I visited Las Vegas in late April for a work conference and stayed the weekend. I flew my father in for some quality time. We never know how much time we have left with the ones we love.

Landed in Vegas at around 10am on an uneventful but LONG flight. Short line for cabs on a Wednesday morning. Checked in at Bally's with no issues and upgraded to a North tower room. Check In was smooth, the rep was great, and they had a room ready for me.

Room was just fine. I highly recommend Bally's as a low cost and good quality place to stay if you want to be center strip. Had a view of the north strip including Flamingo, Venetian, and Wynn. Headed over to the Cosmopolitan for the conference over the next few days.

A group of us ate at Mon Ami Gabi that evening. I had one of the best steaks I have ever had. Service was great, especially since we were in a group of at least 20 people. I hate to admit I played blackjack at 6/5 payout tables at Bally's in the Party Pit. But I won $50 and have beads and a deck of cards to show for it.

Nest morning back to Cosmo for the conference. This hotel is beautiful and very different from the other casinos. You can tell a LOT of money was spent on it to make it special. I visited one of the hotel rooms at Cosmo at it is very nice. There was a view of the Bellagio including the fountains.

I hired Presidential Car service to pick my dad up from the airport that evening. Good news - they were there on time and the driver was friendly. Bad news - they tried to stiff my dad for an extra gratuity. I added a 20% tip to the bill when I booked it, but the driver "had no record of a tip", even when he called dispatch to check. Left a bad taste in my mouth and I will not be using them again. But dad was delivered promptly and I met him in the lobby.

Dad is not the type to be impressed by fancy meals and casinos. The first thing he wanted to do was eat, so we walked around Bally's and Paris looking for something he wanted. After 45 minutes of walking and looking at menus, we ended up at.... Nathans for a hot dog! Unfortunately Nathan's did not have great dogs that night.

Next we were off to play dad's favorite games - Let it Ride and 3 Card Poker. $300 later I am ready to call it a night. I believe he won a little that evening.

Next day I am up early for the last day of my conference. I meet dad back at Bally's around 12pm and he is ready to go. We take a walking trip to Bellagio and jump on the tram to Citicenter. Bellagio is classy as ever. It is my first time to visit Citicenter and Aria. Crystals, the mall, is as beautiful and dead as I heard it was. No time to look in stores (as if two men away from their wives for a weekend wanted to shop anyway), as we were on our way to play in the Aria 1pm poker tournament. We paid our $125 buyin and had a quick bite to eat at the deli nearby. The tournament was filled with tough players but we lasted to the 7th level and finished around 40th out of 94 entrants. Not too bad considering what I could have spent on a 3 card poker table during those 3.5 hours.

We head back to Bally's to relax and get ready for the evening. We eat at the Paris buffet. We are a little suprised at the price of $30 each, but discover they have excellent prime rib and crab legs. We are very happy with the meal and the service.

We are back in the Bally's poker room at 8pm for their tournament. $75 buy in and 23 players. Dad is out within 15 minutes and goes back to 3 card poker. I end up winning the tournament and pocketing $570 for first. Dad is up aroud $300 due to a straight flush on a hand. We sit down to some video poker and within 20 minutes hit my first ever 4 of a kind! I immediately cash out with double my buy-in. We had one of those rare nights that everything we played we won. We ended up the night with a run a craps and won some money there as well.

Saturday morning we have a quick meal at the deli in Paris (just ok) and head to Wynn for their 12pm $120 poker tournament. This is such a nice room and hotel. The players are not nearly as good as at Aria and I think we might have a chance of going deep in this tounament. Unfortunately, dad is out within the first 15 minutes when his pair of kings lose to three of a kind. I am out a short time later and we spend the next hour walking around the Wynn and Encore. Such beautiful hotels.. one day I will stay there.

Next we head over to the Palazzo and the Venetian to meet a fried of my dad that retired there several years ago. We have a few drinks and great conversation in the empy La Scena bar off the casino. It is always good to learn things about your father that you did not know.

We headed back to Bally's and ate at La Burger Brasserie (sp) in between Bally's and Paris. We had a fantastic burger and I would highly recommend this. We played in the 8pm Bally's tournament again, but both were out fairly quickly this time. Dad was back to 3 card poker and I played 1-2 no limit in the poker room. Dad ended up around even before heading back to the room around midnight. He had an early flight the next morning. I was up until 3am and won a few hundred.

Final Thoughts..

Bally's is a great place to stay. We were hardly in our rooms, but the room was quiet, the shower was good, and the location was great. Good job Bally's!!

It has been a few years since my last trip to Vegas. I was able to see the Cosmopolitan (which is wonderful) and Citicenter. I was impressed with Aria, but Citicenter as a whole was kind of dead.

I do not remember seeing as many panhandlers and people selling tickets, tours, and just dressed up in costumes trying to charge for pictures as I did on this trip. It became very annoying after awhile.

It seems that Vegas is beginning pick up. The airport was busy both on Wednesday and Sunday.

I hope you enjoyed the report!