It’s the one acronym that just about every poker player seems to know by heart: WSOP. The World Series of Poker, for those not in the loop. Either way, it’s a tournament unlike any other on earth. It’s televised, it’s high stakes, and it attracts a lot of players. Scared yet?
If you’re really confident about your poker game, you shouldn’t be scared. You can be concerned about going head to head with people that live, eat, sweat, and breathe poker but you have to also keep in mind that not everyone is going to be like there. There really are going to be people that are really, really good — Chris Moneymaker good, even — but there are also going to be people that will flame out in the first round. You need to bank on just finishing as high as you possibly can, rather than feeling like if you don’t get to the final table, then you’re not worth your salt as a poker player.
There’s a lot of preparation that needs to be done before you can really say that you’re ready for such a tournament. First and foremost, if you don’t have any way of tracking your poker play, then it’s definitely time to hang it up. We’re not trying to be rude, but if you’re not going to look back on your past performance, you can’t figure out what needs tweaking and what doesn’t. All of the great poker players look at their hands, and they also play a lot of hands. Are you going to be ready for the WSOP just because you play an hour of poker every week? Not even close — you’re going to need to play tens of thousands of hands to make sure that your poker strategy is down pat. And we don’t mean that you need to play against the computer, either — real people are the best because that’s what you’re going to face at the WSOP.
If you’re going to be traveling, then you need to make absolutely sure that every detail that you can control is already in place. We’re big fans of last minute travel, but that doesn’t mean that you will just want to make decisions on the fly. You will need to really ensure that you have everything taken care of as soon as possible, rather than thinking that you can wait until the last minute. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to make sure that you really have all of the details in place — there are already so minty things to stress about when it comes to your poker game, why would you ever want to add travel confusion to that?
Another thing that you might want to consider is that it will cost you a lot of money to go to the WSOP. Make sure that you can not only afford to go from every angle, but that you also have matters tended to at home. You might think that sending yourself to the WSOP comes before everything because you can win enough money to not have to work for a while, but the reality is that there are more people that come home empty handed than the ones that go and come back with a lot of money.
If you’re trying to save on your costs to go to the WSOP, your best bet is to win a seat through a satellite poker game. You don’t want to try to just cough up all of that money — earning it will also help you sharpen your poker skills for the big event.
The rest of the deal is just common sense — you want to make sure that you are a good sport no matter if you’re winning or losing, and that you follow the rules of poker to the letter. Cheating isn’t taken well, and you don’t have to cheat just to play your best game ever.
Take time in between the games to get to know other poker players. They might not help you with your game, but networking has its own set of rewards. You never know who will connect you with someone that can help you make more money, or that can help you look into opportunities to be part of the actual industry.
Let’s get back to the practice that you need to do in order to really make sure that you feel comfortable at the WSOP. Tournament play is much better than your typical late night poker fix. You want to really ensure that you’re playing a lot of sit-n-go’s (good practice in case you make it to the final table and yes, you really DO want to make it to the final table!), as well as some deep stack tournaments. In fact, it cannot be stressed enough how much you will need to get comfortable playing with a lot more chips than what you would normally have. A lot of people think that you need to skip the deep stack tournaments online, assuming that you’ll automatically know what to do when you get to the WSOP. This is not intelligent to do and it will actually keep you from making the type of plays necessary to move higher in the tournament.
The level of commitment is high, but you have to think about it from a different perspective — wouldn’t you want to do everything that you can to really excel at the World Series of Poker? Get started today!