As always with my posts, click on any thumnail photo for the full size photo.
I spent Sunday 12/11 thru Tuesday 12/13 in Atlantic City, by myself. I was originally going to go home late on 12/12, but I had some vacation time to burn thru, and I was getting free room at Bally's, so my boss suggested I stay the second night. It's all his fault. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
My main objective was to play in the World Series Of Poker at Harrah's, Senior tournament, Sunday at 5:00 for $230. That's right about at the high end of how much I'm willing to pay for a tourney.
My secondary objectives were to spend some time in the pool at Bally's, as well as to visit some of the tourist traps I had included on the map I created, and discussed in this thread.
After all, since in that thread I was struggling to find additional things for people to do outside of the casinos, I figured I might as well try some of them.
Option 1 was Lucy The Elephant in Margate. However, it is closed on Monday and Tuesday, and I would be unable to go on Sunday, so that got crossed off the list.
Option 2 was the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine. Upon close examination of their website, I was unsure if this even qualified as a tourist trap. I.E. There was no mention of operating hours or admission fees.
Option 3 was the Aquarium. But using Google's satellite view, it seems that the entire facility, parking lot and all, was smaller than the big building at the New York Aquarium at Coney Island. When I was there around 5 years ago, I felt that that facility was small and lame. So how good could the AC Aquarium be? Pass.
Option 4 was the Absecon Light. This is a lighthouse that the website says is walking distance from ShowBoat. They have tours, and you can climb to the top etc. However, I got involved with Poker Monday, and registered for a 1:00 tourney before remembering that the lighthouse is only open Thrusday thru Monday. So that didn't happen either.
Option 5 was just other stuff on the boardwalk. The primary thing I was looking for here was the bicycle rental. I crapped out there too since I didn't see it - although I DID see people on bicycles, well after the 10:00am cut-off.
In addition to all these failed attempts at being a tourist, I crapped out at the pool too.
I get to Bally's at about 1:00, request a room in the same tower as the pool. No problem. I settle into the room. It's nice, somewhat larger than expected, although the TV only gets channel 2-13. No hotel menu options, no pay-per-view. That's fine since I wasn't there to watch TV, but it was wierd.
The handle on the toilet is practically falling off, but it worked. And it got fixed the next day without me mentioning it, so I can't really complain about that.
In room internet is expensive, as expected.
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$12.99 is expensive enough for 24 hours, but to add $5 to have access all over the resort? That's excessive! And it's per device...
One surprise was that the window was frosted. How bad can the view be if they had to use frosted windows? I eventually discovered that the frosting was an applique. A prior guest was as curious about the view as I was, because part of that applique was removed from the window behind the curtain. Yeah, I can see why they covered it.
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I change, and head to the pool. I get there, poke my head around. It's a nice pool. I go to get a towel, and am told its $10 per hotel room per day to use the spa. I said that I'm there alone, and am only using the pool, and only for about 15 minutes. It's still $10.
So I passed. It's not that I'm cheap (well, maybe it is), but I really don't spend a lot of time in pools, particularly if I'm alone. But I wasn't gonna spend $10 per day - even though I had planned on using the pool at least 4 times in the 3 days.
I had $10 free bet coupons and $15 food coupons for both Bally's and Showboat. The food had to be used Sunday, but the free bet was valid thru Tuesday. While unpacking, I was reading the room service stuff. Could I order breakfast now, and use the coupon? The coupon expired today. Since I was ordering today for food tomorrow, would the coupon work? Nope.
So, I instead planed on using the Bally's food for a midnight snack - assuming I busted out of the WSOP in time to get back. Maybe they'd be good until the end of the "casino day", usually 4:00am or 6:00am. I headed up to Showboat to use their coupons.
Option 1 was the buffet. Showboat's buffet has changed since my last visit. It's now billed as an "All Seafood" buffet. I'm not a big seafood eater so that wasn't gonna work. Even if I was, it was $39, and I wasn't gonna pay the extra. So I decided to use the $15 coupon at the coffee shop. Except that was closed, I assume for slow season and/or renovations. The other options were the small snack bar type place near the bus depot, except the coupon isn't accepted there, Johnny Rockets, except no coupon there either. That left the fine dining restaurant or the House Of Blues bar/restaurant. I knew $15 wouldn't go far at the fine dining, so I sat at the HOB bar and got a crappy cheese burger. The only good thing about it was that I was there at about 2:30, and the burger came out very quickly. But it was crappy and overcooked. How do you overcook and get it out of the kitchen quickly?
