Hi folks, I just joined this forum the day before I left for Vegas. There were 3 of us, all guys, 24-31, going for cheap food, cheap gambling, and poker tournaments. Soooo, here's my TR!! It's long, so bear with me. Friday, May 2 We left Tampa almost 90 minutes late. Bad weather in the midwest. Not a good start. However, when we get on the plane, they told us the real reason why they were late. Our pilots were flying in from St. Louis, and the president was in St. Louis, so all flights were grounded. So, I guess I can't blame Southwest Air. We arrived at McCarren about 20 minutes late, around 10:30PM. They had a quick turnaround in KC and made up time in the air. We take the shuttle to our Rent-a-Car center away from the terminal. It's a neat place. We get checked in, get our car, and are on our way. My two buddies have never been to Vegas before, and so I figured it was important to drive them straight up the Strip to get to downtown. They had a great time seeing the sights and taking it all in. It's like an adult Disney Land. We finally get downtown to our gem of a hotel, the El Cortez. I had read about the El Co on another forum and really wanted to check it out. My wife hates DT, so the only chance I would get would be on a boys trip, and this was it. We checked in quickly and got up to our room on the 8th floor. It was a great space!! It was spacious and had a view of the strip from the room, and a view of the Western Casino from the bathroom! The only thing was that the bathroom was tiny but for 3 guys, that's not a big deal. We headed downstairs for some blackjack. It was up and down, but mostly down. Great times. Saturday, May 3 We got up and got ready to go to the 10AM poker tournament at Binions. One of my friends, E, needed to get to a bank to get his money. We walked from the El Co to the Bank of America building a few blocks away. We ran into the Race for the Cure crowd and enjoyed seeing so many people walking for a great cause. We hit the Starbucks @ the GN, put a few bucks on the Kentucky Derby, and headed to Binions to register for the tournament. All three of us played. I busted out first, K was second, and E busted out in 7th place, 3 places out of the money. We went to the 4 Queens for some blackjack at a good table, double deck 3:2. After that, we took E to Sam Boyd Stadium for the Motocross event. I've always wanted to visit Circus Circus because of all of the horror stories I have heard. We got there, walked around dodging children the whole way, and made our way to Slots-A-Fun. No real luck there. They had a $1 blackjack table and it was PACKED. After leaving Slots, K and I headed to the granddaddy of all Vegas attractions....THE ADVENTUREDOME!!!!!!!!!!!! Back at CC, we decided to look into the craziness that is the adventuredome. We actually decided to ride the rollercoaster. It was a good time. Probably not worth $7, but we had a great time. After that, we headed to the Orleans to use my ACG coupon for a 2for1 buffet. It was quite good, and for under $8 each, why not? We played a little there, and headed back to the Strip. We parked at Excalibur and explored the south Strip area. Excal, Luxor, M Bay, NYNY, MGM. It was Saturday night, and the tables were packed, and full of limits higher than our low roller budget would allow (we enjoy the $3 and $5 tables). E called us, and we went to pick him up and back to the El Co for late night blackjack and roulette. I finished down for the night, but still had some of my daily budget in my pocket when I went to bed (which means it comes home with me). Sunday, May 4 We were going to play in the 11AM tournament at Treasure Island, so it was off to the Strip again. We parked at TI, and E decided to go find breakfast. While we waited, I dropped $5 into a quarter machine (who knows what it was). I played max credits, and on my second pull, I hit a bonus spin for $100. NICE!! Especially since it was just a way to kill time. I played it down to exactly $100 and cashed out. So, K decided it was his time to put a few bucks into a slot. I think it was a Double Diamond or something. He pulled a few times, and hit a Double Double 7 for $250!! Yep, both of us, back to back, just killing time. It was a good thing because we all busted out of the tournament very early. It was a tourney that you could re-register after a bust out (not a rebuy, but a true re-register). So, people were playing crazy and buying back in. We didn't have the budget to buy back in, so we busted out in a few hours. We decided that was enough poker, and went into tourist mode. We visited all the casinos from TI down to Bellagio, and over to Bills and back up to the Venetian (including my favorite, Casino Royale!!). We walked from Bally's to Ellis Island on Koval to have their famous Steak Special. Great stuff!! Got to TI to get the car. Back downtown to the El Co. I really wanted to visit the Western while we were there. I've heard so many great stories about that place!! We walked over there and sat at a $3 BJ table by the front door. We played with a lady who had to ask the dealer how much she had in each hand....each hand. She was....um....special. If you've ever been to www.cheapovegas.com and read the writeup on the Western, the listing under Entertainment is correct. If you haven't been there, go to the website, check out the details on the Western and look at what they say the entertainment is....we agree with them. We came back and by now it was getting late, and we were exhausted. Back to the room for a nap. K stayed in the room, and E & I went to the FSE to take in the light show. We saw the Queen tribute. It was a lot of fun and the crowd was into it. We hit the Plaza, MSS, and California for some blackjack action. I ended up a bit. We made our way back to Binions and saw that there was an 11PM tourney with a great structure. I took my winnings from the night and bought in, so did E. It was a tough group. It was a great tournament and I feel we both did well. I busted out after E, somewhere in the middle on a bad beat (my KK got busted by JJ when a J came on the Turn). While we were in the tournament, K showed up and completely ran the BJ table dry, winning around $250 on a $40 buy in. Came back to the El Co for even more blackjack and I ended down a little, but not too bad. K won even MORE!!! Time for bed. Monday, May 5 Checked out of the El Co. We headed to Red Rock Canyon in the morning and took the scenic drive, stopping quite often to take picture and climb around like little kids. It was a blast!! On the way back, we stopped at Red Rock Casino to play some BJ. No real wins or losses. We had booked the El Co for the three nights, and about a month before our trip (before we decided to rent a car) we booked an extra night at the Sahara . Before we got to the Sahara, we went to the Hilton to look around. Played a little bit and checked out the SpaceQuest Casino near the Star Trek Experience. It was a good time. We also saw something they don't have in Florida...an iPod vending machine. Off to the Sahara. Check in was SLOOOOOOOOW. Our room was nice enough, in the Tangiers tower. We basically stayed in the casino for the night, getting ready for the 7PM rebuy tournament. E and I played in this tournament. It was a tough group, and large, over 100 players. E busted out before the first break. I had a rough go early on, but scored a big pot before the first break, then bought the add-on, and had command of the table. I ended up finishing about 20th, just a few spots out of the money. I had played for 3 hours, and it was my best tournament in Vegas. We sat in the Keno lounge for a while longer, playing $1.00 games and enjoying the efficient cocktail service . In bed much too late for an early flight. Tuesday, May 6 Up very very early. Dropped off the car. Got to the gate, onto the plane, and home. Then I had to go to work today. Final Thoughts All in all, it was a great trip. Good times with good company. I didn't win any money, but I came home with about half of my bankroll, which is a good thing. The two tourneys at Binions were really a class act. It's great to see that the poker room is still going strong, now that the WSOP is at the Rio. The Sahara was a great tournament, too. I must say that Downtown is really trying hard to keep their blackjack rules competative. I saw lots of favorable odds, including many double deck 3:2 games, and single deck 3:2 at the El Co. It's nice to see that the 6:5 tragedy on the Strip is not swarming into Downtown. Some of the downtown casinos are advertising their 3:2 games. Great to see!! I have to say that the more often I go to Vegas, the less and less I want to be on the Strip. Downtown is such a great time. I know my wife doesn't like it, and when we go together, we will be staying at MB or Paris, which is fine, but I will always have a place in my heart for Downtown. Love it!! Can't wait to get back. I'll post pics as soon as I can.