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Pre WSOP Blog

by Matt Affleck |  Published: May 29, '12


Excuse the long hiatus from blogging as of late. I really do not have any excuses as to why I haven't done a blog in a while, but lets not focus on the past and instead look towards the present and future.

The most exciting time of the year for a poker player is almost upon us. For a professional player, how successful your year is can be determined over the next 2 ½ months. With so many tournaments and side action taking place withing a 2-3 square mile area, almost every poker player in the world will be in Las Vegas for some, if not all of the WSOP. I have finally locked up all my plans for the summer and am setting some goals and rules for my self on how I will have a successful summer.

After my debacle of a summer last year, the first thing I sought to change was my housing situation for the summer. While I still don't want to stay in a hotel for 6 weeks, I have chosen to stay in a smaller/ quieter housing setting with 2 local Seattle grinders. I choose these 2 guys as roommates mainly because of their dedication to the game. They both are very good thinking players and I know we will all motivate our selves into putting in the most hours possible this summer. We rented a nice, but very affordable 3 bedroom town home about 15 minutes from the Rio. The main reason I still choose to stay in a house over a hotel is cooking. I still try to eat as healthy as possible for most of my meals and staying in a hotel makes the nearly impossible. I feel that staying in a non-party atmosphere house will keep me focused on my goals for the summer and give me the best opportunity to leave Vegas with my head up knowing I gave it everything I had this summer.

I feel that one of the more important things for me this summer is to get into a solid daily routine. For me, this routine will focus mainly around poker, health, fitness and golf. On days when I play tournaments at the Rio (12 pm starts) my routine will consist of waking up around 8:30 – 9am and getting a good healthy breakfast in. I will need to be in the gym by about 9:30 or 9:45 at the latest for a good hour long lifting and or cardio session. Leave our condo by 11:30 to ensure that I am not missing any hands of poker. Another key part to my routine I believe will be going home on dinner breaks. With 90 minute long breaks as long as I get away from the table 1-2 minutes early to beat the line to the parking lot, I cant have about 30 minutes at home to cook and eat while allowing 30 minutes of transportation each way. I feel that getting out of the casino during breaks is a good way for me to clear my mind of poker for a little bit and also allow myself to refocus for the 5-6 hours that still remain in the day. The other part of my routine involves the night before events. I am going to be very strict on no drinking the night before events. I want to be in bed by 1 or 130am at the latest to allow a good nights rest. I am playing less events this year and want to be mentally and physically prepared for each one. On non-tournament days I will hopefully be able to get out on the golf course in the mornings before it gets to hot. Having a lot of non tournament days this year is great for me as I can grind the side action and make my own money off of my backing deal.

For those that I have read my blog in the past, you are well aware that I have made health and fitness a very important part of my life over the last two years. I feel that these two things are essential for me to perform at my peak at the WSOP this summer. No more eating giant filling meals during dinner breaks that will leave me in a food coma for the last 5-6 hours of the tournament. One of the biggest / most underrated aspects of playing your best poker is being able to have 100% mental focus while at the table. Eating light meals frequently and packing healthy snacks in my bag such as protein shakes / bars, fruit, nuts etc will give me the best chance of reaching my peak mental focus while playing. As for working out, I have always found / know that when I work out first thing in the morning or right before I play poker I always play better. My energy level is way higher throughout the day and thus I play better. I pick up more reads on my opponents, I pick up more betting patterns etc. That is why I will make a very strong effort to hit the gym every morning this summer before tournaments.

One of the biggest changes that I will be making this WSOP (My 3rd) is playing less events. The previous two years I focused more on volume than quality of play. I believe I played 30+ events both years. I feel both years it led to me not putting max effort and focus into each event since there was “Always another tournament at 5pm”. This year I am cutting back my schedule to about 18 events (2-3 / week). My hope is that this will keep me focused and excited to play and put forth my effort in each event. This schedule also gives me the opportunity to put max time in to side action at the WSOP. On non-tournament days you will see me grinding SNGS, Megas, and Cash games. This will give me the best opportunity to have a winning summer.
A lot of people ask me about game selection at the WSOP. Since there are so many options of what to play, sometimes it is hard to choose. Most of my side action time will be spent playing Single Table Sit and Goes and Cash Games. The 2-$500 sngs are gold mines and have been my bread and butter the last couple of years at the WSOP. I plan to continue that this year. I will also be playing a lot of my usual 2-5nl and some 1-2 to 5-5 PLO. I also want to play some more mixed games, so if a good 20-40 O8 or Stud8 game etc pop up than I will jump in that.

