5 Tips for Playing Tournament Poker Series
The WSOP is the standard bearer for poker tournaments worldwide and for some players it is the first time they've competed in a long tournament series.
Playing in a tournament series such as the WSOP is different from playing in your daily casino event or with your friends. It carries its own risks and requires you to become more responsible.
Below are five tips for players competing in a poker tournament series for the first time.
1. Focus on Your Best Games
Whether you're playing the WSOP or a local tournament series you want to put your primary focus on events where you have an advantage.
If you happen to be skilled at six-max over standard events, setup your schedule around those events.
Mixed-game players are famous for planning around the non-Hold'em events. Since these are the events they have the edge in they come in for those events and take off when they're done.
Focusing on your best games will give you the best shot at winning in a long tournament series. While it is true that some players catch fire and perform well over several events, the standard player is usually good for a couple of events and then focus begins to wane and performance suffers.
2. Don't Play Every Day
The most common mistake made in long tournament series is playing every day. Some of these events run events every day for a month up to six weeks. Others hold multiple events each day.
When you play every day your focus suffers and you will begin to perform poorly at the tables. It's recommended to take a break ever 3-4 days to give yourself time to recharge both physically and mentally.
3. Develop a Routine for Game Day
Most of us perform best when we have a regular routine. This is true whether we're talking work, sports or poker.
As a poker player you should consider having a daily routine for days that you're playing poker. This routine is something that you stick with every day, every event and every series.
Start with getting ample rest the night before and avoid drinking too much the night before a tournament. This helps you perform at peak efficiency.
In terms of your daily routine this is something that varies depending on the individual. Find out what works for you and stick with that routine to give yourself the best chance at winning.
Don't discount superstitions, but also don't rely on them. If you incorporate something into your routine because it worked during a particular series, fine.
Just don't rely on your superstitions to the point where it keeps you from playing your best poker.
4. Limit Your Alcohol and Recreational Drug Use
While this could be considered part of a game-day ritual it's important to give this point ample consideration. Most players don't consider the impact of alcohol and recreational drug use on their play but should.
Whether you like to drink a few beers after an event or roll a joint before a long session you need to keep in mind that these activities can have a negative effect on your game.
Sure, there are plenty of stories of players winning while high and drunk, but the top players have long learned that the cumulative effects of these activities are detrimental to their game.
Many players will swear off alcohol and drugs until after a tournament series is complete and you should consider doing the same. It will have positive returns on your bankroll in the long-term.
5. Be Smart When Traveling
This last tip has to do with personal safety while traveling to and from various poker venues. The reality of this world is that there are individuals that like to take advantage of poker players if they know they have money or if they are "easy pickings."
You should look at your routine and take steps to keep yourself safe at all times. Limit the amount of cash you carry at all times. Consider using a deposit system with the host casino to hold your money.
Don't advertise that you are carrying a bunch of money. When you broadcast that you have a bunch of money, you're painting a bull's-eye on your back for crooks.
Be mindful of your surroundings when going to and from a tournament. If the area looks unsecured, consider using valet for your parking.
You can also request that the casino provide a security escort to your vehicle at the end of the day. This is especially advisable for female players.
You may feel silly being escorted to your car by security but it beats waking up in a hospital after being mugged.