Planning The Best Poker Road Trip Ever

An unexpected journey that will take you to far out places

Even though I don’t have a poker face, the concept of a poker road trip has an allure to both amateur and professional players alike.  Apparently, there are a lot of poker vagabonds driving around and challenging locals in their own turf. Robert Kelly, sports writer for, even wrote about his poker road trip in Kansas, competing against the best local players in some of the state’s best poker joints. While the allure of a road trip financed by poker winnings can be hard to refuse, it takes months of preparation, and of course, tons of practice games to prepare your game for your future opponents. Ready to take an entire country by storm? Here are a few tips on how to plan your poker road trip:

1. Raise an initial bankroll (and know your limits.)
Before you start your inter-country poker adventure, it is wise to set up an initial bankroll to limit how much you can shell out on games. In case you’re planning to kick off in Atlantic City and end your trip in LA—with several poker stops along the way—make sure to set a budget for each casino and never exceed your allotted amount. While you may equally divide your bankroll depending on the number of poker rooms you’re going to hit, set bigger number for places where you might need higher stakes. Playing at Harrah’s Kansas City in the middle of the trip? Make sure to budget extra dinero for their high-stakes match – if your budget allows it, obviously.

2. Plan your route
Gulf Coast to Midwest? East Coast to West Coast? Make sure you’ve planned your trip ahead. Include all the casinos and poker rooms you want to conquer and allot at least a day (or two) at each stop. Since poker games can last for hours, unless you want to break Paul Laak’s record of playing 115 hours in Bellagio, a day for each casino will be enough to satisfy your poker needs. However, you might encounter some interesting albeit little-known poker games along the way, so be sure make your plans flexible enough to accommodate those unexpected showdowns.

3. Plot it during “poker season”
Yes, there is a poker season. It is usually the time when the biggest poker tournaments like the World Series of Poker, the World Poker Tour, and the Aussie Millions hold their regional and national qualifying events. Generally, these events happen during the first half of the year in preparation for their respective main events in the latter half of the year. For instance, if you are mulling over a North American road trip, then why not end your trip with a blast by joining one of the WPT satellite tournaments in Canada? In fact, some online poker websites even hold satellite tournaments for the big leagues using their platform as the stage if your schedule prohibits you to do so. PartyPoker, the long-time partner of the World Poker Tour, serves as the platform for online qualifiers through their web program and the partypoker iPhone app. After all, ending your trip with a shot at the biggest poker leagues gives you more bang for your buck.

Planning a poker road trip is easy, but sticking to the plan is the hard part. Whatever cards are dealt to you during your trip, you have to make the most out of it and make sure you’re having fun and learning at the same time. Who knows, your next travel might just land you a seat at the prestigious tournaments?