Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few months, you’ve probably been directly affected by the spread of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus). Countries are shutting down, employees are working remotely, and many of your favorite hobbies are no longer accessible. Gambling is no exception.
With that in mind, it’s important to know that there are still plenty of places online for you to get your gambling fix. Important Note: While there are offshore sites that allow you to play online, we won’t be mentioning those here as I don’t support giving your hard-earned money to potentially illegal activities. We’ll be focusing on legal sites, some free, that allow you play for fun and pass some time while you’re stuck at home.
Free Online Poker Options
There are a few options to play online while you’re quarantined at home without spending any hard earned money. These are poker sites that either allow you to compete in free rolls online or use token systems with optional purchases. Note that we’re not affiliated with the sites below.
NLOP (National League of Poker) – NLOP has been around for a number of years ever since the online poker market was shut down at the Federal level, and I’ve been playing here for years as well. For logging in each day, you’ll earn tokens which allow you to join tournaments for real cash prizes, and they have token packages available for purchase, too. The level of play, as you might is expect, has a high level of variance, so don’t expect too many pros in the player pool.
Quarter Poker – Quarter Poker has also been around for a number of years now as well, and takes a similar “Sweepstakes” model that NLOP uses. They host daily free rolls for cash that can help you pass the time without emptying your wallet.
When I first game across a Sigma Derby/Fortune Cup machine in Atlantic City, I was confused. Why on earth would someone want to bet on an electronic field of horses in the hopes of winning money? Despite my reservations, however, I put a few dollars in with a fried of mine and we had a total blast.
What Is Sigma Derby?
If you’re not familiar, Sigma Derby and it’s future iterations Fortune Cup and/or Royal Derby, revolves around a large domed machine that contains, for all intents a purposes, a full horse race. Little plastic horses run around the track, and you get to bet on who is going to win, place, etc. just like you would in a real live horse race.
Minimum Bets for Sigma Derby and Fortune Cup
Regardless of the version of the game you’re playing, most machines run at pretty low betting minimums. The range that I’ve seen is somewhere in the realm of $1-$3. I’d imagine that the hope is that you’ll bet more than that, but it’s an easy game to play on the cheap.
Where to Play Sigma Derby/Fortune Cup in Atlantic City
While these machines have seen brief stints at a number of casinos in Atlantic City, including the Borgata and the Tropicana, just one version of the game appears to remain. You can still play the Royal Derby game at the Wild Wild West casino.
Personally, I would love to see these types of games make a comeback in Atlantic City. Variety is the spice of life, I’m told, and that’s especially true of a frugal gambler like myself. I feel that the old formula of “Slots and table games” is going to have to make a change sooner or later, so why not introduce more options for us as players?
I’m generally not a fan of table game variants like Double Attack Blackjack as we normally stick to games that we know and enjoy like craps. The reason being that most “newer” table games tend to have more of an advantage to the casino. Still, I did stumble across an interesting version of Blackjack which I’ll admit that I only played because it was a $5 minimum at the time.
What is Double Attack Blackjack?
I won’t go into too much detail on how the game differs as you can read a much better guide on how to play here. The biggest difference between Double Attack and a normal Blackjack game is that you are able to double or surrender at any time. In exchange, Blackjack only pays even money.
It’s a fun Blackjack variant that appears to have fallen in popularity over the years, but it isn’t gone just yet.
Where to Play
According to the Wizard of Odds article, the game could be found in roughly half of the casinos in Atlantic City as of 2010. Times have changed, though. I’ve poked around the newest casinos, but I’ve only found one remaining table located at the Tropicana. There is one table near the Baccarat and Pai Gow Poker tables.
Double Attack Blackjack Table Minimums
I may have never played a game of this variant if it wasn’t for the low minimums. On weeknights in the off season, I’ve seen the table run at $5 per hand, which is a rare find (The only live $5 blackjack table that I’ve found outside of the Borgata, in fact). On the weekends, minimums will vary. I’ve seen it stick around $10, though it will also go as high as $15 per hand during prime time.
So there you have it! The game may seem a bit archaic, but it’s worth sitting down for a few hand (Especially if you can manage it for $5).
If you’re here checking out the craps table minimums, chances are that you might be new to the game or looking to play on the cheap. If either of these holds true, then good news! I’m a long-time student of playing craps and having fun while spending as little as possible. I’m here to share my secrets with you.
