We had beautiful weather: sunny and warm but not hot. We had our choice of three places to disembark; my parents prefer the Taj Mahal of the three available casinos (Showboat--closing at the end of the month!--and Bally's), which is at the north end of the boardwalk. We had lunch reservations at Carmine's in Tropicana at the south end of the boardwalk, so we played some of our vouchers (after waiting in an interminable line so that Bobby and I could get the vouchers put on cards, something the greeter used to do right on the bus but that now requires a slog across the casino, a long queue, and a much more drawn-out process). I broke my losing streak by winning a big $31.95 on a penny machine called Icarus while Bobby was off playing something called the Norse Warrior.
We took a taxi to the Tropicana; Carmine's was great, as always. Bobby and I were planning to make the 1.5-mile walk back up the boardwalk to Taj Mahal, and my parents decided they wanted to join us, so we started north, stopping into some of the shops along the way, and for breaks every few blocks for my dad, who is not much of a walker.
There was some large art set up on the boardwalk, including a Monopoly board large enough to walk around on with pieces big enough to climb and sit on.
Mom and Dad:
No, I don't know why they're dressed alike!
They decided to turn off at Resorts, the casino before Taj Mahal, but they made the full walk, even though my dad told me in an email this morning that his butt muscles were sore from walking. :^)))
Bobby and I went down to the beach by the Steel Pier for about 20 minutes and stood in the edge of the water. Neither of us felt much like going on rides after the heavy lunch, so we skipped that this time. Finally, it was about an hour to go before having to catch the bus home, so we decided to head back up to the casino to spend the rest of our vouchers. I had $5 left, and Bobby had $15. We both played $5 on quarter machines that amounted to nothing. Bobby decided he wanted to do his last $10 on a dollar machine, so we found one, and he sat down and won a bit, lost a bit, and was down to $3 in credits remaining when he hit with a triple multiplier to win $306!
He usually wins something small, enough to pay for our trip, but this was his biggest win yet, in AC or Vegas! Whenever we win something (I can say "we" now because I won $31.95!), we cash it out right away. This is a trick that my former boss, who was a high roller in Atlantic City playing only dollar slot machines, taught me. People mess up because they win smallish amounts--$50, say--but don't pull it out and it goes fast after that. Also, the law allows the casino to track what you put in but not what you cash out, so my former boss used to appear to be playing hundreds of dollars a day just by cashing out and feeding his winnings--the casino's own money--back into the machine. He never played more than $100 of his own money a day, but because it looked like he was feeding in quite a bit, he paid for nothing on his trips there.
We still had about 45 minutes, so we headed across the boardwalk to a new pub that had opened alongside the Steel Pier and enjoyed two victory shandies. I said that I have never been lucky with winning things, but since Bobby and I pool our earnings, then I might as well be lucky!
I have to say that Atlantic City is looking sad these days. It has long been common knowledge that wandering back off of the boardwalk is pretty seedy territory, but casinos are closing at an alarming rate: One has closed already, and three others--Showboat, Trump Plaza, and the two-year-old Revel--will all be closed by year's end. When we used to go to Atlantic City when I was a kid, it was casinos the length of the boardwalk--and how I loved the lights, the color, the opulence!--but now there are only five left on the boardwalk (three off of it) with a widening gap between those clustered at the north and the south. Even of those that remain, so many of them seem to be fading: obvious wear-and-tear, maintenance problems (half of the bathrooms in the Taj Mahal have been closed for about a year now), and staff that put off that forced-polite vibe of people who aren't being taken care of by their employers and don't see much of a future in what they are doing. It did seem like there was more of an effort at cultivating the atmosphere of a family beachside resort--miniature golf on the boardwalk, the giant Monopoly set--but how that will go when you can walk a block west and see a 50¢ peep show with LIVE NUDE GIRLS remains to be seen.
This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!