How to Plan a WSOP Trip: Accommodation, Flights, Transportation in Las Vegas
The World Series of Poker 2021 is in less than a week. If you’re still planning your trip, this article will make your life easier (promise!). We’ll help you find a reasonably priced place to sleep at night (that isn’t full of cockroaches), transportation, and of course a way to get to Las Vegas.
First, the bottom line: the WSOP begins September 30 and until November 23. Yes, it’s still in Rio, although speculation is that he’s moving to the Strip next summer.
Due to COVID-19, there are some rules in place that you should be aware of during the upcoming WSOP. First of all, all the players must provide proof of coronavirus vaccination. You just need to present the proof when you register for a tournament for the first time, and everything can be done within five minutes using the CLEAR PASS app. And while face masks are not required when seated at a poker table inside the Rio (they are, however, found inside other poker rooms in Las Vegas), they are when you go for a walk.
Before the series, we covered some unusual places to eat in Las Vegas, the differences between the 2021 WSOP and previous years, and even explained the local weed laws. For this article, we’re focusing on how you’re going to get here, how you’re going to get around, and where you’re going to stay.
Disclaimer: Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid at least one moderately expensive trip this year. Unlike in the summer, you can’t just drive into town, book an Airbnb across from the Rio for $ 40, and rent a car for $ 25 a day. The world is changing, the city is changing, but it is possible to do everything big with a reasonable budget.
Getting to Las Vegas
You cannot win the first WSOP cash of the summer until you arrive in Las Vegas (unless you are playing in one of the 11 recently added online bracelet events). So how are you going to get to town?
If you have a car and the means to get to Southern Nevada this is fabulous. This will save you money and have the presence of mind to know you have a vehicle available to get around town. For those who do not have that luxury, you will have to take a flight or take a bus. Depending on where you live, Southwest Airlines is always a good place to start as they don’t charge baggage fees and often offer reasonable rates.
That being said, The southwest is usually quite expensive if you don’t book at least a month in advance. So if you’re only coming for the Main Event (start date Nov 4th), you should still be able to find a cheap flight. We checked Chicago to Las Vegas Nov 3-24 on Southwest and found a rate as low as $ 242 round trip with taxes and fees included starting Saturday.
McCarran International Airport is a flagship city for a number of budget airlines, including Allegiant, Frontier, JetBlue, JSX, Southwest, Spirit, and Sun Country Airlines. If you’re looking to keep your flight price as low as possible, it’s best to check those airlines first before going on Travelocity, Priceline, or Hotwire to find fares from major airlines.
If you’re hoping for something even cheaper than a flight but don’t have a car to get to Las Vegas, you can always check out FlixBus. Now, we cannot guarantee that you will have a good time on a bus, but the day trip (depending on where you live) is not going to kill you. You can go from San Francisco to Las Vegas, for example, on FlixBus for around $ 80 round trip. FlixBus travels from most major cities in the United States, so there’s a good chance you won’t be too far from a pickup stop.
Airbnb vs. hotels
Now that you have a way to get to Las Vegas, you need a place to rest comfortably each night so you’re mentally prepared for the challenges of a grueling WSOP. The two obvious choices are hotels and Airbnb. What is the best? Well this depends on your situation.
If you’re going to be in town for more than a week or two – or even the whole series – there are major advantages to an Airbnb. Having a full kitchenette, in-unit laundry room, and often a covered garage offers valuable benefits for the long-term traveler that you won’t get at most hotels.
On Airbnb, customers can choose the type of room or location they want. You can select a single room and share the whole house or apartment with other guests, the whole house for yourself, a hotel room, or a room shared with another traveler.
Before you book any location, there are a few things you should take into consideration. Although money is a factor for most, it is generally better to avoid cheaper places. There’s a reason – or more – why an Airbnb is so cheap, and it’s usually because the house is in poor condition and located in a dodgy neighborhood.
The best options, at least for the price-conscious traveler who also wants a safe and comfortable place to stay, is the Airbnb price in the middle.
Unfortunately, most Airbnb prices reasonably close to the Rio are already booked during the series. So your best bet is to find somewhere further west on Flamingo Road (Rainbow Boulevard and west), south of the Strip near I-15 (easy access to the Rio), or Summerlin (20-25 minutes by car from the Rio). Of course, if you don’t have your own car or a rental car, this will be a problem (more on that later).
When it comes to hotels, we don’t want to give the impression that we are peeing everywhere at the thought of staying there. That’s far from being the case. If you’re only in town for a week or so, definitely stay in a casino, especially if you don’t mind crashing into a random person’s house.
Hotel casinos also offer valuable amenities for the poker traveler, such as easy access to a bookmaker, restaurants, bars and a poker room. You will also have housekeeping service, which is extremely beneficial for those who plan to spend 15 hours a day playing cards.
For hotel reservations, it is always better to go through a travel booking site (unless you have comps) versus booking directly through the hotel. Hotels.com (room free for every 10 nights of stay), HotelsCombined, or type in Google.com/travel/hotels and see results from various sites (see photo below).
Getting around town
Las Vegas is a big city with more than 2 million inhabitants and more than 40 million annual visitors. But unfortunately, this city is just not conducive to travelers or residents without a car.
The good news is Rio is only about a mile from the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, where many poker players stay during the WSOP. The bad news is, it’s a tough walk. That said, there is a direct walkway from the Rio to the side of Caesars Palace, and it will be a much more enjoyable walk in the fall compared to the regular WSOP summer schedule due to the weather. But it is still a hike for those who are not in very good physical condition.
If you don’t bring a car and stay in Rio, you can take Uber / Lyft, but be aware that fares have increased since COVID-19. The city bus costs $ 6 per day ($ 8 on the Strip) and there is a stop right in front of the Rio. But taking the bus, especially if you have a connector, takes time and is a real headache.
Your last option, outside of carpooling of course, is to rent a car. Just like across the country, car rental rates in Las Vegas have skyrocketed due to the auto shortage in the United States over the past year. Here is an overview of the cheapest weekly rates for the first week of the 2021 World Series of Poker.
Regardless of your mode of transportation, where you stay and how you get to Las Vegas, the most important is to have a good time and hope to earn some money. And if you win a gold bracelet, don’t forget to choose PokerNews for your first post-game interview.