Well, had to go to Vegas for business concerning a personal injury case I have been involved in for nearly 3 years now. My attorney needed me there August 22nd for a legal proceeding and he also needed to prep me for it. So I decided to head out on Saturday the 20th. The weather was absolutely horrible with high winds and torrential rain we had since the day before on Friday. I headed out to the airport in the Twin Cities and got there early. Parked and made my way in. Got to the gate in plenty of time and noticed something I had not on numerous previous trips. Delta Airlines always puts the Vegas flights at one of the two gates that has the largest bars in the airport, LOL! The first photo is a picture of the bar at the gate. Boarded up the airplane and I soon learned it was a brand new Airbus 330 (might be wrong on the numbers but believe that is what the pilot said) and it was brand spanking new! The seats were all high-backed and much thicker and far more comfortable than anything else. My attorney prepaid and picked up my airline tix as well as the Vegas hotel. The next photo is on the plane. Flight was decent until we crossed the Rockies. Then the pilot gets on the intercom. The waitresses suddenly made a bail out of the aisle ways and stored their beverage carts and the announcement went something like this, "All passengers please return to your seats and make sure your seat belts are securely fastened, we are entering into extreme turbulence with a pressure system heading north from New Mexico to the Vegas/California border over the desert, this will be in effect until we land". Great, just what the frick I need. And it certainly did bounce around and I mean bounce. We finally got to the descent and into the Vegas airport. Sunshine and dry, but windy as heck! My attorney met me at the airport and I told him I was starved. He wanted to head over to the hotel, The Orleans (off strip) just a few blocks west of the strip. I know he deals with Boyd Gaming and puts all his clients at a Boyd Property all the time as he did me the month before and several times last year as well. But I was craving the one and only Sammy's pastrami sandwich and some fries. I wanted nothing but a huge, gut stuffing Sammy's pastrami! So we made our way out of the airport and up onto East Tropicana, one of Sammy's Pastrami restaurant places is directly outside of the airport up on the north end of it. Easy, since The Orleans is also on W. Tropicana just on the other side of the I-15 interstate. We got done eating and we drove out to the Orleans. Never go wrong at Sammy's. I guess I am just burned out on the strip, nice and great for tourists, but so redundant and predictable. I stayed at Caesar's, Bellagio, Planet Ho, The Mirage, Treasure Island and a few others so many times. The hustle and bustle and just the 'get them in and get them out' type of personalities of the places. Sure they are pretty and all that, but I am really looking at exploring some of the other properties like, Red Rock, Green Valley, The newer 'D' downtown, etc. Just tired of getting to Vegas and confining myself to the Wynn/Fashion Mall a-on the north to the Tropicana on the South-strip section. I do have a 7 Stars 'CET' and a Platinum MGM players card with express comps from my previous trips. This trip was supposed to be all legal prepping and legal proceedings anyways. Well, that what my attorney said anyways, I had some other plans, LOL. Checked right in, no problems. I got a mini suite, nothing fancy, after all just me-myself and I. 2 huge beds, a couch and chairs and a TV in a sitting area, etc. I told them I was fine with 1 bed in a standard room, I really don't want or need anything much. The next photo is a picture of the room with the first bed back kind of cut off. My attorney takes off and tells me he will meet me for breakfast in the early AM. I run around the property as it has been many years since I have been there. Then, we used to hit a few of the places west of the strip and play a few shoes here and there, like The Orleans, The Palms, Rio, Gold Coast, etc. Never stayed at any of them just pop in and out a few years back with some others. Went up to the room, settled and showered and changed clothes. Went down stairs and had a couple drinks and walked around. Love their bars at the Orleans, The Alligator, The Crawfish, etc. They have four main bars, a food court and of course their Asian, Steakhouse and Cafe's, etc. Here are some photos of their bars at The Orleans. I thought my daughter was going to be in town as she moved to Vegas last year from Florida where she worked at the largest casino operator there. So proud of her, working her way up from a nothing job 14 years ago at the Florida Property and finally leaving there from their corporate end of it all for a job with the largest slot machine gaming company I think in the world. Each of my three past trips, she was flown to another part of the country or world for her work, when I get to