In every facet of our lives, we all have goals we would love to achieve and tick off landmark experiences from our bucket lists. For many of us, we have our own aspirations of doing things that would mean we can consider ourselves true poker players.
As I’ve played poker more and more, and my love for the game has grown greater, my bucket list has extended each year. I know some of these goals may be a bit out of reach, but by hell or high water, I know I’ll do all I can to try and tick most of the items on my bucket list.
I also know many of you will have your own list, but I’ve jotted down here what I think makes a good bucket list for poker players, both recreational and professional.
1. Playing the World Series of Poker Main Event
Everyone knows that the World Series of Poker is the crown jewel in the poker calendar. Even just playing in an official live WSOP event would satisfy some, but for a majority of us, we have always dreamt of registering for the Main Event.
There seems to be a bit of snobbery towards the Main Event in the higher echelons of the poker community due to the skillset of the average entrant, but the WSOP Main Event holds a special place in many of our hearts.
Many of you will have fond memories of watching coverage as a child with a poker-playing family member.
So, there's that sentimental value that the Main Event has, and, of course, we’d all love to be the next Chris Moneymaker.
2. WSOP Gold Bracelet Glory
The WSOP bracelet winner list is in the thousands. It is not an exclusive list dominated by a tiny percentage of players, which gives us all the hope that acquiring one of these trinkets might be possible.
Who wouldn’t want to win a tournament at the series that holds the most significance to a majority of poker players all over the world?
In this game, we all know that anyone can win a tournament on any given day, and this gives us, more-recreational players, hope that one day we’ll get that prestigious bit of jewelry around our wrists.
Some of you may say that a point like this is just a pipe dream but it is our dreams that make up our own bucket lists!
3. One Huge Score
Whether this is from a bad beat jackpot or a live tournament, most recreational poker players have dreamt of turning a humble buy-in into a life-changing score.
For many recs, scoring one huge poker payday would be enough to allow them to pursue their poker dreams.
Luckily, you can access all kinds of games online. From cheap satellites to big events, to huge tournaments or even bitcoin poker games, which offer huge prizes.
Many of us have thought that all we need is that one big break on the poker felt to be financially comfortable for some time so we can say goodbye to the day job and travel the world playing the game that gives us such joy.
4. Playing at a Televised Table
Whether as part of a tournament or on a live stream, it would no doubt be thrilling to be a part of a feature table of a major tournament or have a seat on a live stream at places like Live at the Bike or Texas Card House.
Being able to show friends and family your cameo appearance, with your hole cards on display, would no doubt give budding poker players some satisfaction, especially if you also manage to get a big payday from the event. It is a memory you will never forget, and it’ll exist in archives for people to view for years to come.
5. Hitting up Las Vegas
Visiting Vegas, the home of poker, is something that every poker player needs to do once, and it is no secret that it is an amazing place to visit. One cannot consider themselves a real poker player unless they’ve battled it out on the felt of an iconic casino like the Bellagio or even Binions, the original home of the WSOP.
A trip to Vegas will allow you to stand in the same place where some of poker’s most iconic moments have played out.
If you have an affinity for history and enjoy poker, then you just need to go. If the year 2020 has taught us anything, it is that life is fragile, and you should seize the opportunity with both hands if it arises for you.
6. Playing Famous Poker Players or Celebrities
Suppose you have managed to satellite into a major tournament, like an EPT or WPT event, or have managed to build up a bankroll where you can comfortably afford a direct entry into one of these tournaments. In that case, you probably have a picture in your mind of mixing it up with some of the biggest names in poker.
And why wouldn’t you? Poker is so different from many other sports or games in that the worst player in the world can battle it out against one of the best (providing they have been drawn on the same table).
There’s no other sport where you’d see professionals competing against amateurs in terms of scale like you do in poker, and this is largely why we love this game so much.
We know that provided the cards fall right on our day, anything can happen, and even the most humble player could stack and eliminate a poker icon.
And who hasn’t salivated at the thought of giving Phil Hellmuth a bad beat in a poker hand and being on the receiving end of one of his patented explosive rants?