Playing at the 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event? Take some cues from these previous Main Event champions who have a thing or two to say about Main Event preparations and strategies.
Always Pack The Essentials
One thing that will always be constant at the WSOP Main Event is that it is going to be long, hard and tiring. There will be thousands of players from all over the world flocking to the Rio to battle it out to win one of the most prestigious poker events in the world.
Those playing the WSOP Main Event for the first time need to be mentally prepared as the event can seem endless especially if you start winning and making it to the next day. It is best to be prepared for the two week-long event and have enough clothes so you don’t need to worry if your laundry has been done or what you are going to wear the next day.
2004 WSOP Champion Greg Raymer says that he packs for two weeks when he plays the Main Event and prepares for long hours and tiring times at the table. He packs a handy bag that contains his essentials: mints, gum, aspirin, food, headphones and phone charger.
Rest – Don’t Underestimate It
It’s easy to get hyped when you’re in Las Vegas and go out and party. There is a lot of entertainment on offer but those are distractions that will hurt your chances of winning the WSOP Main Event. 2005 WSOP Champion Joe Hachem says that if you came to Las Vegas to play the WSOP Main Event, then act like you are there to play the WSOP Main Event and nothing else.
It’s tempting to party during the nights—but remind yourself you can always do the partying after you win the Main Event. So instead of draining yourself out physically and mentally, come to the Main Event fully rested. Remember to win the WSOP Main Event, you must be prepared to play 12 hours a day for 10 days. Without ample sleep and rest, you won’t get anywhere.
A pro tip from 2003 WSOP Main Event title holder Chris Moneymaker is to play Day 1a or Day 1b instead of going last minute on Day 1c. By playing the first two days, you’ll have ample time to rest and recharge before you head on to Day 2.
Patience Is Key
Scott Blumstein won the 2017 WSOP Main Event on his very first attempt. His key piece of advice: patience is essential! Blumstein calls the WSOP Main Event a marathon, not a sprint, so going at it on your own pace is the key to getting into the rhythm and not tiring yourself out. He says that much like in NCAA basketball, you can use the strategy “Survive and Advance” at the WSOP Main Event by playing slowly and steadily at each table and at each round instead of rushing to win hands or build back your stack.
The need for patience was also emphasized by 2009 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Cada  who says that it is essential to not get frustrated when you start losing your chips. Cada says that many players lose their game when they start getting impatient and try to build back their stack. Don’t make this mistake and remember to take your time before you make any decision at the table.
Be Comfortable With Your Style Of Play
Many players come to the WSOP Main Event and get pressured into dropping their game plan and trying to copy the player at the table you think is most impressive.
Jonathan Duhamel who took down the 2010 WSOP Main Event says don’t let the lights and reputation of the WSOP Main Event throw you off your gameplay. Duhamel says to remember that there is nothing different from the poker you play at the back of your house to the poker you play at the Main Event. It’s just a bigger stage and a longer grind, so you don’t have to change the way you play if it’s already solid.
In a statement, Qui Nguyen who won the 2016 WSOP Main Event said “Just be yourself. Play the way you play. Don’t try to change your style just because it is the WSOP Main Event. Too many players want to have a story to take home to their friends. Just maintain your concentration and don’t worry about the cameras and the money. Just focus on playing your best game.”

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