The Encore Boston Harbor opened with a splash this June. Predictions about the new casino’s impact on the New England poker scene swirled. The Encore would drain players from all of the New Hampshire poker rooms. The Encore would take the best dealers. Twin Rivers would shut down. Foxwoods would go bankrupt. Chasers would lose all its business. And on, and on.
For the past three years, Paul and I have been lucky enough to attend the World Series of Poker. We, of course, haven’t been able to be there for the entire (almost two month) extravaganza. But in the past few years we’ve attended the WSOP for a few days, topping out at a whole week in 2019. As a poker player, there is nothing like visiting Vegas during the WSOP. It is, to steal our own words, the pilgrimage all poker players should make at least once in their lives.
Why We Love Attending the World Series of Poker
The energy level at the Rio during the World Series of Poker (WSOP) is off the charts. There is at least one bracelet event every day and multiple other events (daily deepstacks, satellites, cash games) that keep the Rio’s extensive convention center humming. On opening days of large events (e.g., Big 50, Colossus or Main Event) tournament tables spill into the Rio’s poker room, hallways, and even the old bowling alley! There is generally a final table being recorded for ESPN or PokerGo in the Amazon Room. Anyone can grab a seat and sweat the action, and possibly end up on TV!
This weekend we made our annual pilgrimage to the Williamstown Theater Festival (WTF) in Western Massachusetts. Every summer we make sure to fit in a play at WTF and spend the weekend in the Berkshires, enjoying some of the great things that the mountains of Western Massachusetts have to offer. Last weekend we also snuck in a quick visit to The Rivers a mere hour and a half away for another poker survivor tournament. We thought this was a perfect time to share our thoughts on the best things to do in the Berkshires.
Best Things To Do in the Berkshires
There is an amazing variety of museums in the Berkshires. You can find cutting edge modern art at MASS MoCA, a world class collection of impressionists at The Clark Art Institute, and a combination of art, science, and natural history at the Berkshire Museum. Whatever type of museum tickles your fancy, you can find it in the Berkshires.
Every poker player worth his or her salt has a poker bucket list. Whether it’s to play in Paris or win the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, everyone has their own must-do poker experiences before they fold their last hand. My poker bucket list has evolved over time. Five years ago, one of my items was cashing for $1,000 in a tournament. I have since exceeded that amount both at the Venetian Casino in Vegas and at my favorite local card room, Hampton Falls. So now I’ve kicked that goal up to $5,000. For many years I yearned for Vegas, and now, happily, Paul and I make an annual visit to Sin City. So my eye is now on the Monaco prize.
In no particular order, below are the items on my poker bucket list.
Poker Bucket List
Win Over $5,000 in a Single Tournament
As mentioned above, I broke the $1,000 cash barrier a couple years ago. Sure, I could aim for a $2,000 cash next, but why not aim high? Paul and I usually play sub-$200 buy-in tournaments, so it is rare that first prize surpasses $5,000. However, we occasionally play in larger fields with larger buy-ins, such as when we take our yearly sojourn to the WSOP. While we are not entering the Main Event any time soon, there are plenty of smaller stakes tournaments in town during the World Series that offer reasonable buy-ins and have top prizes over $5,000.
Thousands of poker websites vie for your attention every day. There are news sites, strategy sites, training sites, forums, and more. Given our love of poker, Paul and I check out new poker websites all the time. I probably access at least five different poker websites every day. Here are our favorite poker websites along with the reasons why each makes the list.
Favorite Poker Websites
PokerNews is probably the closest thing that poker has to a newspaper. Whenever there is something going on in the poker world, PokerNews is the first place we turn to learn more. Whether you’re looking for the latest information on your favorite player, World Series of Poker (WSOP) tips, strategy articles, or poker videos, PokerNews is on it. They also offer live reporting for some of the biggest poker tournaments out there. PokerNews even gives minute by minute updates of the WSOP Main Event. If you prefer to get your poker updates through headphones, PokerNews offers podcasts as well.