Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Travel Report: PokerStars Festival New Jersey, Arrival -- From NC to North Carolina Avenue

Hello from Atlantic City. Place looks a bit different from the last time I was here over three years ago.

That’s partly because no less than five casinos (of the 12) on the Boardwalk have closed since then, including the Trump Taj Mahal right next door to the Resorts Casino Hotel where I’m staying for the PokerStars Festival New Jersey.

The trip up was easy-breezy, with the ride from the Philadelphia airport to AC taking nearly as long as the flight from Charlotte. The Resorts is actually on North Carolina Avenue -- one of those Monopoly streets here in AC -- which somehow felt right to this Tarheel. Got checked in mid-afternoon and wandered around a bit, taking in the “vintage” feel of the place.

Am reading that the Resorts first went up back in 1978, and while there have obviously been renovations and new construction -- including the tower in which I’m staying which went up a little over a decade ago -- there’s definitely a bit of a stepping-back-in-time feeling when you turn certain corners of the place.

I found the tournament rooms and media area, reuniting with my buddy Jan of the EPT with whom I was just working in Malta as well as the PokerNews guys, other EPT folks and some from the LAPT, too, and a few others I haven’t seen for some time. It really is going to be a reunion of sorts for me, especially since I haven’t been to the WSOP in a while.

Later on met up with Brad, Jess, and Joe for dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. The place where we’d originally planned to go was closed, and indeed the whole Boardwalk was fairly quiet without a lot of foot traffic on a mild, breezy Monday evening. Nick (with whom I also was just working in Malta) had a delayed flight and so missed dinner, but we’ll get up with him tomorrow.

Got up very early this morning -- I’m still somewhat on European time -- and after a bit went down around 7 a.m. to the Dunkin Donuts, trekking through the casino to get there. Always a somewhat grim scene, seeing patrons of the slots and table games that early, and uncanny, too, as the lack of windows, noise, and smoke all conspire to make you forget it’s not dusk, but dawn.

Not too sure what to expect in terms of the tournaments, but it ought to be a fun one, I think. The $1,100 buy-in Main Event starts today at 11 a.m. ET, so don’t pass go, don’t collect $200, and head over to the PokerStars blog a little later to see what’s happening.

Photos: “North_Carolina_Avenue,” Mark Strozier. CC BY 2.0; “Resorts Casino Hotel,” tripadvisor.com.

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