Vegas, DAMN! Next time somehow, I will make sure she will be in town! I am a New York guy at heart and found their food court there, had to get me a crazy hot dog, see the picture, everything on it! I usually get some Pink's Hot Dog's over on the strip right outside of Planet Ho no matter where I am staying there, Planet Ho, Bellagio, Mirage, T.I., etc., so guess we can start calling this business trip a bit whimsical! Here is the pictures of the hot dog craving and the food court at The Orleans as well. Late Saturday night I did get a bite to eat at their Café which is just off the Asian section/Baccarat row. It was an Italian omelet and sides, pretty good café food, not worth a special trip but pretty decent. My favorite café in all of Vegas is Café Bellagio, spot on 24/7! Here is a picture of the food as well as the view looking out from the café. Nice because one doesn't have to walk the distances that exists in places such as those on the strip. Like I said, right off the casino floor. Quick photo of the pizza ready for purchase at the food court. I can't tell you and express how nice it is to actually be able to get up from a casino card table and leave your chips there, take a 10 min break and get quick bite to eat. Hard to do at lots of the places. Well before I went and gambled, I got a 'Face Time' form my little 4 year old son. He was so bummed out and crying that I didn't get to see him in the Twin Cities prior to the flight earlier that day. I finally got him calmed down after a solid 30 min's on the phone. I found their gift store at the property and they had some stuffed animals. He knew I was in Vegas and he loves going there. Last time he went was for Asian New Year's last year and he remembers the Secret Garden in the rear of The Mirage. He always gets to pet and play with the dolphins there. So I found a shark little stuffed animal and told him it was a dolphin. He stopped crying and told me to get it for him, which of course I did. Here is a picture of it. I snapped a picture of him with it when I got back tot he Twin Cities, he wouldn't turn that thing loose for a solid 5 days! He also told me the next time I go to Vegas I have to take him. There is only a high limit machine room at The Orleans. They have a nice set-up and while not as glitzy and glamorous as The Bellagio, The Wynn and some other high limit strip properties, it is a pretty nice place. Clean, spacious and well laid out. It was absent the hustle and bustle of the mid strip properties and a good aura all around. I checked out the Asian section which was comprised of 8 baccarat tables, of which 6 were mini bac and 2 were midi bac, there was also Pai Gow and Tiles also. I believe the limits on the mini was all $10.00 minimums and max's were between $3,000.00 to $5,000.00 on those. The midi table were both $25.00 to $5,000.00 max. While the strip properties, at least mid-strip usually go from $100.00/$200.00/$300.00/$500.00 and some $1,000.00 minimums tables to max's of $10k/$15k/$20k and $25k. The outlying properties such as The Tropicana, Red Rock and other larger non-strip properties are usually $100/$10,000.00. While places like The D downtown is $50.00 to $5,000.00 max. There are other places such as The Sun Coast which is a nice off strip property that has limits of $10.00 to $2,000.00. Places such as The Palms, Hard Rock and Palace Station will have $50 or $100 min's to $5,000.00. The action at The Orleans was excellent. Lots of locals, some tourists and many regulars as well. A good mix of Asian, whites and a few other races, which is usually not the case on the strip where it is usually, predominately Asian and a few whites. All 8 tables were going right after 7pm or so. Quite a few dealers from other casinos as players. Nice to play where people were not so pretentious and egotistic for sure. I bought in with $3,500.00 of which I brought $6k for my mini bankroll. I did not plan to gamble much and not seeking anything in the way of comps or trip coverage, so I grab an iced coffee from the coffee stand near by and went over to a midi table. There were about 5 others at the table I choose. The largest wagering player was a Korean guy that used to live in New Jersey I found out. So we struck up a conversation and found out he used to be one of the few 'Noir' rating card holder players with MGM chain a couple of years ago. He owns a large trucking company and he relocated to Vegas a few years ago. Basically went bust after getting wiped out at the big places on the strip. Sad, by reality. Anyways, the shoe was strong with lots of repeating players and bankers, 4 and then 4 of the opposite, then 5 of one side followed by 5 of the other side. Everyone except the Korean guy was wagering for the chop. If it was players, they were all wagering banker. If it made a banker they all would cut to the players side. Everyone was losing. I threw a white chip out there (The Orleans has white instead of purple for their $500 Chips). You know with all the experience