Last, but not least, I will list some of my Goals / Expectations / Rules for the summer that will give me the best opportunity to succeed. I want these goals to be things that I can control. You wont see goals of “win a bracelet or make a final table” because a lot of times those are out of your control due to variance.
    • 300+ Hours of poker (6 weeks x 50 hours / week).
          • I need to put in hours. This trip is a business trip. Yes there will be time to have fun (golf) etc but these next 6 weeks define my whole year so I need to put in max effort to ensure that happens. Fifty is the minimum I expect some 60-70 hour weeks.
    • Gym minimum 5 days / week. Mandatory on tournament mornings.
        • As I have said before I have more mental focus and play better when I am working out and eating healthy.
    • Eat healthy and minimize my eating out meals to 1-2 / week
        • See above. This will also help me lower my expenses.
    • Stick to my bread and butter buy ins don’t stretch my bankroll to far.
        • I find at big series like the WSOP there is so much GOOD action that it is easy to play to big and get stuck early in the trip. I want to refrain from taking shots for the first while until im up a good amount. Taking shots is not a bad thing, but it must be done in the right situation.
    • Record all expenses to the T
        • This is a business trip and I need to minimize this. Cut out the $100 meals
    • Record hands and discuss with roommates
        • If you don’t study you will keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
    • Update Blog weekly
        • I really hope I find time to do this, but I will be playing a ton.
My Schedule of events. You can follow updates on my twitter @ AS you can see I am only playing NL Holdem Events. This is because I believe my hourly rate is higher playing side action then mixed game tournaments since I have not quite yet polished off those games.

WSOP Event # 9A: $1,500 No Limit Hold’em re-entry day 1a on June 2, 2012.
WSOP Event # 9B: $1,500 No Limit Hold’em re-entry day 1b on June 2, 2012.
WSOP Event # 14: $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Shootout on June 6, 2012.
WSOP Event # 16: $1,500 No Limit Hold’em/ Six Handed on June 7, 2012.
WSOP Event # 19: $1,500 No Limit Hold’em on June 9, 2012.
WSOP Event # 21: $1,000 No Limit Hold’em on June 10, 2012.
WSOP Event # 23: $3,000 No Limit Hold’em/ Six Handed on June 11, 2012.
WSOP Event # 31: $1,500 No Limit Hold’em on June 16, 2012.
WSOP Event # 33: $1,000 No Limit Hold’em on June 17, 2012.
WSOP Event # 38: $1,500 No Limit Hold’em on June 20, 2012.
WSOP Event # 41: $3,000 No Limit Hold’em on June 22, 2012.
WSOP Event # 43: $1,500 No Limit Hold’em on June 23, 2012.
WSOP Event # 44: $1,000 No Limit Hold’em on June 24, 2012.
WSOP Event $ 46: $2,500 No Limit Hold’em on June 25, 2012.
WSOP Event # 53: $1,500 No Limit Hold’em on June 30, 2012.
WSOP Event # 54: $1,000 No Limit Hold’em on July 1, 2012.
WSOP Event # 56: $1,500 No Limit Hold’em on July 2, 2012.
WSOP Event # 59A: $1,000 No Limit Hold’em re-entry day 1a on July 4, 2012.
WSOP Event # 59B: $1,000 No Limit Hold’em re-entry day 1b on July 5, 2012.
WSOP Event # 58C: $10,000 World Championship No Limit Hold’em on July 9,

Matt Affleck is a 24-year-old professional poker player living in Seattle, Washington. Follow his full blog and updates at You can also follow him on Twitter @McmattoPoker where he constantly updates about tournaments, motivation and being hustled by Matt Savage at golf.

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of
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