A Few Disclaimers
Before we get into how I like to play, there are a few important things that you’ll need to keep in mind when starting out:
Craps is Not Beatable – Yes, I said it. You will lose at craps over the long term, just like all other casino games (Poker being an exception as the casino makes money via the rake instead). Always play for fun and hope for profit.
Your Bets Go Farther Than Other Games – Because the average player will roll at least a few times before crapping out (rolling a 7), many of your bets will stay up for awhile. You may not win, but at least you’re still in the game.
Understand the Basics – If you’ve ever cautiously sauntered up to a craps table and observed the action, things can seem a little…intense. Players will be tossing out chips all over the place, spouting out terms like “High Low” and “Horn High 12” that don’t seem to make any sense. On the surface, the game can seem insanely complex and daunting, but it really doesn’t have to be. If you want to learn how to play, there are a ton of guides out there. My favorite beginner’s guide to craps can be found here.
Got It! How do I Play Craps Cheaply?
I’m glad you asked! The key to having fun at craps and enjoying the game for as long as possible is to understand what bets give you the most longevity. This also means giving just a little more house edge to the casino. Statistically speaking, the best way to play craps is to make a bet on the pass/don’t pass bet and stack the odds as far as the house allows. The reason for this is that odds bets don’t give the casino any edge. You’re split 50/50 in your chance to win.
That’s all well and good, but if it goes poorly for you, you’re gonna bust out in very short order. You came to play and have fun, not get smoked and lose your whole buy-in in two rolls, right?
How We Play Cheap Craps in Atlantic City
Note that I’m not making any guarantees whatsoever that you’ll make money; you’re still gambling after all. Still, it can be a fun way to play some cheap craps, and we always have fun with it. Here’s our sequence of play assuming a $10 craps table:
On the Come Out Roll:Normally, we don’t play anything on the come out roll, though we may throw a dollar on Eleven or Any Craps.
Skip the First Roll After the Point is Established: I’m not superstitious, but it just feels bad to lose a bet right after the point is set. So I just skip it.
Time to Bet!: Normally we’ll pick a number that has a low house edge (6 or 8). This will cost you $12 at a $10 table. After a shooter craps out, we’ll switch it up and throw $5 on two hardways bets (4 and 10). This keeps you in the game and can win you some decent money if they come through, but allows you to keep things cheap. Technically, your bet is below minimum, but I’ve never been questioned if I’m betting a number every other roll.
So there you have it! Not the most fast paced way to play, but it’ll keep your stack around for awhile even at the coldest of tables. It’s also a low-stress way to play craps when you’re just starting out. How do you play? Let us know in the comments!
I’ll be the first person to tell you that getting too drunk at a casino can end quite badly. That said, having a few drinks to enhance the Atlantic City experience has been a past time of ours and many others for quite a few years now. Being the frugal gambler that I am, I’m always on the lookout for the best value when it comes to Atlantic City happy hours. As a general rule, your best bet for cheap drinks is during the week, when the bars are just happy to have paying customers around. Here are the best chances for cheap drinks that we’ve found.
Wine Bar – Borgata
I’ll admit that I’m not exactly an expert when it comes to wine. I’ve had some fine wine on the higher end of the spectrum in my career, but I can’t tell you the first thing about what sets it apart. Sommelier or no, however, you just can’t beat this Atlantic City happy hour at Wine Bar in The Borgata. This is hands down our number one happy hour spot since it’s available every day, even on the weekends!
Happy Hour Details Hours: 2-6 PM Daily Pricing: $6 Wine on Tap, $5 Craft Beer, 50% off Appetizers
The Continental – Playground Pier
Looking for a classy happy hour in a delicious Stephen Starr restaurant that won’t break the bank? Well then you’re in luck! We haven’t stayed at Caesars recently, but every time we do we make a note to hit up this happy hour. $5 cocktails, $5 beer, and $5 appetizers makes for a lot of great choices. Make a stop on your next go around.
One of the best reasons to do happy hour in Atlantic City is that you can eat and drink at some up-scale establishments on the cheap. Whether you’re talking food or table game limits, Ocean isn’t known for being the most affordable destination, but Amada’s happy hour lets you sample some fine food and cocktails without lighting your wallet on fire.
