In this installment of Prepping for the WSOP, we take a look at personal protection and protecting your money while at the Rio. When getting ready to play the World Series of Poker, prospective players make plans for everything ranging from what event they will play to which pro they will hound for an autograph.
One area that’s usually given the least amount of thought is personal protection and physically protecting one’s bankroll. While we like to think that we’re perfectly safe, the truth is that events like the WSOP attract criminal elements and we need to be diligent in protecting our money and ourselves. Below are a few tips for doing both.
Protecting Your Money – Room Safes and Carrying Cash
If you plan on taking a large sum of cash with your to Vegas, become familiar with your room safe and use it to protect your cash. Don’t do like some and leave it lying around in your suitcase or worse still, on your table or bed. This is inviting trouble.
Next, be careful not to flash around too much cash inside the Rio. You tend to hear multiple stories each year of a player that has been mugged in the parking lot, usually after they have been flashing around a lot of cash inside the Rio.
Use an “out of sight, out of mind” approach with your money as much as possible. Better still, consider converting some of that money to chips that are a bit easier to transport and conceal. Ten $1,000 chips are easier to hide than $10k in cash money.
Protecting Your Money – Use a Marker System
If you would like an alternative to keeping large amounts of cash in your room safe, consider setting up a marker account with the Rio. To setup a marker account, you contact the casino and they will give you instructions on wiring funds to one of their bank accounts.
Then when you’re in Vegas, you go to the main cage and request a marker from your account. You can do this for as long as you have money on account with the casino. At the end of your trip, you can either withdraw your remaining funds or have them sent back to your bank account.
I have personally used this system at both the Rio and the Orleans. The first day you get to the casino, you may need to get the cage worker to contact their supervisor as this not a transaction they do all the time. However, once you show up a time or two, they will catch on and the process will be relatively smooth.
Protecting Your Money – Use Online Registration
I love online registration for WSOP events not just for convenience but also as a way to protect your money. With online registration, your money is transferred electronically and you don’t have to worry about transporting money to the cage. You show up to the online registration desk, pick up your seat cards and go.
Personal Protection – Avoid Traveling Alone, Especially at Night
This tip is a unisex tip. If you are going to play at the Rio, try to avoid traveling by yourself as much as possible. This is especially important at night when the crazies tend to show up, especially in the parking lot.
I learned this a few years back after an incident at 1 a.m. in the Rio parking lot. The driver tried getting money and they started following me when I tried to walk away. Luckily, before anything escalated, a Rio security car pulled into the lot and they bolted.
Personal Protection – Don’t Be Embarrassed to Ask Security for an Escort
Did you know that security will provide an escort to your vehicle if you ask? It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman. If you ask, they will assist. There’s no need to walk out to your vehicle or even back to your room at the Rio alone.
Personally, if I am at the Rio late and am parked in the ass-end of the parking lot, I’m going to consider getting security to take a stroll with me. (In all honesty, they don’t want to walk to BFE in the parking lot and will probably call for a golf cart to come get you.)
Personal Protection – Use Valet when Possible
Valet parking isn’t just for getting easy access to the Rio. It is also smart thinking if you are going to be at the Rio late. I can’t remember anyone ever being assaulted at the Valet station.
There are typically plenty of people at the Valet station and it is just a short distance from the front. It is a safe option for those traveling alone. The added security of the valet service is worth the money you will spend when you tip.
Next week will be our final installment of prepping for the WSOP. We will take a look at prepping for each day’s event and generally navigating the series.