As Travolta said in Saturday Night Fever, “You know what I wanna do? Strut.” No humble-brag here.
Over the weekend, I was in Las Vegas at the World Series of Poker. I played in The Colossus event. With a field of 22,374 entries, it set a world record for the largest single poker tournament event ever held.
22,374 entrants. I beat 22,005 of them. I came in 369th. That paid $6,331. I’m the Six Thousand Dollar Man! Bettor, stronger, faster. One doesn’t usually crow about finishing 369th in anything, but that’s the top 1.6%.
See the video below (shot by my friend The Coaster) when they announced that we made it into the money during Day Two.
Affording A “Bucket List” Item
I like playing poker, but plunking down a $565 entry fee + hotel + travel is an expensive, if not frivolous undertaking.
If you have a Poker Tournament, Scuba Trip, or Ski Vacation on your Bucket List, here are some tips as to how you might be able to afford it.
This is what I did to make it happen:
I knew it was possible that I could go deep in the tourney, as I did. Therefore, I needed flexibility to be able to change my flight without the annoying $150 fee some airlines charge. Thankfully, Southwest Airlines doesn’t charge a change fee. So I booked my flight on Southwest using my Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
FYI: For a limited time, Southwest has increased their credit card sign up bonus to 50,000 Rapid Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Click on “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website and then “Airline Miles” to get up-to-date info on this card. Email me if you have any questions.
We Called An Audible
A few of the folks from my poker group were going to play in The Colossus as well. One of the guys was already in Vegas. He told us it was a 1½ – 2 hour long line to get one’s seat assignment. My poker buddy Tim and I were going to save $100/night by sharing a room and had booked the same flights to share cabs. We were to land less than an hour before the tourney started. After hearing of these long lines, we decided it would be better to get in the night before, complete the registration, and relax.
When I jumped on Hotels.com, I saw that the best deal was at the hotel where our other poker peeps were. I took that as a sign and booked it. We jumped in Tim’s car like Favreau & Vaugh in Swingers, and headed from Hollywood to the desert.
What about my outbound flight? Southwest lets you cancel an outbound flight without automatically cancelling the return. Cancelling an entire trip is an annoying thing other airlines do, but not Southwest. I cancelled my outbound, and kept my return flight. The points I used for outbound went back into my Southwest Rapid Rewards account. Thank you Southwest for not being jerks!
Last Minute Hotel Deals
Day Two of the tournament started Sunday afternoon – after my scheduled flight home. So, I cancelled my return flight on Southwest. Again, no fee and all the points went back into my Southwest Rapid Rewards account.
When I made it past 8pm, I knew there was no way I could book a flight home that night if I were knocked out. My other poker peeps already busted out and were headed home, so no crashing with them. I needed another night in a hotel. The tournament was at The Rio. It would be ideal to stay there. When I inquired, they wanted $151 for the night.
So I jumped on my Hotel Tonight app. They had a room at The Rio which ended up being $70 less than what The Rio offered me. Done.
Paying For A Bucket List Trip
The most obvious way to afford something is to save money for it. Set a bit aside from every paycheck into an account for a specific Bucket List item.
CapitalOne360Savings allows you to have up to 25 accounts. Set up your “Poker Tournament”, “Scuba in Bahamas”, or “whatever-you-wanna-do” account, and start socking away for it. They pay a decent rate on every penny. No minimums. No fees.
The more FUN way to pay for something is to get a big sign-up bonus on a credit card offer. That is tax-free cash. Chase Ink cards for businesses have 50,000 point bonuses that are worth a penny apiece. That’s $500 in tax-free cash!
As I wrote about in Get $225 By Spending $500, Chase Freedom has increased their sign-up bonus for a limited time on this personal credit card. This is the Visa I carry in my wallet. It never has an annual fee and always pays at least 1% cash back.
Click on “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website and then “Cash Back” to get up-to-date info on this card.
All Good Things Come To An End
I started Day Three with 148,000 chips. I’ll spare you the poker-speak as to how I was knocked out. Suffice it to say I was an 80% favorite to win, but that 20% reared its ugly head. As they say, “That’s poker.”
As I stood in line to get my winnings, I booked a one way flight home using Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
So if you want to do something spontaneous, and are not sure when you want to return, Southwest Airlines is a great way to go. If you want to get a bunch of bonus miles,
Click on “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website and then “Travel Rewards Credit Cards” to get up-to-date info on the Southwest card. Email me if you have any questions.
Video: In The Money
In the center, closest to camera is a gentleman in a white T-shirt. You can find me across the table from him, between him and the dealer (standing). The bald gentleman to my immediate left (your right) is John Hennigan. He has won 3 WSOP bracelets, a World Poker Tour title, and over $6 million in tournaments. He is the reigning $50,000 (entry fee) WSOP Poker Player’s Champion. I had to act before him on every hand but one, every round. Sheesh!!
Here’s a photo of my Table 93 at the start of Day Two: