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Poker travel advice

In the past few years, the author has been playing live poker tournaments all over the World. One conclusion I have come to is this: your poker experience as a live player does not only depend on whether you have had positive results as a poker player! Travelling the World is a positive result in itself, whether you win or not. Of course, travelling costs money. That said, there are two possibilities: #1, you have a steady income which allows you to play poker and travel, no matter whether you win or lose; or #2 your winnings from playing live tournaments at least cover your expenses.

Note that in case you fall into category #2, as long as all your expenses are covered (buy-ins plus travel expenses plus cost of living), there is always that chance that some day, you end up winning an amount of money that may change your life! In any case, you need to manage your bankroll. Consider the whole thing as a business - if you do not at least break even in the long run, you will end up having a problem.

Bankroll management basically includes two major aspects: first, you have to pick tournaments with buy-ins that you can afford. One way of handling this problem is to focus on satellite tournaments. Even pros with a large bankroll prefer to win a seat to the main event by winning it via a cheaper satellite tournament. If your game is not good enough to qualify in a satellite, then it is probably not good enough to make it deep into a main event!

Money-wise, consider this: Most direct satelllites have buy-ins that cost around 10% of the main event's buy-in, meaning one in ten participants gets a main event ticket. When a satellite has 100 participants, you do not need to win the whole thing - playing tight and focussing on survival should get you there most of the time. A good player should be able to win a seat for a main event between 25-35% of the time. That means, you could reduce your expenses for main event buy-ins by as much as two thirds, while getting some practice AND collecting information about your later opponents at the same time!

What about the travelling part?

As far as your travel expenses are concerned, there are many ways to reduce those. Flight expenses can be reduced by comparing flights, using sites like www.skyscanner.com. Planning your itinerary can help with saving money as well. For example, you could plan to play 3 or 4 events in South America, with shorter and cheaper flights in between. Personally, I like the LAPT events organized by Pokerstars very much due to the rather soft competition. Pokerstars also offers great online satellites for those - check this out here at Pokerstars. Do not use their travel agency service though, it is ridiculously overpriced, and you can save money by doing your own planning.

Hotels - well those expenses can be quite high. I recommend using www.airbnb.com and rent an apartment. Most of the time, you will end up paying much less, plus you can prepare your own food and save even more. Very often, the person who rents the apartment will be able to give you valuable tips for sightseeing, good cheap restaurants, stuff you would probably never be able to find out by yourself!

Actually, the sightseeing part is very important. While you may be focussed on playing poker, I strongly advise you to allow for at least a couple of days at the tournament location asides from playing. Most tournament locations have at least some touristic quality, so go ahead and balance your life as a travelling poker player by doing some fun stuff away from the casino tables. It is definitely worth it, and it can help you being a better player. If your trip was not successful as far as your tournaments result goes, you can at least have some fun and make the trip a positive experience after all!