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Preparing For The World Series of Poker - Online Edition

by Greg Raymer |  Published: Jul 29, 2020


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Greg Raymer Please let me encourage you to reach out to me with article ideas and questions for future columns. You can tweet to me at @FossilMan, or send me a message at

I keep a list of article ideas, so as my deadline approaches, I can always pull one out to write up. (Accordingly, if you have an idea for me, please send it over.) One idea on my list was preparing for the World Series of Poker. I was going to give some advice on things you can do to improve your experience in Las Vegas, as well as increase your chances of booking a win. However, COVID-19 killed that, at least for now.

However, I realized I should write the article anyway, with a new focus on how to improve your experience if you are going to compete in the WSOP online bracelet events. Whether you live in or plan to travel to Nevada or New Jersey, or overseas for those events, here are some things to keep in mind.

First, make sure you are committed to having fun!

Even if you do this for a living, there is no point to playing poker if you don’t enjoy it. Make up your mind, before you are dealt a hand, that you are going to maintain a positive mindset, and do your best to enjoy the experience, even if you take nothing but bad beats. Easier said than done, I know. We all hate it when we run bad. Doing this won’t guarantee you don’t feel the pain when it happens. But it will be easier to handle if you go into each event with the attitude of having fun.

On a related note, expect bad things to happen.

You aren’t going to get through a huge field of players without suffering some setbacks. Ask any bracelet winner, and they will tell you they had to bounce back from one, and probably several, bad beats and coolers. If you go in with the understanding that this stuff will happen, when it does you will handle it smoothly, and keep playing your best. It is this mindset that will make it more likely you mount a comeback. You sometimes see a player on tilt get lucky and win back the chips they lost. But when a player makes a comeback, it is much more likely they didn’t tilt, and got their remaining chips in smart.

Most of the online bracelet events offer reentry. Plan in advance if you will reenter, and how many times.

By making this decision in advance, you are less likely to do something you will later regret. You are making it now, with no emotion, rather than in the moment, right after getting busted. You can change your mind in the moment, but make sure that decision is a calm, rational choice, not an emotional one.

Create a set up where you can comfortably sit and play for long hours.

Have a comfortable chair, desk, couch, or whatever works for you. Arrange your meals in advance, plus snacks in case your energy lags. Be sure to have reliable internet before you enter, and have a backup plan in case you suffer an outage. My backup plan will be to tether to my cell phone. You could also see if a neighbor has a different service provider, and if they will let you use their WIFI in an emergency.

Get support from your family ahead of time.

Let them know which events you want to play, exactly when those events happen, and that you might want some help from them. Are they able to run minor errands for you, such as bringing you a fresh drink, or even a full meal? Can they provide emotional support and cheer you on if you start to go deep? Expect their full support while you’re playing, and be prepared to support them in their activities when you are not playing. Don’t enter an event, and then remember you promised to do something with your spouse or child. I promise you won’t be able to play your best in the middle of family fight.
Have fun, and play smart! ♠

Greg Raymer is the 2004 World Series of Poker main event champion, winner of numerous major titles, and has more than $7 million in earnings. He recently authored FossilMan’s Winning Tournament Strategies, available from D&B Publishing, Amazon, and other retailers. He is sponsored by Blue Shark Optics, YouStake, and ShareMyPair. To contact Greg please tweet @FossilMan or visit his website.