How To Minimize Your Poker Travel Expenses

Learn how to control your poker-related expenses

Traveling on the live poker circuit is an expensive deal. There are dozens of expenses to consider even after all your tournament buy-ins. Flights are not cheap, and neither is accommodation. Any expenses incurred eat into any potential profit.

Players return from the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and state they won X amount from the series. They spent $10,000 on tournament buy-ins, cashed for $15,000, and claim they won $5,000. However, these players often forget to deduct their expenses from their profit. Why? Because they see them as a necessary evil to winning any money. Also, they say they would have gone to Vegas anyway, so why count flight, hotel, and living expenses from their winnings?

You have two clear paths to making more money from a poker tournament series such as the WSOP. Go deeper in events and cash for more money or reduce your expenses. You have complete control over one but not the other. Let us focus on what we can control: limiting our expenses.

Book Early To Reduce Travel Expenses

Travel does not come cheap and is often the most significant figure on your expenses spreadsheet. Dozens of factors influence the cost of travel, and costs can be challenging to predict.

Booking early is one sure-fire way to get your hands on cheaper travel tickets. Poker players are notorious for leaving things until the last minute, but booking flights early is a habit you need to get into.

Major poker tours announce their stops weeks and months in advance. Book your tickets as soon as the tour announces its dates; this includes your return flight. There is a fee for changing your ticket if you need to leave earlier than expected, but it is far less than waiting until a day or two and buying a ticket before you want to return home.

Consider using another method of transport if flight prices are sky-high. Book train travel in advance, or car share and drive to the venue with fellow poker players. The fewer expenses you have, the larger your profit margin is.

Accommodation Costs Eat Into Profits

You need somewhere to rest your weary head after an intense day at the tables. Poker tours tend to take place at properties where there is a casino. It is tempting to stay here because you are exactly where you need to be to play poker. For example, many poker players stay at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino during the WSOP because the series takes place downstairs.

Hotels usually have “poker rates,” so you can negotiate the cost of an extended stay if you agree to play a certain amount of poker. Furthermore, booking longer stays makes the average room cost cheaper, thus reducing your expenses.

It is easier to stay in hotels, but they come with the added expense of dining out because there are no cooking facilities. This is why two other options spring to mind.

First, the Extended Stay is right around the corner from the Rio and perfect for those staying for several weeks. It will not win any luxury awards, but it is clean, safe, and has cooking facilities in your room.

Also, there are hundreds of properties on Airbnb, which you can rent on your own or with friends. Staying in an actual house or villa massively cuts down your accommodation expenses.

Living and Leisure Costs

Your next largest expenses are those associated with living and enjoying yourself. We all need to eat, but do you need to visit Nobu three times per week? Vegas, in particular, is as expensive as you allow it to be. You can easily eat and drink comfortably for the bare minimum or spend $250 or more per day enjoying the high life.

The same is true when it comes to a little R&R. Tempting as it may be to head to one of the lavish clubs; they are frightfully expensive. Ask yourself why you are at a poker tour or series. Are you there to enjoy yourself or for a poker-playing holiday? Or are you there to make as much money as humanly possible? Slash your living expenses if the second question describes you.

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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