Atlantic City Poker Rooms Review
At a comfortable distance from New York and within an effortless drive for a third of the U.S. population, the seaside resort of Atlantic City has a lot to offer any visitor. If you come here to play poker, the offer is like your regular Christmas stocking – full of ambitious poker rooms. Let’s take a look at the most popular ones.
New York is the latest US state to consider legalizing online poker, go to onlinepokerny.com for the latest information on iPoker legislation in the big apple.
Bally’s Poker Room
Bally’s poker room is different from other poker rooms in Atlantic City mainly because Bally’s offers odd limit No limit cash games. Bally’s offers a 1/1 No limit cash game with a $150 maximum buy-in as well as a 1/3 No limit cash game that has a $500 maximum buy-in. The 1/3 NL cash game is a hidden gem in Atlantic City. Not too many players know much about it, but the more you stay around Atlantic City, you will see how great the game can be. Often times Bally’s for whatever reason attracts tons of Asian players. All of the Asian players love to gamble at the tables playing blackjack or craps, or whatever other games and they come into the 1/3 game steaming, stuck, and spewing money everywhere.
The 1/3 game turns into a massive game with thousands of dollars at the table in a matter of hours. Almost every player will have over $500 and some close to $2,000-$3,000. It is just a matter of time at this point until you pick up some hands and rack up a big victory. This game is probably one of the only good things about Bally’s as a whole though. The only other good things that Bally’s offers is the wild west bar downstairs that has tons of weekly specials including $2 drinks and shots, and next door to the bar you can get hot wings. The hot wings are some of the best that you’ll ever have and are worth stopping by to get. Besides these few things, Bally’s isn’t a very nice casino and it shows its age. It smells like mold and cigarette smoke throughout the casino and the rooms are a far step from being nice.
The Golden Nugget Poker Room has closed as of October 10, 2013.
The Golden Nugget Poker room was recently renovated and was previously the Trump Marina. It has come a long way in the past year or two in overall appearance. If you went 2 or 3 years ago from the outside it looked like a rundown hotel or a prison. It is completely different now and is one of the up and coming poker rooms in Atlantic City. There are a handful of regular players who now call the Golden Nugget their poker home in Atlantic City just because of the steps the Golden Nugget has been taking to get more and give more to the players. One promotion was to give $500 cash to the player who had tallied up the most hours in a month.
This is a great way to draw in regular players and build a foundation for a quality poker room. Another promotion is a million dollar bad beat jackpot payout where if you lose with a queen high straight flush to a royal flush you get one million dollars. That promotion tends to draw in the older crowd of players who want to hit it big. The Golden Nugget isn’t at the top of the poker community yet, but in the next year or two you should look for the Golden Nugget to be one of the better casinos for poker in Atlantic City.
If you visit Atlantic City for poker, the Tropicana is not one of the ideal destinations simply because there is not a wide selection of games or limits to choose from. The main game is 1/2 NL and some lower fixed limit games run as well. Rarely higher limit games will run; very rarely. There is a bad beat jackpot though that often times draws in some of the older players when it gets big. It often times gets above half a million before it gets hit, and the games can be very good there at times. Tropicana is a better place to go to however if you enjoy night clubs, drinking and gambling. The bars in Tropicana are always a good time as well as the night clubs.
These are the main things that the Tropicana offers along with relatively cleaner rooms than other casinos in Atlantic City. One bad thing about Tropicana is the amount of prostitution that goes on in the casino as for most casinos in Atlantic City. This casino doesn’t seem to care as much as other casinos do when dealing with cutting down the amount of prostitutes in the casino. For that reason alone, you kind of feel dirty when you leave the casino, it is not a great destination, and certainly not in the top 3 for Atlantic City Casinos to visit.
The Caesar’s poker room is really tiny compared to almost every other one out there. It’s not that it is a small poker room, it is a bigger poker room, but nobody plays there. The poker room is often vacant or has only one or two games running, even at peak hours at night. The games aren’t good either when the games do run. You don’t see loose aggressive players ever. What you will see is tons of passive players, poor people and overall bad players. If you want to make a significant amount of money you will not do it here because players who sit here are mainly just visiting for a day or two, and don’t re-buy if they lose. The games play very small even for 1/2 NL games.