How crappy was it? It needed ketchup. I don't put condiments on ANYTHING, but this burger needed it.
The total bill, with tax, was under $14. So my $15 coupon covered it. After I'm done, I slide a $5 bill to the bartender and ask for $3 change. Isn't $2 a nice tip for a $14 bill? I got attitude that it wasn't. Should it have been more since my meal was free? I don't see it that way, but maybe he does. Tough. Maybe if he had brought me katchup with the burger, or had been attentive when I was trying to get the ketchup, it would have been different. I had ended up getting up and walking to a waitstation to get the damn ketchup myself.
I want to play my $10 free bet before heading to Harrah's. It's about 3:00 and the tournament is at 5:00. Plenty of time. I head to the one craps table that was open. There's about 5 players. Mind you this is on a Sunday afternoon. The minimum was $10. There's two shooters before I get the dice. The guy that's shooting makes two points and then passes the dice. The crew asks if he's sure. Yep. The crew then tells the next shooter that if he wants to shoot, he's actually finishing the other player's turn. Once it's done (he avoided saying "seven out"), he would have his own turn. So of course that guy said yes. He rolled on for about 20 minutes. Not only was that nice, but there was no need to get everyone to "pass the dice" so he'd shoot again. His second turn wasn't nearly as long, but it was still decent.
Then it was my turn. I put down the $10 free bet as well as a $1 dealer bet. I rolled for about 10 minutes, making me some good coin and the dealers about $15 in the process.
Then I head towards the bus depot to take the shuttle to Harrah's. I see the sign says that non-platinum players need a Total Reward card, as well as a dated hotel room charge card to use the shuttle. I never charge anything to my room, so I didn't bother to carry mine. So no shuttle for me.
I head out to the Jitney cab.
While I wait, a homeless looking guy approaces and offers to sell me a Jitney ticket for $2. Knowing the cash fare is $2.25, and that I'm a gambler, I go for it. After he hands me the ticket, I notice it's says something like "Resident Senior Citizens Only." I point that out, and the guy says they won't hastle me. All the drives know the scam, and won't hastle ya.
For those that are paying attention, I'm heading to Harrah's for the Senior Tourney. The minimum age for that is 50. I'm 52, but I look 40ish. So how would I pass for a Senior Citizen to the driver? As it turned out, the guy was right, because the driver didn't even blink.
I get to Harrah's about 4:10. I register, find my table, put my jacket on my chair, and start to take in the ambiance. This is the ambiance I see:
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All around the room are wall decorations like these. EVERY one of the giant poker hands on the wall uses a fouled deck. When I pointed it out to a floor person, he merely said, "The decorator doesn't play poker..."
With time to kill, but not enought to gamble, I just walk around Harrah's. I get to the pool, and look around. The towel girl greets me, etc. It should be obvious since I'm wearing clothes, but I tell her I'm not swimming, just want to poke my head in, no need to ask me for the $10. She says "What $10?"
Would you believe it? At Harrah's, which has a much nicer pool than Bally's, and situated near the lobby, all hotel guests are free. Bally's, hidden on the 8th floor, costs $10. Grrrr....
On the other hand, this is good news because I'm staying at Harrah's, with the wife, and my brother and his wife, for Christmas. And the wives love to hang out at the pool.
As I wander around, I see this. It's a model of the hotel, kinda. I have no idea why there is a temporary fence around it. Maybe they are adding a Christmas tree? Seems kinda late for that. Whatever.
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So I play in the WSOP. There are 173 players. There are no memorable hands. Although I do win a few hands, I never build a stack much higher than the average. It was a good structure. 10 minute breaks after four 20 minute levels was nice, and the increases weren't very big. Except after 6 hours of that, they had scheduled, at 11:00pm, a one hour "dinner" break. During the first (second?) level, I asked a floorperson about that hour long break. He seemed surprised by that, as if he truly didn't realize that it was structured that way. But he came back after verifying it. A little while later, the tourny director was walking by so I asked him. He too needed to verify, but then said that when the time came, they may ask if anyone objected to making that break shorter.
