Preparation Is King – Getting Ready for Your 2018 WSOP Appearance
Published on June 05, 2018
It’s 2018, and I have moved on from grinding 13-hour days at the Rio. This doesn’t mean I haven’t played my fair share of WSOP events in the past.
Believe me when I tell you that I know exactly what it’s like to spend the entire summer chasing the dream of hitting that life-changing score.
I know the sensations of playing all day long for days on end while trying to balance a normal eating and sleeping schedule. I know all about the distractions and temptations the city brings.
I have experienced lots of highs, like bagging a wad of chips and being so amped up I could hardly fall asleep.
On the flip side, I know exactly what it feels like to play solid poker all day and have to go home empty-handed with nothing to show for it. It’s the nature of the beast, and if you are in Las Vegas playing the 2018 World Series of Poker, you know all about the things I have referred to.
As a Las Vegas local and former professional poker player, I have a lot of insight I can share with you. I’ve spent countless hours playing cards at the WSOP, and I know exactly what you’ll be going through for the next 6 or so weeks.
If this is your first time at the World Series of Poker, or perhaps you aren’t too familiar with how everything works, this is the ideal post for you.
My goal is to provide enough valuable information in the following few sections to make an impact on your next month and a half. If I can even offer you a single piece of advice that can make the difference between you busting out and cashing in a tournament, then that’s enough to put a smile on my face.
If you end up shipping a bracelet and want to send me a free one-ball for shedding such bright lights, I probably won’t turn it down!
But enough small talk and chit-chat. It’s time I start delivering on my promise and unveiling some tips and advice to help you succeed this summer in Vegas!
Are you are one of the thousands of aspiring poker players who have made or will be making the journey to the City of Lights sometime between now and the middle of July? Did you just land in Vegas and can’t wait to get off the plane and head to the Rio?
Well, hold on for second, and allow me to open your eyes to what you can expect when you arrive. Because if you have yet to take part in a WSOP event, the myriad of poker players stampeding through the hallways can be a bit overwhelming.
Those of you who skipped event #7, I don’t really blame you. I played the Colossus back in 2016, and all I remember was that it was a colossal waste of time – an absolute calamity, if you want me to be brutally honest.
The flight I played in had more than 4,500 people, and it was like being in a zoo full of creatures. People were screaming and yelling, arguing about the pettiest of things.
The floor man had to be called over to separate a pair of jokesters who were arguing and calling each other names. I’m talking about absolute nonsense to the nth degree.
Unfortunately, this is the type of stuff you get at the WSOP, especially in the small buy-in/large field events.
Most of these men and women aren’t even legitimate poker players; they’re just there to have a good time and take a shot at glory. Well, I am here to tell you to not let those individuals get in your way.
Now, I know it is easy to get frustrated when things aren’t going your way. Add a complaining bozo to the table, and things can boil over the edge quickly and turn ugly. Don’t let that happen to you.
Let someone else concern themselves with the clown at the table. You need to focus on your cards and your chip stack.
The ones who are more interested in making people laugh and causing commotion are the same people you can take advantage of if you just pay attention to what really matters.
When you spend your hard-earned money on buy-ins at the World Series of Poker, the least you can do is give it the attention it deserves and give it all that you got.
If you are craving entertainment and laughter that badly, there are plenty of comedy shows to go to when you’re done playing cards. When you are sitting at the table playing a tournament, keep your eye on the prize.
This can be tied into the last point, but I want to reiterate it because it’s that important. One of the things that used to really challenge my patience to the core was the incompetence and complete lack of enthusiasm displayed by some of the dealers.
I am talking about the ones that are continuously making mistakes, purely out of laziness or lack of knowledge. I used to get riled up and upset when the dealer made blunders.
If you are planning on playing a full slate of tournaments this summer, it’s inevitable that a dealer is going make a mistake. I’ll break the news right now; there are going to be misdeals, and everything isn’t going to go perfectly and according to plan.
