Atlantic City is a popular casino destination located in New Jersey, United States that trails only Nevada and Pennsylvania for annual wagering volume by US state. Because Las Vegas and Atlantic City are on opposite sides of the country (2500 miles apart) they hardly compete. Also, while many tourists fly to Las Vegas, the bulk of Atlantic City visitors drive in, as New York City is just 130 miles away. I often hear people refer to Atlantic City as a mini Las Vegas, but that’s quite the stretch.
To be frank, nothing compares to Las Vegas overall. No matter what you’re looking for, you can do it all there. Indoor sky diving, chopper rides over the Grand Canyon, huge aquariums, headliner entertainers, excellent food from around the globe, the best swimming pools, beautiful woman and the list goes on and on and then there are the casinos which are world renowned.
In Atlantic City there are some interesting historic sites and a beach, but casinos are far more the main draw. Of course slots, blackjack, baccarat, craps and roulette are the most popular casino games everywhere in the US and Atlantic City is no exception. However, where they kick all other casino towns to the curb is their diverse selection of alternate games such as Sic Bo, Pai Gow Tiles, Caribbean Stud, Texas Hold’em Bonus, Let it Ride, and of course our favorite 3-Card Poker.
Where to Play Three Card Poker in Atlantic City?
It would seem like this is a trivial question, and if you’re visiting by car perhaps in some ways it is, for most it is not. Parking is available at each casino, but expect to pay $5 to $10 for the afternoon and evening. If you’re visiting Atlantic City by air, bus, or train and planning to spend the night, where you stay might be of concern. Let me start by covering the layout of Atlantic City.
Atlantic City Casino Map
There are 13 casinos in Atlantic City, 10 on the boardwalk and 3 in the Marina District: See Map. Some are grouped together while the others are quite a walk between. While all the casinos are magnificent and safe, walking between them is not always the best idea, except for when walking the boardwalk 8AM to 10PM. Much of Atlantic City is not a nice neighborhood, and crime rates are high, though the boardwalk is very safe during normal non-sleeping hours.
West Boardwalk : Anyone who enjoys hoping casino to casino, and is without a car, might wish to avoid the two casinos located on the far west section of the boardwalk which are Atlantic Club (formerly Hilton) and Tropicana. While taxi is an option, expect the driver to be annoyed when you take a 3/4 mile ride.
Center Boardwalk: In the center of the boardwalk from West to East you’ll find Trump Plaza, Caesars, Bally’s and Bally’s Wild West which are each large properties and the easiest to walk between. This is a very decent area to stay unless you prefer to plant yourself in the East boardwalk or Mariana casinos.
East Boardwalk Casinos: The casinos on the East boardwalk are a bit of a journey from the other areas but can be walked to from the center board walk. In this area you’ll find Resorts, Taj Mahal, Showboat, and finally the Revel.
Marina Casinos: These are by far the nicest casinos in Atlantic City and are good 5-10 minute drive from the boardwalk. Here you’ll find Golden Nugget (formerly Trump Marina), Harrah’s Marina and the pinnacle of all Atlantic City casinos the Borgata.
In case earning loyalty rewards and comps is part of your Atlantic City plans I should mention there are two multiple property VIP programs in Atlantic City:
Trump One Card – By clicking here you can discover the benefits of this rewards card which is valid at Plaza and Taj Mahal
Total Rewards – This rewards card is available in casinos all over the US including Las Vegas, New Orleans, Tunica and other destinations. The Atlantic City casinos that are part of this program are Caesars, Showboat, Bally’s and Harrah’s Marina. More details can be found at totalrewards.com.
All other Atlantic City casinos have a single property standalone rewards card. Resorts has Star Club, Golden Nugget has the 24 Karat Club, while Borgata has Red Label and Black Label cards available via My Borgata Rewards.
Atlantic City 3-Card Poker Details
Now that I’ve provided details on Atlantic City casino locations and VIP rewards cards it’s time to discuss which Atlantic City casinos are best for 3-Card Poker. A lot here depends on your preferred stakes, the length of you trip, how often you’ll return and whether you visit casinos in other US casino towns such as Las Vegas, Tunica, Reno, Lake Tahoe and New Orleans. Let me run down a few categories that will help you decide.
Lowest Limits: If your concern is playing low stakes while getting free drinks then you’ll find $5.00 minimum tables most often at Tropicana, and sometimes at Taj Mahal and in morning weekday hours at Bally’s. Most of the time, the minimum ante bet is $10.00 at Atlantic City casinos and can go up to $15.00 on weekends, a time when Atlantic City is packed and room costs nearly triple.
Best Odds: The best 3-Card Poker odds in Atlantic City can be found at Borgata. Look for the game that pays 1:1 on the Ante for a straight, because most Atlantic City casinos only pay the Ante on flush or better. This pay table should be any mini-royal 10:1, straight flush 5:1, trips 4:1 etc. When playing optimal strategy (folding any hand not Q-6-4 or better) the result is a low 1.96% element of risk. To be clear, the house advantage is still 3.28% on the Ante bet. This assumes you’re not playing Pair Plus, which if you are you may wish to skip Borgata and see the next section.
Best Pair Plus Payouts: If you’re looking for a chance to hit a huge payday while playing at standard Atlantic City 3-Card Poker odds, you’ll want to play at a Caesars Entertainment owned properties. The properties are Caesars Palace, Showboat, Bally’s and Harrah’s Marina. At these casinos look for the table with the 6-card bonus. Here if your hand plus the dealers’ hand makes a 6-card straight flush you’re paid $100,000, or can be paid $1 million if it is in a select suit. This is one of the best 3-Card poker games around and it is exclusive to Caesars Entertainment properties. Keep in mind that the 6-card bonus side bet carries a hefty 15% house edge.
If you’re looking for the best rewards program, you’ll need to shop around. Golden Nugget is decent as the comps can often be converted to cash during promo periods. However Total Rewards card is valid at four Atlantic City casinos as well as casinos in Las Vegas, New Orleans, Tunica and other locations around the US. While Caesars Entertainment comps are slightly less on the front end, their back end deals on complimentary or discounted rooms are very hard to compete with and make their casinos in Atlantic City, Caesars, Showboat, Bally’s and Harrah’s Marina perhaps the best for regular casino visitors.
About the author:
Author Al W. Moe was eight years old when he first experienced the excitement of gambling after finding an old slot machine in his Uncle’s basement. The machine worked perfectly, taking the three nickels he had left from his allowance, but his imagination was set loose when he opened the back of the machine and found out just how the hundreds of moving parts made the slot work. Since that day, Moe has pulled the curtain back from hundreds of casino games to peek inside, and then offer his own views on their popularity, best features, and how to play each game like a pro. He has also played blackjack and poker for a living, while writing about his experiences. Moe is the author of several books on the history of gambling, including the Best Selling "Vegas and the Mob."