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Real Poker - The WSOP: Are You Ready?

by Roy Cooke |  Published: Jun 05, 2019


It’s almost here! Poker is a game of skill, luck and opportunity, and one of the best opportunities is about to present itself. Have you prepared yourself to win the most money possible at the World Series of Poker, running from May 28 to July 16, 2019? Have you devised a plan? The money is going to those who prepare!

So what can you do to perform your best? First, plan your trip, get your accommodations in place, organize any backers, be adequately bankrolled, and be well rested and ready to play. It’s going to be a two-month marathon. Arriving rested and unstressed will defer some of the wear and tear that’s bound to occur later.

Second, review your favorite poker books, videos and/or visit a gaming store when you first arrive in Vegas. In poker, knowledge is vital. Being in tune with oneself and knowing how to actualize that knowledge is imperative also. Additionally, the WSOP offers the opportunity to play with seasoned “world-class” players. Observe what they do, what plays they make, and think about why they made them in that specific instance. Make the WSOP a learning experience!

Many go on a “WSOP binge.” They’re all excited to be in Vegas, rush to get in action, hit the bar to party with long-lost friends, party hard, sleep little, don’t take care of themselves, and burn out early, physically, mentally, and financially. In short, they play like crap, way below their own potential.

The WSOP is a seven-week marathon, one in which your mental and physical state will determine your performance level. Structure your activities to accentuate your stamina and thereby your performance. Exercising, eating right, and most importantly, sleeping right can make a monumental difference.

Plan for the tournaments you want to play. Know their structure and plan to adjust your strategies to that structure. Organize your sleep schedule so you’re not starting them after three hours sleep.

Are you planning on playing lots of the lucrative side action? Structure it to conform to your tournament schedules and when the games are best. I’ve found that the first two weeks and the last two weeks are the best times for the side action. The first two weeks are great because many players have come into town with fresh bankrolls and lose them early. The last two weeks are great because many come to participate in or watch the main event. So plan some breaks in the middle of the WSOP, during the weekdays, when the “poker opportunities” are fewer.

Familiarize yourself with the Vegas poker scene early. The WSOP tournaments are at the Rio, but many local cardrooms “piggyback” off the WSOP and run their own, mostly smaller buy-in tournaments. Check out, Wynn, Orleans, Planet Hollywood, Golden Nugget, and Venetian, for additional tournament action.

For the side action, game quality, game type and poker room management vary greatly. The Rio gets many players staying at the casino, and the action is good there. That said, the Rio has a lot of games, but no shuffle machines and the WSOP dealers are often new with little experience. When the WSOP is in town, there is a huge overflow to the other Las Vegas high-limit cardrooms. The Bellagio, Venetian, Aria, and Wynn all have the advantage of regularly running high-stakes games, have experienced employees, and are major recipients of the WSOP overflow. At all of them, you’ll find well-run high-limit action with proficient dealers.

Once you’re in tune with the situation, you need to make sure you stay confident and keep in tune with yourself. It’s so easy to get caught up in the action, being stuck, the parties, etc. Know your weaknesses and limitations. Many players play higher than normal at the WSOP. Make sure you’re playing at your comfort level and if you’re looking to extend that comfort level do it incrementally. Don’t just take a massive leap in limits because you’re stuck or thrill seeking.

If you’re susceptible to “tilt,” recognize it. Take a few deep breaths, walk away from the table, quit, give yourself a good talking to, but DON’T play tilted. If you step up to play a higher limit and don’t fare well, it’s not a requirement that you go broke at that limit. Step back down and take another shot when you’re fresh, confident and bankroll-ready. Don’t get yourself stuck, sleep-deprived and burned out. Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Keep relaxed and focused.

So, plan your trip, study up, stay within your element, keep out of “the pit,” remain in tune with your mind and body, constantly grade your performance, learn something new every day and enjoy the ride.

Most of all, remember you’re there to play poker, and win the money. ♠

Roy CookeRoy Cooke played poker professionally prior to becoming a successful for 16 years prior to becoming a successful Las Vegas Real Estate Broker/Salesman. Should you wish any information Real Estate matters-including purchase, sale or mortgage, his office number is 702-376-1515 or e-mail Their website is where you can visit Roy’s Poker Room for his poker writings. You can also find him on Facebook or Twitter @Real RoyCooke. Please see ad below!