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Top-10 gambling endurance adventures

15 September 2014

Two years ago, I wrote a top-10 column outlining all the things poker players could learn from runners.

As a runner, I enjoy adding an element of endurance to many of the things I do. I've organized and played in 24-hour poker games; when I was in graduate school, I rode my bicycle 360 miles to a summer teaching job over the course of six days, rather than driving; and I once drove all the way from Helena, Ark., to Rochester, N.Y., without stopping except to put gas in the car. (The last one wasn't too wise; I finally stopped to sleep at a rest stop when the sun came up and I started hallucinating.)

Over the weekend, I took my second short bike tour for a poker game. The game in question was just 30 miles away, so it only took a couple hours to get there, but it was enough to get me excited about making a longer trip sometime in the future.

There are plenty of other long-haul gambling experiences that would be a blast, given unlimited time and a lack of commitments or bankroll constraints. Here are the top-10 gambling endurance adventures I'd like to take.

10. Grind the WSOP Circuit
There are plenty of poker players who travel the country and play in most of the World Series of Poker's Circuit events already. I think it would be an interesting way to see the country, and with the community that develops, it would be fun to get to know a lot of the regulars.

9. Play daily fantasy sports every day for a year
With daily fantasy sports sites like DraftKings and FanDuel, sports fans can now legally bet on the performance of players in professional sports leagues on a daily basis in most U.S. states. If I had unlimited time and money, I'd study up on every sport and bet on one of the sites at least once a day for a year. I think it would be interesting to compare how I did early in the year with how I did at the end of the year to see if I improved over time.

8. Bet every race at Saratoga for a season
I'll admit it, I'm not a horse racing expert. In fact, I've never placed a single wager on a race, nor have I ever been to a racetrack. But I used to live in the Albany, N.Y., area, and I know that Saratoga has a great racetrack. Races are seasonal, running daily from late July to Labor Day, with the exception of Tuesdays. With a relatively short season and great racing — including the Travers Stakes in late August — it would be fun to head to Saratoga for the summer to see what I could learn about horse racing by being at the track every day.

7. Play a WSOP event every day
Once again, there are plenty of poker players who do this every summer. I can't imagine the mental endurance it takes to bust from a poker tournament at 2 a.m., then be back at noon the next day to enter another event.

In order to qualify as a true endurance player, in my mind, you have to register for events before they start and be dealt into the first hand at your table.

6. 24-hour table game bender
I do not recommend this, nor would I ever do it because I think it's very unhealthy and terrible for your bankroll, but if I had an unlimited amount of money to bet and plenty of time to recover, I think playing a table game for 24 hours would be an interesting experience. Ideally you get a group of friends to join you, and if they don't want to play the whole time, get them to rotate in and out of the game.

Craps would probably be the most fun game to try, because the game lends itself to group celebrations. (And I say this as someone who has played craps once in my life, and likely will never play again because I hated it.) Blackjack would also be a lot of fun, but probably the best card game to play would be pai gow, as it takes a minute or two for each hand and a lot of the bets are pushes, so your inevitable losses will accumulate much more slowly.

5. Run an online poker balance up without making a deposit
Lots of online poker sites offer players freerolls — a chance to win some money without risking anything. Chris Ferguson once famously ran his Full Tilt Poker balance up from $0 to $10,000, and I think it's the perfect endurance challenge. What could be better than putting together a WSOP Main Event entry fee without ever risking a dime of your own money?

4. Attend every Triple Crown race in a season
I'm sure there are a fair number of people who attend (and bet on) the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes every year. It's not actually logistically all that difficult to pull off, depending on where you live. This would be especially fun if you got to witness an attempt at a Triple Crown, and if you managed to pick the year a horse won all three races, you'd have a great story to tell for the rest of your life.

3. Play the entire EPT schedule
For me, this trumps playing every WSOP event, because the EPT takes place all over Europe. Las Vegas is fun, but having the opportunity to do some sightseeing and travel trumps being in the middle of the desert the entire month of June. And while the WSOP does draw people from all over the world, most players are American. The EPT draws people from all over Europe, so getting to play against people from different nations would be a fun cultural experience as well.

2. Bet every game of a professional sports season
The Casino City editorial staff already picks every NFL game against the spread as part of our Casino City Gang podcast. I've posted a small profit a couple times, but last year's massive -22.2 percent ROI wiped out any illusions I have that I can beat the oddsmakers over the long term. That said, my 14-2 record in Week 1 had me feeling like a world beater (before my 5-10 performance heading into tonight's Monday Night Football game brought me down a peg in Week 2).

I think it would be fun to pick every Major League Baseball game or every NHL or NBA game, too. There are so many more games in those leagues that you'd really get a sense of just how good you were. With such a large sample size, I bet about 80 percent of people would finish between break even and down 10 percent, but if you managed to buck the odds and post even a 1 percent ROI, it would be a massive accomplishment.

1. Cross country bike/home poker tour
There's nothing quite like riding your bike through the countryside, chewing up miles, seeing new towns and camping wherever you find a spot to throw a tent. I'd love to play in home poker games as I make my way across the country, and with the technology available today, it's certainly possible to find out about a lot of games. I'd also see if I could get people to play turbo heads up matches for meals and, of course, as a writer, I'd keep a blog to record the entire experience.

With three young kids at home, this might be tough to pull off for quite awhile, but if you see a guy with a bike trailer and a deck of cards in 10-15 years, challenge him to a heads-up match for lunch.
Top-10 gambling endurance adventures is republished from
Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.