I busted out at 10:20 with 42 players remaining. They were paying 18.
I never found out what happened with the break. Busting out at that time was good, because I had decided to get on the shuttle anyway, and take my chances for not having proof of being a hotel guest. And the last shuttle is at 10:30.
When I got on the shuttle, the driver was letting a lot of people get on, but she stopped me just to see my Total Rewards card. She says she, and most of the other drivers, think it's stupid to have that hotel guest requirement when the shuttles aren't filled to capacity. I then asked about the TR card. Doesn't everyone have one? You'd be surprised the number of people - in her words "all riff-raff" - that don't. The people that got on without showing, were all regulars.
I get to Bally's and go to the coffeeshop restaurant. It's on the sixth floor with other restaurants. It's called "6IX". How original.
While scanning the menu, I order a soup. A couple minutes later, the waitress returns and I ask if I can get the soup and 1/2 sandwich combo. She said no since the soup order was already in. I scan the menu some more. A few minutes later, my soup finally arrives. How long does it take to scoop out a bowl of soup at 11:00pm? Whatever. I got an appy with it, for a total of $16.21. Nice use of my $15 coupon. And a nice late dinner / midnight snack.
Monday morning, I had breakfast in my room. Not room service, I brought instant oatmeal with me. Although the room had a coffee maker, all it would do is make coffee. There wasn't a way to make hot water. Good thing I came prepared with an immersion heater.
Thinking I may have not heard correctly yesterday, I put my suit back on and went to the pool again.
The same person was there, and recognized me. "You're back?" So I told her how I thought it was wierd that they charges $10, when Harrah's was free, etc, and though that maybe I misunderstood. Maybe the $10 is for the spa, and she didn't realize that all I wanted was the pool. During this, there is a manager type person behind her, giggling like he's heard this before. Yeah, the $10 is for the spa facility, which includes the pool. Sigh.
So I play some poker and sign up for a 1:00 tourney for $55. A little over an hour into the tourney, I get into a hand where I have KT, and the flop is KT6. I end up all in against a person with AK. Sure enough, there's an ace on the river. I'm knocked down to 725. The blinds are 400/800. There are 7 hands before I'm big blind. There are still about 35 people out of the 47 who started, so my chances are slim at best. I get no cards for 3 hands. When there are 43 seconds before a 10 minute break, I get A7. Any ace in desperate times, right? Besides, I'd rather just lose right now, and sit at the new $1/$3 talble that just opened up, rather than take the break only to be eliminated afterwards. So I go all in. Ace on the flop, 7 on the river. I triple up. OK, the poker gods want me to play longer. During the break, we chip up. I now have 2,500, and the blinds are 500/1,000. A couple folds, then I get pocket aces under the gun. I already decide that, one way or the other, I'm all in. If I raise now, I'll be chasing people out. Hopefully, someone will raise for me, so I'll call. If not, I'm all in on the flop.
Except EVERYONE folds to the small blind, who sees the flop at a discount, and the big blind, who sees it for free. Sigh.
The flop is A9A. I flopped quad aces. Now all I gotta do is hope one of these jokers has the balls to bluff at it. Sigh, not on the flop. Not on the turn. Not on the river either. So, finally, after they checked it all the way to the river, I put my chips in. They got rid of their cards like they were on fire.
Apparently, the poker gods wanted to have fun with me. Whatever.
I play super tight, and start to get an image that if I raise, I've got the goods. Before I know it, I'm at final table, with a reasonable stack.
They are paying 5. When it gets down to 6, there's talk of a chop, but instead we all chip in $10 so sixth place gets their money back. It takes a good 30 minutes to knock that person out. Now the talk of a chop starts again. I, frankly, think I have developed a good enough image, and a good enough stack, that it would be insulting to the poker gods for me to chop. So I'm one who objects.
The cool thing is, after that point, there was always someone else who was more vocal than I about objecting. So, as each person gets knocked out, and I become more open-minded to the chop, it was someone else who said no.
Eventually, it got down to 4 people. I'm in seat 3, and the others are in seat 5, 8 and 10. Fourth place goes to seat 5. So to make things easier, I move to seat 6.
