I was supposed to arrive in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. Due to fog in Newark (!) I missed my connecting flight and was stuck in Chicago overnight. Since it was an award ticket, other airlines wouldn't take me. So instead of starting my vacation all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I arrived at Paris exhausted and disheveled. My room did not have a view, but I was just grateful to check in so early in the morning.

My goal on this trip was to focus my play at the hotels I most want to stay at (i.e. hotels that have decent video poker and good amenities.) I am tickled by the Parisian motif and was able to get a good weeknight rate on the internet. (I had called when my flight was delayed and they cancelled my first night without penalty.) My first stop after freshening up in the room was the casino for a little coffee and video poker - my favorite way to start the day. I found the full-pay Jacks or Better machines by the Eiffel Tower elevators and began what would be a terrible run of luck.

I took a break for a trip to the Paris buffet (always good), then gambled a little more, napped, and went to the spa for a facial. I spent a couple hours enjoying the spa facilities and was even able to sit in the sun by the pool for a short while. I wish I had been able to enjoy two full days at this hotel.

My losing streak continued that night. I played blackjack and lost 14 out of 16 hands. OUCH! I did take a break from the losing to enjoy a delicious key lime tart at Lenotre.

FRIDAY, 1/13

I stopped by the players club before checking out and asked the booth attendant if I could get a reduced rate on my room. She called a casino host on the phone and gave him my information. She hung up the phone and said 'He said no.” This didn't make sense to me since I qualified for a casino rate at Caesars before I arrived. I insisted on speaking with him. She sent me over to the high limit area and I handed my card to the host. He punched my info into the computer and said, 'Oh, you are qualified for a comp room. She must have given me the wrong card.' I wonder if this was just a ploy. In any case, I'm glad I insisted on speaking to the host.

I jumped in a cab to check-in at the Stardust for two free nights. I like the 'dust. They always treat me well and the size of the property is a nice change from the mega-resorts. However, I definitely felt like I was slumming after staying at Paris. I was amused when I was assigned a room on the 13th floor on Friday the 13th. I try not to be superstitious and I accepted the room without complaint.

My big outing for the day was Serge's Showgirl Wigs on Sahara Avenue. I walked there from the Stardust and it was a bit of a hike. I browsed through the main store, then crossed the parking lot to the outlet center. I tried on about six wigs before selecting a shoulder-length platinum number. Fun!

I walked back towards the Stardust, stopping at the Worlds Largest Gift Store and the Sahara. The rest of the day and evening was spent at the Stardust playing video poker. Still no wins, but I played for a long time on the 100-hand penny machine. Dinner was a generous cobb salad at the Calypso Café.

SATURDAY, 1/14

As usual, my morning began with coffee and video poker. When the hunger pangs grew too strong, I pulled myself away from the machine and went to the Stardust buffet. This buffet is fine for breakfast (plenty of fresh fruit), but stay away at dinner!

To stop the hemorrhaging of money for a couple of hours, I decided to take the bus to Sam's Town to check it out and catch a movie. I saw Last Holiday starring Queen Latifa. While this isn't an adult movie, I was surprised to see the theatre full of parents with babies and toddlers. A woman, who had left the theatre with her small boy, came back and sat in my row. The boy was crying 'I want my bear! I want my bear!” She got huffy when I asked her to move. Then a guy a few rows in front of me kept pulling out his phone to send text messages. What is wrong with people??? It's gotten to the point where I hate going to the theatre.

I played video poker before and after the movie. I went to the promotions booth to see if I was eligible for cashback, but there were about 20 people in line and I was afraid I was going to miss the bus. Sam's Town is a nice place, but I wouldn't stay there because I like being on the strip.

I was craving a grilled cheese sandwich, so I had dinner at Denny's across the street from the Stardust.

SUNDAY, 1/15

Moving day. After video poker, coffee and a trip to the buffet I stopped at the Stardust player's club to collect my $62 cashback. I took a cab to Caesars and was glad to be back in proper society. It was too early to check-in so I left my bag at the bell desk and made an appointment for a manicure. I gambled for a bit, then went to the spa to enjoy a steam and Jacuzzi. I fell asleep in a lounge chair by the hot tub and woke up just in time for my appointment.

I was sitting across from a bride-to-be in the salon waiting area. She was holding the veil and bouncing her knee in nervous anticipation. I wished her well.

The one thing I don't enjoy about visiting Las Vegas solo is eating alone. I opted for dinner in my room: French onion soup and a classic Caesar salad. (When in Rome, right?) After dinner, I pulled up to a blackjack tables. My luck wasn't nearly as bad as at Paris and I snuck chips off the table when the pit boss wasn't looking so it would look like I was losing a lot. I bought-in for more chips, knowing that I had a pile at the bottom of my bag.

I saw the bride from the beauty salon three times that night. The first time she was in her gown at a blackjack table with her groom. The next two times I saw her she was alone, in street clothes and her veil. It made me sad.

I finished the night with a small win at video poker. I had chosen Caesars in part because it has full-pay Jacks or Better at both the quarter and dollar level. I hope this doesn't change now that Harrah's has taken over.

MONDAY, 1/16

There was a $5.00 discount for the Harrah's buffet in my room, so I decided to give it a try (after coffee and VP, of course.) The buffet reminded a bit Cravings at Mirage, only a bit more crowded and hectic. The quality of the food was good and the selection was average.

I spent a good portion of the day shopping at the Fashion Show Mall and Forum Shops. I didn't buy much, but I enjoyed strolling through the shops. I returned to my room in the late afternoon and napped in preparation for the Last Night of vacation.

Once again, I hit both the blackjack tables and video poker machines. I was actually able to squeeze out wins at both. Thank goodness...it had been a rough ride. I have always wanted to eat at Mon Ami Gabi. Since it was late (10:00 or 11:00) I didn't feel bad taking a table for one. I had a perfect view of the fountains while enjoying my steak frites.

I walked down the strip after dinner to enjoy the sights. I popped into NYNY and played video poker at the Times Square bar while listening to the dueling piano act. I had another small win to boost my energy. The energy lasted long enough for another winning session back at Caesars. I was glad to be ending my trip on a positive note.

TUESDAY, 1/17

The promotions booth wasn't open when I was ready to check-out so I stopped by the casino host's office. It was clear that my chip-hiding at the blackjack table was a success; they had recorded a higher loss for me than I actually had. Still, the host was unable to comp my room. I was able to pay for most of it with comp dollars.

The trip home was uneventful. (phew!) I'm looking forward to a group trip in May and hope that Caesars/Paris will come through with a good room rate.