Happy Hour Details Hours: 5-7PM Friday, Sunday, and Monday Pricing: Half Price Tapas and Half Price Drinks
While I’m a big fan of Blackjack as a table game, there are a few readily apparent drawbacks that make me hesitant to sit down and play. First, there’s the problem of cost. Blackjack is a very fast game (doubly so if you’re not playing with a group) and the wins and losses both come at a rapid rate. This isn’t great for entertainment purposes when all of the tables you look at are $15 and up. Worse still, many of these Blackjack tables don’t offer great odds, paying 6:5 on Blackjack. Still, if you’re willing to look a do a little digging, you can find the holy grail: $5 Blackjack tables, and Atlantic City has a few.
Wild Wild West
Per my handy little table that you can find here, there are currently 2 casinos that offer at least one $5 table at any time, day or night, weekday or weekend. The first of those casinos is Wild Wild West.
Wild Wild West is a bit of an interesting case when it comes to Atlantic City. Where there used to be a huge, sprawling for meant for slots and casino games, the city simply doesn’t provide enough volume to justify that space anymore. Instead, Wild Wild West has taken a different tack: Catering to younger casino-goers who might want to ride a mechanical bull just as much as they want to catch 21. The thing about this demographic is that they’re not high spenders in the gambling area, so just about all of the table games in this casino come cheap, including Blackjack.
Such options don’t come without downsides. The cheap Blackjack tables here only offer 6:5 payouts on Blackjack, and it can be tough to find a spot on the weekends. There is also a rather large stage not too far from the tables as well, so you may have to listen to some (very) loud performances while you play.
Despite its earned reputation as a more upscale casino that caters to those of us with more discretionary income, the Borgata is also home to the other $5 Blackjack in Atlantic City that’s there no matter what time of day it is. I’ve played there many times myself, and I’ve always enjoyed it.
There is one large drawback, however: There is only one table. Most times of day you’ll find the table to be full, but on a Friday or Saturday night you’ll likely need to camp out for quite awhile if you hope to score a seat. Your best bet is to get there early in the day and be prepared to play until you’re done for the day/night.
On the upside, it’s the only casino that offers 3:2 payouts on Blackjack at such a low table as well.
I’ve always been a frugal gambler. This means that I’m always on the lookout for ways to play my favorite table games (Craps definitely tops that list) on the cheap. While I generally don’t care for electronic versions of games like blackjack and roulette, the automated machine-played version of craps adds just enough realism to keep things interesting. Bubble craps is also a great way for a new player to get comfortable with the game without the pressure of playing at a live table. Recently, bubble craps has made its way to Atlantic City, so get your dice shooting button ready.
What is Bubble Craps?
From my trips to Las Vegas in recent years, there are a variety of electronic versions of craps. All of them revolve around a central plastic dome, or “bubble,” which contain the dice that players get to shoot. It doesn’t convey the same sense of camaraderie that you’ll see at a live table, but it’s still great fun. It also has the distinct advantage of being very low minimums.
At its core, the game runs just like a regular craps table. You’ll sit at an electronic terminal that allows for all of the same bets as its live counterpart. If you’re not sure about the win conditions of a bet, there is an information button that you can press to display the rules, odds, etc. This makes for a great educational experience if you’re trying to bring someone new into the game.
Bubble Craps in Atlantic City
Bubble craps has been around in Las Vegas for many years now. My hope is that you’d see more of a proliferation of the game in Atlantic City. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case yet, though casinos are always looking for new ways to bring in players, so you may see more of them as time goes on. Currently there is only one place to play bubble craps in Atlantic City: The Wild Wild West Casino.
Unlike the “Shoot to Win” Craps machines that you see in Las Vegas, the bubble craps at Wild Wild West operates a little differently. A shooting player is never designated, for example. Instead, a timer starts after each roll, and you’ll have to place your bets before the timer ends. Once the timer expires, the dice will automatically “pop” and roll, with the lucky winners collecting their payouts (hopefully).
Have you ever tried this game in Atlantic City? Let me know in the comments section!
The phrase “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” is particularly applicable when it comes to gambling. Under normal circumstances, you need to take greater risks in order to earn outsized rewards (or losses). As a frugal gambler, it can be difficult to hit the right balance between entertainment and value. Thankfully, there is a way that you can earn free rewards like complimentary hotel stays, match play, free slot play, drinks, and dining credits without ever spending a dollar of your own money. How? The Facebook game/mobile app MyVegas.
