In the final installment of Prepping for the WSOP, we give you some tips for navigating the long grind that is the World Series of Poker. The 2016 WSOP begins later this week and many players will be in for a bit of a culture shock. Below are some tips to help you navigate through the long series and help prepare you for play each day.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute to Leave for An Event
For those not staying at the Rio, give yourself plenty of time to drive to the Rio, especially if you are playing in an evening event. With the new 11 A.M. start times, you may not have as much traffic on Las Vegas Blvd during the morning events.
In either event, leave at least an hour before the start of your event in order to avoid any potential traffic and give yourself plenty of time to get to your seat. After the first couple of days, you will have an idea about how much time you have to play with and then can adjust as needed.
Be Prepared for a Lot of Walking
Back in first installment of this series, I told you to bring a pair of comfortable shoes for walking. That is because you will be walking a lot at the WSOP from the time you get out of your car until the time you leave the Rio.
The closer to the start of an event that you arrive, the more likely that Valet will be full and that you will have to walk from the parking lot. Be prepared for a hike.
Yes, the Bathroom Lines are As Long as Reported
Unless you want to wait in long lines, don’t wait until the break to use the restroom. You can get up from the table whenever you want to take a mini-break and nobody will think any less of you.
Taking a potty break other than during the standard break will give you a chance to get a drink, take a walk or other less than healthy activities that some poker players choose to do. Do not pull an Antonio Esfandiari.
Satellites for Non-Hold’em Events Are Usually the Day Before the Event
For those wanting to win your seat into something other than NL Hold’em, you will usually find your options limited except for the day before your event. That is when there’s the most interest for non-standard satellites.
However, if you have enough people interested in running a PLO or Stud satellite, tell floor person and they will try to accommodate you. Otherwise, you will find plenty of NL Hold’em satellites 24-7.
Choose Non-Standard Times to Register for Events – Or Register Online
Want a pro tip for playing the WSOP? Don’t register the day of the event unless you want to wait in insane lines. Registration is already underway for every single event on the WSOP schedule. That means you can register for Event #53 right now and not have to wait in line the day of the event.
Not 100% certain that you will play the event? No problem. You can always register and request a refund later. You can request a refund up until the start time of the event.
Personally, I would always go to the Rio and register in the evening for events and I would register early for events in the future. You now have an even better option that will save you from waiting in line – online registration. Just register online for all the events you wish to play and just head to the online registration desk to pick up your seat cards either the day of the event or anytime.
Remember that Pros Are there to Play Poker First – Sign Autographs Second
If this is your first time to the WSOP, you may be tempted to flag down every pro that you see when roaming around the Rio or when you’re railing an event. Keep in mind that they are there to win bracelets and fan interaction time is limited.
Don’t bother pros directly at the start of breaks or as they are heading out for dinner. They won’t be as receptive as when you are all hanging around waiting for an event to resume.
Are there exceptions to this rule? Yes, Daniel Negreanu is an attention whore. (We say that with love, especially Robbie.)
My revised WSOP schedule of 41 possible events with a maximum exposure of $365,611: June 4th $10k Stud June (cont) https://t.co/bMWWsrBMZl— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) May 29, 2016
Track Your Wins and Losses for Tax Purposes
Another important tip is that you need to track your wins and losses when you play at the WSOP. When you cash in a WSOP event, you will receive a W-2G from the Rio. So track your losses from tournaments, cash games and satellites to cut down on your tax burden from the IRS.
Of course, maybe you will get lucky enough to where all you have are wins. If so, that’s a nice problem to have. It also means you better talk with your tax advisor about the extra tax you’re going to pay (or how much your refund will be reduced.)
The WSOP is Not the Only Game in Town
We’d be remiss for not pointing out other potential bankroll opportunities available in Las Vegas during WSOP season. Several casinos will be holding events concurrent with the 2016 WSOP and many can act as preparation or bankroll boosters.
Some of the events include the Grand Poker Series at Golden Nugget, the Venetian Deep Stack Events, Binions Poker Classic (one of my favorites) and the WPT 500 at Aria. Most of these events run in the $200 to $500 price range and are great practice for WSOP events. You will spot many pros, especially old school pros, among the ranks in these events.
Take Time Off and Get Plenty of Rest
Some players make the mistake of playing too many events during their first WSOP. They try and play for weeks straight and wind up burning themselves out. You should plan to take at least one or two days off every week from playing at the WSOP or playing poker in general.
Get out of the casino and do something fun in Las Vegas. Hell, get out of Vegas and go to Mt. Charleston, the Grand Canyon or head out to California for a day trip (or two!)
Also, make sure you get plenty of rest each night. The optimal amount is eight hours of sleep each night but realistically if you can get at least six hours, you will probably be doing well. However, if you are one of those that cannot function properly on shorter rest, get your full eight hours, even if it means skipping the occasional event.
Taking time off and getting the right amount of rest will help keep your on top of your game and put you in a better position to make a run for a bracelet.
Have Fun and Enjoy the Experience!
Finally, have fun during your time at the World Series of Poker. After all, poker is a game and games are supposed to be enjoyed. The majority of you reading this article are amateur players and this may be one of the only times you get to play in the series. As such, enjoy the experience and make some memories.
The World Series of Poker is often referred to as “Summer Camp” by professionals due to the craziness that happens during the events. It is one of the few events where players can still have a great time despite the fact that the event is more corporate than ever.
In my head I see the ESPN ad showing bracelet winning photos & a voiceover: "WSOP, an exclusive, expensive summer camp for adults w issues"— Andy Frankenberger (@AMFrankenberger) May 12, 2016
While the series has changed a lot over the years, one thing that remains is that the WSOP is THE event that poker players want to attend. At this point, your game is as ready as it is going to be for the series and we have given you some tips to help you maximize your experience. Now it is time for you to go out and try to make the run of a lifetime for a bracelet. Good luck!