Five Great Reasons to Visit Key West

We visited Key West this winter as part of our extended poker vacation. We’ve already reported on our visit to Miami and shared some of the things nobody tells you about the Florida Keys.  Our ultimate destination as we traveled down the Keys was, of course, Key West. After a wonderful stop on the island, here are our top reasons to visit Key West.

Five Great Reasons to Visit Key West

The Sun

Let’s start with the key. The most important reason, for us at least, to visit Key West is that is 75 degrees in February. We timed this trip specifically to get out of the chilly New England weather. Even in January, the coldest month of the year, Key West averages 75 degrees during the day. Few spots in the continental US can beat that. Not Los Angeles (high of 68 degrees in January). Or New Orleans (63 degrees). Not even San Diego (66 degrees). If you’re looking for some reliable warm sun in the middle of the winter, Key West is your best bet.

Five Great Reasons to Visit Key West


Key West is also one of the few points in the US where you can watch the sun both rise and set over the water. We’ll admit that we didn’t get up early enough to enjoy the sunrise, but the sunset celebration at Mallory Square can’t be beat. The festival begins every evening two hours before sunset and includes jugglers, musicians, magicians, artists, and food vendors. At sunset everyone pauses to watch the glorious sun sink into the Gulf of Mexico.

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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 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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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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Florida Keys Turtle Hospital

6 Things Nobody Tells You About the Florida Keys

Paul and I are on a mini pilgrimage this week in southern Florida. We spent a couple of days in Miami playing poker, visiting the city and environs, and then drove down through the Florida Keys. In the weeks to come, we’ll share our adventures in Florida travel and poker. However, I couldn’t resist quickly jotting down some of the things that surprised us about the Florida Keys.

My image of the Florida Keys clearly was tainted by nostalgia and a failure to adequately research our destination. I imagined long open stretches of road with the ocean right out the car window. There would be sparsely populated islets peopled by fisherman and tiki bars featuring conch fritters. And after a three hour drive from Miami, we would arrive in the land of Hemingway and Jimmy Buffett. Key West, I thought, would be a bit touristy, but still a throwback to quieter times.


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