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Preparing for the World Series of Poker in 2021

862 Views on 7/5/21

For many poker players this will be their first time playing live poker at all

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As the world slowly returns to normal casinos are beginning to fill up again. It will take more than a short while until they see foot traffic figures the same as two years ago but things are improving, particularly in Las Vegas.

Because of this the World Series of Poker organisers decided to jump the gun and schedule a live series for later on this year. They have the faith that people from all over the world will once again be welcome in the US to come and play poker in the annual pilgrimage.

The 2019 WSOP Main Event attracted 8,569 entrants, narrowly missing the record of 8,773 set in 2006 when Jamie Gold took home $12 million for first. Live poker was well on the up again before Covid hit.

For many poker players this will be their first time playing live poker at all. After being cooped up in their homes for more than a year even the online specialists will be itching to get out and play in a live setting. Those who consider themselves inexperienced could probably do with a little advice at this point, as they prepare for their first ever WSOP.

Tips for a Novice Heading to the WSOP in Las Vegas

Dress right: This one might sound a little weird but we’re sure that plenty of poker players have fallen foul of the nuclear power air conditioning used in the past. In other words it can be freezing if you don’t have a suitable top on. It’s horrendously hot outside in Nevada and in many cases Baltic freezing indoors.

It’s not just about the temperature too: make sure your whole attire is comfortable enough to be sat in most of the day.

Eat and drink right:Eating poorly during an event as intense as the WSOP will leave you short of energy and focus. This is where those crucial mistakes are made which can make the difference between success and failure. Often these decisions are small in number but have a huge effect on the end result of a tournament.

Although you might spend most of the time indoors in a cool environment, this doesn’t mean you should ignore your hydration levels. In fact, air con will dehydrate you almost as bad as being outside in the heat.

Plan for different playing styles: There’s no doubt that the WSOP sees every possible playing type you can imagine. For this reason it’s important that you prepare to adjust your own play against what you see at your table. Fortunately, even though this is the World Series of Poker—the jewel in the poker calendar—the overwhelming majority of players are amateurs who have saved all year. This should instill you with confidence and not a fear that you will face a table full of pros every time you sit. Just be prepared to face a lot of moves that don’t make any sense to you.

Prepare for marathon sessions: It should go without saying that you shouldn’t jump straight into playing WSOP events without attempting to get used to playing for most of the day. We’re talking 10 hours every day, at least.

If you haven’t played live poker before you should definitely try and get your feet wet before heading to Las Vegas. Even if it’s just a few nightly MTTs at your nearest card room or casino. If you have ambitions of going deep in the Main Event you can expect to be sat there for more than 10 hours every day for as long as a week. That’s enough to break many players.

Don’t expect peace and quiet: When the Day One starting flights kick off it’s going to be like a zoo in there. Don’t expect an atmosphere akin to a chess tournament or a library while you quietly craft your strategies in peace. There will be reporters and photographers all over the place.

If you didn’t fancy going to play some live poker to practice your stamina you’ll soon wish that you’d got used to thinking when it’s noisy. Don’t say you weren’t warned!


Playing at the World Series of Poker will be an experience you’ll never forget. As an amateur you never know how many chances you will get, so make the most of it if you can go later this year. Hopefully the above advice will stop you making any schoolboy errors that ruin your trip before it really gets going. And don’t forget to enjoy yourself.


Mark Patrickson

Mark Patrickson is a professional cash game player grinding stakes up to 100nl 6 Max NL Hold'em13 years experience of poker, across MTT SnG and cash, FL PL NL.Currently living in South East Asia and trying to make it back to mid-stakes befo ... Read More

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