Most tournaments take one day. You show up, register, get your seat, settle in and start assessing your competition. Perhaps you’re at a local casino with lots of regulars and you know a few familiar faces. Or perhaps you’re on a poker trip and you simply don’t know anyone. You have to make assessments of your competitors based on how they look, act and play. Maybe you notice a World Series of Poker circuit ring or even a bracelet shining in your face because they want you to know they mean business.
As the first level or two progresses, you start to formulate some strong opinions about your foes and you may even learn quite a bit about them from the conversations at the table. More and more multi-day tournaments are popping up all over the world, especially in Florida, and with the Internet and constant tournament reporting, we now have some extra tools at our disposal to help us prepare.
First, find a site that lists seating assignments with chip counts for that day of the event. Pokerpages.com has a full listing ordered by chip counts so I just use my handy mouse and copy that information into a spreadsheet. Once in the spreadsheet, I use the sorting feature to order by table and seat. Then a quick search for my name and the fun begins. Since I don’t have a printer with me in the hotel, I write out the names in order of seat and chip counts. I want to have this with me when I head to the table to make sure I know who everyone is and what stack they’re have. I also search for their names and “poker” on Google. This helps identify a strong Internet player who may or may not have a lot of live results. I spend quite a bit of time looking at different sites because they don’t all have the same information.
Then it’s a good idea to draw an oval to represent the table and write in the player names, hometowns and chip counts. It provides a very clear representation of what your table will look like to start the day. For me, this is critical as it lets me know where the big stacks (and small stacks) are, who has position and who will be in my blinds.
After assessing my table for Day 2 of this year’s WSOP Main Event, I saw I had a very strong Internet player, a bracelet-winner from this year and an aggressive accomplished Dutchman all on my left. I had Patrik Antonius’ wife, Maya Geller, on my right along with a few players that don’t have many posted results but looked to be pretty solid. It will be a tough table with known strong players on my left, but knowing this ahead of time helped me get in the right mind-set as I would know what kind of moves these players can make.
One final benefit for researching Day 2 opponents at the WSOP Main Event is you may discover a big-name pro is at your table, which means you might have the ESPN cameras and microphones surrounding you most of the day (or you might even get moved to a feature table). How is this a benefit? This way you can be extra sure to brush your teeth to whiten up that smile, and comb your hair … well, those of you lucky enough to have hair.
Decide to win!
— Lee Childs is founder and lead instructor of Acumen Poker. He also is an instructor with the WPT Boot Camp. Check out his site at www.acumenpoker.net.