So you’ve finally earned/won/paid for that seat to the World Series of Poker. Whether it’s a $1,500 buy-in “donkament” or the $10,000 buy-in Main Event, the WSOP is an unforgettable experience for any poker player.
If you’re there just “for the experience”, then enjoy every minute of it; not just the tournament, but also the cash games, the casino floor, and everything else that Las Vegas has to offer. However, if you’re truly serious about winning your event, you have to be prepared.Get plenty of rest
Yes, Las Vegas is the “entertainment capital of the world”; it's distractions range from magic shows and comedians to exotic dancers and “ladies of the night”. If you really want to win a major tournament (and outlast thousands of opponents to get there), you’ll have to postpone the partying until after the event. If you win, you’ll have all the time and money you’ll need to party it up!Get there early
The Amazon Room at the Rio is a colossal space; the room holds hundreds of tables and thousands of players. The best way to deal with the crowds is to arrive early. If you’ve already purchased your entry and already have your ticket, scout out your table and navigate your way through the room. Make your plans for the breaks and find your way to the sure-to-be-crowded restrooms. Expect long waits
The WSOP is the busiest month of the year for the poker-playing population
. If you need anything from an entry ticket to a sandwich, expect long lines and short tempers. The huge crowds and searing temperatures in Las Vegas often serve to drive normally patient people to the brink, and impatient people over it. While you’re in line, you can also try to find out more about your fellow tournament participants – and use that knowledge against them later.
Socialize with Other Players
Long lines for the bathrooms aren’t the only time you can socialize with other players. If you arrive early, you can learn more about your tablemates. Answers to some typical social questions can reveal some telling aspects of your opponents’ tendencies:
Watch for other first-timers
- “Is this your first WSOP?”
- “Do you play a lot of live poker?”
- “Do you play more live or online?”
- “How long have you been playing?”
If you see tablemates looking around the room like they’ve fallen down the rabbit-hole into Wonderland, then you’ve probably encountered another WSOP rookie. If one of your tablemates is on a first-name basis with the dealers and waitresses, then he’s likely not a newcomer to the event. By its nature, poker is a predatory game, so your best options are to target the rookies and avoid the veterans.
Players who reach a Super Bowl, a Stanley Cup Final
, or a French Open
are frequently so focused on winning that they fail to enjoy their surroundings. While preparation is important and the buy-ins are not cheap, players should take a moment to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Win or lose, you only get one “first time”.