Poker Withdrawal

5 Ways to Beat Poker Withdrawal

This month, in one fell swoop, we lost our two favorite activities: live poker and travel. Fortunately for us, we had just finished our latest poker journey. COVID-19 restrictions came mere days after we returned from a trip to Florida in which we visited five new poker rooms (Room reviews to come. So far we have shared our thoughts on Silks). In fact, we were sitting in the Tampa airport waiting for our flight home when we learned of the first coronavirus victim in the state of Florida. We also may have ignored our better selves and played one last tournament in New Hampshire before that state closed its poker rooms. Happily, we’re now two weeks out from that tournament with no ill-effects. Unless you count poker withdrawal.

It didn’t take long for the withdrawal set in. We watched with a mixture of horror and relief as first Connecticut, then Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and finally Las Vegas shut down all live poker rooms. Horror, of course, because – NO POKER! And relief, because we would have struggled to make the right decision, was poker still an option. Hopefully, we would have done the smart thing and stayed home. I’m glad that we didn’t have to find out. As Paul says, can you imagine an activity more conducive to spreading disease than live poker? I kind of never want to touch a chip again.

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Poker Vacation

The Best Way to Plan a Poker Vacation

While we patiently await our poker pilgrimage, we try to explore new poker rooms and parts of the country whenever we can. Last winter we visited South Florida and Key West. This month we will be visiting the Tampa Bay area. And hopefully later this year we will have some time to check out the Philadelphia poker scene. We have perfected a system for identifying areas we would like to visit, researching them, and planning our poker vacation. So here we present the best way to plan a poker vacation. Read More

Cruising sunset

Throwdown Thursday: Trivial Thoughts on Cruising

Heather’s mother recently treated us, along with Heather’s kids and brother, to a mid-summer cruising vacation. Originally, the main event was to be a two day stay in Havana, but a Presidential edict quashed that plan. Thus, our family Cuba excursion morphed into a day in Key West, a day at sea, and a day in Nassau, Bahamas.  This was Paul’s second cruising vacation, while Heather is a relative long-term cruise veteran with a whopping four cruises under her life jacket.

We are now back from our cruise and have some thoughts:

Heather:  Oh, thankfully that is over. I’m ready for a full human being detox. Jeezus, but those cruise lines can pack them in.

Paul:  Eh, we were waited on hand-and-foot and never had to wash a dish for 5 days. I’ll take a few crowded elevators and faux Las Vegas shows in order not to touch a sponge for a week.

Heather:  I think I’d rather wash dishes. But then, you tolerate people better than I do.

I also walked off that ship feeling like a goose that had been prepared for the slaughter. I think I gained five pounds in five days.

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Best Thing to Do in the Berkshires: Clark Art

Best Things To Do in the Berkshires

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

Visit Museums

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.

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Vacation Budget Souvenirs

Top 6 Vacation Budget Breakers

We love to travel, but we hate to spend unnecessary money. So we are always looking for the best deals on hotels, rental cars, and dining. We like to travel well, but we also recognize the reality that our vacation budget is limited. Nothing is more budget shattering than encountering unplanned vacation costs after the trip has begun. So as you sketch out your vacation budget, keep the following budget busters in mind.

Vacation Budget Breakers

Resort Fees

The primary bane of our vacation budgeting has been the increasingly ubiquitous “resort fees”.  Often resort fees go unlisted in the initial pricing of a room. Sometimes they don’t even show up clearly in the online payment, only footnoted or found in the fine print. We’ve had some unwelcome surprises in the past when we arrived at our hotel to discover $30 to $50 a night slapped on top of our “pre-paid” reservation.

Solution: First, make sure you read the fine print before you book. Know if a hotel charges resort fees, and whether they’ve been included, or will be charged once you arrive. Second, examine your other options. In June, we opted for an Airbnb for our annual trip to Las Vegas instead of a Strip hotel. We ended up paying about 40% of what we have paid on our previous “great deals” for Strip hotels. While we missed some aspects of our hotel experience, these were offset by enjoying a whole apartment to ourselves with a bedroom, kitchen, living room, and washer/dryer.

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