The 2022 World Series of Poker kicks off on May 31 and runs until July 19.
Many of us dream about getting to play poker tournaments every day, but until you actually grind a long live series like the WSOP, it’s hard to understand what it takes to play your best day in and day out.
To help, we asked the pros:
How can you prepare when playing live tournaments every day?
Here’s what they had to say.
Twitch superstar, BBZ Poker student and all-round poker legend
I think it’s essential to work on your stamina. Getting tired towards the end of the day is a pretty big deal and WSOP tournaments usually start a little bit later, so really try to get some sort of workout done in the morning, even if it’s just walking outside for some fresh air. It can be really helpful.
Eating healthy before the tournament starts is also important. When you want to grind day in, day out it’s really important to think about the complete package. Having a good morning routine before play starts is great because if I don’t eat I get really mad! So for me, it’s crucial that I have something planned [perhaps bring food with you] so that after four hours of playing I’m not thinking ‘where the fuck is my food?’.
Build a structure around your play. Get some workouts in and make sure you eat and sleep well. You have to begin Day 1 knowing there’s going to be a Day 20 down the line, so keep that in mind.
JON ‘APESTYLES’ VAN FLEET
Long-time high stakes crusher and BBZ Poker coach
Take a break, make sure that you have a workout routine, eat light on breaks, and don’t be afraid to late register.
Also, pay attention to the action when you’re not in a hand, including counting the pot and how many chips the players in the hand have.
I also found it helpful to “standardize” my movement, meaning I attempt to bet with a similar motion and timing every time.
Also keeping my hands over my face after betting was similarly helpful as I’m facially expressive.
MORE WSOP TIPS:
WSOP Tips for your first ever big live series
Twitch streamer and PokerStars Team Pro
Completely unpack your bag, hang up your clothes, and settle into your room so it feels like home. Look up the full schedule of tournaments and plan what you will be playing. Create an efficient schedule around those events.
LUKAS “ROBINPOKER” ROBINSON
Twitch streamer and GGPoker pro
I can’t start my day without a gym workout and eating some healthy food. Even when I was 20 at that live event in London, I went to the gym every day and ate healthy food all day whilst playing. I honestly couldn’t recommend this more as it will give you energy throughout the long days of playing, and allow you to play 10-12 hours in a row. Obviously getting enough sleep is super important too. When playing, I also find that being off my phone and really just being in the moment makes it so much easier to concentrate and play poker for so many hours in a row too.
JARGO “BUNGAKAT” ALAVALI
BBZ Poker coach and high-stakes wizard
Just have fun and treat everyone respectfully. You are all there to have a great time.
Also, patience is key. Once you enter a 5-day tournament that’s going to take you 50 hours to complete, you need to be okay sitting there for 50 hours. Plan it out mentally.
BBZ Poker performance coach
Approach the series as an experience, not as your usual daily grind. Enjoy the experience rather than seeing it as a make it or break it tournament series (you can still take every tournament seriously). You’re not defined by a small sample of tournaments. I guess what I’m saying is: manage your expectations. Make sure you find some time for self-care activities (walks, sleep, a bit of exercising, journaling) and allow yourself time away from social media and poker.
2021 WSOP bracelet winner and BBZ Poker student
Make it easy on yourself. I usually stay at the hotel where the event is for convenience and have everything I need with me in order to be able to make coffee and breakfast in the room and even get a workout in before I go play. I bring stuff so I can make a PB&J sandwich to have for lunch so I am never at the mercy of breaks when I want to eat. Prioritize sleep over everything else but have a pregame routine that you tweak depending on how much time you have available.
Have as much ready the night before as possible so you can have a relaxed morning and focus on your routine. Meditation, a light workout, a little review or some drills to wake up your mind, and a healthy meal before you play are great. I bring my own seat cushion so I know I will be comfortable. Have a backpack with everything you need like healthy snacks, Advil, a charger, $1 bills for tips, an extra hoodie, etc. Try as best you can to get your email and other “regular life” stuff sorted out and put away in the morning and decide you will largely be ignoring all of that until dinner break or the end of the day. Then your mind can be clear to focus on the action.
Remember that live poker is so much slower than online. Don’t get impatient and force the action. Part of the game is decided by who can be patient enough to wait for the hands and opportunities that present themselves. Don’t be a nit but don’t get bored and open up your ranges either. Most of all, have fun! And ideally encourage others at the table to have fun too. There’s money in poker if everyone can have a good time whether they win or lose…don’t berate less skilled players for making a mistake, especially if they win a hand as a result!