As an avid poker fan, you must have, at some point, dreamed of enjoying the jet-set life of a poker pro. Thankfully, that dream is more attainable than you think. There is a growing poker tourism industry that is centered around traveling to poker tournaments held at exotic locations all over the world. What’s more, you don’t have to be a pro to participate. Most tournaments involve thousands of players, most of whom play in tournament games with a very reasonable buy-in. Read on for more information about poker-based travel.
What is the appeal of poker travel?
What’s not to like! There are many aspects of poker travel that should excite you, including:
i. You get to travel to exotic locations all over the world, doing what you love
If you love playing poker, and you love to travel, then poker tourism should be a no brainer for you. Break the monotony of playing with the same people, in the same rooms, by participating in the poker tournament circuit. Some of the best poker destinations include Macau, Singapore, London, Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Dublin and the Bahamas. These are popular tourist destinations as well, so you will have something to occupy you in between games.
ii. You will make new friends and improve your game
In any sort of competitive activity, you are only as good as your opponents. Your game can stagnate if you don’t face new challenges on a regular basis. With poker increasingly becoming a global game, you will meet with fellow poker enthusiasts from all over the world in global tournaments. Not only is this an opportunity to make new friends, you also get to play with a more diverse field of competitors. Chances are, you will learn a thing or two.
iii. You can meet your heroes
Even if you are not in the high-roller tables, it is easy to bump into your favorite professional poker players during tournaments. Most of them are not fussy if you want an autograph, or to take a picture together. If you’re lucky, you might even get to chat with one or two.
How do you find international tournaments to participate in?
In the digital age, you don’t have to be well connected to the international poker scene to find out when, and where, tournaments will be held. A quick internet search will show you the major upcoming events, and their participation requirements. Look out for events in the international poker circuit which are usually well publicized in poker-related online spaces.
If you find the international circuit a bit too intimidating, then casino tournaments might suit you better. While you might not get the chance to rub shoulders with some of the international poker bigwigs, you will still get to play with against a largely international competitive field.
Major casinos in Vegas, Macau, Monaco and the Caribbean usually have an in-house tournament at least once a week. In Vegas, you can find casinos that have tournaments every day! They are usually quite easy to sign up for, and the buy-ins are affordable for most players.
Travel tips for poker
Now that you know where you can find tournaments to enjoy poker, here are some useful tips that all professional poker players rely on:
i. Get familiar with the local destination
Once you sign up for an international tournament, make sure you get familiar with your destination. Find an up to date map, preferably from popular online map services, and know the directions between your hotel and the casino(s) you will be frequenting. Try to learn some of the basic phrases (greetings, asking for directions, ordering etc) in the local language. This will help make your stay more stress-free.
ii. Watch your poker spending
This is one of the casino tips that apply universally, but you should be more careful when playing abroad. Remember, you are quite far from home. Overspending might leave you with minimal cash to comfortably stay in a foreign destination, ruining your travel experience. Have a gambling limit before arriving at the destination, and ensure that you stick to it.
iii. Exchange currency at the destination
You are more likely to find better exchange rates at the destination, than if you do so at home. Most big casinos offer quite favorable exchange rates when you want the local currency.
iv. Don’t travel with too much cash
If you have more than $10,000 dollars, then you might be flagged by customs. It is much safer, and convenient, to wire large sums of cash directly to the casino before you travel. When at the destination, don’t make yourself a target for pickpockets. Use a credit card, rather than cash for shopping.
v. Enjoy your destination
Most poker games happen at night. This leaves you with the daytime hours to enjoy the tourist attractions in your destination. Enjoy the sights and sounds and make every trip memorable.