- Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
1 Borgata Way, Atlantic City, N.J., 609-317-1000; theborgata.com
You’ve been watching Ben Affleck play Texas hold-’em on TV, and now you’re hooked on poker. Yet when the time comes to try your hand against real-life sharks . . . well, you’re on the wrong coast, as the vast majority of the action is out west. Not all is lost, however. Poker pros say the best getaway, especially if you’re going to make a weekend of it, is once again Atlantic City. The Borgata is the closest thing in the A.C. casino world to tasteful, and unlike most hotels here—which don’t even have poker rooms—it takes the game seriously. The large poker space (soon to double in size) hosts tournaments every day; if you must take a break, there’s a food court attached, as well as a lounge full of plasma TVs. Hold-’em, seven-card stud, and Omaha are well represented; stakes range from $2–$4 to truly terrifying. Phil Hellmuth, a World Series of Poker champ and the all-time top money winner ($3.5 million!) is a fan: “It really is nicer—I go for the main tournaments,” he says. “And I like Atlantic City. You’re by the ocean, the boardwalk’s a different place from what it was twenty years ago, there’s a great shopping mall . . . ” Maybe, maybe not. Just hope you don’t end up at his table.
Best Poker Weekend
From the 2004 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).