Travel Essentials for Poker Players
Picture this: You’ve taken the plunge and decided to begin your life as a traveling poker player. You’re sitting in an airport at 4 in the morning, waiting to board a flight to Central Europe to play your first major poker tournament. Suddenly, your stomach drops; you realize you’ve left an essential at home. The beginning of your trip is now ruined.
Sounds terrible, right? And yet this situation has probably happened to all of us at one point or another. Solid preparation is the key to avoiding this scenario. As such, we’ve put together this handy checklist of items every poker player should take on their travels. While this list is by no means exhaustive–there are plenty of personal options that players might have that are non-negotiables–it should cover the basics for everyone reading at home.
This one should go without saying. Laptops are probably only second to clothes when it comes to travel essentials. Leave home without either, and you’re essentially naked. Whether for personal use away from the poker table or to play online poker as you travel, a good laptop is the best travel companion you could ask for.
If you’re serious about playing poker online, you will want to ensure you don’t cut corners with your laptop. Invest in a suitable machine, and you will reap the benefits in the long term.
If you’ve ever sat on a flight with a crying baby on board, then you know just how important a great pair of noise-cancelling headphones are. The ability to zone out is something that should never be underestimated.
Anyone who has attended any poker tournament in recent years will know how popular headphones have become among players. Many players now opt to shut themselves off from the sounds of chips stacking and players chattering.
Those who enjoy playing online but don’t like spending all their time in a hotel room can also take a pair of headphones out and sit in a cafe or workspace.
At this stage, hoodies are the closest things poker players have to a uniform. Hoodie sweatshirts have become the go-to item of clothing for poker players for several reasons, none of which has to do with anti-social behaviour. One of the more practical reasons is that it allows players to hide their faces and body and reduces the chances of giving away any information or tells.
Hoodies are also extremely comfortable, especially during those long WSOP events. Finally, they are also fantastic at keeping you warm. If you’re planning to hit some of those Vegas casinos at night, you will definitely need to do that.
Some players might see sunglasses as an essential bit of clothing as well. This isn’t to block the sun while sitting in a poker room. It’s to hide your eyes from those around you at the table. Personally, I’m not a fan of this approach because I don’t like sitting indoors with sunglasses on, but it clearly works for some people!
Take it from me; accidents will happen when you are travelling. Travel insurance is one thing we often neglect when it should actually be one of the first things on our travel to-do list. The only thing worse than sitting in a foreign hospital with a broken arm and leg is sitting in that same situation and getting a massive bill. Covering yourself for any accidents that might happen means you can breathe easily and enjoy your travels. At least this way, if you end up in a hospital, you can just sit back and play poker on your computer while you recover.
Okay, I’m starting to sound like an over-protective parent here, but hear me out. Sitting at a poker table for a long time can be physically and mentally draining. There have been many times when I’ve sat down to play for too long and ended up with terrible pains in my back or a migraine that just won’t let up. Even the slightest illnesses or inconveniences can throw you off your game and cost you money. Therefore, having a few headache tablets or painkillers handy can be incredibly useful and is something I highly recommend having with you.
Nothing is worse than sitting in an airport waiting on a delayed flight and slowly watching your phone battery reach 0%. Long journeys can often lead to high battery usage, and sometimes you get caught with your proverbial pants down. Investing in a good portable charger that supports all the different cables is as +EV as it gets. Of course, don’t forget to charge the charger itself.
This is a lesson you will learn quite quickly on the road. Just because two countries share a continent doesn’t mean they use the same plugs. Europe is an excellent example of this–several countries use different plug-sockets, and buying different setups as you need can be quite a costly experience. Instead, make sure you do your research before you travel. Adapters are often cheaper to buy beforehand. Better still, see if you can get your hands on a multi-purpose adapter. These may cost a little bit extra, but they are an excellent investment in the long run.
Traveling and poker are both very exciting, but there can be a lot of downtimes where you find yourself sitting around doing nothing. In these instances, you’ll want to have some sort of portable entertainment you can rely on.
While phones offer viewing, reading, and gaming options, having a specific device catered to these experiences can be clutch, especially if you want to keep that all-important phone battery high. Of course, the choice of device will come down to personal preferences but trust us, you will be very grateful to pack a little extra.
The key to traveling as a poker player is making sure that you stay organized. Living as a poker-playing digital nomad can be stressful enough sometimes, so ensuring you have a simple checklist that you can quickly check will save you a lot of time and worry in the long run. Like most things, traveling is only as stressful as you make it, so pack your bags, ensure you’ve got your essentials, and enjoy the journey!