Where to WCOOP?

Hello dear readers! I’m writing today to ask for thoughts and advice. I want to go abroad next month to play the WCOOP, and I’m thinking of going somewhere other than Canada. Nico and his flatmate Soeren have actually invited me to stay with them in London, and as much as that sounds fun (and free), I don’t think WCOOP is the best time to do it. I have little confidence in my ability to shift on to a nocturnal schedule, and the tournaments simply start too late in the day for me in any European time zone. Not to mention that the temptation to hang out with them might lead to my not playing my best. When I go for a series like this, I really aim just to immerse myself in poker and have very little in the way of distraction or temptation around.

In past years I’ve traveled to Montreal and really enjoyed that, but this year I’ll be flying to San Francisco after the series is over, so I’m tempted to take advantage of the opportunity to go somewhere new, possibly in Mexico or South America. I’d be very appreciative for any suggestions for specific places I should consider. Things I’m looking for:

1. Extremely reliable internet connection. Having 24-hour internet cafe(s) available as a back-up is nice as well (this came up once in Montreal).

2. Good time zone. The US East Coast (GMT -5) time zone is good enough, but Mountain (GMT -7) is probably ideal for me, and Pacific (GMT -8) is pretty good too. I think this rules out everything but North and South America.

3. High-volume, nitcast-approved short-term rental market.

4. Comfortable, pleasant surroundings. I’d like to be somewhere where just sitting outside or walking around my immediate neighborhood for an hour before or after a session is a pleasant and interesting thing to do. A place on the beach would be pretty sweet!

5. Convenient access to groceries and take-out. I want to be able to focus on poker and not have it be a hassle to meet my basic needs. I believe I can muster Spanish reasonable enough to accomplish these basic tasks, if necessary.

Obviously I need to make a decision on this pretty soon, just wondering if there are some non-obvious options out there I should consider. Please tell me if you know of a spot!

21 thoughts on “Where to WCOOP?

  1. If you are looking for nitcast approved and a beach, you can’t go wrong in Central America. Mexico would be the obvious choice, but two other options I would consider would be Belize (absolutely beautiful beaches and laid-back culture) or my favorite spot in CA, San Juan del Sur in southern Nicaragua. Its a cute medium-sized town surrounding an idyllic crescent shaped bay that opens into the ocean. For both options, the biggest worry would be internet, but the nice thing about using Airbnb is you can talk to the host and figure out how reliable the internet really is and if there are cafes around for backup. Here is one listing that popped up, i’m not endorsing it in particular but it gives a good feel for the town:

    https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/982426?s=Mk5A

    Good Luck finding somewhere!

    • Thanks, this is precisely the sort of thing I was hoping for! Think “the roosters and dogs down the hill are very loud all night long- so we did have some trouble sleeping” will rule out the exact place you linked (which I realize you weren’t really suggesting in the first place). I’ll look into others though!

  2. 1. Extremely reliable internet connection. Having 24-hour internet cafe(s) available as a back-up is nice as well (this came up once in Montreal). // For this you want to buy a USB connection as a backup. Most countries have them now and for a connection to PokerStars they can be extremely reliable (if slow, unable to load youtube quickly). This means you won’t be losing time switching locations if primary fails. We did the Dave Eggers podcast when I was on one such device. Cheap too. It would be relatively crazy to go to a nearby internet cafe in comparison and most places with great beaches don’t have that anyways (you’d be going to a nearby bar/hotel lobby/restaurant etc). Much easier to get a USB, the data is on cell networks usually. //

    3. High-volume, nitcast-approved short-term rental market.

    4. Comfortable, pleasant surroundings. I’d like to be somewhere where just sitting outside or walking around my immediate neighborhood for an hour before or after a session is a pleasant and interesting thing to do. A place on the beach would be pretty sweet!

    5. Convenient access to groceries and take-out. I want to be able to focus on poker and not have it be a hassle to meet my basic needs. I believe I can muster Spanish reasonable enough to accomplish these basic tasks, if necessary.
    //

    Lima Lima Lima. If you absolutely must swim at the beach, there are better spots. But if you are just looking for picturesque and 2 to 5, Lima.

    • Others that come to mind and fit the bill are Cartagena (again don’t know about 24h internet cafe) but the beach is better than Lima, though the view and the other criteria score lower. I am sure there are some good central American spots to find. Costa Rica, obviously worth looking into.

      I would suggest Grenada but there is a high rate of failure on both the internet and the grocery counts.

