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What Australians Should Know for WSOP in Las Vegas

It is approaching faster than most people anticipated. The 2022 World Series of Poker is set to begin in Las Vegas, Nevada, on 31 May. That is less than two months away.

With that said, there is still time to book flights and accommodations. There will be Aussies at the WSOP, some having been there before and others traveling to the World Series for the first time. But even for those who have made the trip in the past, this year will provide many new features. First and foremost, the casinos hosting the WSOP will be different. And that changes everything from accommodations to transportation.

Let’s get into it.

Quick Schedule Refresher

The World Series of Poker released the full WSOP 2022 schedule at the end of February. We printed it in full here.

There will be 88 live WSOP bracelet events this year. There will also be 14 online bracelet events, most of which will be available to any and all players located within the state of Nevada when playing.

The live WSOP events will be at two Las Vegas Strip casinos. Two Caesars properties – Bally’s and Paris – will host the action. It is not yet clear which tournaments will be in which casino. However, the casinos are directly next to each other, even sharing a parking garage. They are easily accessible from the outside or via an inside corridor that connects the two properties. Both casinos have convention ballrooms, and the WSOP will use both.

Location, Location, Location

As noted, the WSOP will be at the new location this year. However, one thing will stay the same. Caesars Entertainment ran the Rio and owns Bally’s and Paris. This means that players who have been to past World Series of Poker series in Las Vegas can use the same loyalty card. Caesars Rewards is the same at all Caesars properties.

For those who need to update their Caesars Rewards information or sign up, they can do so online here. When arriving at a Caesars property, they can easily print a card.

(Players must have a physical Caesars Rewards card to sign up for any WSOP events, including daily tournaments and satellites.)

Also, note that Caesars is in the process of changing Bally’s to Horseshoe. The Horseshoe is a brand that dates back to the initial decades of the WSOP that played at Binion’s Horseshoe. Caesars now owns the brand and is converting Bally’s to Horseshoe. The casino may be called either Bally’s or Horseshoe in the coming months, but they are one and the same.

The transition from Bally’s to Horseshoe is taking place this year. However, it will not involve a full remodeling. The process will happen gradually, in sections. It should not inhibit the movement of customers through the casino. According to sources, the casino will not be a construction zone.

On the Strip

The Las Vegas Strip is the main thoroughfare in Las Vegas. Many of the largest casinos are located on the Strip – Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Venetian, Wynn, etc. Bally’s and Paris are at a primary location in the center of the Strip, at the corner of Flamingo and Las Vegas Boulevard.

For accommodations, the most convenient for those attending or playing the WSOP is somewhere on the Strip. As mentioned in our previous piece, there is the Las Vegas Deuce bus system that runs all the way up and down the Strip, even as far as the Downtown Las Vegas casinos like the Golden Nugget. There is also the Las Vegas Monorail, though it only services a select number of casinos on one side of the Strip. Many casinos are also walkable. The temperatures may be hot in the summer, but many people do walk the Strip.

The casinos closest to Paris and Bally’s – very walkable – are the Cromwell, Planet Hollywood, Bellagio, and Caesars Palace. Those a little further on both sides of the WSOP include Flamingo, the LINQ, Harrah’s, Cosmopolitan, Vdara, Aria, and MGM Grand.

Further down the Strip but accessible by bus, monorail, or taxis and Ubers are New York New York, Excalibur, Tropicana, Mirage, Treasure Island, Venetian, Palazzo, Wynn, Encore, Sahara, Resorts World, Circus Circus, Luxor, Stratosphere, and Mandalay Bay. In addition, casinos not on the Strip but just down Flamingo are the Rio and Gold Coast.

Las Vegas casino map

Note that Caesars properties offer a discount to anyone using the WSOP22 promo code. These casinos are: Bally’s, Paris, Rio, Caesars Palace and Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Planet Hollywood, the LINQ, and the Cromwell. The rates are listed side by side on the Caesars reservations page with the promo code already listed.

