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Your First World Series of Poker
The main event of the World Series of Poker is more than just a poker tournament. It is an adventure, a marathon, a challenge, a thrill, a learning experience, a game, a gamble, and so much more. Making the most of the experience, by which I mean the most profit but also the most enjoyment and the most educational value, requires coming into it with the proper mind set. Iӭ about to play my second main event, so while Iӭ hardly a wizened veteran, I remember my first vividly, and I hope I can offer some helpful insight to those who will play for the first time this year and those who just want to learn more about the experience.
To Play or Not to Play The first thing youӬl have to consider is whether to enter the tournament at all. In past years, this was generally not a question, if you won a seat through an online poker site. But a change in policy this year means that third-parties may not register you for the tournament. Thus, the online sites are simply providing you with the cash value of the seat and ԲequiringԠyou to buy-in for yourself.
I will be very blunt: many people who won a seat this way should probably take the $10,000 and not play the tournament. You need to consider what the totality of the WSOP experience is worth to you versus what else you could do with the money.
If you are a winning player at higher buy-in online tournaments, events with $100+ buy-ins, and/or at mid-stakes online cash games, probably 3/6 NL and above, you will likely have a positive expectation in the WSOP. But that doesnӴ mean you should play, since your bankroll will likely be woefully insufficient to absorb the variance. Even the best players will have no more than a 25% chance of making the money and a significantly less than 1% chance of reaching the final table. This means you must enter the tournament prepared to leave without your $10,000. If you are over-rolled for the games that you currently play, such that an additional $10,000 would not allow you to move up and start winning at higher stakes, then you should be more inclined to take a shot in the main event. However, if $10,000 is just the shot in the arm your bankroll needs to increase your hourly rate by $10 or so, then dropping it on an entry fee for a single tournament could end up costing you a lot of money in the long-term. The experience of playing in the main event may be worth something to you beyond your real money equity, though. Spending a few days immersed in the game and culture, potentially meeting and playing with some of the best players in the world, could be a valuable learning experience. If nothing else, it may boost your confidence to know that you held your own against a well-known professional, and that is worth something. Finally, you can factor in some entertainment value from the experience itself, but donӴ delude yourself. You could take a nice vacation for $10,000, and there is a fair chance that the WSOP will be short and frustrating for you, no matter how good of a player you are.
Assuming that youӶe decided youӬl be a winning player in the tournament, can absorb the variance well enough to make taking a shot worthwhile, and want to play the WSOP more than youӤ like to do something else with the money, letӳ talk about how to approach the tournament.