I was in Philly for business and decided to try Atlantic City. My meetings ended at 10pm so the original plan was to head out to the shore late and get on an afternoon flight back home. You’ll see my trip didn’t go as planned.
I bowed out of drinks with the work gang and jumped in the rental car heading 76 East at 10:15. I was excited on the ride out and was thinking that AC could be a good alternative to Vegas since it is only a short flight and drive combo. Once I saw AC around 11:30 my thoughts started to change.
I hate to pile on the AC hating going around, but man it is just depressing driving in and when you see it you immediately understand one of the main issues – logistics. In Vegas I can walk to dozens of casinos and the weather is typically reasonable. In AC the casinos are very far apart with winter weather that will tear your skin off which means you are essentially trapped wherever you booked your room.
I had a free room from Bally’s so I was locked into the Bally’s/Caesars complex. I’m a huge fan of Total Rewards and I’m not a hotel or casino snob so I had no real complaints about the aging properties themselves. The dealers, front desk staff, and people I met around the place were all very friendly and helpful.
My main complaint was with the overall feeling inside the casinos. I know AC has always tried to position itself as Vegas East, but to pull that off there needs to be more of a community feeling. I didn’t feel like I was in this trip with everyone around me, it felt like we were all just there.
Anyway, back to my trip. I got to the casino floor at midnight, couldn’t find an open table in either Bally’s or Caesars so played one shoe at a $25 table and called it a night. At 5:30am I got up and headed back down, which worked great since open seats at any level of play were available. I played a little at $50, $10, and $25 tables. The dealers and staff were all very nice and not surprisingly there were a few odd characters wandering the halls at 6am.
Big negative – no surrender available – this limited my play since I knew overall it would be harder to work my system and come away a winner. Overall the play was fine, and I ended up down $50 after 2 hours. I decided to head out early since I wasn’t feeling the vibe and didn’t want to risk real money without any mojo. I hit the road at 8:15 and made the 10:15 flight out of PHL.
My takeaway is that AC isn’t Vegas East and never will be, it is a collection of Regional Tribal Casinos in one city. On the plus side it was a fun, cheap and quick diversion in the middle of the work week and now I can safely say that Vegas is the only place that I need to play. I’ll break down more of the observations in future posts.