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As players begin their journeys, they will be full of hope and determination to make this year their year. But only one person can win each event, so if you don’t take a title early or make the money, how can you make sure that you survive the WSOP grind in good mental and physical health? We’ve come up with five WSOP lifestyle tips you can use to maintain your peak and a balanced lifestyle at the 2023 WSOP.
By implementing these five WSOP lifestyle tips, you can navigate the grind with resilience, ensuring you not only preserve your mental and physical well-being but also maximize your chances of success in the long run.
The most important thing about how you rest and recuperate during the WSOP is sleep. I spoke with Daniel Negreanu before the 2021 World Series and he said that what you consume is important, but sleep comes above physical exercise and diet during the WSOP.
If you’re planning on playing a full schedule then sticking to a detailed eating and physical exercise plan is going to be extremely difficult. Some days, you’ll bust inside the first hour. Other days, you could be playing for 12 hours.
During the World Series, there will be times where other methods of recovery like meditation, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness techniques aren’t available to you. But between the early hours and the earliest start, there will be a solid period of time available to you for sleep. It’s vital that you take advantage of this period in the most optimal way you can.
The quality of your bed is important and should be checked before you arrive at the World Series. Make sure that you’re not up late using your phone or tablet; blue light can adversely affect your sleep. Creating a cool, relaxed environment is really important for rest. Making sure that you sleep right through is just as crucial.
While a healthy diet ranks below sleep – at least according to Kid Poker – it is still of vital importance to your energy and a good diet will help you manage fatigue. Eating food and playing for long hours is something that many poker players struggle with and can have a huge impact on your results in the long term.
Mixing up what you eat and taking regular breaks to refuel will put you in the best possible shape to dominate at the felt. The poker professional and former ultramarathon runner Dara O’Kearney once told me that running a 24-hour race was “as much about eating as it was running” and while poker is more demanding than establishing what you eat at the WSOP (World Series of Poker), keeping your engine both full and yet not too full is an important factor. Playing hungry in a poker sense is great – you want to be desperate for all those chips. But literal hunger is no good at all and nor is feeling bloated. If that happens, it’s easy to slump back in your chair and downgrade your attack levels until you’re less full.
That would obviously be a big mistake, so make sure that you eat often but not too much. Unless your day ends in the small hours of the morning, you can take your time eating a bigger meal after the dealing’s done. It’s more important to stay refreshed at the felt and a little like poker itself, pacing yourself can be the right play.
It can be the hardest thing in the world to do, but resisting playing a WSOP event could be the choice that helps you win gold. With 95 live events and 20 online bracelet tournaments taking place if you live in Las Vegas (or New Jersey), not playing poker feels like an alien concept when it is going on all around you. Every poker player needs a break, however, and recharging the batteries with non-poker activities is crucial.
Before you begin your WSOP journey, plan the events you’re going to play. When you do so, don’t only look at the value of the tournament in terms of your edge and the cost of the buy-in. Look at when you can insert days off into your schedule so you can avoid poker burnout. Playing poker for days on end is an extremely demanding pursuit, both physically and mentally, with your brain often bearing the brunt of mammoth Day 1s or an intense final table in the Thunderdome.
If you get to the latter stages of an event, you can also experience ‘winner’s guilt’, which often leads to successful players ‘giving it back’ by playing the next few tourneys they enter pretty badly. Avoid donating back into the prizepool of the following event by taking time away from the felt and utilizing energy management. You’ll return to the action in the same great form you left it if you’re constantly making sure your A-Game is something you can feasibly deliver.
Everyone starts the World Series of Poker with the same dream – to win a bracelet. The best in world can go years without doing so, however. Daniel Negreanu sits in third place on the all-time money list with $50 million in live winnings, but although he has six WSOP bracelets, he hasn’t won one in the United States for 15 years. That’s how difficult claiming gold in Las Vegas really is, and this year will be no different. Whatever your dream is when heading to Las Vegas, it’s worth readjusting your practical plan at numerous points throughout your stay.
When you start your schedule at the WSOP, have a dream scenario and a practical plan. These should be different, but related. For example, you’ll wish to win a bracelet, but this relies on a lot of luck as well as the skill you bring to the poker table. Planning to play your absolute best is a minimum requirement, but goals and targets along the way can really boost your confidence. Plotting to reach the money in the first week and reach profit after a fortnight of events is a practical, qualifiable ambition that you can measure against your efforts whether by bank balance or a detailed spreadsheet.
Always hold yourself accountable to the plan, but don’t be afraid to adjust the parameters. After a month of being on the wrong side of variance, it might be a more realistic ambition to break even and learn a new format of the game. Seeing different outcomes as successful breeds a winning mindset and that can only have a positive effect on your results.
Being a part of the World Series of Poker is an exciting time for any player, but when you are part of a Wolfpack (or She-wolfpack), it’s even better. Heading into battle with friends around you to compare hands, swap bad beats or just socialise is a massive part of the WSOP. If you’re going to Las Vegas on your own, make it your ambition to meet like-minded players of a slightly higher level who you enjoy the company of.
Playing poker is at the World Series of Poker is – apart from the Tag Team event – a solo sport, so having people in your corner who can help you ride above all the trials the game provides is immeasurably beneficial. Players such as Espen Jørstad, the 2022 WSOP Main Event winner can testify to exactly this; Jørstad not only won the Tag Team event with his friend Patrick Leonard, but Leonard and his other friends’ presence at the rail of the Main Event definitely helped him secure the win in the big one.
However you’re planning to enjoy the World Series of Poker, it’s worth mentioning that no poker ambitions should come at the cost of financial security, as well as friends or family back in the ‘real world’. Playing at the WSOP is a great adventure, but make sure you’re taking people with you on that journey in whatever way you can, not leaving them behind. Who knows; maybe next year, they’ll be riding shotgun alongside you on your way to Sin City.
Jackpot! You’ve flopped a winning hand! This article has surely added some extra chips to your stack. Tune in for more valuable insights and pro-level strategies!
Looks like you’ve been dealt a bad beat. We’ll shuffle the deck and try again.
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