Playing the World Series of Poker

When considering playing in the World Series of Poker there are many questions a person needs to be considering prior to making the commitment. The two biggest things that come to mind are can you afford it and do you play well enough. I will take a shot at helping you answer both of these questions.

There are really three or four types of poker players who make the journey to the World Series. First are the professional poker players who go there because that is where the money is. Second are the regional semi-professional players that spend the rest of the year making money in their particular region of the world and make the pilgrimage to Las Vegas annually. I pretty much find myself in this category. Third are players who budget the money and take the family vacation money and go to the World Series just to have the experience. Many of these people will make it that once in a lifetime bucket list trip. Fourth are the players who just want to take a shot and try to get lucky. These people generally play in satellite tournaments and try to win a seat. They are hoping to get lucky like Chris Moneymaker. Take a few moments and reflect on your motivation for wanting to play in the World Series of Poker.

I tell everyone that asks me that they need to go visit and watch the tournament at least once before they make up their mind to go play. The entire scene can be quite overwhelming if you have never been there before. If you must play on your first trip try to arrive a couple days early and do not play poker until you play the tournament. Just take the time to get familiar with how the tournament is run and gain the layout of the building. Once you see the mass of humanity and realize the smallest of tasks have become giant hurdles in this pressure cooker you can develop a plan that relieves many of the stresses.

When I answer the question are you good enough I have just one answer; NO! My apologies to Annette Oberstead. Most players are not ready to play in the WSOP on their first trip to Las Vegas. I know Joe Cada just won the main event on his try and he was extremely lucky. The best players from every region come together and join the top 200 professionals and suddenly you find yourself outside the top 1000 players in the event. You become part of what is known as the field. There is a good chance that someone from the field will get lucky and win. They have won the main event for the last eight years. Anyone can win the lottery. The question is if you are good enough to play in the WSOP and the answer is no. If you have won two or three major tournaments in the last year you may be ready to step up. The rest of us are all just taking our shot at getting lucky.

Can you afford to play the World Series of Poker? Only you can answer that question for yourself. What is your poker budget every month? Do you lose more than ten grand a month playing poker? If you do and you can honestly answer yes, then you can afford to take some time away from your regular game and go play the main event. Most of us fall under the no category. Do you win in excess of ten grand a month playing poker? If so you can afford to make the trip, provided you have some other means of paying your overhead. Once again we find ourselves at no. Are you independently wealthy with a seven, eight or nine figure income? If so you can afford to go play. Oprah step to the front of the line. I will let those three groups have a pass into the tournament.

The rest of the world may want to consider playing one of the smaller buy-in events. What does your entertainment budget look like every month? Do you spend a couple thousand a month on entertainment? If so go play a small event and chalk it up to entertainment. How much does your spouse spend on you for Christmas? If she regularly spends multiple thousands you may want to give her a hint that you would like to play a smaller buy-in event for a couple grand. I understand not everyone is in a two income no children family that makes six figures a year. These people also get to play as part of the group that can afford to play a smaller buy-in event.

As for the rest of the world, I find that you have a couple choices on how to make it to the World Series. The simplest way to get there is to just save a portion of your winnings from every session and when you have enough saved you can make the trip. This is a disciplined approach and requires you to follow the plan for a long period of time. The next method is also one of discipline and you just simply write it into your budget and set aside money from every paycheck all year long. Both of these are hard to accomplish because life will throw you curves and that money will be very tempting. A third method that is often used is to pool money or sell shares to friends. This involves everyone pitching a few hundred until it adds up to enough to make a buy-in. You may even find 100 people with $100 and make it into the main event. I have used this method myself in the past. I still sell shares of myself to good friends from time to time and particularly when they are part of my team and helping me at the tournament. The only real draw back to selling shares is that you have to fade significant overhead to go play the event and your week’s worth of work gets chopped up. The more times your investors make money the more likely they are to pay a premium for your shares and allow you to recover some of the overhead.

The schedule is out for the 2010 World Series and you should be choosing the events you want to play and making your trip arrangements now. If you do not have your plan in place, seriously consider playing in 2011 and make your plans now.


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3 Responses to “Playing the World Series of Poker”

  1. adam yardley Says:

    can i just buy in to the2011 wsop,and not have to play in sattelites and other qualifing events.and if i can ,when do i need to be in las vegas to buy in

  2. adam yardley Says:

    what casino do i have to go to ,when i want to buy in the wsop,what date,what casino,if i have ten grand will i be guarenteed a seat at the wsop,,thanx adam

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