Beach, Shopping, and Slots!

An early morning, McDonald’s breakfast with orange juice, and a $36 bus ticket later and we were on our way to Atlantic City! The furthest I had ventured into Jersey before this trip was a quick Path train under the Hudson river to Hoboken so I was excited to explore another part of our neighbor state. Reality T.V. has crashed the reputation of the state unfortunately, and I was excited to check more of it out for myself. 

Atlantic City is about a 3 1/2 bus ride from the city. I ended up sleeping most of the way there since the early weekend morning disrupted my normal sleeping in routine. The ride didn’t seem to take too long. Maybe it’s because I’m used to it taking about 45 minutes to get anywhere in the city with public transportation. Has this city increased my patience level?! Well, maybe I wouldn’t go that far, but it certainly has affected the way I think about getting around. 

As we approached Atlantic City there were giant windmills (like the ones on the way to the Gorge in WA) next to large grassy and kind of swampy looking grounds. Beyond the water the lights of the hotels started to emerge! We pulled in, and I felt like it was Jersey’s own little mini Vegas! As we pulled in we drove through the outlet mall (which had some great stores!) and into the Bally’s bus parking. Most of my experiences with casinos involve a great seafood buffets, fireworks, and traffic. Seafood buffets because that was a huge treat growing up and getting to go to the Muckleshoot Casino’s seafood buffet (back when they allowed kids). Fireworks because there are firework stands for months before the 4th of July, and traffic because I had to drive through the reservation 5 days a week for 2 years going to school and I think they were doing construction on that road for the entire time. The only actual gambling experience I have at a casino was last year on the Oregon Coast with the whole family. So this whole going to a casino to actually gamble was a pretty new experience. 

Now, I’m pretty frugal with my money and I realize that all of the flashing lights at the casinos are not kept on by the casino handing out money, but paid by all of the thousands of dollars people lose every day at the machines. You may be lucky, but in the end the odds are against you and I didn’t want to waste any of my money. Lucky for us though, you get a $25 credit for the slot machines with your bus ticket! Again, they do this not because they want to hand out money, but more so to get you started and then hope you put more in once you lose everything. I’ve got it all figure out.. I’m a smart cookie though so I came up with a game plan! Lucky for me, Chris was heading to the poker tables and had no interest in playing slots. So, chachinggg he gave me his $25 voucher too. 

The only problem with not knowing much about gambling, is well, you don’t know much about the machines or the process! I headed straight for the penny slots, which I do realize you can bet more than a penny, but was all about keeping my fake money as long as I could! So the first machine I sat down at, I put my player’s card in and the voucher and played for a couple of spins. I decided there were a million other shiny machines I wanted to test out though and headed to a different machine. Here is the only problem, I just got up cashed my ticket out and left, but when I got to the next machine I found out I only had a 50 cent voucher. How did that happen?! Well, I messed up, it turns out you can’t cash out promotional credits so instead I had left a $23 credit on the last machine and took the 50 cents I had won. Oops! I headed back to the machine, but someone was already on it using the last of my credits. So, I had been there a whole 10 minutes and had already lost Chris’ voucher money at least I made someone else’s day though right? It was ok too because I still had another voucher! This time I was smart and just started cashing out every time I won some. 

Then I found this cool game with bears and fishing that reminded me of my Dad so I sat down and had some fun with that. It was a little confusing because it said it was a penny machine, but the min. bet was 40 cents. I came up with a good little strategy after losing a lot of my winnings. Play with $5 at a machine, and as soon as I doubled it cash out and save the winnings in a zipped pocket in my purse. I’d go to a fishing game that was actually a penny and then once I’d turn my $1 on that machine into $5 I’d go to the bear game! I thought it was smart. After about an hour I was done playing and opened my zipped pocket and had $54! Woh hoh, what could I have done if I didn’t screw the first voucher up!

After a few hours inside the casino we were ready to hit the boardwalk! It was so funny, there were these carts that you could pay people to roll you down the boardwalk. Kind of like a pedicab, but instead they just pushed you! I thought it was hilarious. 

It was kind of cool how Atlantic City was set up because there were the casinos and then you could walk to the others on the boardwalk or take a break and hit the beach, which was really nice!

Another cool thing? I saw a couple kitties running around under the boardwalk to the beach and it turns out they have a cat program called the Boardwalk Cat Program where the kitties get to live on the beach. Not a bad life I’d say!

We hit up a couple shops along the way and then headed to the Tropicana where the real reason I got talked into going to Atlantic City was… P.F. Changs!

Now, I get that there is plenty of good food in New York City that chains probably wouldn’t be very successful.. I get it.. but, I love me some P.F. Changs! Aww, how I have missed it! Chris had never been there before either so it was a great way to end the day! Mmmm, I want some more lettuce wraps and candied-walnut shrimp already!

So, all and all Atlantic City was a lot of fun! I got to check out more of Jersey, won a little money so that I could buy us dinner, and had some fun on the boardwalk!