Poker players often need to travel to find tournaments and even the juicy cash games. Some manage to combine a vacation and poker trip into one, especially with family members who would like to travel with the player.
Luckily, many large poker tours have determined some of the best places in the world for poker tournaments, allowing players to meet the needs of their career and family. As it turns out, some of the best locations are also the best tournaments, and a little planning can offer a profitable and unique vacation opportunity.
PokerStars Caribbean Adventure
The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) is a staple of the poker tournament world and draws players to Paradise Island in the Bahamas each January. For 14 years, players have come from all regions of the world to participate in the poker festival. The 2016 PCA will be the largest one to date with 104 events offered between January 6 and January 14.
Atlantis hosts the PCA each year, which is a massive resort offering everything from swimming pools, beaches, water slides, a lazy river, fitness center, 18-hole golf course, and dolphin habitat. While poker players have every kind of tournament or cash game imaginable, their friends and family members have ample options for other activities.
The resort does tend to be expensive, but players can lessen the costs by satelliting into tournaments, finding airfare/hotel packages through travel websites, and buying food and drink from the Bahamas mainland grocery stores upon arrival.
World Series of Poker
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is held each summer in Las Vegas, Nevada, from the end of May through the middle of July. The 2016 schedule has yet to be released, but it likely won’t be much different from the 2015 summer, which offered 68 total tournaments, along with cash games at all skill levels. The games are held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, but numerous other casinos on the Las Vegas Strip are a quick cab or shuttle ride away.
Many families travel with poker players to Las Vegas during the summer because the tournaments go on for so many weeks. And there is plenty for them to do around town, from museums to natural springs, from Lake Mead to roller coasters. The weather can be extremely hot, but every establishment blasts the air conditioning. Cheap accommodations are always available around town as well.
Players scramble to make the Aussie Millions a must-play location on their annual schedules because of the many things to see and do in Melbourne, Australia. Of course, the poker tournaments at the Crown Casino are the nuts and bolts of any Aussie Millions trip, and the 2016 schedule shows 24 tournaments, with everything from low buy-in NLHE to the $10K Main Event and the $100K High Roller. Players descend on Crown for their cash games during that time (January 16 to February 16) each year.
Family members enjoy tagging along for this tournament series because there are so many sights to see. From bungee jumping to swimming with sharks, and from museums to major tennis tournaments, Melbourne in January is the place to be. It is also summer there, so it’s the perfect chance to escape the winter blues in places like the North America and Europe to enjoy the warm temperatures Down Under.
European Poker Tour
The European Poker Tour (EPT) is the premier live poker tournament series in Europe, and the tour stops rarely disappoint.
Now in its 11th season, the PokerStars-affiliated series has thinned its schedule to add more pizazz to each location. In October, action was in Barcelona, and then everyone traveled to Malta for the second stop. Prague is scheduled for December, the aforementioned PCA in January, and then Dublin in February before the grand finale in Monaco in April. Every place has a plethora of poker tournaments and cash games, as well as sightseeing galore.
Monte Carlo is probably the most well-attended of the EPT stops and best for including a vacation because of the cities up and down the Riviera on the French and Italian sides. The pricing for accommodations and food is rather high, but there are many cheaper hotels and eateries to which to relocate after the poker portion of the trip is done.
Card Player Cruises
The blending of poker and family vacation is never easier than with a cruise. Card Player Cruises have been offering poker cruises for many years and offer vacations to everyone from the Caribbean to Alaska, from Canada to Scandinavia, and from Europe to Asia. Linda Johnson and Jan Fisher of CPC can help arrange great pricing for cruises, all while offering tournaments and cash games during the entire time the ship is at sea.
Families with children are especially welcomed on the cruises because of the many activities on board for children, and port stops are always family-friendly ones. Poker players love the options in the poker room, and other family members have multitudes of ways to enjoy the vacation on the rest of the ship.