May 22nd - May 29th 2006 - New York New York Ok trip number 5 for me, went with two male friends K and C, C is 36 same as me and its his second trip, we went together 5 years ago and K is 26, his first time. Due to large amounts of alcohol consumed during periods of this trip you will find that some days are detailed and some are skipped through quickly. Flew Virgin Atlantic direct from London Gatwick, on arriving at Gatwick Airport we were told the flight had a one hour delay our hearts sank just a little, first loss! Anyway we had breakfast and then while sitting in the sports bar I noticed that the screens said our flight was boarding! Anyway we rushed through to the gate to find that whatever the problem was it had now been sorted and we were now back on time, first win! Anyway flight was fine and we landed in Vegas on time at 1.00pm. Now I had booked a limo with Presidential as a surprise to the other two but it took forever to clear immigration, like one hour. During this time I am thinking that I am going to be getting charged more for extra limo time so I was not best pleased. Anyway we finally get through, grab our bags and make our way into the arrivals lounge and our driver (sorry forgot name, big guy with moustache, I think maybe Bill?) was waiting for us. We took the limo down to the Welcome to Las Vegas sign past Mandalay Bay and took some photos, our driver kindly taking the pics for us. Then we made a quick stop at a Liquor store to stock up on booze and water for the room before making our way, all the way to New York, New York, yeah I know not much of a ride but hey if you are gonna do it, do it in style that's what I say! I am pleased to say that Presidential did not charge any extra even though they had to wait for us for ages at the airport, great driver and good service, also was a brand new limo! Tried the $20 trick at NYNY and was told no upgrades were available from our Park Avenue room, asked for a high room with a nice view and was given a corner room in the Chrysler Tower with views of MGM down to Mandalay. Some noise from roller coaster but nothing to worry us. Requested a rollaway which arrived about 2 minutes after we reached our room and our bags a couple of minutes later. Like I say this was my 5th trip and I had never played live poker on any previous trips so it was top of my list of things to do this time so we dumped the bags and set out to give it a try. allvegaspoker.com recommended Excalibur as being a good poker room for beginners so thats where we headed. Well this proved a great decision as we sat at their $1-$3 game and had a fantastic time. I brought in for $50 played for 4 hours and drank countless drinks from the ever present cocktail waitress (tipping $1 for each) and cashed out with $48. This has to be one of Vegas biggest bargains, great cocktail service and with only a single $1 blind it really is value for money. We headed back to NYNY grabbed something forgettable to eat from one of their fast food outlets and headed up to the room for showers and to get ready for a night out. I had got us on the guest list for Jet at the Mirage, Monday nights are their 'Industry Nights' and you can get on the guest list using napkinnights.com. Anyway, we head up to the Mirage via cab and grab a couple of Jack and Cokes in a bar near the line for Jet. We join the invited guest line at about 10.30 and although the line is not long it takes forever for them to let us in. Basically this is because all the good looking girls are jumping the queue, but they sure are good looking. We are shattered at this point as midnight local time is actually 8am for us but we soldier on in true British fashion. Once inside I am impressed with the look and of this place and the music seems good as well. After an hour or so of people watching and Jack and Cokes C decides he has had enough and heads back to NYNY. K and myself start hitting the Vodka Red Bulls in a bid to wake up a little and we check out all three rooms of this impressive club. Lots of beautiful people but I would say the atmosphere was not all that, more of what I would call a 'look at me' club than a party place. After an hour or so we call it a night and head back to NYNY. The following morning we are up quite early and we have breakfast in the America restaurant in NYNY, food and service are good, we eat here a few times during the week and it is mostly good. We also eat at ESPN zone a couple of times, loved their chicken and ribs combo. Other places we ate were Tony Roma's at the Stardust, ok but not great and we had a lunch at Hooters. We had fun at Hooters and although people slag it off I thought it was fine and the staff were friendly, our waitress, Holly, sat at our table chatting for ages even after we had paid our bill and tipped her. She also posed for some cheesy photo's with us. Today we are off to the Grand Canyon with Papillon Helicopters, I cannot say enough about these people, what a great service. We booked the Celebration Tour, you fly all the way from Vegas to the Canyon (about 45 mins) with commentary from our expert pilot, Jeff. Then you