    • Sorry to spam, but you can get an extremely reliable primary connection in Lima as well. Just make sure the router is in the unit, not split with others. My first post might be read as that would be an issue, but it isn’t. But I would use a USB as a backup anywhere even in reliable spots, not make internet cafe plans.

      • Thanks! I’ve looked into getting an internet stick in Canada and it seemed like a contract was going to be necessary. Do you have any insight on where to get i guess a prepaid one? Is that what you use?

        • Yeah the cell phone market in Canada is ridiculous like other places.

          There are two companies in Peru worth trusting, Claro y MovieStar. Both have excellent internet services and should have great ‘prepago’ options.

          Prepago is available and prevalent because Peruvian consumers are not as affluent especially with respect to long term commitments. All those cell phone contracts are such scams its insane Europeans and Canadians put up with them.

          After a quick search

          http://www.claro.com.pe/wps/portal/pe/sc/personas/internet/internet-movil#info-04

          You should be able to see Prepago option, Paquete 15 días o Paquete 30 días. Dirt cheap of course.

          Also in Miraflores, which is the neighbourhood I would recommend, the parks had budding free Wifi last time I was there. I would 100% not endorse or rely on that though, as it is gov’t run haha.

          • I wish I could speak to Costa Rica, I have heard such great things. I will be going there in February ’15. Might be getting back to Lima before then, hopefully. This discussion has reminded me how much I love it there.

            One person you should ask is Leo. He went and played LSOP in Lima and I gave him some restaurant recommendations. I mean, I am an unabashed advocate for the city, keep that in mind. But I know a neighbourhood in Miraflores where there is an awesome high-end grocery store called Vivanda that makes me just pine with nostalgia.

  3. Let me just say this.
    Couchsurfing.org
    A young man I met today says it has been a gold mine for getting attractive south american girls onto his couch. I’m sure much of south and central america feels the same about the chance to meet our host.

    On a serious note, anyone able to report on Costa Rica? I think Assasinato mentioned his time there.

      • I know Gareth is pushing hard for Lima and that he lived there, but just fwiw it would be far from my top choice. He is right that it is on the top of the list for internet and food, but man the weather there in Sept (and pretty much all year) is really dreary, and while there are some nice neighborhoods, there isn’t too much to see. But I admit I haven’t spent as much time there as Gareth so maybe he knows the good spots. I think Costa Rica would be a nice choice although I also have never been there.

        • I cannot speak extensively to the weather in September, but it never rains in Lima or gets cold, just overcast with morning fog. If Andrew has a view of the malecón from Miraflores he can take some nice strolls in the parks along the cliffs for an hour as prescribed by his fourth criterion. But if it was for a suntanning vacation, or if the beach was the number one matter at hand, it is Costa Rica, Grenada, and a hundred other places before Lima I am sure.

          Lima is a big big city too, which may or may not be the vibe AB wants. Miraflores is no hive and the perks of big city is endless food options and availability of amenities.

          http://i1261.photobucket.com/albums/ii588/Luciano005/8030849737_7d8148e88f_b1_zps7d5a449a.jpg
          http://www.mirafloresrental.com/guernicaweb/perubeaches.jpg

          January, February, March is divine weather wise, for reference. I would no go sunbathing there in September. I do know all the spots and thus am extremely biased haha. There is an LAPT there mid- October that I am eyeing on the calendar.

        • I’ve travelled quite a bit and I didn’t like Lima at all.

          I’m sure there are nice parts of the city and I was only there for a few days so I’m not nearly as qualified as Gareth.

          But, most of the city I saw was very run down and I felt like there were too many people looking to take advantage of us. I felt less safe there than the other places in South America that I’ve been.

          Cusco, Santiago, and La Paz were all great BTW!

  4. Given the “requirements” I also think you should def hit Assassinato up cause Costa Rica would be the perfect place !!

  5. There’s a Rosarito, Mexico thread on 2+2. I have friends playing down there and it sounds pretty solid. Always possible someone has a room open! It’s on the water and quite pretty from what I hear.

  6. Santiago is great and I’m sure has everything you are looking for. I don’t know if you can play poker from there or not.

    The Caribbean seems like a good option as well.

  7. Did you find a place? I have a room for rent near Grecia, Costa Rica. I have two internet connections (CRWIFI and ICE). I also have a desk and computer chair for your use. I play for living (cash games). I have two big dogs. PM if you are interested or know someone else who is. There aren’t too many distractions, so it’d be perfect if you are looking to get a lot of grinding in.

    • Thanks, but I ended up just going with Montreal. Places in South America weren’t as cheap as I expected, and flights to Montreal are much cheaper.

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