Atlantic City daytrip report (long and rambling)
  • So in preparation for my weeklong trip to Vegas in June I ended up visiting Atlantic City today to see how bad it is and perhaps get a chance to practice some counting in real settings (and not versus Canadians CSMs).

    Admittedly, most of the casinos in AC are indeed dumpy; many of them make Circus Cirus in LV look luxurious. Surprisingly, the most run-down ones, like Trump Plaza, Sands, and Claridge have the highest minimum limits on table games.

    The tables themselves in most casinos seem a lot closer to the slots than they are in vegas, and that's very distracting because people seem to be brushing up against the table players all the time, not of any help for your count. AC seems to have a very "interesting" crowd (which I've seen up close and personal by taking the greyhound from Manhattan). The crowd is way older, and I've seen many people who seem to not really be aware of their surroundings (e.g., falling asleep at the slots), and the rest seems washed out. Also, Spanish 21 seems like an extremely popular game in AC, with more tables than regular BJ in some hotels (am I right to be avoiding this game?).

    The surprise of the day seemed to be the Borgata (the newer casino which is away from the broadwalk). Despite its being the most luxurious casino in the area, it has the most low-limit tables (a high percentage of 10$ compared to 25$ at the Taj Mahal), and it was the only casino to feature 5$ tables. Yes, apparently the mythical beast of the AC 5$ table exists. There's a line of people, but eventually you get a seat.

    More important, however, is that all the games are 6 decks (S17, no surrender), and at least the 5$ table seemed to have a very decent penetration: about a third of a deck is burned, and the split card seems to be placed less than a deck from the end, so there's more than 75% penn; that's better than what I observed in the other casinos. In addition, the shuffling machine is open, so you can see the cards stacked up before the shuffle, which is helpful in trying to recognize what a full discard deck would amount too.

    On the negative side, the atmosphere in the table was very relaxed; some of the dealers were super-friendly, and the pit bosses were over-relaxed and chatty. It's difficult to maintain the count because the players are chatting all the time; conversation only dropped when we had Asian dealers or Asian players (my impression in Vegas and here was that they seem to ignore the entertainment and social parts of the game). Also, most people flat bet so it's difficult to obtain a good spread; on the other hand it's easy to vary from BS because a lot of the players there seem not to be aware of BS; some seemed not to be aware of the fact that drinking four cocktails in a row at the table is a pretty bad idea as well.

    I ended up keeping an inaccurate count since I was busy trying to get my aunt (who came with me) to play BS. Since she'll be in vegas the same week as me, I hope she'll be of aid by playing a second hand, spreading higher when necessary and wonging with frequent cigarette breaks (I make it a principle to play on nonsmoking tables). Does anyone have good dos-and-donts suggestions for signalling to someone in the next seat?
    Speaking of that, the timeshare marketers in AC manage to be more obnoxious than the ones in Vegas: a few of them approached me and my aunt and asked if we were married and interested in "free casino money" for presentations and all that. Just ot make it clear, I'm in my late 20s, my aunt is in her late 50s...

    So, in summary, if you're in the NY/Philly area and have avoided AC for years, consider trying out the Borgata. It's the most central-strip quality hotel around (even the Buffet is Vegas standard), and seems to have decent penetration for six-decks for low limits.

    If you absolutely have to visit the casinos on the broadwalk, check out the worst video blackjack game in existence (that I am aware of): it is found in specially marked "Blackjack-only" machines in the entrace to caesars: Blackjacks pay 2:1, and no doubles or splits are allowed. Makes the usual breed of video BJs seem like a bargain.
  • Did you purchase a timeshare?
  • jimpenn said:
    Did you purchase a timeshare?


    In Atlantic City? Heaven forbids... :)
    If anywhere, I would buy one in Vegas, at least that place seems booming, not dying...

    I just hate pushy timeshare marketers. At least in vegas they take no for an answer (well, most of them, it seems).
  • Funny you mention the whole "timeshare" thing. My parents were down in AC earlier this week and they got the good old "timeshare" intro as well.
  • mikearruda said:
    Funny you mention the whole "timeshare" thing. My parents were down in AC earlier this week and they got the good old "timeshare" intro as well.


    The thing about the timeshare people in AC is that they and their booth are not well marked. You step into a casino (say, Trump Marina) and there is an official looking woman greeting you, telling you "welcome to the Trump Marina" (so you assume they are just greeters for the casino), let us give you a gift (I assumed a casino promotion where you get a knicknack like a deck of cards or something like the Riviera used to do), and leads you a few feet away to what seems like the Casino's old information booth (there is a big casino map and all). And then they start talking (they are not wearing any badge for the resorts company) and you quickly realize they are actually trying to sell you something. When you say you're not interested , they start saying "we only want to give you free money...", etc., etc.

    My experience in Vegas was better. The booths were clearly marked as a resort company, the pushers had a name tag identifying them, and after asking us if we were married (I was with my GF) a simple no or saying that we're not interested sufficed.