and years I have playing this game, I cannot figure out the way these people think these days, they miss all the real opportunities to win easy money. Consistently wagering for the cut is the wrong way to play this game. Sure for small sections of the shoe, it might prevail but not for 1/2 the shoe, etc. No way. All all these p after shoe. Even side talk with the dealers, prove the players are listening to some weird system that almost never prevails. Amazing the way most think these days. Anyways, the action was really good, lots of people and almost all the tables full or nearly full. The shoe I was at and the shoe next to me was strong. Consist and strong meaning, patterns of everything, repeating/repeaters-chop, doubles whatever. All you had to do was follow small sections like I love to do. So like I said, I threw up a white chip on the players side simply for the reason the players 3rd card every time for numerous hands was bringing up, 8 or 9. The patterns were consistent whatever it was. The Korean guy next to me throws up about $1k and he gives me the cards to turn over. 2 monkeys and the bankers return a 6. I get the 3rd card and it was a 3 line, he says-just slam it down. I had an 8. I pressed my wager to $1k. He pressed his, everyone else was on the banker. The others appeared to be Southeast Asian, Viet-Cambodian and Laos. A few of their words mumbled I could understand. They were calling me an outsider and a newbie. All fine, doesn't really matter--happens most places these days I am not a regular at. Used to it. Next hand, comes out. The Korean guy slides the cards again to me. I slide them back to him and tell him loud enough so all hear, "I rather you do it as I am a white boy and a newbie here", he winks and says, "Them guys say that stuff to any new person white or Asian that plays here". I tell him, "go ahead we need a natural-(atta-so)" and he chuckles at my comical Korean language attempt, LOL. He peeks at the cards and puts up his hand for a high-five without flipping them. He flips them after we high five for a natural 9. Bankers had less than a 7. I press and he looks at me and says, "wish I could but I am playing scared". Lost so much he said a couple times in a row. I nod to him and tell him, play easy, shorten up your table time and cut your days playing. He said he can't and wishes he could. I keep my $2k wager on the players side. I think he put his down to two white $500 chips and stacked the remainder. The board showed a couple squares of 4's and 5's bankers/players each time. I was now hoping for my 3rd possible player hand which previously was 5 on the Banker and before that was 4 on the players and before that was an equal 4 on the bankers. I know 100% it can cut and previous winning hands mean nothing, however it was strong and getting stronger. The way I figure. I came with 6k, even if I was willing to lose $5K of it, I stood 10 to 15 chances of taking around $500.00 as I did for the first wager and attempting to parlay it 3 to 5 times. I wasn't trying for $40 to $50k or $100k as I used to do on the strip at the big and glitzy places. Many times coming in with $50k to $100k bankroll and doing $750 to $2,500 average wagers. Getting wiped in two days. Pressure and big dreams. Sure I have won many times doing that, and likewise lost many times as well. Many trips never really enjoying myself. Although this trip was primarily a business trip for the legal affairs, I wanted to see if I could play a little and have fun and yes---win something. So we are on the players and hoping for the 3rd repeating player hand. Cards come to me and while the Korean guy and myself are on the players, the rest of the tables stops wagering or is down to a couple or a few greens on the banker side rather than their black chips or stacks of greens they were wagering the past couple of hands. I turn over a total 3 and the banker returns a 7. The Korean guys is like please don't turn over a monkey, please. I told him to calm down, nothing to worry about, and then turn back to him and say, "yet". He shakes his head and the dealer busts out laughing. I take a quick look at the card and it was not a monkey. I turn to him and tell him, "Royal stuff, there is a line on the card!", and he says, "see---told you, damn why I had to bet every hand, knew it was too good to follow". I didn't have a monkey, just wanted to get some fun going. The dealer goes, 'hey blame it on me as I gave you the card'. So I turned back to the Korean guy and told him, "wait maybe I didn't see it right and play like I am peeking at it". I flip over a 5. Told him simply, 'my bad, don't know how I saw a line on it the first time'! He breaks out laughing. I press once the winning once more and stack up all the white chips for a $4k wager. The highest there in the dealer's rack at the time was the white chips, unlike the strip place with the yellows, chocolate or flags and even higher denominations. I felt really good, only in it for the $500.00. I