With the world easing border restrictions, travel seems to be top-of-mind for many people. After two years of staying mostly at home, most of us are eager to take a trip to the beach, stay at a glamorous resort, or go on a backpacking journey to visit natural attractions. While these are all great ideas, there’s one alternative form of travel that comes in the form of poker tourism.
The New York Times notes that it isn’t uncommon for poker players to travel internationally, especially if they’re professionals joining live tournaments. Moreover, many casual players also go abroad to play on land or online casinos, particularly if the game is not yet legalized in their countries. Poker tourism is its own interesting culture, and here are three reasons why many people look forward to it:
As we mentioned in our post called ‘8 Ways to Save Money Traveling’, it’s not always easy to keep track of your money when traveling. Many long-term tourists have to plan their budgets carefully — and stick to them! — so they have enough to enjoy the whole trip. When you’re a poker traveler, however, those worries can be assuaged since you have an opportunity to play and earn a bit of your cash back.
If you’re a very skilled poker player, you can potentially win lucrative career offers as well. Some agencies may ask you to sign-on as a poker player, where they ensure free accommodation as you travel for tournaments and gigs during a poker season. These agencies negotiate with casinos on your behalf, so you’ll get freebies in exchange for a certain number of hours at their poker tables.
Poker is a universal game, with immense popularity in territories like China, India, and South America from decades ago, so you’ll find that every country has its own poker scene. Of course, there’s also the World Poker Tour (WPT), one of the longest running and most prestigious international poker tours. Since its inaugural season, the WPT has expanded to include events around the globe, stopping by places like Montreal, Barcelona, Paris, Hollywood, and Las Vegas. By following poker tournaments across the globe, you’d easily find yourself visiting multiple countries in one year.
If you are a poker traveler on the international circuit, sightseeing may not necessarily be your objective. However, most matches happen at night, so there’s plenty of time in the mornings to enjoy yourself by visiting nearby attractions, eating delicious food, or relaxing with the locals.
Typically, poker travelers opt to stay in a place for one to three months, so they rarely stay in a hotel. Often, they’d have short-term agreements on an apartment or an Airbnb, which are less expensive. This allows poker tourists to embrace life as a local, communicating in their language and engaging in the same daily activities as they do — such as shopping for groceries or taking public transportation. This leads to a more immersive experience than you would get as a normal tourist.
The World Travel & Tourism Council reports that various governments around the globe are now easing restrictions to support domestic and international travel, and they’re likely to promote more extensive stays to boost their economies. As a poker tourist, you have the chance to really appreciate a country’s culture without being considered an expat. For a more satisfying long-term stay, try to play poker in areas where the cost of living is lower.