land at the base of the Canyon next to the river for 15 mins or so, have a quick drink and fly back, a great experience all round. That night we spent a few hours at Harrah's moving between Carnival Court and the duelling Piano Bar. We had a great time at both these places and many beers, Jack and Cokes and Tequila shots were consumed. At some point K had had enough and couldn't keep his eyes open so he went off to the hotel and C and myself headed to Studio 54. I like this place, a good party atmosphere and C and I stay until it closes. We head then to the nearest bar and carry on drinking and socialising until I realise I have hit my limit. I leave C and somehow make it back to NYNY, somewhere along the way I acquire a large coffee with a straw in it which I use to give myself 3rd degree burns in my mouth. About 9am I am woken by the phone in the hotel room, its my wife in a panic back home as C has been phoning his wife and friends back home in a drunken stupor saying 'I'm lost, I can't find my hotel whilst stumbling across busy roads with cars sounding horns at him' - only in Vegas! I assure her that he has made it safely back to the hotel room and all is well again. This report is getting pretty long now so I will switch to a more condensed format for the rest of the trip. Gambling wise I am doing ok at the Excalibur poker room having fun and even winning a few dollars but everything else sucks. I haven't cashed out ahead on a single video poker machine or a slot machine and even stuck $200 dollars in a $5 slot machine without getting a single credit in return. Normally I play .25 poker and some slots. I even try Roulette and although I hit a single number on the first spin (21 red) the winnings along with my $50 profit soon vanish. Thursday we start with some shopping at Las Vegas Premium Outlets near downtown and then we move on to the Fashion Show Mall, I pick up presents for the family back home. We tour Wynn - very impressed with the cocktail waitresses and their outfits, definately the best I've seen and pretty classy too as is everything there. On the way back down the strip we have a couple of beers at Carnival Court and also catch a little of Big Elvis's show at Barbary Coast. We also tour the casino and Forum shops at Caesars Palace. Friday night we have tickets to see Kevin James at the Mirage, great show and his warm up act was very funny also. I thought Kevin seemed a little nervous when delivering his new material and a lot more relaxed when doing more familiar stuff but it was a great night out. We checked out the Shadow Bar at Caesars also on this night which was great although some hammered guy fell on me when he stumbled over some chairs on his way out. Saturday night we decided to venture downtown, I have been before but K and C were pretty surprised by the difference, we saw some funny sights that's for sure. On this day I decided it would be a great idea to switch to Vodka based drinks as Jack Daniels no longer seemed to be having the desired effect (more on this later). Unfortunately the light show was having technical difficulties so after hanging around for a couple of hours and still no light show we decided to give up and headed over to The Beach. I had heard that this wasn't one of the more popular places any longer but as it was Memorial Day weekend everywhere else was packed and we couldn't be bothered to queue. I had signed up online for their Guest List and we managed to get straight in (not much of a line anyway) and we were given free admission. Now things get pretty sketchy here as I decided that I was not drunk enough and should start hitting the Tequila. C was feeling rough and went back to NYNY so K and myself got stuck into some serious drinking. Anyway long story short all the drinking eventually caught up with me and lord knows how I got back to our room, I was bouncing off the walls, literally! C and I have known each other for over 20 years and he has "never seen me in that state", oops! Needless to say I was feeling pretty rough the next day. On a positive note my gambling takes a turn for the better here, I put a $20 into a video poker slant top at NYNY and get a straight flush, I take my ticket to a slot, can't remember which one and cash out with $149.50. Then I think its time to get my revenge on that $5 slot that took my $200. So I feed in my ticket and it prints me one for $4.50 and with a couple of spins I hit single bar, triple diamond, triple diamond for 180 credits, and I quickly print the ticket for $1,025. Later that same day I hit a $1 slot for $800 shortly followed by another $250 win which pretty much got me back to even for the trip, I was so pleased about this I decided to leave it at that and bring some home for the next trip. Well I guess thats about it, apologies for the deterioration of quality but its purely alcohol induced and plus its taken a while to get round to writing but I was determined to do it as I have enjoyed reading so many of yours. Hope if you have kept reading this long then you have enjoyed. Am planning to go back over New Years so only six months to wait!