Long-term poker travel

4 Keys to Preparing for Long-Term Poker Travel

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.

 

In a couple of years we plan to spend at least a year traveling the United States playing poker.  That goal is still more than 2 years away, but the planning has definitely begun. Constructing a lifestyle based on poker travel requires significant preparation. Creating the plan and communicating our discoveries is one reason that we started this blog.

We should define what we mean by long-term poker travel. We are hoping to play poker several times per week while maintaining financial viability and travelling around the country.  For poker players who have reached a comfortable retirement or are independently wealthy, the financial implications may be minor. For the rest of us, such a plan requires a delicate balance between freedom and flexibility and working to maintain economic stability. Our intended nationwide trip is still at least 3 years out. Yet sometimes it feels like we don’t have sufficient prep time.

There are four critical areas to address if you want to forge a successful poker travel lifestyle.

1. Improve at Poker

Even if you’re a solid recreational poker player, it can be a challenge to break even. The impact of rake and tipping in small stakes cash and tournament games is substantial.  On top of that, it seems like every year the average poker player gets better. A decade ago, there were very few good, solid players in low stakes games.  Today at any given table, half the players may be pretty good.

Show me 10 low stakes players who claim they are lifetime profitable, and I’ll show you 9.7 liars.

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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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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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Why We Play Poker

5 Reasons Why We Play Poker

Poker lore is full of unsavory degenerates. Images abound of those who play poker gambling away their rent money or cheating to win. Poker venues are imagined as mafia-backed casinos and smoke filled basements hosting illegal games. Check out the best poker movies and you’ll find plenty of shady characters and less-than-noble behaviors.

This, however, is not the poker world we have come to know and love.

Poker is a pastime for a wide variety of people. It’s an avocation, a hobby, that engages people in a mental and social activity, much like bridge or golf. There are definitely potential downsides to playing poker, but anyone can pursue poker as part of a healthy lifestyle if they attend to these pitfalls.

Play Poker as a Friendly Competition

The typical poker venue, like our go-to local room Hampton Falls in New Hampshire, has a feel of competitive camaraderie. Everyone is trying their best to play poker well and to win. Ninety-five percent of players are gracious and understand both the skill and luck aspects of the game. There is an overriding atmosphere of “we’ve come together to share this activity we all love”. There’s a real feeling of being an insider in a world that those who don’t play can never understand.

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