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Winning in Atlantic City on a Budget
A warm weather break when visiting New York City

An easy day excursion from New York

Want to spend a day sightseeing and ocean swimming and getting a tan—and spending either nearly no money or all of the funds that you have?

Well, Dr. Voyageur has a deal for you in Atlantic City.

Even if you're not into casinos, Atlantic City offers a surprisingly nice beach not far from New York City.

The beach and the famous boardwalk make this a fun trip on any warm day.

Above: You must try White House Subs in Atlantic City, an historic landmark. Same family has owned since 1946.

To give an idea of the care that goes into its food, two nearby small bakeries (one across the street) deliver bread so fresh that it often arrives still hot several times a day. Its signature sub is its regular Italian.

Celebrities have flooded this place--Sinatra, of course, the Beetles, on and on. You'll see them on the walls.

Located at Arctic Avenue at the corner of Mississippi. The names on a Monopoly game board are those of the Boardwalk area in Atlantic City.

A thorough review that goes deeply into the menu, etc. >

Arctic Sub Shop Review

Travelling to Atlantic City

Travelling to Atlantic City from New York costs almost nothing—as little as $5.

You just have to take a Greyhound "Lucky Streak" express from the Port Authority bus terminal in Times Square.

Fellow travellers are a motley crew that ranges from young singles out for fun to little old women almost professional gamblers who should be wearing green eye shades.

For the price of a return ticket, you receive a round-trip bus ticket AND a generous voucher for cash back and other incentives to be redeemed once in Atlantic City. For this, you need to be 21 years or older. (If not, see below.)

As of this writing, don't buy your ticket online. Instead, head to Greyhound at the Port Authority bus terminal (41st and Eighth Avenue) for this special. Any NYC subway line to Times Square bring you there or near there..


You have a choice of stops

Greyhound will drop you off at your choice of casinos along the boardwalk and beach. If it's the Borgata, you are not on the beach, but nevertheless in a very nice hotel.

If you're not 21, you can either buy a regular Greyhound ticket, or use New Jersey Transit, which also offers inexpensive fares from the Port Authority. New Jersey transit also offers trains to Atlantic City from Philadelphia.

The Atlantic City bus terminal is two blocks from the best part of the boardwalk and beach.


Staying in Atlantic City

Avoid Atlantic City hotels on weekends—especially warm weather weekends—unless you can get a good deal.

Financially, you are usually far better off staying on weeknights.


Get a "frequent player" card

Once in Atlantic City, you are under no obligation to spend your Greyhound "Lucky Streak" cash back grubstake at the casino that gives it to you. Doc V does, though, often if just for food.

When you exchange your voucher for cash, make sure to obtain your casino's "frequent player card."

These go by various names at different casinos, but basically they are plastic cards issued to bond you to a specific casino by offering incentives for your continued patronage.

Before playing a slot machine, for example, insert this card into the machine, which tracks your play.

When playing poker or another table game, show the card to the dealer.

It is relatively easy to gain free meals, drinks, room stays, prizes, increased winnings, etc. by using your card. Even without playing you may receive a nice discount at the casino's buffet.

And, if you use your frequent player card two days in a row, that tells the casino that you have real potential to lose money. Don't be surprised if you get an offer for a free overnight stay for your next trip.


Safety

For your safety, do not wander alone more than two blocks inland from the boardwalk day or night. Stay with other travellers and you should be safe. Take a taxi if you must venture away from the beach/boardwalk or marina areas.

Allowing legal casino gambling in Atlantic City has been an attempt to revitalize a very deteriorated city. Much remains to be done inland from the beach and marina.


Dining in Atlantic City

When you get hungry, Atlantic City offers many choices in all budgets.

You'll find top restaurants, but most of us enjoy snacking on the boardwalk and visiting casino buffets.

Casino buffets are much maligned, and often for good reason. But, casino buffets can be terrific bargains and great meals, if chosen well.

The secret is to dine at the buffets at the first class and deluxe casino hotels, as long as these have budget prices. Usually the same executive chef who oversees the deluxe dining rooms will supervise the buffet menu and cooks. Moreover, high quality provisions will be used to prepare the buffet dishes at the better hotels.

The buffet at Caesars Palace has outshines other Atlantic City buffets that the doctor has tried.

The other great eating experiences in Atlantic City are the small pizza stands along the boardwalk, which lines the beach in front of the casinos. Dine at one that does not look too modern preferably a bit away from the most deluxe hotels. You want a local Jersey and Philadelphia crowd..

The boardwalk food is not gourmet or perhaps even clean by McDonald's standards, but the quality of the food is generally higher than that found in most tourist areas.

After all, these stands are patronized by crowds from New York City and Philadelphia. They know good pizza.

Dr. Voyageur grazes from food stand to food stand in a state of contentment. Look for fresh lemons being used in the old fashioned way to make lemonade, etc.


Enjoying the beach and boardwalk area

You will like the beach below the boardwalk.

It spreads out wide enough in most places so that you do not feel very crowded. There's usually nice surf and a gentle slope going out to sea. You can walk quite far out into the ocean. This urban beach is kept quite clean (for a busy urban beach).

During the summer and early autumn, the water temperature, influenced by the Gulf Stream, is much warmer than in Southern California.

You can change into your swim suit in a stall in one of washrooms at one of the casino hotels that front the beach.


The main boardwalk area

The casino hotels are worth a visit, even if you do not gamble.

There's often free entertainment in the lobbies—sometimes quite good—and the atmospheres are fun to experience.

The doctor's favourite strip of beach and casinos centres around the Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino, the somewhat more sedate sister of the one in Las Vegas.

In this area we find the Convention Centre, traditional home to the Miss America contest.

Caesars, by the way, has one of the finest casino restaurants in Atlantic City, the classic Las Vegas-style Temple (as in Roman Temple) Bar and Grill.

At the former Sands Hotel now torn down on this strip, Frank Sinatra give his last full concert.

Sinatra, who was born in New Jersey, got his big name start in Atlantic City long before casino gambling became legal. That does not mean that there was not major gambling going on in what was a Mafia controlled environment.


Getting around

If you get tired of walking along the Boardwalk, trams are available, but they are slower than foot traffic.

The very expensive taxis in Atlantic City will take your money quicker than the most greedy slot machines.

Atlantic Avenue, the first major street inland from the casinos, has very inexpensive bus service up and down the casino strip. Stops are marked.


Winning in Atlantic City: Dr. Voyageur's foolproof system

Dr. Voyageur prides himself on his positive attitude.

"I can do it; I can do it!" is his lifetime motto.

But, he like you must face facts.

Those big casinos in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and elsewhere have been built in anticipation of the loses from millions of tourists. All that free entertainment and low-priced food and drink is being subsidized by the massive loses of those who visit.

No "system" beats the house—beats the casino—over a period of time.

If you wish to gamble, set a modest and firm limit on what you will spend, and honour that limit, as Dr. Voyageur does. Casino's are not being generous when they offer you free drinks while you are playing. They are striking at your willpower.

If you should happen to win while playing within this limit, pocket your winnings, and exit. (Casinos will issue a cheque for your security, which you can bring to any any bank where you are known. You do not have to walk around with cash.)

Tip the casino floor person who handled your winning transaction on your way out.

Exiting at this point is the one winning system, although some people refuse to believe this. This has worked for a still-solvent Dr. Voyageur, and it will work for you.

All best wishes for wonderful travelling, and good luck in Atlantic City!


Go to >> Surfing the Big Apple: Orienting Yourself to Enjoy New York City

Go to >> Walking New York City

Go to >> Behaviour Tips for International Visitors

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