I’ve spent the entire past year on the road, traveling to different tournament stops around the country, and sometimes around the world. In a sense, I understand that I’m living many poker players dreams, because this was stuff I used to dream about a few years ago. I could wax poetic all day about it, but I figured I would spend some time breaking down the practical side of things for a traveling poker player. During the past year, I’ve learned a lot about the smartest ways to travel, so here are some tips for you grinders thinking about hitting the road sometime soon:
Find a friend (or friends!)
The biggest problem with traveling to play poker is expenses. Simply put, it is hard to be good enough to warrant all the expenses needed to travel playing poker. The simplest, most effective way to combat this is to find ways to split your expenses. Traveling with friends, or meeting friends at events, is the simple answer.
Going from hotel to hotel can become a nightmare on a few different levels. It’s very easy to rarely see the light of day, often going from hotel room to poker room day after day. Hotel rooms tend to be one single room, which over time can leave you feeling cramped and/or miserable. I strongly suggest looking into Airbnb for short term rentals when traveling somewhere you feel compelled to see the sights. If you are going to the random tournament circuit in Indiana or Delaware, sure, hit the hotel for cheap. But strongly consider an Airbnb in places like Florida, California and Europe!
Before you hit the road, buy two phone chargers, two toothbrushes, two headphones, etc. Backups are key! Carry things such as shampoo, conditioner, soap and Q-Tips (a personal must-have). Make sure to have a laundry bag. And with technology as advanced as it is, consider investing in some hi tech stuff to prepare yourself. Tile is a small chip you can put on things like your wallet and keys, costs a few dollars, and allows you to track those things in case you lose them.
One of the best ways to go from zero to hero in poker is through satellite tournaments. They are usually the easiest to win, with the players being largely amateur or semi-pro, and the buy-ins being manageable. I’d like to think I am living proof of the power of the satellite tournament, and I strongly think any up and coming player should take full advantage of them in order to try and play tournaments above the pay grade of their bankroll.
For the traveling, flying poker pro, there is no greater gift than SouthWest Airlines. I’m sure you’re wondering why … Well, it’s simple. SouthWest Airlines has two key perks.
- They allow TWO free checked bags, along with a carry-on. Anyone who travels frequently can tell you that bag fees are usually a hidden killer.
- Most important, SouthWest Airlines has NO flight change fees. So if you cancel a flight, you get a full refund in SouthWest credit. For tournament players, having the ability to change and cancel flights for free is a God send, given that we poker players never really know when we will be out of a tournament. Added benefit: SouthWest allows you to book a flight way ahead of time for the lowest possible price, knowing that if you need to change it you can, anytime.
Hope I see you on the road sometime soon!