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TheLangolier's blog


Vegas, Baby. Vegas!

By: TheLangolier @ 16:23 (EDT) / 2169 / Comment ( 20 )

My trip to Vegas is booked, I’m heading out on June 24 and scheduled to return a week later.  My trips typically include a lot of cash game play, but of course the point of a poker player going to Vegas this time of year is to be around the WSOP.   I’m planning to play the $1500 monster stack on the 25th, and hopefully for a few days after the 25th as well.    The rest of the trip is still up in the air, and I’ll likely just play it by ear in terms of more tournaments and cash games.  I’ll be catching up with some friends as well which is always nice.   Any PSOers that will be out during this week, feel free to drop me a PM, I’d love to meet you at the Rio and say hi!

So with this trip in mind, I thought I might share some of the things I like to do to prepare myself for a live tournament like this.   So, in no particular order:

1) Be rested.   This one is so important… live tournaments are a long grind. The pace of the action is much slower that it is online (you will see well less than half the hands per hour than you do in an online MTT).   It’s a common issue for live mtt’s to be fighting boredom at various points in the tourney, and to let your attention span wander.  A mind or body that is fatigued will fall into these traps more easily.   Also, not being well rested will set you up for that tired mind and body later in the day, when the pots tend to be big and more relevant than your early level pots. Not to mention, some % of your opponents will be fatigued as well, letting their attention and decision making slip.  It’s easier to identify this and take advantage of it if you’re mind is still sharp.  So I will plan to get to bed early enough to get a good night’s sleep.

2) Leave stress behind.  This goes along the line of mental preparation.  Your decisions will be sharper if your mind isn’t being distracted by issues going on in your life or any other stressors you may be experiencing.  At the WSOP I like to buy in to the tournament at least the day before I’m playing.  I get into town in the evening on the 24th.  After I get my car and get checked in to my Airbnb, I plan to get a bite to eat and head over to the Rio to buy in for the next day’s start.  Registration lines will be short (or maybe even no line) later in the evening, allowing me to get in and get it done stress free, and this way I won’t have to worry about what time should I arrive in the morning?  How long will the lines be? Etc… I simply need to arrive when it’s time to play.  And any type of personally issues that may be going on in my life, I resolve to set aside during play and give my mind permission to stay focused on the task at hand.

3) Prepare myself mentally and physically before starting.  Of course the first 2 things I listed are a part of this.  But the morning of I like to get in a workout, which helps to further burn off any stress as well as leaves me feeling energized and ready to play.  I feel this is often overlooked but it is relevant, you’ll be mostly sitting on your rear for 10-12 hours doing nothing physical, which can leave you feeling lethargic and low on energy.  A work out, even if it’s just a short trot on the treadmill, helps me to feel better throughout the day.  Not everyone may be in the physical shape to do much, but that’s ok… even a short, brisk walk can help.   Not to mention this can give you a feeling of accomplishment and pride that helps boost your confidence heading into your tournament day.  I also like to eat a good but not over filling breakfast ideally, so I can start the game feeling sharp and nourished.

4) Get the lay of the land.  Depending on what and where you’re playing, this may not be a factor.  At the WSOP it is however.  There are several tournament areas.  After I’ve bought in I will go find my future starting seat.  Having located the correct room and table location the night before when foot traffic is nominal will help reduce any stressors the day of when the halls are crowded with people hustling and bustling everywhere.  Once located, I’ll also scout out the proximity of the nearest rest rooms.   That’s something people often don’t think about, but it’s beneficial to know.  There’s a break every 2 hours during WSOP tournaments and each one comes with a mass exodus of players from the tournament area to the rest room.  Lines will be long, sometimes out the door.  Knowing where you’re going will help you to beat the rush, and if there’s a really long line when you get there, knowing where the closest alternative is will be helpful too.

5) Eat well.  There will be plenty of food options available at the Rio, but many if not most are not healthy.  The phrase you are what you eat really does apply… if you put things in your body that are bad for it, you’ll often be left feeling lethargic and maybe even down.  Sure you can grab a quick hot dog, but maybe a piece of fruit would serve you better mentally and physically.  I like to bring a protein bar or two with me to help curb those hunger pains midday while keeping me light on my feet so to speak.   If you are still in the tournament when the dinner break comes (and we know you will be, right?), try to eat something reasonably light and healthy.  The All American Bar and Grille makes a great burger, but a greasy burger and fries might not be the best fuel for the fight the rest of the evening.  A chicken Caesar salad might be a better choice.  That hour back after the dinner break, there will be a lot of players slipping into a food coma… make sure you’re not one of them.

The general gist of all this is that if you put yourself in the best possible position to maintain focus and discipline throughout the tournament day, you’ll be as well positioned as possible to play your best poker, maximizing your chances of a deep run. 

Until next time, best of luck on the felts!

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