Party Town Throwdown After Back-to-Back Weekends: Atlantic City vs. Las Vegas

September 7, 2012 11:17 am 0 comments

How do these havens for shenanigans and debauchery stack up against one another? Only way to find out is by going to both … on back-to-back weekends.

Justin Elliott

Let me preface this article: We all know Las Vegas is better than Atlantic City. Not many people would debate that.

Just like most people would agree that Tiger Woods is better than Webb Simpson. But look who ended up holding the 2012 US Open trophy. (Side note: Birdman!)

Even if Vegas is the best around, that doesn’t mean East Coasters shouldn’t head to south Jersey to enjoy some of the finer things in life (splitting aces, rolling 7 on the come-out, and drinking Long Islands til 4 am, etc.).

It also doesn’t preclude AC from taking down Vegas on any given weekend.

So I tried to find out if AC could really challenge Vegas: by going to Vegas for a bachelor party one weekend and going to AC for a birthday party the next weekend.

Ed’s note: as Justin is writing this he is currently undergoing a liver transplant and one of those Men in Black flashy things.


To evaluate these adult playgrounds I used the following criteria:

1. Drinking
2. Gambling
3. Walking around
4. Weather
5. “Scenery”
6. Wild Card/Shenanigans

I ranked each city 1-10 in each of the categories. In the spirit of gambling, I’m setting the line: Vegas -11.5.

Place your bets.

1. Drinking

Both cities let you drink for free while you gamble, which is a necessity. After all, I’m not trying to lose a whole bunch of money and stay sober. But in Vegas, you can drink in public, which is truly one of the most baller things you can do with your boys/girls (Dave Chappelle explains the other most baller thing you can do in this video).

AC, on the other hand, won’t let you leave the building with a drink in hand, which is a serious shot to the nuts when trying to have a good time.

As for boozing on the side (AKA liquor stores) Vegas requires a quarter-mile walk unless you stumble upon the Walgreens at The Venetian (right, Matt?), but AC has spots everywhere. It sure makes you feel better when you can get a three-pack of tallboys for $6 next door.

Hey, I think Mom would be proud that I’m bargain shopping.

Vegas: 9
AC: 7

2. Gambling

The loss of O’Sheas this year certainly hurt the gambling stock of Sin City in the eyes of a cheap kid in his mid-20’s.

Ed’s note: O’Shea’s is also where Nick Papagiorgio won his first car, which in hindsight appears to be a 1982 Geo Metro.

That said, Vegas hits you with slots and video poker as soon as you get off the plane or stop for gas on the edge of the city. You can play everything, from $5 blackjack to $500 craps (although I’ve never had the cojones to dabble in the latter).

This is one area where AC thinks it’s a hell of a lot cooler than it is. In Atlantic City, it’s easier to find a escort at any street corner than to find a $5 table. I know there are probably some NY whales that show up every weekend, but based on how uncrowded the casinos are, I can’t believe that a few low-min tables wouldn’t help out the average Joe-gambler.

AC gets a bonus point though because of my girlfriend’s 20-minute hot streak at the craps table (which significantly cut into my losings from Vegas).

Vegas: 8
AC: 5+1 = 6

3. Walking around

This is one where I thought AC was going to get destroyed but it actually held its own against Vegas.

The casinos are closer in AC (the main row, not the Borgata or that cluster way down south) and, better yet, they’re situated on a boardwalk. The clientele is trashier, no doubt, but just as funny and weird as Vegas’s.

But streetside entertainment sets Vegas apart. From the Treasure Island pirate ship to the Bellagio fountains, there is endless entertainment visible from Las Vegas Blvd. Sure, the shows are better where you pay for a good time, (get your mind out of the gutter!) but it’s dope to stumble up to the fountain drunk and see this…

Vegas: 8
AC: 5

4. Weather

The underdog rises! Of my last two trips to Vegas, one required a full suit and gloves (… plus a gallon of alcohol) to bear the cold. Meanwhile, the other never got colder than 95F (35C for you Canadians, eh!). Growing up in California and living in San Diego for five years made me wimpier than Captain America before all the ‘roids, but I still know melting and freezing are not temperatures humans should be messing with on a regular basis (or mixing with copious amounts of alcohol).

The AC boardwalk was windy, but it was hard to argue with high-70s and low-80s most of the weekend. Any hotter and there would be generally less clothing, which isn’t necessarily a good thing in AC (which segues nicely into my next category).

Vegas: 5
AC: 7

5. Scenery

Watching paint dry, water boil, or the seasons change are all better than waiting for women to get ready while in Vegas (unless you can break loose to gamble/drink).

Like Tom Petty said though, the waiting is the hardest part, and once ladies are ready, they are on their A+ game in Vegas.

Rather than elaborate on this topic I’ll just say: Gentlemen, bring reflective sunglasses when you go to LV. Doesn’t matter if the sun comes out.

Meanwhile, you know that show on MTV about the New Jersey coastline? Well, I’ve never seen it (and yes, I think I’m better than you for that), but the guys and gals in AC do bear a resemblance to those people. Lots of tan d-bags and weird chicks. That is the “Situation” in AC, bringing the average down to a 6.

Vegas: 9
AC: 6

6. Wildcard/Shenanigans

This category is heavily influenced by the ability to drink around town but also by the clientele. Take, for example, 10-Year-Old Jersey Kid in a hotel elevator who threatened to choke-slam my buddy (who is approximately this buff).

AC was full of intensity like this and the Harlem Globetrotters, who pulled in behind us at the AC Sheraton (damn phone video wasn’t working!).

Funny weird shit was happening, and all of it had that sprinkling of dirty Jersey.

If everything that happened in Vegas stayed in Vegas then it would be a lame for shenanigans and the ensuing stories. Fortunately stories of being chased by a club promoter through the slots at Paris, taking a picture with a bachelorette wearing a necklace with penises on it, and all the other weird stuff sometimes does make it out so there so the wildcards are alive.

(please comment with any crazy Vegas/AC stories)

Vegas: 8
AC: 7

Time to tally up the scores.

Vegas: 47
AC: 38

Atlantic City covers the spread!!! Ironic, because sports betting is illegal in New Jersey (maybe that should’ve been a category.)

So for all you haters out there, I recommend you give AC a try. Just make sure you spot it a few points.

Justin Elliott is the co-founder of Hire Me Grantland. See who he picked in fantasy football here. Or his guide to wading through shitty Olympic sports here. Or bring it on home.

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