This past week, I spent a few days in Las Vegas covering the final table of the World Series of Poker. Before you get all excited that my job allows me to head to Vegas for a few days on the company’s dime, let me be clear: Vegas for the weekend is awesome. Vegas for a month is horrible.
I spent about a month in Sin City during the summer when the World Series of Poker Main Event got underway. If you’re new to the format, the main tournament, which sees thousands of people take the felt, pauses once the final table of nine players is reached. After that month, I headed back home to resume my regular new reporting duties, only to be told that I’d be returning to cover the November 9 this month. It was fun watching Joe McKeehen win the title, but I could have just as easily watched it on TV and been equally if not more content.
Now that I’m back, and now that I’ve really taken the time to replay the entire tournament in my mind, I wonder why anyone in their right mind would play the WSOP Main Event. Yes, the tournament is the world’s richest. Yes, everyone at the final table won at minimum $1 million. But the tournament is grueling. Being stuck in a room for 12 hours of poker playing sucks the energy out of you, even if you’re a die-hard poker player. Watching is even worse.
I’ve managed to attend other poker tournaments outside of Vegas and I can honestly say that the smaller events are way more enjoyable for poker players. Last year, for example, I attended the Punta Cana Poker Classic in Dominican Republic. The tournament was held at the Hard Rock Resort, which is probably one of the nicest resorts I’ve ever been to.
The vibe there is much different. And it’s not just the fact that all the food is included. Nor is it the fact that there’s a beach waiting for you when you bust out. That tournament has a real community feel. For example, they have a buffet of food—all free—on the tournament floor for you to enjoy while you play. And not just coffee and muffins. All kinds of snacks. Full dinners. And it’s constantly stocked.
And there are lots of other tournaments like it. The first week of November saw the Poker Players Championship take place in Aruba at the Hilton. While not all-inclusive like the Punta Cana tournament, Aruba is a fantastic island with phenomenal food. And with an even smaller field than Punta Cana, the atmosphere feels even more relaxed (if that’s possible).
There are countless tournaments (seriously, you can’t even count them) happening all over the world throughout the year. Most of them cost way less than the big one in Vegas, and why you won’t necessarily leave with a million-dollar prize, winning a couple hundred thousands while enjoying a true beach vacation isn’t half-bad at all.
At Palace of Chance, you can’t play online poker. We just don’t offer it (sorry). But we do offer various forms of video poker. Try a game now and prepare for your next big poker tournament, wherever it may take you.