almost pulled out my $500 or $1k leaving a wager of $3k or $3,500.00. But I stopped myself with the reasoning that would probably have jinx me for the 4th and largest win. Kind of stupid reasoning I know, but hey- it is what it is. Playing scared is wrong for me and I was not playing where I had to win or a trip dedicated to gaming and covering comps. I left the $4k out there. The Korean guy is now down to $500.00. He throws in a white chip and asks for black. He puts it right back out there for a $500.00 wager. I tell the dealer hold up and hold my hand on my chips. I turn to the guy and ask him, WTF? He tells me that he almost never wins more than 2 in a row let alone 3 and 4. I told him, trust me. Don't know why I said this but it sure did bring back the Atlantic City, Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun days prior to 2000 where camaraderie and players prevailed or lost together all the time. So I asked him, do you want me to change to black chips and he shook his head in a positive manner with extreme conviction. I told him I would if he would wager the same as me. He looks at me and throws in 7 white chips and asks the dealer to change into black chips. I do the same. Everyone else in now on the player side trying to make up their loses. I look at the Korean guy and while holding my hand on my chips once again, tell him to look at the other players now on the players side. He shrugs his shoulder and says its okay. I outright ask the people down the table, hey what happened to the white man stuff and the newbie mumbling a few hands ago? They looked puzzled, I said I can understand your language somewhat as my wife was Laos with Viet ancestry. They each looked at each other and felt somewhat embarrassed. I told them, don't worry about-it's okay I forgive you. The dealer cracks up laughing. He says, best game I had in a long time around here. I ask the dealer what his favorite color is in chips for luck. He says when he plays it is usually red and sometimes green. I asked him again, what is your lucky color for tips. He says, black and then laughs. I asked him seriously. He would just smile and shrug his shoulders. I said come on man, tell me. He said red is fine. So I throw in 2 blacks and told him to give me all red. I told the Korean guy to do the same and he is like, come on let's play. I told him I would pull down everything if he didn't as we had to have the same wager for this to work. He throws up 2 blacks and gets them changed for red also. I pat him on the back and ask him, 'isn't this fun' and the guy says very loud, 'if we win this one it is'. I turn to the dealer, and look him square in the eyes and say-'it's all on you for giving us the right cards'. Everyone was on the players. Thank god I thought. Then at the last minute one of the other players pushes his wager up to the bankers side. I stand up and announce to the pit, '$800 tip for the boys if this dealer gives us the right cards'. I sit down and the cards come out. I get the cards and slide them to the Korean guy. He slides them back and says, you do it. I look at the dealer and slide them to the dealer and tell him to keep them face down. The dealer slides the banker cards to the sole player wagering on the banker and he slide them back and tells the dealer to turn them. The dealer flips the players cards and we have a 7. The dealer looks at the back side of the bankers cards and he flips a six over and has the other one down. I thought I caught a quick smirk or a slight smile which would mean that he had a monkey on the down card. He looks at the Korean guy and says, 'I hope it's a monkey for your sake but I don't think so'. I interject and tell the Korean guy don't worry we win. The Korean guy looks worried. I tell the dealer flip the monkey over man, come on let's go. The dealer looks again to the Korean guy and says, I sure hope it's not a deuce or three. I said, 'come on stop torturing the guy'. The dealer starts laughing at this point and I put my hand up in the air to high five the Korean guy and the dealer flips the monkey over. Floor comes over and said that was nice of the Korean guy and me to put the $400 up for the dealers. Told him to color me up, I was done. The Korean guy wanted to keep playing. I told him no. Told him I wanted to head over to the 'Hot n Juicy' Crawfish place on Spring Mountain Road in Chinatown and bust my gut with some spicy prawns, shrimp and corn on the cob. He tried to get me to stay. Told him I would buy and pay for the cab. He pushes in his chips and asks to be colored up. Told me he has his car outside we can take that. Went to the cage and cashed out, felt good to be up the $7k in 4 wagers. We headed over to Spring Mountain Road and pulled up just before closing time at 'Hot n Juicy'. IMO is it a smoking great place, never had anything bad there. Always a 15 on a 10 scale! Seriously worth the drive even when I stay on the strip, I would forego any of the great restaurants for 'Hot n