By Kyle Kitagawa
[Editor’s note: Major apologies to Kyle, whose name was misspelled on the hard copy version of this article. Mea culpa!]
The 2017 World Series of Poker is just around the corner, along with several other Las Vegas tournament series. If you are planning your first WSOP experience this summer, here are some things to consider:
- In fact, several of these tips relate to routine. Normally, I play much better poker when I maintain my daily routine. This includes a light healthy breakfast, relaxation, going to the gym, having lunch and a shower, then poker. Or something like that.
If you’re planning to stay on the Vegas Strip for an extended amount of time, you might not have a kitchen. This means all your meals will likely be taken at restaurants, which also gets pricey. Will you have gym access?
These things might seem unimportant for a short stay, but if you’re there for longer than a week, getting out of your routine might start affecting your play and overall quality of life.
- It’s hard to do in Vegas. Take into consideration the time zone difference as well (if there is one). My body typically takes about three nights before I get used to being in a different bed.
Quality of sleep for an extended period is crucial to making good poker decisions. Everyone feels exhausted by the end of summer, so give yourself an edge by making sure you sleep well.
- Diet/Nutrition. Again, this relates to routine. The last few summers I was craving a plate full of fresh veggies when I got home. I think it was my body’s way of telling me that it was getting sick of unhealthy food. Pack vitamins, and your pre/post workout supplements.
I try to eat healthy, but it can be difficult when a cup of fresh fruit at the Rio costs $12. It might be worth a trip to the grocery store and keeping some fruit in the hotel room. Or, even better, just Airbnb a place with a fridge and kitchen and prepare your own meals when possible.
- It’s free. Don’t overdo it.
- Non-Poker Activities. You can do almost anything in Vegas. Take a day off and explore away from the strip. Visit downtown, go shopping, take a helicopter ride, do some artificial surfing, hike, eat, go clubbing, get laid, watch a show, shoot some guns, or go sightseeing.
- Be Aware of Your Surroundings. Every year people get robbed during the WSOP. I was robbed at gunpoint in 2013 in a parking lot on the strip. Trust me—this can ruin your trip REALLY FAST.
Most poker players have backpacks, which make us an easy mark for shady people, so be smart and alert, and look out for each other!
- Bankroll Management. Yes, you see this in EVERY poker-related reading material, but it’s there for a reason. With so many events happening at once, it’s easy to jump into another event after you bust from the last one. Make a plan and try to stick to it.