International Poker: Traveling for Tourneys

May 26th, 2011 Poker

You’ve seen poker stars hop from continent to continent as pro tournaments fly them in, year after year. They make it look so easy–how hard can it be to hop onto the first-class cabin, crash in a five-star hotel, and face fellow pros on the velvet?

Harder than you think, if you ask the pros. International travel is no walk in the park, and when you factor in the stakes of poker tours and the rigorous game schedules, the game may feel like more work than play. If you’re just beginning to travel for poker, here are some handy tips from Poker News.

Pack light: Try to plan it so that all your possessions can fit into a small suitcase (small enough to fit in the overhead bin) and a carry-on that you can shove under your seat. This will ease up the pressure of delayed flights and lost luggage.

Don’t go alone: Find a friend or fellow player to take the trip with you. Besides having someone to talk to on that 15-hour flight, you’ll also get considerable cuts on meals, hotel rooms, and cab fare.

Wire your money: Amounts exceeding $10,000 can be tricky at international borders, so don’t bring large wads of cash with you. Instead, have it wired to the casino. It’s safer and easier, and you’ll breeze by the customs counter.

Use your loyalty points: If you have a frequent flyer credit card, take advantage of your free miles. Call your issuer to see if there are other benefits–if you’re lucky, you may be able to get a free bump to first class or at least access the airport’s VIP lounge.

Change your money locally: Local currency exchanges often charge better rates than the ones in American airports. Banks and money changers usually give the best rates; some may even give you a lower rate if you exchange more than $1,000.

Get to know the city: Days or weeks before your flight, pick up a travel guide and learn as much as you can about the city, particularly its main arteries and landmarks. This will save you at least two hours on the road, as you’ll know exactly where to go.

Stay longer: Finally, don’t just stay for the duration of the tournament–make the trip worth it and give yourself time to see the sights. Don’t worry if you’re on a budget; most destinations have a load of free or cheap activities that are just as fun.

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