Sunday, April 5, 2009

Let's win at the WSOP: Countdown Day 60-Planning Ahead

60 Days to the WSOP: Planning Ahead

This will be the first in a series of articles to help you improve you chances of winning at the WSOP. Even if you are not going to the WSOP these articles may help you prepare for any no limit tournament.

My goal is to win a bracelet this year. A long shot? Absolutely. Frankly, I was ready last year since I had reviewed about 10 years worth of poker literature and wrote my book. Unfortunately, the one event I went to enter, got sold out. A major bummer, especially since I had read no event would be sold out like the year before.

Live and learn. I did play in 4 no limit events while in Vegas and I finished at the final table in 2 of them...not too bad.

Planning Ahead

Let's start this 60 day countdown, with the most boring part of the process. Planning ahead.

There are some things I want to go over to help you prepare:

1. Your health.
I know this sounds stupid, but you need to start taking care of yourself. The WSOP events are grueling. They start at noon and can last 12 hours or more. I recommend that you plan some type of exercise and diet routine. Build up your endurance with exercise and start to reduce the calories.

2. Get in a routine for sleep.
Again, sounds absurd since we are all adults, but you need to start getting enough sleep. A pattern of rest is a good idea. One of the biggest problems I have going to Vegas is getting a good night of sleep. It depends on where you stay, and if you are going alone or with someone else.

I have stayed at hotels where the air conditioner made noise on and off during the night, and where it even broke down. It is just not good. My suggestion is that you stay at the Rio (there are special rates for WSOP events at all the Harrah owned hotels) or if the room doesn't matter try the Gold Coast. I like the Gold Coast because I am almost never in the room, its a great deal and it just across the street from the Rio.

I have stayed at the nicer hotels during the WSOP, and taking a shuttle or a cab can be a problem. The reason I may have missed the event last year is that the cab I took from Harrah's to Rio actually got pulled over by some taxi commission cop. The cop had me get out and wait for another cab--about 15 minutes. Not good.

If you plan to stay longer than a week or so, you may google longer stay accomodations for better deals. However, the hotel casino deals this year are unbelievable!

3. Vegas, baby.
When you are in Vegas, there are all sorts of distractions. It is a party town and if you like to party, drink, gamble, etc. you may be lured by the dark side.

One of the reasons the local Pros have an edge is that they live nearby. They can sleep in their own bed. They are used to the madness. In sports, home teams always have the advantage. The same is true at the WSOP--although not to the same extent.

4. Free yourself of problems.
You need to clear your head of things that trouble you about family and friends. One year a player at my table had to leave the game because his wife was about to give birth. Why he entered that day is beyond my comprehension.

Try to get things that may bother you taken care of in the next 60 days. Clear your mind. These events need your total attention. And if you can't commit 100% to the event, due to family, friends or work, don't enter it.

5. Evaluate the structure of the event.
You need to find out the structure of the event. How many chips will you start with in the event? How long are the rounds? How much do the blinds increase each round?
How many players do you anticipate at the event? This information is vital on how to set up your game plan.

6. Develop your game plan.
The structure often determines your game plan. Will you need to be aggressive or passive? Are you going to let the cards determine your play at the start? How are you going to plan ahead for the actual event?

7. Practice, practice, practice.
Another huge edge the poker pro has is that the game is his livelihood. He or she plays it every day. If a poker pro had to do your job once per week, he or she would not be nearly as good as you. The same is true in poker.

Play the game every day. Read books. Study. Improve your game. Aim to peak when you get to the WSOP. Try to win a satellite to enter the WSOP, or win enough cash so you can "freeroll." I have been very lucky in that every year I have entered the WSOP, I had poker winnings I used to play.

Admittedly, I lost most or all of my winnings at most of the WSOP years I attended. But I learned and improved. And, to some extent, I can tell myself it was a "freeroll." (I really don't see it that way, but many players do.). Keep playing--if possible, try to play a no limit event every day!

I will continue the planning process in more detail next time.


Anonymous said...

Good advice. I'd really like to go to the WSOP this year, but the only way I'm doing it is if I can win my way in via the online poker rooms. Been focusing on that for a few weeks now.

Regardless, I'm keeping this advice in mind just in case I manage to win my way in.

Mitchell said...

That is the smart way to do it.

If you don't make enough to enter, the WSOP has many satellites every day that you can enter for less money.

Good luck!

SugarDayFox said...

No way, I can make it as I have way too many eggs to hatch at the moment. Regardless, your points seems accurate from a sportsmen view. I'll book mark it for later use.
Thanks for this great post and good luck/cool head for the WSOP.


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