Alternate Series

It is important to keep in mind that the WSOP has competition. Other poker rooms around Las Vegas offer summer live tournament series, too. And depending on where players want to compete, they may want to choose accommodations closer to those places.

Most of those are located on the Strip:

Venetian (2 May – 31 July)
Wynn (30 May – 16 July)
Aria (2 June – 17 July)
Bellagio (no information yet)
Resorts World (no information yet)
Orleans (no information yet)
Golden Nugget (31 May – 3 July)

The Orleans series will most likely consist of lower buy-in events. There will be guarantees. This is located on Tropicana but a few miles away from the Strip.

The Golden Nugget will host its series in Downtown Las Vegas. The Grand Poker Series will also offer lower buy-in tournaments, including many non-hold’em events. Players staying on the Strip can access the Downtown LV area on the Deuce bus or Ubers or taxis.

When these series release their schedules and more information, we will report that information in one article. This should happen in the coming weeks.

Identification and Information

A person traveling from Australia to the United States is going to have a passport. It must be current and not expired. It is also important to bring some other form of identification with a current address. This can be a driver’s license, utility bill, or credit card statement.

According to the WSOP rules, only one type of identification is necessary. However, it is better to be safe. In past years, international players have been required to present two forms of ID.

For players who register for a tournament online, they must bring that exact credit card to the WSOP with them. They must present it to complete the in-person verification. This will only happen once, as the verification then holds throughout the rest of the series.

Tax Treaty

There is much talk about requirements for international players depending on their country’s tax treaty status with the United States. Let’s talk about Australia and America.

In 1982, the governments of the two counties signed a treaty to avoid double taxation but also prevent fiscal evasion. Gambling and casino winnings are not mentioned in the treaty, though. Article 21 of that document refers to income not mentioned in other parts of the treaty. It reads like a legal document. But Article 22 reinforces the prohibition of double taxation.

Russ Fox is a tax expert who lives in Las Vegas…and is a member of the poker community. He has consistently addressed such issues on his blog, though not specifically pertaining to Australia. But he claims that nothing changed from the writing of this 2018 article.

Fox asserted that the United States is required to withhold 30% of the winnings of players from Australia. The player would complete a US tax form 1042-S to officially record the amount of taxes withheld. However, the person may be able to bypass the withholding by completing an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) form. Anyone not claiming US citizenship can apply for an ITIN online with the US Internal Revenue Service. A person can also complete an ITIN form at the casino. This may prevent the casino from withholding taxes.

While all advice from various sources seems to be a bit confusing with regard to Australia and the US, one thing is clear. It will not hurt to have an ITIN. And it would be beneficial to apply for one immediately. It doesn’t cost anything and can only help.

What to Pack

Las Vegas in June and July will be hot. It will be very hot. Las Vegas is in a desert.

Casinos, on the other hand, tend to be cool, sometimes cold. Poker players who have been to the Rio in past WSOP years know that poker rooms can be downright cold.

The best advice is to bring layers of clothes. For example, summer clothes are find, but bring a sweater, jacket, possibly even a scarf for potentially over-excited air conditioning systems.

Comfortable shoes are also important. If walking up and down the Strip, comfortable shoes are a must. Even inside – especially inside – casinos, there can be quite a lot of walking. With this upcoming WSOP sharing space between two casinos, players may have to walk back and forth. Nice shoes are fine, high heels are attractive. But bring a backpack or a bag for them, as one will want flat, comfortable shoes for most Vegas walking.

Bring snacks. Players will find that buying snacks from casino restaurants can become expensive. It behooves players to bring some snacks, like protein bars and energy drinks. However, intercontinental travel may not allow enough space for too many snacks. Players can find a local grocery in Las Vegas to stock up. And if that is the plan, make sure to find accommodations with a kitchenette or at least a small refrigerator.

For anything and everything else, ask a poker player who has been to the WSOP before. Reach out on poker forums or social media to ask for advice.

 

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Author: Bob Reynolds