Nate's Poker Diary: I Learned A Lot About Life From A Weekend In Atlantic City

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(Note: After writing about my time in Aruba and then his Summer during the Main Event, I decided it’d be fun to do trip reports of future poker trips. Here is my last weekend in Atlantic City)

In theory, Atlantic City should be one of the greatest places on Earth. When you break it down to it’s core, it’s gambling on a beach. Two of the greatest things, together in one place. Vegas but you can go outside and be on the beach in 2 minutes, right here on the East Coast. Fantastic.

In reality, Atlantic City is a giant shit hole. The beach is disgusting and half of the hotels are shuttered and closed. Trump Taj Mahal and Trump Plaza? Done and done. Showboat? Finished. They built Revel, this new state of the art hotel and casino that rivaled Vegas hotels, and that thing closed within 2 years. The only hotel worth going to in AC is the Borgata. And t best thing about the Borg is how it’s distances itself from the rest of AC. It wants nothing to do with the rest of the town, and frankly, if you go to AC and stay or gamble anywhere else, you are poor.

Which brings me to this last weekend.

I was craving playing some tournament poker, as I haven’t scratched that itch since Vegas. Borgata was running a $185 tournament with a $200,000 guarantee on it, which is absurdly large for such a low buyin tournament. Worked perfectly for me because I wouldn’t have to sell pieces or get FantasyLabs (your one stop shop for all things daily fantasy sports) to buy me in. I booked a room for Friday night at Borgata, and then a room elsewhere for Saturday night (Borgata was sold out so I had to book some place like 5 miles away).

So off I went to AC, the land of opportunity and dreams, to play some good ol’ poker.

I won’t bore you with details of how the tournament went, but I fired 2 bullets, played fine, and busted both bullets, the 2nd one running tens into queens, ho hum.

On Saturday with no day 2 of the tournament to play, I had nothing but time to explore the beautiful city of Atlantic City. I walked around the Boardwalk, not really finding anything worth writing home about. Until I walked into a place they call the Wild West Casino. You see, I’ve been to AC dozens of times, and never have stepped foot in a place besides Borgata, Caesars, or Harrahs. And boy do I feel stupid now. The Wild West Casino is like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s absolutely absurd in there. Nothing makes sense. It’s as if an Applebee’s transported back to 1860 and was quadruple the size it needs to be. Everything in there is so random, it was incredible. You can walk past a Conestoga wagon, a blackjack table, and an air hockey table in the duration of a 30 second walk, all while drinking a 3 dollar beer.

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After busting 100 dollars in 5 dollar/hand blackjack in about 5 hands, I walked what seemed to be a mile to the poker room. You see, originally I was going to play 2/5 or 5/10 at the Borgata and then go to my hotel room, but I decided to take a completely different approach: Cancel my hotel room, play 1/2 for a really long time, and then get on a bus home at whatever time I felt like leaving. Great idea, right?? Well…sorta.

1/2 went great. If you just play basic poker, it’s pretty easy to make money. And while most 1/2 games are capped at a $300 buy in, Wild West was $500, so it played much bigger. I bought in for $400. There was a guy at my table who was in for about 2k. Another guy in for about $1.5k. For sure the deepest 1/2 game I ever played in. And it…it went well.

I played until about 2:45 am, and then decided (like an idiot) to take the 3:30 am bus back to New York. That’s another thing that absolutely sucks about AC, there’s no better way to get there than the filthy ass bus. Greyhound is a deplorable, awful company but it’s a 2 hour and 20 minute bus ride and by far the easiest way to get there. However, it was a disaster to get back. To make a long story short, Greyhound just don’t give a fuckkkk about anything, oversell every bus, so I didn’t get on an actual bus til 5:45 am, somewhere before the sun came up, and a little after a dude started jerking off in the terminal. That was gross.

(Quick note about Greyhound: Greyhound is held to no standards at all and since they are by far the biggest bus company in the country, they don’t give a fuck about anything. Now, I’d like to state I’m a fucking bozo for booking a 3:30am bus. Completely idiotic to the highest degree. But man, they stinkkkkk. There were about 30 people still at the station who couldn’t get on the 2:30am bus because it was oversold. So then they overflowed into the 3:30 am bus, and so on and so forth. I didn’t get on til the 5:45am bus. We didn’t end up leaving til 6:15 because two nice young ladies couldn’t get seats even though they had tickets and one of them threw a tantrum for the ages. Lots of words I can’t repeat were yelled. After the bus driver got her off the bus, she then wouldn’t move from behind it, so we couldn’t pull out without running her over. A delight!)


So it was a profitable, yet eye opening weekend in that degenerate dump known as Atlantic City. I learned a few big things- 1) always have a hotel booked, no matter what, 2) don’t walk down the street at 3 in the morning, a homeless man will splash dip spit in your general direction, and 3) when given the chance, always eat the truffle cheese cheeseburger, it was delicious.

I’m not sure when or where my next poker adventure will be- maybe Aussie Millions this Winter, but I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Til next time,

With love,