Finally, seat 8, who was the biggest anti-chop person, busts out. I'm heads-up with the one guy who wanted to chop right from the beginning. I have enough experience to know that, once it's heads-up, the volitality goes up, and funny things happen. And, I think at least partially because I changed seats, he forgot that I was somewhat against it. So he says that here we are - the two guys that wanted to chop at the beginning... So I agreed immediately to the chop.
My half was $580. The poker gods adequately repented for giving me the quad aces, and letting me gain no extra chips for it.
It ended at 5:50. Another $55 tourney was scheduled for 7:00, so I signed right up.
In between, I went back to 6IX for dinner, now knowing exactly what I wanted. The same soup, with the 1/2 sandwich combo. When the soup came out, it was in exactly the same size bowl as I had gotten last night. If that's the case, and particularly considering how long I had to wait for it last night, why couldn't I get the combo even after having ordered the soup? I neglected to ask or complain about it. I just chalked it up as another thing that pissed me off, along with the pool.
In the 7:00 tourney, first hand, I'm under the gun with pocket aces. Sigh. I hate getting a monster like that early on when you can't make much off it. But I made a standard raise, and got 3 callers. The flop is AT5 rainbow. I got a set. Nice. I make a bet, one guy calls. Turn is a 4. I bet. He thinks a while and raises. I think a while. Is it possible he has 23? I do know one guy who LOVES to play 23, but really? I call. The river is a 2 with no flush possible. I make another bet, and he raises all in. Now there is only one hand he can have that I need to worry about. A3. Of course, he could have a set of 10s, but that is a loser to my set of aces. Did he really play A3 that way? A raise on the turn - with a draw, hoping his measly pair of aces is good if he misses? Finally I call. He had AT, two pair, and is knocked out on the first hand.
On that hand, I feared A3. As it turns out, A3 would be my nemisis for the rest of my trip.
During the next hour or so, I slowly bled off my huge stack, to the point where I got in a hand with someone with more chips than me. I had AK and was all in after hitting the A on the flop. I got called by a guy with A3 who hit two pair, and was eliminated.
I played some cash poker for about an hour, until I got beat by a guy with A3.
Feeling OD'd on poker, I wandered around the casino for a little while before stepping up to an empty craps table. This was very near two other tables that were fairly full. Whatever.
I'm playing by myself. Setting my own pace. Enjoying myself. I throw about 8 times, make a couple bucks, then 7 out. No problem. Take a two minute break and bull shit with the crew, then have another stab. A couple more bucks. Nice. Another break, then another few bucks.
During this roll, another player finally shows up. He's a dark-sider. Doesn't want to play the don't pass while I'm shooting, but is eager to lay the 4 and 10, which was fine by me. But he was cool about it - not laying it if it was the point.
Then it was his turn, and I returned the juju favor of not betting the pass while he was shooting from the don't. And I placed the 6/8 only when his point was something else.
I told him about the Dark Side Craps idea that was floated here a few months back. He liked that idea. In fact, since it was just the two of us, we got into a thing where I'd pass the dice back after he'd 7-out, and he'd pass them mid-roll when he made his point. This went on for about 1/2 hour until another player showed up.
It was a fun respect thing we had going.
And I made a couple bucks in the process.
Then, remembering I had a $25 clot voucher from the bud, I wander around to find a 50 play 5¢ poker machine. I play my 10 hands and cash out for $27.25. Sweet.
Finally, I went to bed around 11:00. Very early for me in a casino. I count my cash, and update the wife that I'm ahead $235. She comments that I was succesful in my effort to spread the wealth of my tourney win. Can you feel the love?
Tuesday morning I get up early and check out. Since I couldn't do it on the TV, I head to the front desk.
While there, I tell them how upset I was about the pool. She tells me that there is a second pool, that is free, but that it's currently closed for maintenance. I tell her that in that case, the other poll should have been offered for free. She agreed, but that it's not their policy. Sigh.
I go to play some more craps. It's about 9:00 on a Tuesday morning. The minimum was $10.
There's a guy there I recognize. After struggling, I realize that I had played craps with him on Sunday at Showboat. So we get into a friendly chat, and somehow I told everyone about the pool situation. He, as well as the dealers, agreed that they should have let the pool be free. He then went on to say that he ran into a similar situation at Showboat (or maybe Harrah's). Their Diamond lounge is closed for renovations, so he and his guests all ate for free at the buffet!
