Best of Atlantic City

The Trump Taj Mahal.Photo: Louie Psihoyos/Corbis

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa

1 Borgata Way; 866-692-6742
Hidden right next to the B Bar, and open for business 24/7, is the lowest-minimum table in the city’s highest-stakes casino. There’s usually a crowd waiting, but once you snare a seat you can take advantage of the generous stand-on-soft-seventeen policy, which, according to gambling expert Frank Scoblete, decreases the house edge by .2 percent.

Trump Taj Mahal

1000 Boardwalk; 609-449-1000
Before plunging into the shark tank that is the Borgata’s $300 weekend tournaments, test those Hold ’Em skills at the Taj Mahal. The casino typically holds one low-limit tourney in the morning, one in the evening, and one at midnight. The $50 buy-ins are accompanied by the easiest bad-beat jackpot in town—it pays on full houses, not the usual four of a kind.


1901 Boardwalk; 609-340-2000
Unless you’re a master of “dice control” like Scoblete, who has worked on precision craps shooting for nineteen years, stick to one of the eleven craps tables at Bally’s. “They give you ten times odds, which means you can put ten times your pass line, or come bet, in odds behind it,” he says. “And there’s no house edge on the odds bet. You won’t find many games better than that in the whole country.”

Atlantic City Country Club’s Sunday Brunch

1 Leo Frasier Dr., Northfield, N.J.; 609-236-4465
The Sunday brunch buffet ($29.95 per person) at the Atlantic City Country Club might not have the variety you’ll find at Caesars (sushi, crab claws, lamb stew) or Harrah’s (rodízio, Mongolian BBQ, dim sum), but it’s got one major advantage over its rivals: It’s not in a tacky casino.

Tony Luke’s

Borgata, 1 Borgata Way; 866-692-6742
“People think of Tony Luke’s as a cheesesteak place,” says Ed Hitzel, host of the “Table for One” radio show. “But the real reason everyone goes there is their hot pork sandwich with broccoli rabe.” It costs $10.70 and should be devoured while standing right where you bought it: next to the poker room in the Borgata.

Chelsea Prime

111 S. Chelsea Ave.; 609-428-4545
Located on the trendiest hotel floor in A.C.—the Fifth Floor of the Chelsea—Stephen Starr’s Chelsea Prime steakhouse feels like a forties-era supper club. There are black-and-white photos of Rat Pack members lining the walls, the bar is shaped like a grand piano, and the kitchen turns out an excellent bone-in fillet. Make an early-evening reservation so that you can better appreciate the ocean view.

The Chelsea

111 S. Chelsea Ave.; 800-548-3030
Aside from the friendly wagers placed on the pool table upstairs, there’s no gambling at the Chelsea whatsoever. The nine-month-old property, with rooms starting at $139, has brought some welcome charm, and service, to the boardwalk.

El Dorado Motor Inn

2741 Pacific Ave.; 609-345-5956
“El Dorado Motor Inn is the No-Tell Motel of Atlantic City,” says Michael Streko of The Jacuzzi Suite ($100) has a tub for two, a king-size bed, and a mirrored ceiling.

Residence on 34

The Water Club, 1 Renaissance Way; 800-800-8817
If you hit it really big, $15,000 gets you a duplex with 360-degree floor-to-ceiling views, personal butler, private elevator, and fitness center. Recent guests include Jimmy Fallon, who tweeted: “sickest room (rooms?) ever!”

Game On!

The Pier Shops at Caesars, 1 Atlantic Ocean; 609-345-6800
Sports betting is illegal in A.C, but that doesn’t stop the rowdiness at Game On!, a spacious, ruby-lit lounge with 90-plus plasma screens and a nightclub-quality sound system.

The Pool at Harrah’s

After midnight on Saturdays, follow the off-duty casino workers to the Pool, a massive club inside a 90-foot-tall glass dome in Harrah’s Waterfront Tower. A strict dress code (no baggy jeans, shorts, plain white T-shirts, or hooded sweatshirts) deters no one from wearing swimsuits underneath their street clothes and jumping in the pool or one of six hot tubs.

Bare Exposure

2303 Pacific Ave.; 609-449-0999
New Jersey prohibits the sale of alcohol anywhere there’s nude dancing, but there are, of course, ways around this. Bare Exposure is steps away from Bullshots Pizza Pub, a fully loaded bar that has carryout. Do shots there, then pick up some beer, wine, or Champagne (the only types of alcohol allowed inside) and get on line.

Trump Plaza

The Boardwalk at Mississippi Ave.; 609-441-6000
“This is the closest you’ll get to sticking your feet in sand while having a beer,” says Jen A. Miller, author of travel guide The Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May. Grab a seat at one of the high-top tables by the tiki bar and enjoy the view of the dance floor.

The Pier Shops at Caesars

1 Atlantic Ocean; 609-345-3100
A full-service luxury mall with a little extra A.C. flare. Says one regular, “You can get a manicure, you can eat at Buddakan, you can buy a Gucci bag!” Stick around for “The Show,” an hourly water canon–music–lights spectacle that is especially soothing when you’re hung-over.

Qua Baths & Spa

Caesars, 2100 Pacific Ave.; 609-343-2400
The year-old Qua Baths & Spa is the most creative of A.C.’s new passel of hotel spas. Its 180-minute “Dieci Mani” is a highly choreographed ten-hand massage and facial combo that requires 24-hour notice and costs an almost laughable $5,000.

Best of Atlantic City