Thursday, July 10, 2003

Thursday, July 10, 2003

We just got back from our weekly AC trip. This time we wanted to check out the Borgata.

Trying to get there from the Trop is pretty tough the first time. We tried to navigate the streets, and found ourselves in dead end after dead end. There really is no way to reach the Borgata besides the highway. The other reports are true, it is not the easiest casino to find.

The parking garage is very large and spacious. A lot more room than the Taj or Trop. The turns are wide, the spaces are not just for compact cars, but will fit any sized SUV easily. It is more along the lines of a newer Vegas casino parking garage.

The elevators "talk." They are quick and plentiful.

Once inside the casino, the feel is close to the Bellagio. They have the shopping mall area, the large sitting areas, wide hallways, neutral colors and tasteful decorations.

Like a lot of Vegas casinos, they do their very best to hide less profitable games like the race book and the poker room. As the other reports mentioned, the poker room is in the "basement" as far away from wandering tourists as possible.

The race book is tiny. It was standing room only, and obviously wasn't well planned out, unless the Borgata is intentionally trying to drive away sports bettors. I think maybe they had 40 seats, max.

The poker room was exactly like so many of the other reports. Very comfy chairs, adjustable, warm. Awesome tables, no sweaty vinyl armrests.

The dealers carry long "tubes" for their tokes. The tubes fit chips perfectly, one stacked on top of another, until full. They slide the tube into a hole next to them. It is kind of neat, but it also encourages big tips, rather than half dollars.

A lot of the dealers were from the Trop, or new. It's awfully sad when the players have to do the job for the dealers, then are expected to tip them, on top of that! All of the dealers were nice.

The games were very soft, extremely loose and passive at the lower limits. I was the only person I ever saw check-raise, not an advanced play, by any stretch. A lot of the players were clearly new, and talked about such things as the WPT and the WSOP getting them interested in poker. They would outright ask me if "this or that" was a good play. I don't give free lessons at the table to my competition.

The tables were widely spaced with plenty of elbow room. The dealers didn't seem to be able to ask the players to square the table, so players who were taking up too much room had to be asked to move by other players, rather than staff.

The coffee was incredible. Very dark and rich, served a la Starbucks style paper mug. I saw that snack bar, but no menu was posted, so I can't confirm the $19.00 hot dog rumor.

The snack area was a little tight, but not every table was taken. Since food cannot be eaten at the table, one had to leave and snack in the adjacent snack bar.

They do not use the third man walking rule, when the tables get short due to snackers, so they cut the rake 50% (max $2) when the player got to six at HE. Two buttons are okay, but when the next dealer comes, if the player hasn't returned, they are picked up.

They have the card swiping system like Taj. I was told the comps won't be in the computer for a few days, so if you are not a regular, you cannot use your poker comps on the same trip

The playing cards are better than the Trop.

The PA system is very subtle and not annoying at all.

It is better lit than the Trop, but less glaring than the Taj.

The cocktail waitresses are abundant and efficient. There was no massage service when I was there.

We were told that Cardplayer magazine was not going to be provided because they didn't want to "mess up" their poker room. This kind of attitude prevailed at the Borgata, this “upper class, we are superior”, attitude.

Onto the hotel...

Rates were $179 per night on a weekday, for regular rooms. No discounts were given. No AAA, nada. Since the comps for the poker room don't show up for a few days, it is impossible to get the poker room rate of $100 (weekday) on the first visit.

The rooms were beautiful and spacious for standard rooms. They reminded me of the Regent in Vegas, before they went bankrupt and changed owners again and again.

The baths were marble, with upscale fixtures and huge bath towels. Nothing was "connected" to the wall. There were nice little touches like a real blow-dryer, good, expensive model.

The shower was one with a bench and solid glass doors. The toilet area was completely separate with a real door and a telephone.

There was a nice desk with a chair and another phone. The main phone was cordless. There was a cd player/clock radio, very upscale.

The bed was King, with an expensive style mattress pad and "summer" down comforter. The pillows were king sized and huge (fluffy).

I didn't like the way the television was set up. It was inside a cabinet, with doors, but the doors didn't slide into the cabinet, instead, we had to pull the TV out, making it jut almost a foot into the room, and hard to navigate without smacking into it in the middle of the night, when it was dark, trying to make our way into the bathroom.

They had a real coffeemaker and fridge, which was GREAT for a casino room. Nice touch, since most casinos want you to spend more money, hence making it impossible to store food or make your own coffee/tea.

Unfortunately, the coffee stinks. It is "cheap" tasting, not rich and dark like one would expect. If you are a coffee fan, I would bring your own filter packs, which Starbucks now sells for those little 4-cup coffeemakers.

They have real cream, but not enough of it. Nice change from those powdered creamers, but it didn't improve the nasty taste of the coffee.

I had some trouble sleeping (stupid diabetes), so my husband called down to the front desk to ask for a late checkout. He was rudely told that they "don't do" late checkouts. He had to ask for the manager, who was very understanding and gave us until 2pm, so that I could try to get some sleep.

The overall feel/impression of the Borgata is the type one gets at the Bellagio. Very foo-foo, very self absorbed and pretentious. Too bad, really, but I doubt they will suffer for it.

Overall, we had a good time. I think, however, we will stick to the Trop. Yeah, I feel comfy there, like home. Plus I'm a tourney junkie, which Borgata seems to have no plans for, right now. Also, we are closing on our house and leaving the east coast at the end of August, so I don't have to think about the "long term" at this point.

Hope you enjoy!