My tips for the WPT World Online Championships
When I first got into poker I used to love to watch any kind of content on the old pokertube. High Stakes poker was great and entertaining, but the WPT was more relatable as I was playing tournaments in the casinos. I didn’t really know how to play properly so listening to the legend Mike Sexton was always really exciting. As I started to take the game seriously, the big WPTs were kind of out of reach as they were mostly stateside.
I started playing online MTTs basically full time in March 2014. My first big live festival was in November at my favourite card room Dusk Till Dawn, the WPT series. I remember that I had just become #1 on pocket fives and somehow in the first event I was heads up with Bryn Kenney in the £6000 High Roller. He was reading a magazine with an article about me, whilst winning every pot off me heads up! A few days later I final tabled the Main Event and since then have been in love with the WPT!
I made the decision to continue the online grind and would never go to America to grind the tour there. Whilst it appealed to me, not being able to play on partypoker was too much of a disadvantage. The fact this WPT World Online Championships series is coming online and for 8 weeks is crazy. It’s so exciting and there are so many opportunities to have a good run and win a prestigious title, with a Tournament of Champions entry for five events.
It’s tough to give advice about how to prepare for a 2 month long series as it’s such a unique thing, however I have seen people prepare for and perform at WSOP and I often see the same mistakes happening, so there should definitely be some crossover here.
1. Don’t necessarily plan your days off
One of the worst tips I see from mental game coaches is “plan your days off”. With multi-day MTTs this isn’t possible and if you are feeling amazing then you should continue your momentum. Momentum is most definitely a thing! If you don’t feel like it then simply take a day off, but be honest with yourself. Keep a diary or keep a checklist of things you must do, or if you know one of your leaks over the years has been being too stubborn vs river c-bets and you called 80%+ river c-bets in your session, take the next day off. Tell your girlfriend or boyfriend to be honest with you. Often they will see if you need a reset and a day off and spend time with them.
2. Don’t be afraid
If you’re playing a 1,000 runner tournament with 100,000 starting stack then you need to gather 100000000 chips. That’s 100 million for those who also struggle to count zeros! You won’t go from 100,000 chips to 100 million chips by trying to win 1,000 chips at a time. There are pivotal moments in tournaments where taking a risk, taking a flip, aggressively playing a flush draw is crucial to your tournament outcome.
Whenever you’re playing smaller pots you aim to play them as well as possible. You aim to save 1000 chips where others wouldn’t. You look to gain 1000 chips from a thin value bet where others wouldn’t. We’ve all heard the phrase “a chip and a chair” – well I like to see it as “an extra life and a chair”. We’ve seen people spin up from 1bb to win a tournament lots of times. Almost everybody has some kind of “fairy-tale” story like that. If you gain and save chips where others wouldn’t, when that all important crucial all in happens you will be left with an “extra” life where others wouldn’t.
3. Have fun!
The world has been in such an unfortunate place over the last 6 months. Almost every profession and industry has been damaged both in the short term and long term. Poker has been “lucky” that it hasn’t suffered in the same way as others and new people have come into the game. Who would have thought we would have a 2 month WPT Online series to enjoy?? Definitely not me.
Don’t take it too seriously and put things in to perspective. The player who busts first hand will be disappointed, the person who bubbles will be disappointed, the person who loses AK v QQ in the money will be disappointed, the person who final table bubbles will be disappointed, the person who finishes 6th will be disappointed and the person who comes 2nd will have regrets about being so close yet so far. So statistically, it’s likely you will feel some form of entitlement and be disappointed.
Think of the big picture. Throw a pigeon at somebody when their flush draw gets there against you. Throw somebody a kiss when he eliminates the bubble boy. Whatever happens, try and stay present and enjoy it. It’s the biggest and best game in the world for a reason.
Enjoy it and try to make history.