You’ve probably heard about it by now World Poker Tour (WPT) and her upcoming WPT Travelwhich will take place from March 31 – April 6, 2024 You are taking over a complete Virgin Voyages cruise ship – the 1,400-cabin ship Brave lady – For a Six-day poker festival with $1.5 million in guaranteesincluding one $5,000 buy-in, $1,000,000 GTD WPT Main Event.
Ahead of the WPT trip, PokerNews will feature several WPT employees at the Sea Poker Room in our “Industry Insiders” series. For those who don’t know, the WPT at Sea is the actual poker room on board Virgin Travel (currently on Scarlet Lady cruise ship, but will soon be expanded to others).
Check out our profile WPT with Sea Poker Manager Kirk Saunders Here.
Are you ready for spring break poker? Adam Pliska talks about WPT Voyage Cruise
Meet Andrea DiBattista
One smiling face that poker players can expect to see on cruises is that of WPT at Sea General Manager Andrea DiBattista, who grew up in Norwich, Connecticut.
“Norwich is a small town with not much to offer other than two large native casinos,” she explained. “Most people who grew up in the area back then worked there for at least a short time. When I graduated high school in 1998, I started working as a coin cashier at Mohegan Sun. The economy of the former industrial area of Norwich went into severe decline. Casinos were a booming industry at the time and employed thousands upon thousands of people. For young people without a college degree who came from a working-class family, this was a great way to support their family. I was really excited to get my foot in the door, even though I decided to change departments.”
Eventually, DiBattista found her way into poker school in 1999, even though she knew nothing about the game.
“People in the class were learning how to read hands, and I had no idea what beat what. I was a young mother who needed a job that would make enough money to support myself. There was a lot of pressure on me to practice and perform well. I worked at the local Friendly’s, shoveled ice cream, was in poker school, and took care of a baby. Now I look back and laugh a little, but I also know how grateful I am that I pushed myself so hard, it was literally a life-changing moment.”
“Being a single mom and trying to work full-time on an inflexible schedule was starting to take its toll, so I decided to get involved again.”
After passing her audition, DiBattista worked as a dealer for a few years before working her way up and moving to Florida to work in the poker industry in the early 2000s.
“I quickly moved up to dealer coordinator, which I really enjoyed. I also ran tournaments, played chips, sat on the podium, whatever was needed. Being a single mom and working a non-flexible schedule full-time was starting to take its toll on me, so I decided to get involved again so I could be at all of my daughter’s soccer games, track meets, and school events.”
When her children were grown, DiBattista returned to the management game and worked some WPT events in Jacksonville, even playing in some final tables. From then on, she decided to take her poker knowledge and skills to the streets.
“After working as a travel dealer for about a year, I met my roommate and we had several conversations about our poker experiences… She offered me a job as an SOP writer, which put me on the Scarlet Lady for two months (12 sailings). would bring). Of course I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure how things would turn out, but after a few more conversations I said yes.”
She continued: “WPT at Sea has such a positive, refreshing spin on poker. WPT at Sea makes poker fun and exciting. We have newbies and experienced players who are all just there for fun. When they leave, we will all be Facebook friends and everyone will have made memories that will last a lifetime. That’s what it’s all about. Don’t let the game intimidate you. We are here to have fun. We want to teach you the game so you can feel comfortable at the table!”
WPT Voyage vs. WPT at Sea – What is the difference? Here you will find everything you need to know
What is WPT at Sea?
Not to be confused with WPT Voyage, WPT at sea is a real poker room on the ship Scarlet Lady (and soon on other Virgin Voyages). As you read this, this poker room is currently operating on the high seas.
“After experiencing the magic of cruise poker with Virgin Voyages last season, we wanted to immediately establish a permanent presence,” said WPT CEO Adam Pliska. “Scarlet Lady provides the perfect residence for WPT at Sea, which will bring the WPT poker experience to the high seas.”
The room facilities eight custom-made poker tables staffed with professional traders. The following applies to cash games: The rake is a reasonable 10% up to $10, which is much lower than other cruises. For tournaments, buy-ins for a typical sailing sport range from $80 to $320.
Recently WPT at Sea hosted one $240 buy-in for the Main Eventwhich awards a WPT prize package to a future sailor.
The room is aimed at players of all experience levels, from absolute beginners to seasoned professionals. For the former, the staff provides beginner training on every trip, and dealers also offer their services if 1:1 instruction is desired.
WPT at Sea goes where the ship goes, meaning those who play poker can also experience new and exciting destinations. The room is closed when the ship is docked, giving sailors an incentive to get off the ship and check things out. But don’t worry, once everyone is back on board, it won’t be long before the cards are back in the air.
Here are some other things you should know about WPT at Sea:
- The WPT at Sea poker room does not accept cash. Sailors conduct all transactions via their wearable devices (all sailors wear a wristband that allows them to be scanned at various locations on the ship), so buy-ins can easily be charged to your account. Tournament winnings will also be credited to the account (you can cash out either at the casino cage or at the end of the cruise).
- Private games and meetings are permitted at WPT at Sea.
- Next door there is a casino area with a wide selection of slot machines, roulette, craps, blackjack and other table games.
- The WPT at Sea poker room has windows so you can enjoy a view of the sea outside.
- The poker room has its own bathrooms.
- Not only is there a bar in the casino directly in front of the poker room, but beverage services also ensure quick service for sailors playing poker.
- WPT at Sea offers up to 25% off depending on the cruise and free drinks worth up to $600. Be sure to inform yourself when booking.
- WPT at Sea is very active on Instagram You can follow by clicking here.
WPT at Sea is accepting reservations through the end of 2024. To find out more or book your cruise,Visit wptatsea.com.
Check out the WPT at Sea Poker Room review here on PokerNews!
Editor-in-Chief USA, co-host of the PokerNews Podcast and 2013 WSOP bracelet winner.