One good thing about Caesar’s when it comes to poker is the tournament series that runs every couple of months. This will attract basically every tournament player from Atlantic City and around the area and it is just like any other tournament series. There are bigger guarantees and more players when these tournaments run. As for the daily tournaments, they never run. If 10 players sign up for a weekly tournament it is an accomplishment for Caesar’s.
Caesar’s does have good things to offer though besides having a poor poker room. It is a very nice casino on the inside. It is always very clean and there are a lot of gamblers around all the time. If you are going to go to gamble; playing tables or slots, Caesar’s is a close second to the Borgata. It is two floors and has tons of gambling constantly going on. Caesar’s was the nicest casino on the boardwalk by far until Revel was built recently. The rooms are nice and always clean and it is a nicer more family enriched environment than other casinos along the boardwalk. If you like bars and night clubs, this is also something that could peak your interest about Caesar’s. Besides all of the prostitutes that float around the bar downstairs at Caesar’s, you can have a great experience when going to Caesar’s. At Caesar’s, also, the security is much better than other casinos on the boardwalk and you will not see many bums sitting at slot machines asleep or anything of that nature. They run a tight ship.
The Revel Poker Room has been closed as of August, 2013.
The Revel poker room in Atlantic City is the newest and certainly the cleanest casino atmosphere in Atlantic City. It is very similar to how the Aria is in Las Vegas just in overall looks. You aren’t allowed to smoke at all anywhere in this casino and it is very convenient if you are not a smoker. You will not encounter a face full of smoke when walking through the casino and you also will see a wealthier crowd of people at Revel for the time being. The main reason for that is Revel doesn’t complementary free rooms for their players, so you get less weekend poker players and more high stakes action when gambling. It is a very nice casino and the poker room is also very nice.
The one problem that Revel has is poker players are generally lazy people, and the poker room is a hike to get to. Some poker players would say it seems like a mile long walk to get to. It is located up a bunch of escalators and staircases all the way in the top corner of the casino. It is far away from everything and pretty isolated in terms of the casino itself. For how far away the poker room is, it is definitely worth checking out once or twice, but very few players sit in those games because a place like Borgata will always have better games. The games at Revel that they spread regularly are 1/2 NL holdem and 2/5 NL holdem. They haven’t had a tournament series just yet, but in the future Revel will certainly come up with some to compete with the other casinos.
The food and bars at Revel are all very nice places to visit, but they are definitely more expensive, and for that reason it is a better destination for gamblers as opposed to poker players. If you play poker and stay at Revel, you could easily spend over $700 or $800 just on the room for 2-3 days and food alone. Factor in drinking and if you lose gambling, you could dump a bunch of money for no real reason other than checking out the new casino. In the future, Revel will change and offer free rooms to more people, but they haven’t done it yet and don’t look to do it in the immediate future. It is a resort destination and casino first as opposed to a great place to play poker.
The Trump Taj Mahal in the early 2000’s was the mecca of poker in Atlantic City, but in the previous years it has gotten significantly less desirable. The main reason for the Taj Mahal slipping off is because of other casinos being built, and also other casinos offering more to their players. The Taj doesn’t have too much to offer to poker players besides an occasional solid cash game. The poker room is dated at the Taj and it seems to get worse with every visit. What the Taj once was, hosting movies such as the poker player’s movie bible “Rounder’s” is no more. It is a crummy place to play poker at, and also there are bums all over the place looking for you to drop chips or rob you. If you are around Atlantic City at all, you will see how bad the area around it is, and you should never walk outside at night, especially not outside the Taj.
There isn’t much good about the Taj Mahal. The Taj offer’s only one beer on tap throughout the entire casino; bud light. It has gone way downhill in every aspect from the awful rooms, to the smell of the casino, dated and dirty chips at the table, bums, and hookers sitting around everywhere. This place has the worst security of any Atlantic City casino, and it is just a miserable place to be. If you come to play poker, you shouldn’t come to the Taj Mahal unless you want to be let down.
There is no doubt about it, if you come to play poker in Atlantic City you have to play poker at The Borgata. It is the biggest and best poker room by far. None of the other casinos can even come close to it. Borgata has televisions all over the poker room if you are interested in sporting events that are going on, and a wide variety of games and limits. The Borgata has such a wide selection of games that run every day, but the best games are 1/2 NL and 2/5 NL cash games. Once you start playing in the 5/10 No limit cash game, you are playing with a number of very skilled younger players, and also guys who play every day. These games have a number of regular players as well as tons of very bad players who stop by Atlantic City on the weekends.
