I’m a big fan of casinos. I mean, come on. With a last name like Gamble, it’s a bit of a no-brainer. I’ve been to Vegas more times than I can count. I love throwing the dice at the craps table (I keep telling myself that Craps are some of the best odds in Vegas, despite the fact that it’s the one game that keeps eating all my money). I love the noise, the atmosphere, the energy and craziness that you find in Vegas.
However, here on the east coast is where you find the little redheaded cousin of Vegas: Atlantic City. I’ve never been, but from what I hear and see on films like Rounders, it’s a sort of halfway there copy. It’s alluringly close to me, though: I’m just 25 bucks and two and a half hours away from AC via a Greyhound (and soon even less via the proposed “ACES” direct train service):
I knew I’d get to AC sooner or later, but I didn’t think the journey would start at 3am. But then again, that’s why they serve cocktails. It’s been the inciting incident of random relationships and idiotic adventures for thousands of years.
So here’s me, positively beaming, ever so proud of myself, about to start my friday night (or, more accurately, saturday morning) adventure.
It’s 3am and myself and two other miscreants have decided that it would be a fantastic idea to hire a car and drive to Atlantic City! Yeah!
Three AM and the streets of Manhattan are finally quiet. Onward toward adventure!
Ok now it’s around 4:30am and the sun is starting to come up. We’re stopping for gas, doritos, and I’m beginning to think that this may have not been such a stellar idea.
The sun’s up now and we’re still on the road. With my “west coast” crew, whenever you’re feeling a little run down or find your energy is waning, you just yell out “Vegas Baby!” and anyone within earshot yells it back, which is a way of passing energy from one man to the other. Say, if you’re in a seat at the sports book, and you begin to feel fatigue setting in, you yell “Vegas baby”, and someone yells it back with even more energy, and like a sponge, you absorb that energy and it propels you forward. That’s the inherent problem with Atlantic City; there’s no such “energizing cry”. “Atlantic City, Baby!” doesn’t have the same ring. I could have used a solid “Vegas BABY!” from Bunting to charge me up when I saw the sun came up at 6am.
Well, soon enough our destination came into view. AC, at last! It was at this point that we came up with our “all for one, one for all” battle plan. In the (nearly impossible) event that two of our three musketeers lose all their money and one makes it big, we’d split the winnings down the middle so that we all profited. After my fleecing in Vegas two weeks ago, this sounded like a REALLY good idea.
My accomplices and I all began to perk up at this point. Time for breakfast, casino style!
We arrived at the Borgata and proceeded to order a round of cocktails to get us fired up. Since it was breakfast time, I decided to go with a delicious seabreeze. Cranberry and grapefruit are a great way to start the morning!
Armed with our delicious drinks, we sauntered off to make some money.
I sat down with 200 in chips and realized pretty quickly that there was some good money to be made in this room. The Borgata’s poker room is massive; 85 tables, loads of action, and a nice mix of sharks and fish. I’m generally the one sitting at the table feeling like a kid at the parents table, but here, I’m watching guys who are try to show off and shuffle their stacks, and all they’re doing is knocking them over. One guy doesn’t understand that a board with four spades and a 100 dollar bet from the guy under gun means his set of threes are worthless. I played it tight, drank a few cocktails on the house (the room’s nice, but the service is agonizingly slow) and in a couple hours I’d bumped my 200 bucks to 600.
My co-horts by now have drunkenly lost everything; they’re eyeing my stack and thinking how great that “all for one” plan was. By noon, I’m having a heck of a time keeping my eyes open but I finally get a hand against the chip leader who’s been donking off on guys all night – his AQ Suited is crushed by my pocket 8’s, which looked good on the A K 8 flop, and even better on the A turn. On the river he pushes out a hundred, which I bump to three hundred hoping he’ll slide it, and he smooth calls. My boat crushes his trips and he slides me the cash. Up almost a grand!
At this point my associates are almost drooling, and saying “hey, you should cash out and we’ll play some craps. Come on, cash out. Please. Cash out now. For the love of god man, cash out”. I’m exhausted and figure now’s a good time – the 9am tournament, with its 550.00 buy in, has had a bunch of guys bust out, many of whom are now sitting at my table and hungrily eyeing my stack and noticing the fact that I’m almost asleep. When I reach for a couple chip trays, there’s an audible “awwwww” from about four of them, which tells me that I’m probably making a good call.
After paying off my buy-in, covering my part of the car service and paying the other two dudes a couple hundred bucks each, I’m up about 170. My old mistress, the Craps table, jacks that to about 250 in five minutes, then takes it right back with interest. I leave the Craps table up about a hundred, tell my friends (who are still going strong) that I’m absolutely done and I need to find a bed.
I catch a cab to the bus station and get a ticket for the 2pm Greyhound to NYC. It ends up being 30 minutes late, and I’m sitting at the gate waiting for it to arrive, BEGGING it’ll get there soon, nodding off every thirty seconds.
It finally shows up at 2:40 and I scramble on board, hit the back row, and immediately fall asleep. I wake up while the bus is heading into the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
What a weekend!