Be prepared for summer poker

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Summer is here and we know what that means: Get ready for some poker.

Projections are more than 100,000 players will converge on Las Vegas for the popular summer series there and great ring-game action. There are obvious distinctions between players who come prepared and those who don’t. Hopefully, a few tips will help Ante Up readers bring their A game.

BREAKS: After getting knocked out of a tournament, give yourself a break. Don’t jump back in the satellite line or start playing ring games. Your poker brain is tired. Get some R&R. This is perhaps the most profitable piece of advice you’ll read about poker on the road in Vegas. Even the most disciplined of players will find his A game disappear after a disappointing tournament experience.

REST: Veterans of the game understand their limitations. They have a plan and are organized enough to stick to their guns. If you fall into the category of out-of-town player, naturally you’ll feel pressed to get in as much time as you can.

TACTICS: We must take our play seriously. Make sure to have a plan to record any significant hands. Tournaments are long and grueling. With each hour passed, we are less likely to have a vivid memory of a hand that deserves accurate analysis. Write down these hands on your break. They deserve scrutiny.

GAME PLAN: Imagine you’re at Level 4 in an event. What’s your chip count in relation to the blinds? What’s your plan if you’re deep? If you have less than 10 big blinds, do you have a short-stack strategy?

Keep an index card with you to keep track of stack-to-blind ratios. The pro you’re up against always is keenly aware of his situation or predicament. This newfound awareness is guaranteed to help you. By holding yourself accountable, your cash-game results are bound to improve.

STEP UP: Your bankroll management chart says you belong in a certain game and, yes, bankroll management is extremely important, but you have a replenishing bankroll because you hold down a job. Take a shot. You might be surprised as to how well you play when confronted at a higher level. Just clear it with your spouse first.

— Mark Brement has spent 15 years teaching and coaching all facets of poker, including at Pima CC. Email him at brementmark@gmail.com.