    I don't have a problem with the fact that people try to sell me something. It';s their job. But at home I can hang up on a telemarketer. I don't like one chasing me around into a casino.
  • amazing........ i been hangin' around casinos for the last forty years and have never been approached to buy a timeshare. played seven different casinos in the last four days and nobody tried to sell me anything......dang, my "right guard" must be breaking down or sumpin'.
  • SLLgpgh... 1985 my Dad purchased a timeshare in AC that my sister requested. She had a fall out with him, and he told her she was on her own at that point. She ended up purchasing an additional unit when she teamed up with her girlfriend and started hooking. She has come a long way, and if you ever want to rent one of them just let me know.

    Best, Jim
  • Grifter said:
    amazing........ i been hangin' around casinos for the last forty years and have never been approached to buy a timeshare. played seven different casinos in the last four days and nobody tried to sell me anything......dang, my "right guard" must be breaking down or sumpin'.


    Are you walking around with a woman ? I spent a day running around Vegas alone and nobody even talked to me.

    Me and my GF found it really funny when we were in Vegas, because people kept asking if we were married, and when we said no, they seemed so unhappy... Living in sin never felt this bad :)
  • More important, however, is that all the games are 6 decks (S17, no surrender), and at least the 5$ table seemed to have a very decent penetration:


    I play in AC all the time at the Taj, nowhere else. The Taj always uses 8 decks. Were you indicating that only the Borgata uses 6 decks? I seem to be comfortable playing $15 units. I never get hurt. Play a perfect BS game. Never tried counting. Never will. Mind numbingly deadly dull. I always enjoy getting into arguments with players regarding strategy. My most recent argument was with a "truck driver" type lady who reprimanded a few people at our table for not playing correctly. She said something like..."listen people, we all have to play this game correctly. If you need help ask me. We must all play as a team to decrease the house advantage". I told her she was nuts. You see, I am a "truck driver" type guy. I told her that I couldn't care less how other players play. I told her that if I played with the best players, or the worst players in the world I would do just as well regardless of the talent of the players. My reason was that the cards are "random". I really don't have a clue if that is right or not, but I read it in a few books along the way. I also informed her that her BS was not perfect. We played at a DAS game and she didn't split 4's against a 5 and I mentioned that to her. We called the pit boss over and she was very knowledgeable. She agreed with me. THANK GOD!!..
  • I know the 5$ tables had 6-decks, and from what I saw it seemed to be the rule in most of the lower limit tables.

    From the BJInsider newsletter it seems that there are 6-deckers in the high-roller rooms too, but if you're not counting, there shouldn't be much difference between 6- and 8- deckers. However, my impression was that the staff was nicer in Borgata than it was in the Taj. (Also, I admit to a personal dislike for the Donald, so I would rather lose money elsewhere)

    Give the Borgata a try; also, if you like eye-candy cocktail waitresses (playing BS you actually have time to look), they can't be beat.
  • Where abouts in AC did the Borgata get built? Near the Marina?, downtown? Thanks.

    Also cutting 1/3 the shoe out is NOT good penetration... its 67%, cutting 1/4 the shoe out is 75%. It only amounts to 1/2 deck difference, but is significant.

    Given NoLS and 67%, I'll stay in my own backyard. But I have heard good reports such as yours from other local ploppies. Very nice place and well-run. Outside of the Borgata, Mohegan Sun is a castle compared to AC. JMHO
  • The Borgata was built in the Marina. Personally, I like the 6 deck game there. To those who think that there is no difference between a 6 and 8 deck game let me tell you . . . the streaks are longer in an 8 deck game. That means longer losing streaks. Although the winning streaks will be longer also, the losing streaks are where one gets wiped out. Some one out there (I think in this forum) has already posted the mathematical figures of streaks between a 6 and 8 deck game.

    I own no stock in the Borgata (perhaps I should), but the atmosphere is friendlier, and most important to me ... LOL ... , when you order a beer, the Borgata babe brings you the actual bottle instead of a plastic cup. They have also been very flexible with the comps for me allowing rooms during the weekends instead of Mon-Thrus.
  • I agree that AC is a dump. Still, it's closer than Mohegan, it has the advantage of being on the beach (as someone who lived his entire life till moving to the US by the sea, I appreciate seeing it).

    5$ And 67% penetration in AC is great. And I think it might have been slightly more but I am usually conservative in my estimates.
  • Yeap, the actual city of AC is a dump, and one has to be careful to venture into its dark corners. I am totally surprised that with all the casino money there, that they don't actually hire a REAL effective public safety director to straighten the city out. I know it's possible. The morale of the police department there is at its all time low due to poor management and ineffective strategies to deal with the problem, the cops are the ones who are handcuffed. Management is way too politically correct to address the problems there. I'm 20 minutes away and play there all the time, few and rare are the times I see a uniformed officer anywhere. The hookers and hoods roam the streets freely. Absolutely no accountability.

    The casinos are definitely safe. The bad boys do not want to fool around with the casino security goons. The Borgata (my opinion) still has the best blackjack games there. $15-1000, then $25-5000 in the evenings [6 deck games]. Although I may start playing at Resorts again, but only because of the newly opened Nikki Beach and I want comps there. LOL!!! Nikki Beach is HOT, HOT, HOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • On weekdays, borgata has lots of 10$ and even a 5$ table.
  • You're right, I stand corrected. There are $10 tables on weekdays, though I have yet to see a $5 table. Maybe my eyesight is going bad and I mistake them for $15 tables ... LOL!

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