I was left with two thoughts:
1 - That's good customer service.
2 - He's a Diamond and got treated better because of it.
For the record, I get that Diamonds are treated better, but the treatment I got at the pool does nothing to help me want to become a Diamond.
My plan for the day is to play some poker at Taj. Make sure they know I'm still alive, and maybe could use some mailers from them once in a while.
I'm heading up the Boardwalk at about 10:00. It's nearly deserted. OK, it's winter and all, but it's a nice day. I have my jacket unzipped. Shouldn't there be more people out there?
Along the way, I see this sign:
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The restaurant looks like it's being remodeled - or demolished. The sign says to use the side door for Pinnacle Entertainment. I thought Pinnacle had pulled all the way out of the city.
As I get to the Information Center, I start looking around for the police substation that is supposed to be sharing that building. By chance, the person working there happens to come out to do a little tidying up of the area, sees the confusion on my face and askes to help me. I ask about the police substation. Her reaction is kinda one of shock, because she was unaware that anyone knew about that.
I then told her about WoV, and gave her a business card.
She says the idea got nixed because there was fear that having a police substation would be a little off-putting to people thinking about stepping into the information center.
She DID say that there is more of a police pressence on the boardwalk. More police on bikes, Segways and foot, not to mention the occasional police cruiser on the boardwalk. But no permanent physical location on the boardwalk.
We also talked about the decline of A.C. She mentioned that there is something in the works that may help. There are plans to set up shuttle service to the airport. The shuttle will run from the new convention center to the airport. (The new convention center is about 5 blocks from the boardwalk. Not a bad walk. If you walk from Caesars thru the retail development called "The Walk", the convention center is on the far side.) The idea is that instead of taking an expensive taxi from your hotel to the airport, you can take a free hotel shuttle to the convention center, then pay a small fee for the airport shuttle.
The key to making it work is that the shuttle will be scheduled around the flight schedule.
While I think this sounds like a reasonable idea in a "It's worth trying" sort of way, I didn't have the heart to tell her that the problem is that there are almost no flights into that airport.
Anyway, it was an enjoyable conversation with a sweet "A.C. Ambassador", that ended with a hug.
As I pass Resorts, the music hits me. It's from the 1920's, and I remember reading here that they are going for the Roaring 20's theme. Then I see this window sign:
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All I could think was that the reports are that the waitress staff has all been there since Resorts opened. If that's the case, and they are really wearing dresses cut so low in back that there's butt crack, then I REALLY don't want to go in.
It was a beautiful day, so I decided to walk a bit further and get a better picture of Revel.
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At first I wndered what that sphere was. It hinda reminds me of the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball. Then it hits me: That's the "Pinnacle!" Duh! A minute later it hits me harder: This is Revel! Pinnacle was supposed to be next to Bally's, a mile south. So I'm back to wondering about that ball...
I head to the Taj. On the way to the poker room, I see Diamond Roulette. It's been discussed here before, and there is a page on it at WoO. One thing I noticed which I don't think has been mentioned is that the six colors are LUMPED TOGETHER on the wheel. That makes it very easy to place bets for any of those 6 wheel sectors, if you think there is a bias.
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Another odd thing is that one of the six colors is green - but NOT the same shade as the green zeroes. Really? They didn't think of using a different color?
Shortly after sitting down at poker, there is an announcement for a tournament at 11:15. I sign up. At 11:30, I ask what happened to it. They said there weren't enough people yet, so they're gonna try to get it going at 12:15. Finally, at 1:30, they call my name. Apparently, there were only 3 people who signed up, so they cancelled it, and were giving me my buy-in back. Not 2 minutes later, they are announcing a different tourny for 2:15. Why didn't they mention that before offering the refund? Whatever. I wanted to leave by 4:00, so unless I bust out early, the 2:15 tourney was no good.
Instead, I went to the snack bar.
Or at least I tried to go to the snack bar. The regulars at the table told me it's closed. Apparently, in the hurricane of September, or maybe the freak Halloween blizzard, it's roof caved in, it got flooded, and there are no plans to repair or reopen.
