San Diego: One of our favorite cities

Our 5 Favorite Cities in the US

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As we ponder our Poker Pilgrimage, we need to decide where our year of travel will take us. We have three basic criteria for places to earn a spot on our journey, a location must either have a poker room (or rooms: Hello Las Vegas!) we want to visit, be a spot that we have never been but would like to go (such as Charleston, SC), or be one of our favorite cities, and thus worthy of a return trip. Today, we thought we would share our five favorite cities and start to pin some way-points on our journey.

Boston, MA

Boston: One of our favorite cities
The Boston Skyline

Boston is an easy one. We live in the Boston area, and thus this is where our journey will begin. Boston has history, museums, culture, natural beauty, and sports teams galore. For the first time visitor we would recommend the aquarium, the science museum, Faneuil Hall, a walk down the Freedom Trail, a walk along the Charles River, taking in a game (Celtics, Patriots, Red Sox, or Bruins depending on the season), and a visit to any of the many historic and beautiful outlying towns. Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, and numerous New Hampshire cardrooms are within a couple of hours if your poker jones needs to be fed. If you’re looking to save on attractions, you can Save 45% or more on Boston’s 5 best attractions with CityPASS. The Boston CityPASS allows you to save on such attractions as the Aquarium, Museum of Science, and the Skywalk Observatory. These are all must-visits on our Boston list.

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Best Gifts for your Favorite Poker Player

5 Great Gifts For Your Favorite Poker Player 2018

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You know who they are. She’s your sister who takes every vacation in Las Vegas. Or maybe he’s your dad who is up late playing on Poker Stars every night. Now you’ve got to wrap your mind around finding them a gift. Poker Pilgrims would like to help you out with suggestions for great poker gifts for the player in your life.

Great Poker Gifts

  • A book to curl up with would be at the top of our list of poker gifts. Which book, you ask? Here are some of our favorites:

For the Beginner: We love Phil Gordon’s Little Book series, starting with The Little Green Book: Lessons and Teachings in No Limit Texas Hold Em

 

 

 

Poker Tournament FormulaThe Tournament Player: Arnold Snyder’s Poker Tournament Formula is a must read for any player who wants to get serious about tournament poker

 

 

 

Poker Cash GamesFor the Cash Player: Harrington gives some good solid advice in Cash Games (How to Win in No-Limit Hold ‘Em Money Games) Vol. I that still holds up today.

 

 

 

Peak Poker PerformanceFor the Experienced Player who wants to enhance their play: We love Peak Poker Performance by Dr. Patricia Cardner and Jonathan Little from D&B Poker which covers the mental and physical aspects of being ready to play your best game.  If only we could do a better job of following their advice!

 

Life's A GambleFor anyone looking for a great poker read: Mike Sexton’s Life’s a Gamble by Mike Sexton from D&B Poker Mike Sexton is a giant in the poker world. His kind and measured approach to the game are welcome in today’s Doug Polk World. His life story is both fascinating and inspirational.

 

 

 

Best Gifts for your Favorite Poker Player

 

  • A set of beautiful and durable playing cards  is a great poker gift to enhance the home game: We love these Copag Cards and use them heavily at our own kitchen table.
  • A subscription to a poker training site to help them brush up their skills. We are admittedly biased here, as Advanced Poker Training pays us to do work (and blog) for their site. However, we can honestly tell you that their approach to training is the best that we’ve seen. Rather than just offering a series of videos and articles about how other people play poker, APT invites you to play your preferred game (tournament, cash, sit n go, whatever’s your poison). They then analyze your play and send out a weekly plan with practice exercises and advice. A membership at APT is one of our favorite poker gifts to give.
5 Great Gifts For the Poker Player in Your LifeClick To Tweet
  • A fun poker t shirt: There are a variety of t-shirts out there. However, we have created a few shirts for our own personal use, that you are welcome to gift to your loved one. Check us out at Spiral of Doom T Shirts on Amazon to see more.

 

 

  • If you’ve got real money to burn, every poker player’s secret dream is a buy in to The WSOP Main Event for a mere $10,000. If that is a bit out of reach, perhaps a buy in to a smaller event at a card room near you.

 

We hope that our list of great poker gifts for your favorite enthusiast has been helpful. I know that I would love to get any of the above (hint, hint Paul). If you have ideas for other good poker gifts, let us know in the comments below!

 

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Mohegan Sun Poker Room

Mohegan Sun Poker Room Review

Winding through the Mohegan Sun Casino to find the poker room is not easy task. You have to pay pretty close attention to the signs at every bend. However, the journey will likely prove worth it.

Appearance

Unlike some casino poker rooms dropped amidst the hustle and bustle of slot machines and table games, the Mohegan Sun room has it’s own space.  One enters through glass doors into a room with high ceilings and reasonably spaced tables. The decor is professional and pleasant, giving the entire room a nice look and feel. The chairs are comfortable and the tables generously sized.

