Pristine blue waters, endless white sandy beaches, and a year-round summer are just a few great reasons to book a trip to the Caribbean. But just in case you needed a little more persuasion, poker enthusiasts will be pleased to know that the Caribbean is now one of the top international gaming destinations in the world.
To date, most islands in the Caribbean have at least one casino each, with the exception of Curacao, the Dominican Republic, Aruba, and Puerto Rico, which have at least 10.
Among all the games, poker seems to be the biggest hit. According to News Americas, the region has been playing host to world class tournaments since 2004. The islands even have their own poker game named after them – Caribbean Stud Poker. On that note, it’s clear that the local poker industry is very much alive and well — and most of all, waiting for you!
Keep these tips in mind before you pack your bags and go.
Find the best deals
Thanks to budget airlines such as JetBlue and Spirit, flying to the Caribbean without breaking the bank is more feasible than ever. Most recently, these low-cost carriers now accommodate trips to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, igniting competition between other existing airlines to offer the best rates. On top of this, JetBlue also provides great deals on accommodation. Call and check their respective websites to get updates on promotions.
Follow the rules
While the basic framework of each poker game doesn’t vary from too much from one island to another, specific rules within casinos might apply, especially for poker and its different kinds. TuxSlots explains that poker doesn’t always have the same number of playing cards for all games. The number of cards dealt, community cards, and cards that stay hidden until the end of the hand can all vary. To avoid running into any issues with the dealers, make it a point to familiarize yourself with the rules before the game or ask the casino if they have booklets containing the house rules for each game.
Some laws also differ, such as the legal gambling age. Although most major cruise lines and islands such as Puerto Rico and Aruba stick to the legal age of 18, other destinations like Curacao have set 21-years-old as the minimum.
Check the currency exchange
A handful of islands have strict rules on the import and export of currency. In places such as Aruba and Puerto Rico, Trip Savvy notes that betting is only allowed in US dollars. On the other hand, the Dominican Republic allows it for both the local pesos and US dollars. Be aware of these guidelines before entering the Caribbean.
Appreciate its own charm
Many tourists come to the Caribbean expecting the flashiness and flamboyance of the Vegas poker scene. With the exception of the grand Atlantis Paradise and a few other extravagant hotels, local casinos are a far cry from the ones you’ll find in Sin City — and that’s because they do not even try.
So perhaps the most important thing to remember is that you’re in the Caribbean for a reason. Appreciate the distinct charm and ambience its own islands have to offer, and enjoy the game.