Your 2017 WSOP Guide: Tips, Tricks and Prep

PART 3–GO: Lasting the distance and a few strategy tips.

With the WSOP Main Event coming, poker players around the world turn their thoughts to playing the $10K buy-in main event but are you ready?  Here are some final tips on how to be prepared:

If you’ve made it past Day 1, you’ve already accomplished something, but what should you be doing as the tournament wears on?

 Be aware of the sleep you are getting, the food you eat, and the value of some physical activity.  The mental strain of thinking and playing at your best combined with the physical wear of sitting at a poker table for consecutive 12 to 14 hour days adds up.

Hit the restroom first on breaks – They are popular spots as you can imagine.  You can also wait to the end but plan it so you don’t run out of time. Figure out the least frequented spot.  Pro Tip: There are restrooms outdoors behind the Amazon room hallway, or be a balla like Daniel Negreanu and rent a spot for a motorhome in the rear!

You may not feel the effects of poor choices in sleep quantity or nutrition quality after only a couple of days, but on Days 3 and beyond you will start to feel poorly if you don’t take care of yourself.  Also, don’t underestimate the value of fitting in some physical activity when you are not playing to help your mental fitness as well.  Even if you’re not a fitness fanatic, swimming a few laps in that hotel pool, taking a jog, or visiting the gym somewhere along the line during the tournament slog can do wonders for your wellness.

Even in early days after Day 1, start paying close attention to the players at your table.  Many players don’t pay such close attention in the early stages.  Instead, they plug in and get lost in music while they, for example, play tight to last to the end.  You probably want to be playing very tight as well but why not take the edge you gain by paying better attention than your competition? Get a sense of how your tablemates got into the event, their ability, and experience.

The profile you create for players can help you when you are in hands with them.  Are players badly prepared, irritated, tired, or steaming from recent beats?  Paying attention as other players let the strain or boredom of the event take a toll on them can be used to your advantage.

Open up your play in the mid-stages.  This event has a very slow structure of course, but you cannot get deep in the main event with a good stack without taking advantage of the play that your deep stack in this kind of structure affords you.  This means using the player profiles you’ve created in your mind and playing creatively against those players that you see as weak, or tight or aggressive.

Yes, avoid the really good players with the big stacks but you need to build a stack and now is when you need to do it.  Raising in position with even low pairs and suited connectors should be automatic, for example, and calling some re-raises when pot odds are reasonable, particularly in position is also something you should be doing.

On later days when you get close to the money, the profile you develop for players can be invaluable. If they won their entry through a satellite, are inexperienced, or generally seem anxious, they may be players against which you can be very aggressive to pick up chips. 

Cashing in the main event means so much to some people that they will fold almost any hand near the bubble if you put them to the test for their entire stack, especially pre-flop.  However, be aware that you must have a big stack (at least in relation to the player you are putting the pressure on) to best execute this strategy.

Prepare yourself mentally and physically for the critical late stages. After all, what good does it do to play great for 3-4 days at the main event and then run out of steam right as the big money comes into reach?  Also, don’t forget that by the time you reach the final stages you will be playing against many excellent players.  And those who aren’t excellent are probably aggressive players who have, sure, gotten lucky in lots of spots who can be very stressful to play against in their own right.

Make sure you have prepared yourself to perform at the best level you can at this critical stage.  While you always want to play for the final table, the money jumps near the end are pretty impressive and you certainly want to be at your best if you get to that stage regardless of your end game strategy.

So, best of luck to you if you’re playing, and here’s hoping that by the end of July’s play the next thing you’ll need is to prepare for being part of the much coveted main event final table, but that’s another article altogether…

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