Thursday, June 04, 2009

Veteran Vegas tips

Here's another one I put together last month that may not run anywhere. Perhaps in the next issue of Rounder. Here's a sneak peek, just in case:

Veteran tips for the WSOP

By Johnny Kampis

I’ve been traveling to Las Vegas for the WSOP every year since 2004, and with so many players new to the game it practically makes me a veteran. Having navigated my way through the halls of the Rio and the streets of Sin City without going broke, I felt I could provide some tips for those making their first trip to Vegas for the WSOP. Even if you’ve been a time or two I hope these tips will provide some help for survival in the poker jungle.

Make a plan of attack before you go. Before flying into McCarran Airport, learn all you can about the WSOP and other poker options in Las Vegas. Which WSOP events would you like to play? Can you afford them? Should you try to satellite your way in? How about the cash games? There are a number of other tournament series taking place concurrently with the WSOP with lower buy-ins. Consider playing in some of these during your trip. I like to look at all of the tournament schedules and see which events work best for me on each day and make my own tentative playing schedule during my trip. My plans always change somewhat, but it gives me a good roadmap from which to start.

Pace yourself and your bankroll. First, make a budget and stick to it. If you have $5,000 to take to Vegas to play at the WSOP for two weeks don’t blow through it and take out another $5,000 at the ATMs. The key to this is to pace yourself. If you hop off the plane, throw your bags on the hotel bed and head to the nearest $2/$5 NLHE table enjoy yourself, but if you lose $500 right off the bat go take a break. Don’t lose a big chunk of your bankroll the first couple of days after you arrive or you may end up going broke during the middle of your trip if your luck doesn’t turn.

Don’t get star struck. If this is your first trip to the Amazon ballroom the WSOP can be overwhelming. The room is big, really big – 200 plus tables big. You’ll see many of the poker stars that are regularly on TV and if you enter some bracelet events you may be pitted against some of them. Always remember, though, that you’re still sitting at a standard looking poker table and playing with the same standard 52-card deck. It’s like the scene in “Hoosiers” when Coach Norman Dale has his players measure the height of the hoop in Indianapolis – still the standard 10 feet. The competition may seem greater, but the game is still the same.

Enjoy the city. Especially if this is your first trip to Vegas, please don’t spend all your time at the poker tables. In my opinion, this is one of the greatest cities in the world and I look forward to the trip every summer. There is so much to see and do here that you should definitely soak it in rather than play cards all day and night. See a show, walk through some casinos and hit the clubs. That being said…

Watch out for the dark side. By that I mean the pit games. Many a poker player has lost a good portion of his bankroll at blackjack, craps, pai gow, and so on and so forth. By all means enjoy yourself with a little table game or slot action, but don’t blow a healthy percentage of your bankroll on the games where you are bucking impossible-to-beat house odds.

Follow this practical advice and I hope you hit it big in Vegas this summer.

1 comment:

OhCaptain said...

Excellent advice. I love the 'Hoosiers' reference.