If your travel plans call for the World Series of Poker (WSOP) or any destination that offers live poker, we have several important tips for you. What should you bring? What should you avoid? MacPoker.com has you covered on how to prepare for the WSOP.
Arrive to the WSOP Early
We can’t stress enough how important it is to arrive early to a live poker tournament. This isn’t like an online tournament where you can show up five minutes beforehand, click a few buttons, and head to your virtual table. Let’s not forget that during Day 1D of the 2009 WSOP Main Event, poker’s most prestigious annual tournament, over 500 players were turned away when the room reached capacity. If it can happen to Patrik Antonius and 500 other players, then it can happen to you.
Arrive about 45 minutes to an hour before the tournament’s scheduled start time. This will ensure that you have plenty of time to sign up, find your seat, and scope out where amenities like the bathrooms are. At the WSOP, nearly 400 poker tables are spread out across two rooms, meaning that finding your seat can be a daunting endeavor. Moreover, once you get to your table, you’ll want to break out your iPod and settle in.
If you’re rushing at the last minute, you’re likely to arrive at your seat flustered, which is not the proper mentality for playing high-quality poker. Being tense means being on tilt, which will not bode well for your chances in any live tournament, much less a WSOP bracelet event.
Bring Layers of Clothing to the WSOP
When asked to rattle off adjectives associated with land-based casinos, many people would respond with variations of “noisy,” “smoky,” and “bright.” All are valid, but I would add “cold.” Casinos are, by nature, chilly. It’s like going to a movie theater, for example. Any time you pack hundreds, or thousands, of people into the same place, the temperature naturally rises. Everyone has a body temperature of 98 degrees and, when you add of all them together, a room can become quite hot.
Enter air conditioning. Popularized in the early 1900s, air conditioners allow you to take a hot room and cool it down effortlessly. Casinos and other public places take this to heart and blast the A/C non-stop around-the-clock. Combat the cold by bringing layers. Wear a t-shirt and long sleeved shirt. Then, bring a jacket just in case it becomes unbearable. This is true no matter how warm it is outside, even in the 120-degree heat of the Nevada desert.
If you fail to layer, then you’re going to be miserably hot or cold, depending upon the room’s temperature. Large-scale events like the WSOP and tournaments on the World Poker Tour (WPT) are frequently held in giant ballrooms normally reserved for conventions. Consequently, their temperatures can vary widely.
Bring Food and Drink to the WSOP
Live poker is quite a bit different than online poker. Instead of hanging out on your La-Z-Boy couch in your pajamas while 24-tabling online, you’re stuck one-tabling with eight or nine other players at a real table. Consequently, if you get hungry or thirsty, you can’t run to your refrigerator to grab a drink or a snack.
You’ll likely be stuck paying an exorbitant price for a drink and a slice of pizza in a casino, so it’s worthwhile to pack food and beverage. I remember paying $15 for a personal pan pizza, chips, and a Coke at the Rio during the WSOP in 2009. For that price, I could have bought five large pizzas at the grocery store and eaten for a week.
The moral is to save your money – and eat foods that you enjoy – by bringing them with you. Moreover, you can eat healthy foods if you bring your own, which is an added bonus.