Sign Up For Card Player's Newsletter And Free Bi-Monthly Online Magazine

Talking Shop

by Nathan Gamble |  Published: Aug 11, 2021


Card Player Magazine, available in print and online, covers poker strategy, poker news, online and casino poker, and poker legislation. Sign up today for a digital subscription to access more than 800 magazine issues and get 26 new issues per year!

In this segment we’re going take a break from our regularly scheduled programming as it’s summer time, and that can only mean one thing in the poker world. The World Series of Poker is upon us! Well, kind of.

Due to the pandemic, we are in phase one of the WSOP, the online version. People put out lists all the time for how to prepare and what to bring for the yearly Mecca of live poker, but no one has really discussed what to bring or how to prepare for its online variant.

It’s a lot of the same checklist with a couple variations. Matters to address include… Are you coming from out of state? Do you plan on renting a spot? Do you have friends, and do they snore? Do you plan on streaming? How often do you regularly workout, and is that an option while in Vegas?

Figure Out Your Bankroll

Let’s start with the obvious. The Vegas lights only bring you joy as long as you have money to enjoy them. You need to plan out how much money you’re willing to bring, spend, and potentially, lose. It’s easy to plan on winning, and it’s probably a given you’ll win because you’re the best player in your home game/bar league/online zoom game/local casino… but let’s plan on the worst happening instead.

You’ll need to figure out airfare, hotel, food, transportation, entertainment, how much to set aside for cash games as well as tournaments. As you can see, the list is extensive. You need to figure out how to maximize your dollars to get the most out of your experience. There is no set budget that works for everyone, just be aware of what your level of comfort is and plan accordingly.

Look At The Schedule

In order to plan how much money you need, it’s important to figure out what tournaments you want to play. Jump online to either the tournament tab on or go directly to and pull up the schedule. You can figure out what days events run, how many re-entries are allowed, what games are played, and start mapping out your journey accordingly.

Remember to keep in mind that while bracelet events get the notoriety and are probably why you’re in town, that’s not all that’s available. will be offering numerous other small-to-large buy-in tournaments and there will also be many tournament series running all over town. Take a look at the schedules available and find what fits your budget.

Be Smart With Your Energy

It is easy to look at the online schedule, as well as tournaments around town, and plan on playing a tournament every day – or perhaps two or three. As many as you want to play, you can find them. You can charge into Vegas headfirst and play for 20 hours a day for two weeks straight. Straight off the plane, in the taxi, to the tournaments! No reason to stop, no end in sight.

Inevitably, the adrenaline will wear off, you’ll miss sleep, probably eat terribly and never work out. No matter what preparation you put into your game leading up to the series, it will all go out the window and your A-game will quickly slip away and your C-game will be all you can muster.

There are over a month of online tournaments followed by two months of the live series this year. It’s a marathon and you should pace yourself. If you were planning on playing a tournament, but wake up feeling drained and have a hangover, do a self-check and just ask yourself a simple question. ‘If I was at home and felt like this, would I go play at my local casino?’ If the answer is no, you already have your answer on what to do. Take time for sleep and to turn your brain off. It’ll win you far more money than anything else you can do in Vegas.

Where To Stay And Who To Stay With

Let’s start off with the easiest way of saving money while traveling, which is splitting a room. Normally you grab your best bud who will be at the same location, find a spot that works for you, and chop up the cost. But when you’re traveling with the intention of putting in long, hard, demanding hours of mental work that requires concentration and stamina, it isn’t that easy.

What if that friend is loud, or wakes up at 5 am every day to work out? Maybe they aren’t there for poker but instead to party and that isn’t your scene. You have to make sure that you can compatibly live with your chosen roommate for however long you’re in town, wherever you stay. I am at the point where I’ve told my own father to find a separate room during the WSOP because it isn’t worth it to me to jeopardize my sleep with his snoring.

In today’s climate it’s easy to jump on Airbnb and find a spot that fits your needs. Well, easy unless you’re looking at Las Vegas. Due to the amount of taxes the hotels and casinos bring in for the state of Nevada, they have a bit of protection and sub-leasing sites are under more strict regulations. That means you should expect fewer vacation rentals on the market, even fewer that you would actually want to stay at, and even less during a jam-packed time of the year. Think ahead, book early, and don’t be afraid of staying on strip in one of the casinos if all else fails.

If you have any specific questions about the upcoming WSOP feel free to shoot me a message on Twitter @SurfBum4Life and I’ll be happy to help out. Who knows? Maybe your question will even be included in the next segment of talking shop! ♠

Nathan Gamble is a native of Texas where he learned to play the game of hold’em from his father. He is a two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, the first coming in the 2017 WSOP $1,500 PLO8/b Event, the second in the 2020 Online WSOP $600 PLO8/b event. He is active on Twitter under the username Surfbum4life and streams mixed game content weekly on twitch under the same moniker.