I. Can't. Wait. 'Til. Saturday.

Poker, Bowling, Football, Gambling, Las Vegas, NFL, Reno, Restaurants, Vacation

Vegas, Baby!

I am almost as excited for this trip to Vegas as I was in mid-April, right before that trip.  Maybe I was a little more excited for that trip, as it included my bowling in the USBC Nationals, as well as six days with my family.  The trip was a blast, and I won almost enough money to pay for the trip, leaving me in instant "return to Vegas fund".

This weekend's trip, however, is a poker weekend with the boys.

I blame Southwest airlines.  When they announced that they were to begin flying to Milwaukee, and worse, they would have non-stops to Las Vegas, and even worser, that "introductory" fares begin at $35, it hit my weak spot.  What's a boy to do?

So one evening in June (still with this lump of money burning a hole in my savings account), I checked Southwest's fares to Vegas.  Drat, the $35 fares were already sold out, though they were only about $90 each way.  Why, I am not sure, but I then went to Expedia's site and searched for similar dates.  In doing so, it appeared that AirTran was matching that price, and sumofagun, their fares were NOT sold out.  Round trip tickets this weekend (the first full weekend in November) were - with taxes - $98.

The next morning, I talked to Poker Buddy #1 (who works with me), and he said we'd be foolish not to... and he quickly committed his stepson (Poker Buddy #2, a Vegas Virgin).  A couple more phone calls and we had Poker Buddy #3.  When I actually bought the tickets, the return flight has a little more expensive, but the bottom line is that we got our round trip tickets at $138 each.

Then it came time to look for the hotel.  Poker Buddy #1 had been to Vegas about a year ago, but stayed at the South Point (about three miles south of the Mandalay Bay).  But for a trip in which four guys will be in Vegas for a total of 52 hours, it was a little much.  I had remembered that during my trip in April that the Golden Gate hotel (in downtown) was offering rooms for $19.06/night (in honor of being in a building that was built in 1906).  Saturday night was a little more, but the total pre-tax cost of each room for the weekend was $76.  I still haven't found a casino hotel on the strip or downtown anywhere close to that. (And before anyone scoffs at the Golden Gate, they are the home of the $0.99 shrimp cocktail and the coupon book that gives you $0.99 margaritas.  Their rooms appear to be nice enough, has good reviews, and for the few minutes that we will use it to be cheating on our spouses sleeping, we can't go wrong.

We had considered not renting a car, and actually went months (remember, we started planning in June) without reserving one.   But for giggles, I did a search and found a car (Chevy Impala or similar) for two days for $50... which includes all taxes.  Hell, it'll cost us that much to take one cab ride to downtown and back.  Now we have our wheels, and we can roam all over the area on our whim.  We can even head out to the desert to dig a hole, if Poker Buddy #2 can't control himself.

I had been accused by My-Sugar-Na of overplanning our trip in April.  I am not sure why she thinks that, other than the fact that I had a spreadsheet with all the days across the top, and two-hour blocks listed down the side, and just about every single two-hour block accounted for for eight people.  But that couldn't be the reason, could it?

This time, I've tried really, really, really hard NOT to plan this trip.  It isn't that I think I should take the responsibility to tell three other men what to do, but I think vacation planning is in my DNA, and I can't help myself.

All I am 100% certain of is a return trip to the Hash House a Go Go, as I bought a Restaurant.com certificate for it.  We have a list of poker tournaments with buy-ins of less than $100 (Side note; one thing I did not do when considering the dates for this trip was to check to see when the World Series of Poker finals will be held.  Guess what is happening on Saturday?  Right.  Anyway, the nine finalists in the WSOP won't be playing other tournaments around town, but my guess is that there will be lots of poker players in town, looking for a game as time permits.  Our goal?  Avoid the real players, while picking apart a bunch of tourists.)

I've also read about a bar in Vegas that calls itself a "Packer Bar"... The Badger Cafe, which is connected to Rum Runner on Tropicana.  The Packers play at 10:00 AM in Vegas, we can watch the game and when it ends at 1:00 PMish, we still have a full day of pokering.

With any luck, I will break even for the weekend, and have a ready-made vacation fund for my trip to Reno in May for the next USBC Nationals.

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