How MyVegas Works
The company that runs MyVegas (Playstudios) created the game in an effort to get people to buy virtual chips in their online casino. They partnered with the huge gambling conglomerate, MGM, to offer up rewards at their casinos to entice MyVegas players into doing so. It seems like a bit of a win-win, since Playstudios gets their revenue from virtual chip purchases, and MGM gets players in the door at their properties. As a player, however, this arrangement can benefit you as well. The reason? You never actually have to buy anything to earn rewards. If you plan ahead and you’re patient, you can get a huge amount of value and use your rewards at arguably the best casino in Atlantic City: The Borgata.
Where To Start
MyVegas is free to play, and you can play the Facebook version here or, alternatively, you can download the MyVegas App to your mobile device via the Google Play Store or on Apple. There are also some additional apps as well which include MyVegas Blackjack, Pop Slots, and Konami Slots. Note that your loyalty points will synchronize across every game, so if you run out of chips to play on one app, you can move to another. I use this strategy so that I don’t have to purchase chips to great effect, and it helps to earn Loyalty Points Faster.
Earning Loyalty Points
In case you’re wondering why loyalty points matter, let me tell you: Loyalty points are what you redeem to get the rewards I described in my introduction (Hotel comps, free slot play, etc.). The more points you have, the more rewards you’re able to get (some limitations apply, which I’ll describe below). You earn loyalty points simply by playing any of the MyVegas Facebook games/apps. The higher your wager in virtual chips, the quicker you’ll earn Loyalty Points.
Basic MyVegas Strategy For Earning
As a basic strategy, you should login to the Facebook game and each app to earn your daily chips (you earn an extra chip bonus for logging in on consecutive days). You can then choose the game of your choice, play your chips down, then rinse and repeat until you’ve exhausted all of your options. Using this strategy, you should be able to generate at least a few thousand loyalty points per day. Once you’ve amassed enough loyalty, you’re ready to spend them! Listed below are the rewards that are currently available.
Spending Loyalty Points: Available Rewards
While you have a plethora of options to choose from when it comes to redeeming awards in Las Vegas, you’ll have one option in Atlantic City. Thankfully, these rewards are at the Borgata, which is arguably the best choice for a stay in AC. Note that these rewards do change from time to time and availability can vary by season. You’ll also need an active “Mlife” account, which is MGM’s rewards program. Keep in mind that you can only redeem 3 rewards in a given time period (Usually 60 days). Here are your reward options at present:
Full MyVegas Reward List
$10 Slot Dollars
This is a great option for a cheap gambler like myself who doesn’t play slots often. After redemption, they will load $10 onto your Mlife rewards account.
$25 Match Play
If you’re not familiar, match play works like this: The casino will give you a slip of paper which allows you to make a “2 for 1” bet at most table games. For this match play, you’ll need to bet $25 of your own money. If you win, the casino will pay you as if it were a $50 bet instead. Not bad, right?!
2 Free Comedy Tickets
I can’t comment on the quality of the shows, but this rewards entitles you to 2 complimentary club tickets.
2 For 1 Sandwich
At Borgata’s casual restaurant “Bread and Butter,” you’ll be able to buy 2 sandiwches for the price of one.
1 Complimentary Beverage
This entitles you to a free alcoholic beverage at Borgata Long Bar, B Bar, or Gypsy Bar. IMPORTANT NOTE: I’ve ran into all sorts of confusion and trouble trying to redeem this at Long Bar. My recommendation is to use this at “B Bar” instead, as the bartenders there seem to understand how it actually works.
$25 to Fine Dining
This is a free $25 credit to your bill at any of Borgata’s more upscale restaurants. My favorite way to use this reward is at Izakaya, which is Japanese fare. Sit at the bar and order some apps and a drink if you don’t want to break the bank with a large dinner tab.
Comp Room One Night (Monday Through Thursday)
This is a very seasonal option, so don’t expect to see this one in the Summer. That said, this is unquestionably the most valuable standalone reward, even if you do have to go during the week to redeem it.
How to redeem MyVegas rewards in Atlantic City
Once you’ve redeemed your rewards in the MyVegas app, you can head over to the Mlife rewards desk at the Borgata. They’ll load any applicable awards onto your Mlife card. Note that for the complimentary hotel stay, you’ll have to call the phone number listed after redemption to take advantage of that offer.