The best time to go play at Borgata is the weekends just because of how many drunks and random people who will blow money sit in the games. It seems like almost every player at the table has unlimited money, so even the smallest of games can turn into a very profitable evening for you if you go about it the right way. The Borgata is a place where you can win more money just because more players will give you action.
The Borgata also has some very beautiful women walking around serving drinks in the poker room, and the poker room is simply a step above the rest. At any other casino in Atlantic City, you will not see this many beautiful women in one general area. Also, if you like food, there are tons of nice restaurants to dine at as well as a number of fast food stores right down the escalator from the poker room. You can get hamburgers, pizza, cheesesteaks, Chinese food, sushi, salads, ice cream, sandwiches, Mexican food and just about any meals you want when you are staying at The Borgata; they have it all.
If you like to play poker tournaments, the Borgata offers a wide variety of buy-ins for no limit holdem ranging from $60-$300 weekly. The best days to play poker tournaments are on Wednesday where there are two $120 buy-in tournaments at 11am and 7pm with a $15,000 guarantee as well as Friday which is the weekly $30,000 guarantee. The Friday tournament is a $300 re-entry which means if you bust in the first 3 hours you can get a new stack to work with. This prize pool often exceeds $60,000 for that reason. Also, The Borgata hosts spring, fall, summer and winter poker opens. These will each last for around one month total and have 20 tournaments or so with big prize pools.
If you are looking for the biggest tournaments, you will find the first event of each series will often be the biggest prize pool as well as the main event for each series. The buy-ins range from $230-$3500 for the Borgata Open events. Whether you are looking for tournament poker or cash games, you will find great action and the best action in Atlantic City at The Borgata.
Harrah’s poker room isn’t as nice as it once was, but it is still a solid second place to The Borgata. If you are from New York or New Jersey you will see a lot of familiar faces seated at Harrah’s poker tables. There are a number of players who come and play in these games every week and some play every day. The main game that Harrah’s offers is 1/2 NL holdem, but some juicy 2/5 games run at night. Also, a pink chip game that is PLO hi/lo runs just about every day with a bunch of old time poker players.
All of the guys in that game are friends and know each other very well, but if you know how to play PLO hi/lo, you can make a steady amount of money sitting with the old timers. There aren’t PLO hi games that run often if ever. PLO hi/lo is the only mixed game that runs also. The two best games Harrah’s offers are 1/2 NL and the pink chip game. None of the poker games are tough at Harrah’s. Besides one or two younger regular players most of the players are horrendous and you can make a nice amount of money in these games.
If you come to Harrah’s to play low limit cash games you will find tons of old guys talking about how great it would be to hit the bad beat jackpot. It seems like about every half hour or so that goes by eventually an old guy will mention how great it would be to hit it. The bad beat jackpot is pretty big at Harrah’s and it is unique in that it accounts for 4 casinos total in Atlantic City. It often exceeds $300,000 and how it works is if you are seated at any poker table when it hits you get a cut of the jackpot. You have to lose a hand with four of a kind, and that four of a kind will re-set at four Aces every time it’s hit. It decreases to four kings, queens, jacks, and so on until it gets hit.
As for waitresses and overall service towards the poker room, you will find the best hamburger and Milkshakes in Atlantic City at Bill’s Burgers which is a few steps away from the poker room. Bills Burger is affordable and you can pay with your rewards card for food, so it’s basically free. The waitresses are always pretty quick with drinks, and the more money you tip them the more often they come back. Generally, Harrah’s is only allowed to give you one alcoholic drink every half hour, so the waitresses are pretty strict with that policy, but they are fast getting drinks to you regardless. The staff and poker room managers and dealers are all friendly people and you shouldn’t have to sit on a waiting list forever at Harrah’s.
Weekly poker tournaments at Harrah’s are pretty much a joke throughout the week. The tournaments only get 20-30 people at the absolute tops and buy-ins are super small. Harrah’s does run circuit events sporadically throughout the year though, so if you want to play tournaments you can. The best series at Harrah’s runs around Christmas time in December and it is a part of the WSOP circuit. When it comes down to it though, cash games are a much better bet if you want to play poker at Harrah’s as opposed to tournaments.