Getting Ready for the RioOkay, so it’s your first World Series and the thought of sitting down under the Amazon Room’s bright lights and locking horns with the finest minds in poker scares you senseless. Well fear not dear reader, for GOM is on hand to offer you five top tips to help Vegas virgins flourish this summer.
1. Prepare for the Big Day
Though it may sound obvious, there’s no substitute for getting the right mental preparation ahead of your big day in Vegas. Be it down to nerves, excitement or simply getting swept along with the Vegas vibe, many WSOP newcomers get so wasted the night before a tournament that their big moment often passes them by. Get an early night, grab a healthy breakfast and use your hotel’s gym to put yourself in the right frame of mind for a long haul at the tables—trust us, you’ll be glad you did.
2. Take Time to Acclimatise
Though it’s probably not your first live tournament, the chances are whatever event you enter in Vegas this summer, it’s likely to be the biggest game you’ve ever played in, so don’t go starting at 100mph without thinking what you’re doing. Sit back for a while and take some time to familiarise yourself with the blind structure, chip values and any casino-specific rules that might be in place so you don’t get caught with your pants down when it comes to tackling major decisions.
b3. Stay in Position and Out of Trouble
If you’re nervous about playing in your tournament and worried about the calibre of opposition you’ll face, sticking to premium hands in position is far and away the best approach to keep yourself out of trouble. Being in position in a hand is a massive advantage as you get to see what everyone else does before you have to act, meaning that even if you believe you’re up against a superior player, having position will negate your opponent’s skill edge and hopefully allow you to pick up a few easy pots.
4. Don’t Go Broke with One Pair
Whether you’ve put some money aside to enter your tournament or have qualified for it online, the chances are you’ve invested a considerable amount of time and effort into getting there—so why would you come all that way just to go broke with one pair? Time and time again WSOP first-timers find themselves going home because they can’t bear to lay down an over-pair or top-pair-top-kicker, when really—especially in the deeper-stacked events—one pair isn’t much of a hand at all.
5. Enjoy it
Of course, the most important thing to remember to do in your first WSOP tournament in Vegas is to have a good time and enjoy the occasion—not be totally overwhelmed by it. While it’s important to enter a tournament with a winning mentality, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have some fun at the table while you accumulate your chips. In fact, feeling laid back and at ease will be hugely beneficial to your chances. Even if you play the perfect game, the huge degree of luck involved in poker means it’s possible you’ll leave Vegas empty-handed, so you may as well make the most if while you’re there.