There you have it! A full summary of what MyVegas has to offer for Atlantic City players. If you have any questions or want to let me know how your experience was in using these rewards, let me know! Please add your feedback to the comments section.
Blackjack isn’t exactly known as the most affordable table game out there. It’s a quick game, for better or for worse, so unless you’re bringing hundreds of dollars to the table, even at lower minimums, it’s possible to get wiped out quickly if you hit a cold streak. Still, you have a few options when it comes to cheap Blackjack. There’s the five dollar tables at Wild Wild West, for example, but Blackjack there pays 6:5, putting you at a significant disadvantage. So, what’s a guy or gal to do? Not to worry friends, the Borgata has you covered with a $5 table that’s always running. Weekdays, weekends, and holidays. Still, there are some caveats to keep in mind.
It’s Packed on the Weekends
I don’t often visit Atlantic City on the weekends, but I have been to Borgata on a few occasions. Shockingly, the five dollar table will still be there, but getting to actually play on it will be another matter. The table fills up quickly, even in the afternoon, and once night falls, you’ll probably notice a few people hanging out nearby, hoping to snag a seat. Worse, the people that are actually at the table know that once they get up, they’re done with it for the night, so they tend to stick around. Keep this in mind if you’re hoping to score some cheap Blackjack on a Saturday.
It Has Surprisingly Good Odds
Unlike tables here in Pennsylvania, where state law requires that certain odds be offered at table games, playing at cheaper tables often means a trade off in your playing advantage vs. the house. Playing at a table that pays 3:2 for Blackjack instead of 6:5 can make a significant difference in your wins/losses over a long period of time (You can find a calculator to find out how what these numbers mean and how they affect you here). Interestingly enough, Borgata’s cheapest tables play by the same rules as their higher ones, so you’ll have a much better shot at leaving with more money in your pocket.
Where to Find It
The $5 table can be found along the same line as “normally’ priced Blackjack tables. Walk to the end of the row, near the night club (Premier). It’ll be the second to last table near the Big Wheel.
So there you have it. Finding live five dollar Blackjack is incredibly rare in Atlantic CIty, and it’s the only table at that level that will pay 6:5. Certainly worth looking into.
by ironaegis·Comments Off on The Cheapest Table Games in Atlantic City
If you’re anything like me, you may think gambling can be great fun as a recreational activity. You probably know that your chances of winning over the long term are negligible, but you just have fun playing. I’ve always enjoyed cheap table games since I have no interest in playing slots, but there’s just one problem: They can be expensive. You would think that Atlantic City, squeezed from all sides from neighboring casinos in other states, would become a destination akin to Fremont Street in Las Vegas. Cheap drinks, cheap gaming, various avenues of entertainment. Unfortunately, it hasn’t played out in that way, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find value with some more affordable gaming. Here’s where to find it.
Wild Wild West Casino
Wild Wild West has a very odd atmosphere for gamblers, especially if you visit during the week. The cavernous halls were obviously built for more prosperous times, but they’ve converted the place well. It now serves as a home for two main themes: A younger, hipper crowd who likes to drink on the cheap, and cheap gambling. While the casino area itself is very small (There’s room for a stage and a mechanical bull, though), the games are the absolute lowest minimums in Atlantic City. You’ll find five dollar games spanning roulette, craps, and blackjack, though don’t expect favorable odds on the latter.
Harrah’s Atlantic City
Seated next to the more prestigious Borgata, there’s still no question that Harrah’s is a close second when it comes to low table minimums. It has the feel of a newer casino, and while I don’t spend a lot of time there myself, some of my friends continue to swear by it. During the week, you might be able to find the occasional $5.00 game, but there are still $10.00 minimums to be had on the weekend as well, depending on the season.
I have fond memories of the Tropicana. In years past, I used to play quite a bit of “Double Attack” Blackjack, an uncommon variant. This one table was available at $5.00 during the week. I also played quite a bit of $5.00 Craps during off-peak times as well. Those days are mostly gone. The recent renovations to the casino have also brought in a bit of a classier clientele, and it shows. Still, you’ll find solid $10 games here on most nights, and $15.00 Pai Gow Poker as well. Certainly worth checking out.
Have you found a better spot? Feel free to drop us a line and tell me about your experience! I’m always looking to keep this information up to date. Bad experiences are good to note as well.