So I asked about a food runner. They used to have one for the snack bar even though it was close and quick. Now that the nearest restaurant isn't so close or quick, a food runner would be more needed than ever. But they don't have one, even on busy weekends.
It was obvious that I was not the first to be surprised or dissappointed by these facts.
During this, one player was gone for almost an hour. When he returned, he said he went to the burger place right upstairs. Boy does he miss the snack bar.
I asked a floor person about it. She said that most of the poker players didn't seem to mind that it closed or that there's no food runner.
This shocked me so much that I had to say something. "I think you're basing that on a lack of complaints rather than real research." She started to say something but I cut her off. "I used to tell people all the time about that snack bar. Sure, it was an adventure to get there, and looked like it used to be in a bowling alley, but it had the best burgers in town!" There were murmers of agreement.
"This room is dead compared to the last time I was here. You're busy cancelling tournaments but aren't worried about it? Wake up. You've got serious competition from Pennsylvania, not to mention that when Revel opens, they're gonna have the biggest poker room in town. This is not a good time to piss of the few players you have left."
I stood up. "I'm going to get some grub. I hope to be back in less than an hour."
I ended up walking thru the entire casino to the north east corner (the poker room is on the south west corner). There's a pretzel place that has a foot long pretzel hot dog that I sometimes get. If nothing else, it's quick. The price must have changed because last year it was, with tax, $4.01. This time it was $4.00. It's not like they let me slide. I was ready with the penny, but $4.00 is what the register said. Go figure.
I'm playing a little more poker. At about 3:30, I get into a hand with KK. The flop was three rags. I make a big bet. One player raises, putting me All In. He calls with A3 suited. The flop had two of his suit and a 3. Turn was a blank, the river was a 3.
Sigh, time to go home. On the bus, I count my money and report to the wife that I have $415 left from the $610 I started with.
Bottom line, I played in the WSOP Seniors Tourney. That was why I went, and it cost $230. When I left town, I was down $195. That's less than the buy-in of the one thing I went to play. Sounds like I did OK, right? Except I made the mistake of telling my wife about the other tourney win, and that on Monday night I was up over $200.
As for this:
As I wander around, I see this. It's a model of the hotel, kinda. I have no idea why there is a temporary fence around it. Maybe they are adding a Christmas tree? Seems kinda late for that.
Maybe the fencing was intended to keep the "beach" theme going, since the sculpture was made of sand, and wouldn't hold up to anyone touching it.
I would think a shuttle service from the airport is going to put alot of cabbies out of work. I'm surprised more isn't made of that in the revitalization plans.
hate AC, they charge for everything.
Maybe the fencing was intended to keep the "beach" theme going, since the sculpture was made of sand, and wouldn't hold up to anyone touching it.
THAT makes a LOT of sense.
I'll have to take a second look when I'm there this weekend.....
1) The pool thing at Bally's is ridiculous but I'm not surprised that it was treated the way it was. Bally's is the center of everything, and I imagine if they didn't impose it, I'm guessing that there would be people who would take advantage of the situation. Also, it's too bad you got a bad view to your room. I had an AMAZING view of the marina; it was a corner room, so I actually had two angles. It only would have been better if it had been ocean/Boardwalk view.
2) Diamond card holders DO get treated better, but AC is not really known for great service. I find it to be part of the "charm" with its East Coast mentality. If you want good service, go to Tunica for a resort destination or a Midwest casino or the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Table minimums are still too high, given they aren't doing all that well.
3) Resorts costumes just are too much for me. I had some fun playing Tiles there, and the pit supervisors I talked to were relatively friendly as were the dealers, but seriously, the costumes are too ridiculous for words.
4) Trump Taj continues to disappoint, and it amazes me this place can stay open with the problems you brought up. This is dangerous territory. My favorite memory was playing poker and basically watching a live version of Grumpy Old Men on the Jersey Shore at my 1/3 table. These two guys were going at it like a couple about ready to divorce. It was so funny.
Virginia City? Great buffet.Quote: s2dbaker
Next time, try the buffet at Wild Wild West. I eat there each visit.
1 - I forgot to mention it, but it was closed that week.
2 - I was going to be at ShowBoat that afternoon, so I used that coupon, and saved the Bally's coupon to try to use at midnight.