Juicy'. Get inside and the waitress is trying to explain everything, told her been here before and at the other locations as well. She gives us the bibs ad asks us if we know what ew want I order up 3 of the specials, forget what they are called, but they are simply a pound of each, crawfish, shrimp, sausages and a couple of corn of the cobs. I order one spicy and two medium. I told him io can finish one and usually want some more of the prawns and corn so we could split the 3rd one. The food came and mouth watering good. Cannot describe it. Anyone going to Vegas should also check this place out, if you like prawns, shrimp, etc., you will get addicted to this place. They have a couple of locations on Spring Mountain Road and I think they opened or are opening one in Planet Hollywood as well. Anyway, the fest was great. Simply superb. The check came and we fought over it. The Korean guy wound up paying for it and I left a $20.00 bill for the tip. Everything was great. God love that place! We got back over to The Orleans and it was about 2:30 am. I told the guy thanks for the ride and picking up the meal. He still wanted to play more baccarat and I although I wanted to, I told him I was leaving it alone until tomorrow night (actually later that same night). I had to meet up with my attorney early as we were going to Sun Buggy Desert Racing in the early AM around 8am and then we had a full afternoon of legal work. Said I would be playing a shoe or two later in the evening. He said he was going home also then, somehow I knew deep inside of myself that he would have lost all of his winnings if he went back and played. What so many tend to forget inside of a property, is the volatility of this easy to win game and also, easier to lose game. So, Sunday am, get up early and head down to the Café which is right off the casino floor within viewing distance of the baccarat/Asian section/pit. There are 3 tables going with a dealer sitting ready at a fourth. The Orleans has action, although it is not the %k to $10k to $20k a hand stuff, it is pretty steady and regular, even early Sunday AM. I played tons at the bigger properties mid strip to know, that Sunday am would be dead, might have one or two reserved tables going or on stand by and maybe one open midi table with a few players, maybe? Anyway, I head into the café and order up some breakfast, spot on and great coffee. I am a huge coffee drinker and they had some great stuff there. East quickly and head out to the lobby to meet my attorney. The shuttle from Sun Buggy is going to pick us up at 8:15 am or so and it was right about 8 when I was done in the café. Good timing. Walk up from and outside and wait a few min's and my attorney is walking up. A few minuets later we are on the shuttle van and on the way to Sun Buggy Desert Racing. Been there a few time before a couple of years ago. Love the dunes and the feel of the car in the sand. I told me attorney it was on me, I was paying for it all. I booked the 1 hour chase, it is called the Baja Chase, they have all kinds of times and dune buggy seating options, etc. The cost of this one was right at $330 or so each, like $295.00 plus taxes and environmental desert fee or something for a few bucks each. The shuttle is free and nice. We were their first stop and then proceeded to two other casinos to pick up a total of 8 people. I bought some t shirts also for myself and the kids. I spent a total of $725.00 there for everything. Thanks to The Orleans for the quick pocket money! LOL. Had a blast and kept taunting my attorney on the dunes. Spun out a few times and came close to rolling my dune buggy over, real close! But didn't. Of course they give you a speech in the beginning if you roll your dune buggy they charge you like $350 plus damages. So we make our way back to The Orleans and up to my room. Clean up and get some stuff to drink. We spent the entire afternoon going over the legal proceeding for Monday morning and then we head out for supper. I love eating at Casa Di Amore which is also on Tropicana Avenue, the east/west artery The Orleans sits on as well. I called the restaurant and free limo service! Not many of the restaurants provide that in Vegas. I ordered up the Sinatra Steak (in honor of 'Frank' himself) and my attorney ordered up the Osso Buco which for you non Italian's is veal on the bone a rather large cut and prepared so the meat just flakes off with a fork. Love the stuff. I get into appetizers at most of the evening meals, and we ordered the antipasto plate, calamari and the clams. The clams were super! Also, I specified the wine sauce rather than the tomatoes sauce. Absolutely perfect, everything! Live music was playing and just love everything about the place. I split the bill with my attorney and it was just under $200.oo for everything. Had a few drinks as well! I got back to The Orleans about 11:00pm or so. I cruised by the baccarat tables and they were mostly all going once again. The Korean guy was present and said