For poker players, the World Series of Poker is the ultimate. Who plays poker that doesn’t dream about winning a WSOP bracelet? It’s “the place” to succeed as it really does bring one fame and fortune.

There’s not many people in the world that have been to more WSOP’s than me or made the money more times. I’ve attended the WSOP every year since 1984 and I’ve certainly had my share of success there – and trust me, there’s nothing like it. But, like all poker players, I’ve had my share of ‘bad beats’ there as well – and believe me, I still remember many of those, but that’s for another time.

Survive The World Series Of Poker

If you plan on going to the WSOP this year, here are some pointers I might suggest to you on ‘Surviving the Series’:

1) Set a goal and have a plan on how to achieve that goal (whether it’s to cash, win a satellite to get in the main event, or to win a bracelet). Remember this – a goal without a plan is just a wish. Have a plan.

Budget Well

2) Have a budget set aside for the WSOP. Target your best game(s) and set aside the entry fees for it/those. If you want to play some additional events but can’t really afford to enter them, set aside some satellite money and try to get in that way. (I’d suggest that you don’t allow yourself more than two satellites per event. If you play more than two, you will probably be stretching your budget more than you’d like.)

3 DAYS LONGGG…..

3) The WSOP events are all at least three days long. You really need to understand this to be successful at the WSOP. That means don’t schedule anything for three days if you play a WSOP event. These tournaments are not a sprint. Each event is a marathon and should be viewed that way. Successful marathoners pace themselves.

And NEVER forget this: You can’t win a tournament on the first day but you sure can lose it then. Being among the chip leaders is nice in that your name is high on the leader board, but truthfully, it’s not that big a deal and don’t get caught up in it. If you’re average chips or better at the end of each day’s play, you’re in good shape.

Plan, You Need To!

4) The event(s) you wish to play should be pre-planned before you arrive in Vegas where you look forward to them and are excited and anxious to play them. Excitement and energy go a long way in getting you to a final table.

Rest Well

5) Be rested and focused on game day – and that’s easier said than done in Las Vegas. It’s so easy to go out on the town “for a drink or two” and stay longer than expected or to get in a side game and play longer than you thought you would. Things like that prevent you from getting proper rest and giving it your best performance in the next day’s event.

6) Sign up to play at least a day in advance of the event. If at all possible, do NOT sign up on ‘game day’. Standing in long lines prior to an event does not put you in the best mood.

7) Get to the tournament fresh and ON TIME! Forget about the “Phil Hellmuth way” of showing up late for tournaments. Weaker players start on time and you can’t get their chips if you’re not there. And ‘if’ you arrive late, the weak players are gone and good players have twice as many chips as you do. Only a fool thinks (and many pro’s do) that “it’s better to rest and miss the first few levels of a tournament”.

New In Town? Don’t Mix It Up

8) If you’re new to the WSOP, don’t be anxious to mix it up early on. Show some patience and feel out your table. See who’s playing fast and recognize who the tight players are. You don’t need to get in a hurry to play big pots.

9) If you’re out of a hand with a minute or two to go before the break, get a head start on the field and head to the restroom and/or snack bar early. Otherwise, be prepared to stand in a long line.

Money – Know What To Focus On…

10) If money is critical to you and/or you are putting up all your own money to play, I think it’s important you have a three step plan (one that worked well for me over the years) –

1) set a goal of getting in the money,
2) then focus on getting to the final table, and
3) then think about winning the tournament.

A number of players would disagree with that philosophy, but most guys that gamble early on at the WSOP in an effort to accumulate chips are:

1) playing a lot of events and trying to get chips or move on the the next event,
2) getting staked where they may have a lot of make-up or,
3) have plenty of money where it’s not an object and only care about winning a bracelet. (And incidentally, it will only benefit you if you get to know any of this about your opponents.)

It’s Your Tournament So…

11) Play your game – at least the game you’re comfortable with. Trying to change your stripes from a conservative player to a rammer-jammer or vice versa at the WSOP probably won’t work too well for you. (We all know tight players don’t win many tournaments, but trust me, they do make the money more often than guys firing with both hands.)

12) Enjoy the experience. And “good luck!”

Vegas is calling, will you answer?

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