Enjoy the WSOP

5 Ways to Enjoy the WSOP Without Spending $10,000

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Paul and I are heading to Las Vegas in June for the 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP). No, we are not laying down $10,000 and playing in the Main Event. While that is a bucket list item for us, we imagine fulfilling that dream many years down the road. Instead, we are lucky enough to be heading to Vegas in our role as ambassadors for Advanced Poker Training, the poker training site for which we also blog. APT is holding a WSOP Meet N Greet and they asked us to help represent the site. We did not have to think very hard before saying “hell, yeah!”.

We have been to Vegas a few of times before and loved it. However, we’ve been only once during the World Series of Poker. In planning this trip we discovered that while the WSOP is in town most casinos suspend their daily tournaments. On our previous trips The Venetian and the Aria have been our go-to rooms of choice. Both hold regular small stack (less than $200 buy-in) tournaments that we really enjoy. As we planned our current trip, we discovered that both are hosting tournament series alongside the WSOP. As we currently have one child in college,  and two more coming up fast, $1,500 (or even $500, really) buy-ins are off the table for this trip.

Low Stakes Tournament Options During the WSOP

There are plenty of options to play well-structured low stakes tournaments during the WSOP. For the purposes of this article, we define low stakes as anything at or below $200. If you are looking for such a game, here are your top five options:

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Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood Poker Room Review

The Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood poker room is the lion of the South Florida poker scene. With the highest national profile, it provides the most Vegas-like experience among card rooms in the region. And the Hard Rock is not sitting still. When we visited in March 2019 they were in the midst of a massive renovation, including the addition of a large guitar-shaped hotel. The casino’s construction is scheduled to be mostly completed in 2019, so we expect an even larger, more spectacular venue to develop in the future. For now, the existing one is nothing to sneeze at either.

Casino Setting 

The Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood poker room is just a 10-15 minute drive from the Fort-Lauderdale Hollywood airport. It lies on Route 441 slightly north of the junction with 848. The casino sits a fair distance from the coast and is more isolated from other attractions than more coastal casinos like Isle Casino Pompano Park or Magic City. As with pretty much everywhere in South Florida, traffic can be fairly heavy around Seminole Hard Rock. However, it is a full-service casino, so once you are there, all of your eating, drinking, and entertainment needs can be met on site. Although a far different climate and topographical setting, the Hard Rock reminded us of Connecticut’s large Native American reservation casinos: Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.


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Poker Tournament Packing List

Poker Tournament Packing List

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. However, we love all of the products and services listed here. We promise! For more information, see our Disclosure page.


Do you have a poker tournament packing list? Sure, when you go on a trip, you think about what you’re going to pack. You may even refer to a standard list so you don’t forget your toothbrush, phone charger, or razor (my most likely to be forgotten item). If you do, good for you!  Similarly, you should have a poker tournament packing list for any event lasting more than a couple of hours.

In order to play your best poker, you’ll want to be well fed, hydrated, and focused. You also want to make sure that you’re comfortable. This may mean extra layers of clothes and sunglasses or a hat to cut any glare from the lights. And if you play with a partner, you’ll want to bring along some reading, viewing, or poker training to amuse yourself if you go out first. Unless you have a poker go bag (also not a bad idea), you’ll want a poker tournament packing list to assure that you don’t forget any crucial items for your longer tournaments.

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Vizcaya Museum Miami Weekend

An Intense Weekend in Miami

Miami is intense. The people are intense. The traffic is intense. The personal injury lawyers are (if the ever-present billboards are any indication) very intense. So it is not surprising that the segment of our recent trip spent in south Florida amounted to a very intense weekend in Miami. Intensity, of course has both its pluses and minuses. While the three days we spent in Miami were not, perhaps, very relaxing, they were filled with new experiences.

Home Base in South Beach

As we learned when planning this vacation (and frankly, kind of already knew), South Beach is not cheap. Especially in February. There are any number of small hotels and accommodations that will welcome you for a mere $400 a night. When researching our trip, we tried all of our tricks for finding a great hotel at a reasonable price. In the end we counted ourselves lucky to find a nice place for “only” a bit over $200 a night (plus $30 a day for parking). Only because this trip was in honor of my 50th birthday did we grit our teeth and pay such a high rate.

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Gulfstream Park Poker Room Building

Gulfstream Park Poker Room Review

While Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood brings a bit of Vegas to South Florida, Gulfstream Park Casino imparts a very distinctive Florida feel. The Gulfstream Park poker room is housed alongside one of Florida’s famed thoroughbred horse tracks. The track complex offers a massive village of upscale restaurants and retail stores. The whole experience is quintessential South Florida. Unfortunately, the casino and poker room seem to be an afterthought to the more lucrative priorities.

Casino Setting 

Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach is about 15-20 minutes directly south of the Ft. Lauderdale airport and about a half an hour northeast of Miami International. Gulfstream Park hosts a massive complex of high end shopping, restaurants, live and simulcast thoroughbred racing, and a casino. The beige stucco architecture gives the place a distinctive Spanish Mediterranean flavor. Beautiful palm trees, shrubs, and other greenery grow everywhere.

Unfortunately, the casino, and particularly the poker room, are the redheaded stepchild to horse racing and dining/retail outlets.  The main casino (there are two) consists of a modest room of slot machines ringed by simulcast racing.  A number of people were placing bets and following races on the Friday evening of our visit. Wind your way to the back right corner of the casino and you’ll find the open poker area.

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