You can choose to let these trivial matters affect you and throw you off your game like I foolishly have done in the past. Or you can be mature about the situation (as I learned later in life) and roll with the punches.
Being able to adapt to whatever curveball gets thrown your way is a big part of having a prosperous summer.
There are plenty of poker coaches and training websites out there. I won’t waste your precious time with giving you my two cents about the game of poker, but I will offer my perspective on how to be efficient in your planning and preparation.
Don’t you want to see all your hard work and studying pay off in the result of some chunky scores? Well, here are a few things to do. More importantly, this reveals what to avoid.
WSOP events aren’t like the daily mega-stack tournaments at your local Indian casino. Let’s just get that out of the way right off the bat.
For most of the and especially the ones with multiple starting flights, the lines to sign up and register will be massive on the day of the event.
For example, if you plan on playing the first flight of event #21, otherwise known as “The Millionaire Maker,” please don’t just show up that day without securing your seat assignment ahead of time.
Flight A begins sharply at 10:00 local time on Saturday, June 9th. If you show up to the Rio casually at 9:45, that’s fine.
Just don’t expect to have a seat until sometime after 11:00, well into level 2. You only start with 7,500 chips, which is 150 big blinds for the first hour.
Skipping that level means fast-forwarding into shorter-stack poker and eliminating whatever deep-stack poker edges you have. Not registering ahead of time also brings in added stress that you really don’t need.
Who wants to wait in line for an hour getting sweaty and tense when you could be at your seat bluffing your way into your first big pot?
Now, you can do that “Vegas Dave thing” and pay like 25 bucks for a 4oz piece of chicken and poorly-seasoned veggies, but that’s not really my cup of tea. You can rush toward the WSOP café, located in the Miranda Ballroom, but I can tell you this. The food is overpriced, and the lines will be long.
Now, during the typical events, you’ll play six one-hour levels, take a 60-minute dinner break, and come back to play four more levels (four hours) of poker.
The amendment this year is reducing the dinner breaks from 90 minutes to 60 minutes. This gives you even less time to get yourself situated and fill your tummy with some solid fuel.
I recommend bringing snacks in a backpack for the day; that way, you don’t have to rely on anyone else or wait in any lines. If you are set on sitting down for a meal, . Just be prepared to contend with lots of other hungry (and probably angry) poker players.
Here is one final tip that you really should be in the loop about if you are going to be commuting back and forth from the Rio all summer long. Take it from someone who lives 18 minutes west of the Rio on virtually the same exact street.
Once I learned about the side entrance to the WSOP parking lot that’s positioned right off Twain Avenue (just east of Polaris Ave.), my life was so much easier.
I know many of you will just be utilizing Uber and Lyft services, and that’s a reasonable option if you don’t have a car. Those of you that do have a vehicle will want to avoid Las Vegas Blvd. and turning into the Rio’s main entrance on the busy street of Flamingo.
Getting in and out of the property off Twain is seamless. You turn right in on Hotel Rio Drive, and the massive parking lot is staring you in the face. The doors leading into the gauntlet are right at the front near the stairway covered in red carpet.
If you opt for the main entrance, you may get lost in all the turns. If you valet or park at the front, you’ll have to traverse all the way through the hotel to get to the ballrooms where the WSOP events are taking place.
Don’t challenge my theory – just have faith in it. It won’t let you down.
I’ll be checking back in with more blog posts regarding this summer’s World Series of Poker.
I’ll be getting into the meat of the schedule, and I’ll end up revealing some of the other venues and tournaments that you need to be considering.
There’s a lot of poker going on, and that just means there is a lot of money to be made. The first step in achieving your goals is making sure you are prepared to attack this summer with the utmost efficiency.
Use the tips and advice you read about on this page, and it might be you taking a picture with a gold bracelet and a chunk of cash!
Good luck on the felt, and I hope to catch you at a final table!