he sat down less than one hour earlier and was up a few hundred, couldn't get anything going. Again, the boards were both strong and weak, good for very short sections but nothing spectacular streak players. I sat down and bought in with $2,500.00. This time we were at a mini table. The shoe was nearly ending and sat and watched a bit. Made about 5 wagers out of the last 15 hands or so. Wagered $200 each time. Lost 3 and won 2. Next shoe started out with the perfect chop, banker-player-banker-player, etc. Then doubles. Won about 7 or 8 out of the first 12 hands. Wagering $100 and then $300 every time I won. I think I won about 1,300 and lost about 1,000 out of that section. The Korean guy and myself both agreed to get up and change tables. We went over to one of the midi tables and the shoe was decent, about 1/3 of the way into it. Lots of double and triples, a few alternating chops. We both agreed that a streak was coming, the ludicrous thoughts of experienced players---LOL! Anyways, the Korean guy said he was down about $2k now as the past 20 hands he was trying too hard to get the shoe to change to his thoughts. I said I was going to try $300.00 and parlay it 4 times. Each time I got to the 3rd wager I would lose, and even tried to switch sides and not stay on the same side. When we switched sides the shoe would repeat. When we stayed on the same side the shoe would cut to the opposite side. Typical baccarat. They also do not have the EZ Bac game here so all banker wins are taxed the 5%. I was now down $1,600.00 plus the few hundred win money from the other table. I called it a night as I had to get up at 6am. After deducting this loss, about $300 incidentals and a couple of taxi's for the trip, the food I paid for, spending $500 on stuff for the kids, the $725 at Sun Buggy Desert Racing and whatever other money I spent, I had a $4k profit. I wanted to walk with it and I did. I have a feeling if I came out as I used to with front money, a large 1 or 2 bedroom suite on the strip and getting all the comfort creatures and perks, I would have lost the bankroll. The action outside the strip is really good and the aura, the properties and the time playing is much better than the pretentious and stressful atmosphere of the Bellagio, Planet Ho, The Wynn, The Mirage, all the mid strip properties. Don't get me wrong, the strip is cool and some great places to eat, just been there and done that and it apparently seems the majority of the players at the baccarat tables have more money than brains and experience. One can claim, commit to and promise themselves all sorts of willpower and patience protocols. However, when you sit your behind down in that baccarat table chair, things change, things will influence you and make or break your game. Unless you are going in for a limited amount of hands as a regular player, day in and day out, each and every day as a dedicated job, there is no way the others playing and the aura and your comp level will not influence you and alter many of the decisions you make at the table. Monday morning woke up and ate at their café there. Checked out without any problems as my attorney paid for it all and put the room on his credit card, didn't have any room charges anyways. Grabbed a coffee right there at the coffee place up front and headed out to the taxi line. At The Orleans, there are always taxi's 24/7 without a line because one of the largest taxi companies is one block away form the property and they stage all their taxi's right there out of The Orleans. I had to get down to Rainbow and the southern belt line and that cost me right at $23.00. Spent the entire morning there in depositions and legal proceedings. When we were finished my attorney gave me a ride to the airport. Had time to get to the airport so on the way my attorney tells me about one of his clients that basically went bust gambling, has extreme financial problems and a pending divorce. Everything the guy had, tons of real estate is either in foreclosure or nearing foreclosure. The guy has numerous shopping centers and shopping plazas including a certain 2 shopping centers my attorney thought I might be interested in, or should we say retail store plazas along two of the main east/west arteries there in Vegas. One is just west of the strip and the other is just east of the strip. Both have multi stores and one of them has a couple of anchor stores out front alongside the roadway. The guy needs big time dollars to pay off other personal notes including lots of money to pay off casino markers which if he doesn't pay, will turn into felony criminal charges which the Clark County D.A.'s office, as they do prosecute. It is attractive and might be something I want to get into if my legal case settles this year still. Toying with the idea of setting up a retail business there?? Anyway, there was my weekend in Vegas. I think I will wear my Sun Buggy t shirt and hit the local casino tonight as see what I can do with a thousand or so. The end.