By Matthew Gregoire
The World Series of Poker is upon us and I’m excited at the prospect of playing the games I love through the summer. Last year was my first time in five years that I had missed the festivities at the Rio and I must admit I’m champing at the bit. Every year I really focus on playing split games exclusively and in the past it has been a rare occurrence to not find a profitable situation. The cash games are always great and there are split tournaments almost every day in town.
In past years, my best results came when I was playing the games online regularly before I arrived. If you plan on focusing on one poker variation, it’s normally most effective to be playing it regularly before you arrive so you can work out any leaks.
Sometimes when you’re switching between games it can alter your styles because of the adjustments necessary to conquer the constantly evolving poker landscape. For example, when people play no-limit hold’em tournaments, it seems styles are often duplicated because of training videos or some other information readily available. When you choose to apply these alterations, or at least try to compensate against an opponent who uses them, it can affect your overall poker ability.
If you see a certain move in a split game and have been playing a lot of NLHE, your initial reaction may be to play it like a hold’em hand when it simply doesn’t apply to the split game. If you want to be most effective have a mind-set for the specific game you wish to play.
If this is your first year arriving for the World Series it can be exciting, but if you’re hoping to be successful, the best advice I can give is to try to set a consistent schedule. If you spend a night drinking or indulging in whatever activities interest you, it can be difficult to be refreshed in time to give 100 percent at the tables.
I realize a lot of people don’t arrive in Vegas to strictly play poker, but for me it’s necessary to be prepared. If I’m at the table, my goal is to try to find as many edges as possible, so if I have chosen to eat healthy, sleep well and take care of my body while you have been out partying, then I have an instant advantage.
It’s a fine line when you’re in Vegas to stay focused and it takes a ton of will power to make the most of your opportunities while here. But if your goal is to be successful, it’s necessary to make sacrifices. If you come to play this summer, try to make the most of your shots, don’t just go through the motions.
— Matthew Gregoire is a pro poker player living in Miami. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.