Atlantic City -- Saving the best for last
I don't know how people make a living off of this. It's way too stressful.
-Seat 7, $6/12 limit hold'em, Borgata
ATLANTIC CITY -- It goes without saying that I would make my way to the best casino out in A.C. on my very last evening in the city.
After running back to the Madison Hotel, I took a shower and then set out on foot along the Boardwalk to the Tropicana and the Atlantic City Hilton, all the way on the other side of the A.C. Strip.
Walking does you good, too. I learned from historical signs along the Boardwalk that the properties ("Atlantic Ave.", "Park Place") in the game Monopoly all come from streets along the Boardwalk. I halfway expected Baltic Ave., one of the lowest-rent properties in the game, to be crappy, but it turned out to be just another street there.
Signs also warned you against feeding the "Atlantic City Cats." Very approrpriately for a town that makes its money off of "fish," stray cats apparently took up residence along the sandy areas just off of the Boardwalk. Despite the sign, there were none to be seen.
I made it to the Tropicana, which was all lit up in small white bulb lights, kind of like the "Golden Nugget" effect. Like the Taj, it had huge areas for baccarat. I went up to the poker room, and although it was crowded, it was really chaotic. All kinds of people were waiting with chips next to the brush and there was no sign of what games were playing or open. So I just bought some chips and left.
Nearly next door was the Hilton. It has a brand-new poker room, so much so that the chips are all new and players were complaining about the rookie mistakes of the dealers. I settled down in a NL game and played for an hour, down about $20 or so.
I started my way back, and finally saw one of the A.C. cats, a small tabby hovering around the base of a boardwalk platform. He just gave me a knowing look and then went about his business.
In the evening, it started to rain and at night I made my way to the Borgata, a cylindrical tower that sort of looks like the Wynn. But I didn't go there first, choosing to check out Harrah's, the eighth of the nine poker rooms I planned to hit.
Harrah's has a really nice poker room, and I played NL $1/2 for about an hour before moving on. I lost $8 there.
One thing about these casinos is they want you to pay for parking. Oftentimes that fee is waived if you show them a player's card. So I had to wait in line for all of them.
When I left Harrah's, they gave me a receipt for parking. I almost threw it away but later was glad that I didn't.
The Borgata is stunningly beautiful and the only A.C. casino, IMO, that rivals any of the new properties along the Las Vegas Strip. It is a sister property to the Bellagio, which explains its interior, which looks like a cross between the Bellagio and the exquisite Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa, Fla. It also is, as Jennifer Tilly wrote in a recent Bluff magazine, "complete with the requisite Chihuly sculptures" in the lobby.
Downstairs, the poker room was awesome. Like the Horseshoe in Tunica, Miss., there's a grill right next to it so players won't have to go hungry. And as you tilt back and forth in your swivel chair, you can actually sip a drink from a glass, instead of the plastic cups you get at the other A.C. poker rooms.
The only downside was its Noah's Ark selection of middle-limit and higher games, basically only two tables a piece. The room seemed dominated by $1/2 NL, but I was in the mood to play some limit. I played $6/12 for an hour, about as long as I could stand, waiting for a $10/20 seat to open up. When it didn't, I made my way back to the Sands.
As I was driving back out of the parking deck, I was greeted with a sign that demanded $5 for parking. At the last moment, I remembered my Harrah's receipt, which I obtained for free, and pushed it into the parking booth attendant's hands. I remembered in a previous 2+2 post that you can use a previous parking receipt once a day at another casino. Score!
In the evening, I had the choice of making my way back out to the Taj, which I wanted to do, but it was rainy and windy and I had no umbrella. So I stayed in my room and finished up Eurobet's $50 blackjack bonus.
I ended my trip up $43 in live play but added $667 in online play, including poker and casino bonuses. So I'm happy the year has been running smoothly at this point.