The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted a huge number of industries across the country, and Atlantic City Casinos are no exception. Traffic is down, restaurants are closing, and table minimums during COVID are up significantly. Casinos have also needed to take steps to separate players and keep their staff safe. It’s just not a great time to be a gambler.
COVID Means a Lot of Changes
As a result of these changes, casinos are trying to squeeze as much revenue as they can from each player. This means that you’re likely to see increased table minimums across the board in Atlantic City, at least until the pandemic passes and we can return to some sense of normalcy.
Personally, I’m still not comfortable venturing inside a real casino until this all blows over, but I have been doing some fact finding as to what table minimums to expect while the virus still rages on. As a general rule, you should tack on $10-$15 to whatever normal minimums you see for Craps, Roulette, or Blackjack. I would also be sure to check on New Jersey’s restrictions for travel, as they’ll continue to change over the coming months as well, and often at short notice. Good luck out there!
Atlantic city has a reputation for being very rough around the edges, but that doesn’t mean that the city doesn’t boast a beautiful skyline at night. Most of the boardwalk hotels will have a nice view of the ocean if you’re willing to pay up for an “ocean view” room or a suite, but some hotels have a great view of the sea or the city skyline no matter what room you’re in. Our favorite views can be found below.
Best View of the City: The Borgata
If you’re looking for a great view of the city itself, then you’ll need to get off the boardwalk and head over to the Marina. The Borgata is unquestionably our favorite casino in Atlantic City, and the beautiful view is part of that. No matter where you are in the hotel, you’ll have a nice view of the bay or city skyline. If the view is important to you, make sure you request a higher floor.
Best View of the Water: Ocean Resort
Ocean has quite the troubled past, but there’s no question that the billion dollar resort is on the rebound these days. One of the best parts of staying at this hotel and casino is that just about every room has a wonderful view of the sea. No more paying up for an “Ocean View” room that’s still sub-par on many occasions (Looking at you, Tropicana). Unless you’re on the first 3 floors, you’ll have a great view like this one:
While Borgata is my go-to stay when it comes to being in Atlantic City, Ocean Resort comes in at at a close second. Having a nice view is just a great way to round out your stay. Whether you’re looking for a great Atlantic City skyline view or a nice calming look at the ocean, the city has something for everyone.
As a light gambler, I normally stick to the “classic” versions of games when it come to Blackjack and Craps, but there are always exceptions to the rule. I recently discovered a fun variant that I enjoy, Double Attack Blackjack, which I did a write up on here. Today I’m here to write about another popular variant, Blackjack Switch, and run down where you can find the game to play in Atlantic City.
How to Play
I won’t go into too much detail on how to play Blackjack Switch, as you can find a more in-depth guide here. In short, the game plays just like normal Blackjack, with the key exception being that you are dealt two hands instead of 1. Once dealt, the player has the option of switching the second card dealt to each hand. This gives you the feeling of having a little more control over the outcome of the game. Another key difference is that a dealer of total 22 will result in a push rather than a win for the player.
Where to Play Blackjack Switch in Atlantic City
Blackjack Switch was originally introduced to Atlantic City in 2009, but there are a variety of casinos that currently offer this variant. The full list can be found below:
I have not been to the Borgata since the Pandemic, but I’ll have to see if they’re currently offering this the next time I’m in town.
Blackjack Switch Minimums in Atlantic City
These minimums will have undoubtedly change with the onset of COVID-19, but during my last visit I saw the table minimums for this game range from $10-$25, with the higher minimums being found at Caesar’s and the cheapest tables being found at Harrah’s.
When traveling, one of the largest expenses you’ll run into is accommodations. Most commonly, travelers take to discount hotel sites like Hotels.com or Groupon hoping to nab a decently nightly rate. Unlike other hotels in the world, however, casinos have a vested interest in getting you through the door. Thus, getting free nights is the holy grail of places like Atlantic City. The only question left is: How do you get free nights? Here are the options available to you.
1. Use Reward Sites and Save Up For Free Nights
If you’re not spending enough money to earn casino comps or don’t want to spend the time on MyVegas, this is your best option for free nights in Atlantic City. These are mostly shopping portals that will give you a percentage of cash back for things you are buying anyway. Picking up a video game on eBay? Earn some points. Starting a new home improvement project at Lowe’s? Earn some points! It will take time, but if you’re spending the money anyway, why not get some free nights out of the deal? Here are my personal favorites that I use on a regular basis (NOTE: These are referral links, so I will earn a small commission if you sign up. Help us keep the lights on!)
