As a Las Vegas resident who covers its gaming industry, I walk through nearly every Las Vegas casino four times a year. But I decided to make a trip to Atlantic City recently and compare the two gambling destinations.
There are many distinct differences between Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos that I did not expect. This includes video poker, table games, and the environment.
Atlantic City vs. Las Vegas Blackjack
There were some big differences between Atlantic City and Las Vegas blackjack.
Six of the seven Atlantic City casinos that I visited spread only six- and eight-deck games. The other, Golden Nugget, has one single-deck table. It pays only 6-5 on a blackjack. Las Vegas has double-deck blackjack at most casinos with table games. El Cortez and Silverton have single-deck, which pays 3-2.
I asked a pit boss at each AC casinos if they’ve ever dealt double deck. The answer was usually “yes,” with the explanation that it had been gone for years. Surrender and re-split aces were not available at any casinos. Several dealers I asked were not familiar with surrender at all, which makes sense if no Atlantic City casinos have it.
I suspect the Uston v Resorts case has something to do with all these differences. That case essentially legalized card counting in New Jersey.
Golden Nugget has a sign warning that players who refuse to submit a players card can bet only one hand up to $100 upon request. Other casinos have similar rules, according to my research. I’ve never seen such a policy publicly disclosed before.
Blackjack variants are few in AC
There was a lack of blackjack variants in Atlantic City.
Spanish 21, Blackjack Switch, and Double Attack Blackjack were the only ones I found. There were 16 blackjack variants found in Las Vegas as of January 2018.
Resorts and Tropicana have stand-on-17 blackjack tables for $15. The minimum for that game in Las Vegas is $25 and it is spread only at Treasure Island. All Atlantic City casinos have stand-on-17 blackjack tables for $25, except Golden Nugget, which requires $50.
Atlantic City vs. Las Vegas Roulette
Atlantic City has some unique roulette rules. All double-zero games have la partage. This means a bet that pays even money (red/black, high/low and odd/even) receives half the bet back if the ball lands on 0 or 00. There are no double-zero games in Las Vegas that return half the bet when the ball lands on 0 or 00.
Atlantic City roulette tables with a single zero are found in all high-limit areas. None of these tables offers la partage. In Las Vegas, single-zero roulette tables in MGM properties offer this rule.
Table games not found in Las Vegas
Atlantic City casinos spread Criss Cross Poker and Four Card Poker. Neither game ever caught on in Las Vegas. In addition, Caribbean Stud, Flop Poker, and Spanish 21 enjoy far more Atlantic City installs than in Las Vegas.
Video poker availability in Atlantic City vs Las Vegas
Las Vegas has much better video poker when compared with Atlantic City.
However, most of the great games that return more than 100 percent are in the locals’ market. The casino video poker in the tourist areas tends to be poor. In Atlantic City, all casinos cater to tourists. The video poker in Atlantic City casinos is better when compared with the Las Vegas Strip.
Atlantic City’s favorite video poker game seemed to be Joker Poker. The game typically used the 99 percent pay table that requires two pairs to win money back. In Las Vegas, this game is not popular. Most of the Joker Poker games in Las Vegas pay on a pair of kings or better.
Other amenities at Atlantic City casinos
Automated drink service a plus
The service was exceptional every time I used it. Every server was polite. I do not think these would be a problem in Las Vegas, though they may take some getting used to.
New Jersey law requires that 75 percent of the gaming floor be smoke-free.
Although I don’t think this law is totally complied with at all properties, there are still large nonsmoking areas at all casinos there. This was a nice change. In Las Vegas, most casinos permit smoking anywhere, with only a few locals’ casinos offering nonsmoking sections.
I saw few Atlantic City machines with keno on them. None has a keno lounge. Few players were active at the keno machines. Keno is still relatively popular in Las Vegas, especially the video version.
Atlantic City better than expected
I enjoyed my first Atlantic City trip.
I stayed at Harrah’s and thought the marina area was a fun place to walk around and enjoy the scenery. The casinos offered playable games, some of which are not found in Las Vegas at all. I look forward to my next trip.