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With the $5 million guaranteed Powerfest online poker festival, the £1 million guaranteed UKPC Main Event, and the $250,000 guaranteed Grand Prix Poker Tour St. James’ Park festival right around the corner, the partypoker blog has penned this little beauty of an article giving you tips on how to survive a poker festival.

Everyone dreams of taking down a major tournament. From posing with the trophy, holding up your two winning cards or toasting your success with your friends at the bar, we all want to win – it’s why we play poker festival such as the forthcoming WPT UK at the end of October at Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham of Pokerfest. But whether it’s live or online, players can rule themselves out of contention in the latter stages due to a number of leaks that can easily be plugged. From packing your bag to celebrating your eventual victory, we can help you plot a path to glory!


Hordes of enemies surround you, and the only way to stay alive is by using your wits to escape every perilous situation. No, not the latest episode of The Walking Dead, but poker tournaments. But there’s no need for you to sleepwalk your way through the battle like the undead.

Sleep is the best physical preparation for your body, and you should aim to stock up on slumber ahead of playing any live tournament. Even if you make it through Day 1 at the first attempt, you’ll have been mentally focused for much longer than the average day’s work. Recouping that energy is vital before Day 2, where a large number of the field may arrive having enjoyed too many cold drinks and revelry. Take advantage by being well-rested. Plenty of people find sleep away from their own bed difficult, but you can take loads of sleep aids away with you.

From lavender pillow sprays to herbal remedies designed to send you to the Land of Nod as soon as your weary body sinks into the springs, there are any number of products to help you. Professional sports coaches now advocate taking something from home such as your own pyjamas, pillow or blanket to help too. If you think you might look silly putting so much effort into sleep, just think how you’ll look holding the trophy while your opponents are on a sleeper train home!


From Formula 1 to football, tennis to track & field, any serious sports competitor cares about the food they take on board during a tournament. So why should it be any different with poker? Mindsports are just as reliant on good sustenance to keep the grey matter ticking over as well as your heart when you make that all-in raise on the river.

Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables at a poker tournament can be difficult, but it’s not impossible and will keep your body full of the essential vitamins needed to maintain your health. Balancing your diet will have a highly beneficial effect on your game, and can leave you light years ahead of your lazier opponents if they’re just guzzling soft drinks and scoffing chips. Feeling bloated, too full or too hungry (those chips won’t sustain you for very long at all in a 12-hour Day 1) can impact on decision-making, table behaviour and timing with disastrous consequences. Eat right, play right!


Although you might not think it, a casino isn’t the healthiest of locations. Although oxygen is rarely in short supply, fellow poker players are just as abundant, and with people come hygiene problems. Let’s set aside the fact that 95% of the field is likely to be male and therefore around 95 times less hygienic. Everyone is touching the same chips all the time, and any airborne coughs or sneezes don’t have far to go to affect you when you’re sitting ten-handed, do they? Over the years, we’ve seen players’ hopes implode due to ill health, or not recovering from a long day or a night out.

Take medication with you, even if it is just some fast-acting pain relief capsules and flu remedies. Should you make the final table, you always want to be in tip-top condition, feeling like you are in optimal health and the perfect frame of mind. If you’re unwell, it can obliterate your chances the longer you go on, and with the biggest pay-jumps right at the end of potentially an epic night’s play, you will need every ounce of energy you can muster. Get well soon and rule the cardroom!

Caffeine, Cigarettes and Alcohol

We all use chemicals to alter our mood throughout every day. From a cup of coffee to wake up to right down to the cigarette or alcoholic beverage we might choose to indulge at the end of a long day, as humans we often try to give ourselves ‘a boost’ throughout every 24-hour period. From sugar rushes to serotonin via hot chocolate, it is easy to feel propped up between relaxants and stimulants all the live long day. At a poker tournament, this can be incredibly damaging to your chances.

Water is vital, food likewise, but everything we mentioned above can be cut out of your system and leave you performing to the best of your ability and not reliant on your next fix. Keeping yourself sustained and preventing yourself becoming addicted to any number of things like sugar, caffeine or alcohol can be difficult, but there is great support online if you’re struggling. Making changes like cutting out alcohol and caffeine is something stars have advocated as a key part of becoming a successful player. Follow suit and you’ll reap the benefits at the poker table and away from it!

Good luck in packing that suitcase full of the right things to take to your next tournament. Just remember – if you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail!

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