Registration for cash table wait lists appears immediately as you enter, and the staff is welcoming and accommodating. on my most recent visit the1-2 NL list was fairly long, but they opened a new table soon after I arrived which cleared much of the list. In the end, I got a seat within 15 minutes.

Mohegan Sun
Mohegan Sun by joevare

I have played both cash and tournaments at Mohegan Sun Poker Room, and have consistently found the dealers to be professional and skilled. They rarely make errors or seem uncertain, and the card shufflers move the action along briskly.  On weekends there are often many cash tables running with a variety of limit and no-limit games. Mohegan Sun draws a pretty wide span of player skill. One ATM machine at the table re-bought a stack of $100 five times during my 3 hours there with no apparent limits to the hands he would play.  There were also a couple of very skilled players who extracted maximum value from their made hands and rarely showed down poorly.

Tournaments at Mohegan Sun Poker Room

Most of Mohegan Sun’s daily no-limit tournaments have reasonable buy-ins (most ranging from $75 to $150) with decent structures (such as $150 Saturday tournaments with 20K starting stack and 25 minute blinds).  Mohegan also hosts larger buy-in events during special series, like the $1,100 buy-in with 100K guarantee during their Fall Showdown.  Again, the tournaments I have played there tend to have a fairly wide range of player skill and an equally wide range of player attitudes, with some welcoming and gregarious, and some visibly irritated by what they consider the poor play of others.

Mohegan Sun provides a quality poker experience amidst a large casino settingClick To Tweet

Serving staff is attentive in seeking drink orders, circulating frequently and delivering promptly. The one downside to the room is the open dance club that lies right outside. On a Saturday night it was in full swing, and the music and intense bass beat was very loud in the poker room. Even with my headphones turned up, the noise was a bit distracting.

The Mohegan Sun casino is a large full-service casino with a variety of gaming, entertainment, and dining options. The Connecticut WNBA team plays its home games there in the summer and top comedy and music acts visit on a weekly basis. The casino is set in the Eastern Connecticut woods, fairly close to a major north-south highway (route 395).  As a bonus, it is a mere 15 minutes from Connecticut’s other major casino, Foxwoods. It is also just up the road from lovely Mystic Connecticut, which is worth visiting in its own right.

 

APT
Overall

Mohegan Sun provides a quality poker experience amidst a large casino setting. If you are a poker player visiting New England, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods should be priority destinations.

 

Building a Budget

Building a Budget for a Dream

Although our Poker Pilgrimage is still five years away, we spend a lot of time thinking about its viability and about building a budget for our dream. We are fortunate to work as consultants and thus know that we will be able to take our jobs on the road.  However, a year of travel (and poker!) will certainly lead to reduced hours, and a wide variety of costs (gas, food, and lodging for a start) that are different than those we face today.

Building a Budget
Building a Budget
Image by GotCredit.com

We also hope to reduce hours with our primary income source on this trip. While our main hustle pays well, it is not our favorite way to spend time. So we are actively looking for side hustles, both small and large, that will help increase our income as we are building a budget for this trip.

On the other hand, we plan to give up our apartment and one of our cars. We will also reduce or eliminate costs that we bear today. Initial targets include gas expenditures and groceries. Our Pilgrimage budget will help us get an idea of the costs we can expect during our year of travel, and tell us how much we need to start saving today.

Building a Budget for a DreamClick To Tweet

This is only a rough initial budget. We intend to update our budget regularly as we take deeper dives into each aspect of our trip. These posts can be found in our “Building the Stakes” thread. We will also keep our most current budget posted on our Trip Status page.

For our first budget, we share our original baseline estimates for our yearlong trip.

Monthly Budget CategoryAmountNotes
Lodging1800Assumes $60/night at VRBP or AirBNB
FIOS0No cable
Utilities0No Utilities
Phone / Internet Access150Need to Explore Options
Health Insurance (couple)1200Need to Explore Options
Car Insurance (1 car)60
Groceries300Need to estimate
Accounting230
Gas400Need to calculate
Car Property Tax50
Medical100
Dining600Need to estimate
Entertainment200Need to estimate
Gifts200
Household0No household!
Poker1000Need to estimate
Charity50
Emergency Fund100
Total6440

As you can see, we are starting with a very rough estimate. Over time, we will fully explore each of the items above to refine our budget. We will share each of these explorations in a post so that you will learn the financial ins and outs of long-term travel along with us.

If you have any questions about our initial budget, feel free to ask in the comments.

 

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Hampton Falls Poker Room Review

Hampton Falls Poker Room Review

Hampton Falls Poker Room is the best poker experience in New Hampshire. For the player looking for a well-run room, quality dealers, and reasonably competitive play this is your spot. Want to match wits with tournament players who can actually fold correctly? Well, your chances here are far better than many of the other local rooms. We have played them all, from Seabrook to Chasers.

The cash games at Hampton Falls Poker Room can get fairly wild with loose aggressive play being a seeming badge of honor. But the tournament play is fabulous. We highly recommend Hampton Falls for those seeking tournament poker in southern New Hampshire.

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