Beating the odds in Las Vegas

With a little planning, you can live large on a small bankroll in Sin City

Some people don't believe in luck. They say we create, through effort or karma, our own futures. So the source of the good fortune bestowed upon my husband and me on a recent weekend trip to Las Vegas is debatable, but wherever it came from, we sure felt charmed: We enjoyed great food and entertainment ― without busting our budget.

Once known for its bargain buffets and free drinks, Las Vegas more recently has gone upscale with swank new casinos and restaurants. Though you still can lose all your money at the slots, now you can also blow a big chunk of it on a Wolfgang Puck meal and a luxury room. But you don't have to. We set a target of $300 for quality meals and lodging for two, tax and tips included. You might call it impossible. But don't forget that Las Vegas isn't just Sin City ― it's also the city of dreams.

Our money-saving strategies: Go midsummer to take advantage of low hotel rates snagged on the Internet; eat off-hours for discounts at restaurants; and search out the city's great variety of free or low-cost entertainment.

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