a girlâ€™s trip from New Jersey. They are all very nice, and when we get to the other side, they ask me if I want to join them, as they are going to Ceasarâ€™s for drinksâ€¦.I hear a very loud voice in my head that sounds an awful lot like Clint Eastwood, saying â€œA Manâ€™s got to know his limitationsâ€â€¦..I regretfully decline, saying I have to meet some people for dinnerâ€¦.damnâ€¦.. I get on the walkway and head into the Mirage. Finallyâ€¦. Man, I love this poker room. I get a seat at a table with a couple of very nice guysâ€¦.one to my left from Texas, who went to A&M, as did my brother, and another guy from Connecticut at the end of the table. One of the things I love about Vegas is meeting people from all overâ€¦ very cool. Iâ€™m hanging in there for a few hours, having a great timeâ€¦feeling like a Big Dog, playing poker at the Mirage. Then it happensâ€¦. I fill a flush in six cards, but it looks like a straight on the tableâ€¦I raise maxâ€¦.two people stay in. Last cardâ€¦. I bet max again, one guy folds, but the woman at the end raises meâ€¦ uh-ohâ€¦.Iâ€™m in this far, so I have to payâ€¦.she has an ace high flush, three diamonds in the holeâ€¦ ouch. I win the next hand with a pair of sevensâ€¦.greatâ€¦you can imagine the disparity in pot size. Next handâ€¦.I have an eights over sevens full house in six cardsâ€¦time to get it backâ€¦.bet maxâ€¦ again, two people stay inâ€¦.seventh cardâ€¦.bet maxâ€¦ again one guy drops and itâ€™s just me and the same womanâ€¦.she raises me Again! We both look like flushes on the tableâ€¦.I re-raise, she calls, and we turn our cards overâ€¦.Iâ€™m feeling good as turn my boatâ€¦ then I see her THREE KINGS IN THE HOLEâ€¦..no way! Kings over twoâ€™s. I feel like Iâ€™ve been kicked in the groin. At this point I have two optionsâ€¦.take a knee, or walk it off. I decide there is more dignity in walking, so I say goodbye to the Mirage poker room, down $100. Ouch. Go get some dinner at the Mirage buffet. After dinner I decide to visit some other casinos. I walk through the Mall at Ceasarâ€™s, and on to the Casinoâ€¦.it looks like they are going to re-do the Casino! Great! Now if they will just encourage their dealers to be happy, that place will be Great! On to the Bellagioâ€¦.watch a fountain show from just inside the entrance, then over to Ballyâ€™s and Paris, then down to Harrahâ€™s outdoor party area to listen to the band playing 70â€™s and 80â€™s music for a whileâ€¦quite entertaining. It is seriously cold, so itâ€™s back to the Flamingo for a couple hours of Pai Gow Poker before calling it a nightâ€¦up $2â€¦great. Sleep in â€˜till 8:00 the next morningâ€¦..I could get used to this! Check out on the tv, and notice they charged me for a bottled water I didnâ€™t drinkâ€¦.call down and get it fixedâ€¦.strangeâ€¦.speaking of strange, what is the deal with gouging on phone calls? $30 and $40 phone calls?! What the hell is that?! Thatâ€™s just not right. Get the car and hit the roadâ€¦..the drive back through the Mojave is very pleasantâ€¦ most of the traffic all day is heading towards Vegas, which is nice. Make it home in five hours. Kind of odd to be home from a three night Vegas trip and not be tired, but itâ€™s kind of niceâ€¦.itâ€™s also nice that all four days counted as work days! Hahahahaha Thatâ€™s the kind of work I could get used to! Bottom line: Had a really good trip, even though I was by myself. I would definitely stay at the Flamingo again. There was one other bonus: Now my wife is fired up to go, and weâ€™ll probably make a trip in late Marchâ€¦â€¦ lovinâ€™ it. T.