It might seem contradictory to some but poker players are often quite frugal. We understand that you can flip for a $2000 pot but still get aggravated by $10 parking fees. If this sounds like you, here are a few of the ways I’ve nitted it up at the WSOP in the past to save a couple bucks. See if any of these tips work for you (please note that links to hotels below are affiliate links that support the blog)
1. Eat and Drink Off-Strip
When you buy into any WSOP event you get some total rewards points on your players card. It’s not much but you’d be surprised how many people are either unaware or simply forget to use it. The easiest way to use it up is when you buy a snack at the poker kitchen or your morning coffee at the Rio Starbucks.
As for good value restaurants away from the strip try one of the following:
a. Cheap quality steak? Hit up Herbs & Rye during happy hour.
b. Late night munchies? Ichiza in Chinatown always hits the spot. It’s cheap, has a fun atmosphere and is open till 2:30am. If you took a particularly bad beat treat yourself to some honey toast. There’s lots of other good options in Chinatown (Spring Mountain Rd)
You’ll also get way more for your money as you approach Downtown:
c. My absolute favorite new place in Vegas is Jammyland in the arts district. Reggae music in a really cool atmosphere with killer Jamaican food.
d. A cool dining experience at half the price of the strip Carson Kitchen is a local favorite which I highly recommend. If you have to wait for a table this is actually a plus because one of the coolest bars in Vegas is literally around the corner. As long as you can find the entrance, the Downtown Cocktail Room is the perfect place to grab a pre dinner cocktail. If it’s before 7pm Mon-Fri all the drinks are half price.
2. Book more than one return leg on Southwest airlines if you are playing a multi-day tournament
Last year I had a deep run in the main event ultimately busting on day 6 but I’m not so lucky every year. If you are planning on playing one or more bracelet events then you don’t know what day you will be done. You can either plan to stay the maximal number of days, plan to incur change fees on your flights OR pre-book more than one return date ahead of time on Southwest and add hotel nights as you need them. This last option tends to be the lowest cost option, it just requires forethought. You find several cheap return fares and book them on subsequent days, cancelling the ones you don’t end up using. Southwest doesn’t charge cancellation fees, though you only get a credit back you can use it for up to a year with no fee. The only requirement is that you book the ticket in the same name. If you are a moderately frequent traveler this is pretty close to a full refund and ensures you don’t pay last minute prices when you make day 2, 3 etc. If every time you had a deep run in a tournament you had to incur flight change fees this will really add up over the years.
3. Cheap lodging
If you don’t feel strongly about staying at the Rio then consider these options if you are looking for value. Free parking at all of them which is a nice plus.
SLS is one of my favorite hotels in that you can often find really good deals and it’s a very nice property for half the price of the more premium properties (I prefer the World tower over the Story tower). It’s a 10 minute ride from the Rio and a 5 minute ride from the excellent poker room at the Encore where they no longer have a parking fee.
Downtown Grand probably wins on value if you don’t mind being based downtown. It’s far from the Rio but if you are only playing a couple of events at the WSOP you might find the nearby poker room at the Golden Nugget downtown to meet your non WSOP poker needs (the nugget has a vibrant tournament series at a lower price point and if you are playing those they advertise discounted room rates for their tournament players).
4. Consider the bus (true nits only)
Vegas has a reliable bus system and it will cost you $2 from the airport. If you didn’t rent a car and your hotel happens to be on the bus routes (e.g. route 108 literally goes from in front of the SLS and the WAX bus will get you very close to the Downtown Grand) you can get from the airport to your hotel for cheap. It’s a little slower but you’ll see a slice of the real Vegas. Using this trick I once got from my home in Seattle to my room in Las Vegas for $49 door to door, including airfare!
Hope you found some of these tips helpful. Good luck at the series.