Rakuten (Formerly Ebates) – When making an online purchase through Rakuten, you’ll earn cash back in the range of 1-5%. Don’t expect to get rich quick, but there are hundreds of stores to shop through.
MyPoints – Mypoints is a great alternative to Rakuten as you can earn points without spending any money! Surveys, e-mails, watching ads, etc. can all help you build a high enough balance to redeem for free hotel stays. They have an elaborate shopping portal as well.
2. Gamble Enough Money
This is the tried and true method of getting free nights at any casino, and Atlantic City is no exception. The math here gets fuzzy, especially when it comes to table games. Casinos try to nail you down as a high roller vs. low roller, what types of bets you make, etc. The pit boss is there to keep an eye on the players and what they’re spending. If you spend enough at a quick enough pace, free nights are sure to follow.
The obvious downside is that you’re spending the money anyway. Casinos aren’t going to hand out free nights in Atlantic City that easily. Being a new player is normally your best shot, as casinos will want to try and entice you to come back a time or two. If you don’t spend enough, however, those offers will dry up. Comps can be a bit of a mystery, as no one really knows what algorithm the casinos use to dole out freebies. You can bet that you’ll be spending more than the average nightly rate to earn them, however.
3. Use MyVegas To Earn Free Nights
If you haven’t heard of the app “MyVegas,” be sure to check out our full guide here. Basically, it’s a set of casino apps that allows you to play for free and earn loyalty points over time. If you have enough points, you can get all sorts of freebies at my favorite casino: The Borgata.
Beyond discounts on food and free drinks, MyVegas allows you to earn free nights in Atlantic City as well. These rewards are awesome, but they do have limitations. Most notably, they’re almost always for weeknight stays only, so don’t expect a Saturday in the Summer to open up. They also require a fairly high number of loyalty points to redeem as well. Looking past those drawbacks, however, you’re getting a great value.
Once you’ve nailed down how to play Craps and have a good handle on where to play the lowest minimums, you may notice some interesting side Craps side bets in Atlantic City. While these bets to tend to carry a high advantage to the house, they can still be an exciting way to get in on the action of a great roll without risking much money. Here is the breakdown of what to expect.
What is the Fire Bet?
One of the most popular side bets you’ll find in Atlantic City is the Fire Bet. If you take it, you’re betting that the shooter will be able to establish and win a variety of unique points. The more unique points the shooter gets, the more you win. Some casinos use different payouts, but here is the most common Pay Table:
Sure, it’s a long shot, but if you’re a low-roller like myself, it allows you to participate in great rolls for as little as one dollar. You can currently find Fire Bets in Atlantic City at the casinos below:
Bonus Craps: All Tall, All Small, All or Nothing at All Bets
Often referred to as “Bonus Craps,” these bets consist of 3 options:
All Small: You win if the shooter manages to roll every number from 2 to 6 before rolling a seven. Pays 30 to 1.
All Tall: You win if the shooter manages to roll every number from 8 to 12 before rolling a seven. Pays 30 to 1.
All or Nothing at All: You win if the shooter manages to roll every number from 2 to 12. Pays 175 to 1.
Where to Play Bonus Craps in Atlantic City
Bonus Craps is another fun long-shot that keeps you in the game even if you’re just betting a number or two. It also adds an additional level of excitement when you’re “this close” to connecting to an All Small, All Tall, etc. You can currently find Bonus Craps in Atlantic City at the casinos below:
So there you have it! If you find any additional locations to find Craps side bets in Atlantic City, feel free to let us know in the comments and we’ll have them added to the list! Feel free to share stories of your big wins on these as well.
If you live in New Jersey or Pennsylvania and looking to head out to your local casino, you’ll quickly find out that they’ve been shuttered for at least the next month or so. Thankfully, residents in a number of states have the option of gambling online, and we’ve decided to provide a break down of online table game minimums in New Jersey below.
While there are a number of online casinos to choose from, our personal favorite is Pokerstars. They’ve been an established brand for many years, their software works well, and they provide the option of live dealer games. All-in all, it’s a win win!
Online Roulette Minimums
Roulette continues to be a popular choice for online casino gaming. As a friendly reminder, you can view live table game minimums in Atlantic City here. For the sake of brevity, we won’t be breaking it down by casino as they tend to be uniform minimum across the board:
Online Roulette Table Minimums – Live Dealer – $10.00 ($15 during prime times)
Both of these options have multiplayer capability via Pokerstars, so it’s as close as you’re going to get to the real deal as of the time of this writing!
Online Baccarat Minimums
Baccarat is a fantastic game to learn online since you can play at much lower minimums than you could with any live table. New Jersey offers options for virtual play with a live dealer as well. Here are the numbers:
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!