Weekend inPortsmouth - Music Hall

A Fabulous Winter Weekend in Portsmouth NH

Last month, in honor of one of those “big” birthdays, Paul and I spent a fabulous winter weekend in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Portsmouth lies a little over an hour from our house. However, the real distance from suburban Massachusetts to this old New England town was obvious from the minute we crossed into the city.

Portsmouth, founded in colonial times, features restored 17th and 18th century houses, many of which are open to visitors. It also still functions today as a working seaport. Over the years, Portsmouth’s main industry has alternated between boat building and repair (during times of war) and tourism (in times of peace). In the weeks leading up to Christmas (which was the case during our visit), Portsmouth is decked out in holiday finery and hosts glittering evening tours of historic homes. In fact, Portsmouth has a lot in common with last year’s holiday destination, Mystic Connecticut.

Another plus to spending a weekend in Portsmouth is the proximity of two of our regular New England poker rooms. Portsmouth is less than a half an hour from both the Seabrook and Hampton Falls poker rooms. This was definitely a factor in our choice of locale for the weekend.

What to Do in Portsmouth New Hampshire

USS Albacore

We started our weekend in Portsmouth at the USS Albacore museum. We had seen the Albacore several times before, as it sits by the side of the main road entering Portsmouth from the south. However, we had never actually stopped to take a look. We figured it was time. The USS Albacore was built in Portsmouth in 1952 as a research submarine. After her decommissioning in the 1970s, she returned to Portsmouth and moved to where she currently sits. The USS Albacore museum offers the rare opportunity to walk through a fully preserved, formerly working submarine. For 8$ a person, we were able to stroll through the Albacore at our own pace. The sub features strategically placed recordings explaining key details of the ship’s history and functioning. At the end of our tour, we returned to the visitors center, staffed by former navy men who answered any questions that the recordings did not address. I have to say that this place blew me away. Also, I never want to be in a submarine underwater. Quarters are as tight as you would imagine, and I’d be pleading to get out about five minutes in.

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Manchester Poker Room Table 2

The Anatomy of a Poker Room Review

One of our goals at Poker Pilgrims is to conduct a poker room review for each of the 200 plus US rooms (those with 10 or more tables). By doing so, we hope our experiences will help others decide where best to spend their poker dollars. Currently, our poker room review database is heavy on the Northeast and Vegas (the two places we play the most). But we’ll continue to add to it through our travels over the next couple of years, and of course on our Pilgrimage. This winter we are planning a week-long poker intensive trip to the Miami area. We plan to add five more Florida rooms to our lonely Best Bet Jacksonville review.

In any case, we thought it was time to share what we value in a poker room. Hopefully, this will help you assess our poker room reviews against your own standards for a room.

Setting and Non-Poker Amenities

We love a good poker room location. Give us a casino in Vegas or a card room near the beach. Suddenly we’ve got more than a poker room, we’ve got a vacation! One of our favorite things about Best Bet Jacksonville was that it was all of 15 minutes from Atlantic Beach Florida. In the middle of the winter we got poker and a sunny beach vacation all rolled up into one. Definite setting points.

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Best poker reads

The 5 Best Poker Reads

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.

We love reading about poker. In fact, we love poker books so much that we have an entire bookshelf dedicated to them. We have books about poker players, books about poker strategy, and books about the history of poker. Our favorite poker books are the ones that are just a darn good read. We love those books that tell a good story, whether it’s the story of a poker life, or the story of a poker game. While there are many to choose from, we consider the below to be the five best poker reads.

 

Best poker reads

 

Positively Fifth Street 

Positively Fifth Street by James McManus is the first poker book that I ever read. And what a book it is. It tells the story of the 2000 World Series of Poker Main Event in which the author not only participated (after winning a satellite to buy in), but lasted much longer than expected. Many big names of the time (some still active today) are represented in the book. Chris Ferguson is here, along with TJ Cloutier and Annie Duke.

Alongside the thrilling poker action, McManus tells the tragic story of Ted Binion, the tournament’s host, murdered (supposedly) by a stripper. The history of the Binions, one of Vegas’ biggest families, is as troubling as the poker action is exciting.  If you only read one book about poker in your lifetime, make it this one. I blame McManus (even more than Chris Moneymaker) for the poker jones that lives in me to this day.

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How Much Can You Save When You Travel Cross Country by RV?

Ever since I came across the idea last year, Paul and I have debated the merits of RV living when we travel cross country on our poker adventure. I have been tentatively pro RV, while Paul has leaned hard toward “Are you insane?”. Then I decided to use the magic words that always pique Paul’s interest: “You know, travelling cross country by RV will be much cheaper than staying in hotels and rentals”. While I was pretty certain that living in an RV to travel cross country would save us money, I was not 100% sure. What I was certain of: Paul would immediately open an Excel spreadsheet and figure it out.

Presto, the spreadsheet was open and Paul began to enter numbers.

Scenarios and Assumptions of Cross Country Auto Travel vs. RV Living

We brainstormed the categories of expenses for our two primary scenarios:

  1. Driving in our Mazda3 and renting AirBnBs, hotels, and hopefully some house sitting; vs.
  2. RV living for the whole trip

If we take our Poker Pilgrimage via our Mazda3, we assume that we would keep our current vehicle: a 2017 model with 30,000 miles on it currently. We estimate that we’ll be at about 80,000 miles at the start of the trip and will have the car paid off.

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Best Poker Books

Best Poker Books For Learning Poker Strategy

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.

Best Poker Books

 

There are a lot of poker books out there in the world. Sometimes it feels like we have read them all, but we know that we couldn’t if we tried. New poker books come out every year, often espousing new strategies or approaches to the game. Additionally, there are books on Omaha, Stud, Razz, HORSE, and a variety of other poker variants. These are not included in our list (but may be in the future!). Below we share the best poker books for strategy and overall approach, in our chosen game, No Limit Hold’Em.

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