It’s Time to Get Ready for the 55th Annual WSOP

World Series of Poker

7 minutes

Last Updated: April 12, 2024

We are now just over a month away from the biggest poker festival of the year, as the World Series of Poker kicks off on May 28 at the Horseshoe and Paris in Las Vegas.

With just weeks left before the cards are in the air, it’s about high time you get your final preparations in place and put together a strong game plan for the WSOP.

Whether it’s your first time traveling out to Las Vegas, or just another Series in a line of many, there is something special about this particular poker festival compared to all the others.

The WSOP is bigger and better than any tournament series you will get to play any time of the year, and as such it deserves more consideration than any other.

So, here are my top tips for how to prepare for the WSOP in these last few weeks before it starts, and the things you should do to both optimize your chances of success and have a good time in Sin City overall.

#1 – Get Ready for Long Days at the Tables

Watching the WSOP highlights on PokerGO may seem quite epic, but the truth is there is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that goes into getting anywhere close to a final table of a WSOP event.

In fact, many top pros go to Vegas, play a full schedule, and still don’t even make a single final table despite their skills and bankrolls.

The reason, of course, is the variance of tournament poker, which can make it extremely difficult to get any results in a short span of time.

Make no mistake, even if you play every tournament at the WSOP, you will still be nowhere near the “long run,” especially considering the massive fields at the WSOP.

To give yourself the best chance, you will want to fire as many bullets and play as many hours as possible during the couple of months you spend in the desert, and this can be a grueling experience.

So, before you head out, I recommend doing your best to get in shape and ready to play poker up to 12 hours a day for many days at a time.

If you are doing it right, WSOP will be almost exclusively the time to play poker, although I do recommend taking some days off to explore Las Vegas and enjoy all it has to offer.

#2 – Hone Your Tournament Poker Skills

There are only a few weeks left before the WSOP starts, but that’s plenty of time to make sure you are on top of your tournament poker game.

If you haven’t been playing too actively over the last few months, I highly recommend taking some time to play some online sessions, or even play a few live events at your local casinos in the build-up.

If you can, getting to Las Vegas a week early and playing some daily tournaments at the various venues around the city could also be a great way to make sure you are on top of your game come WSOP.

What’s even more, you should take some time to study the game away from the tables. Watch final tables from last year on PokerGO, run through a tournament coaching course or two, and run sims on some of the online tournament hands you have played.

Every bit of preparation could come in handy when the time comes, and this is the time to pull the long hours in the lab to make sure you are ready to go at the tables.

#3 – Examine the Schedule

This year, there are 99 WSOP bracelet events you could play in, along with hundreds of other poker tournaments at other venues such as the Wynn, Venetian, and Orleans.

If you are going to be in Vegas for the duration of the Series, it is a good idea to look over the full WSOP schedule and create an approximate schedule of your own.

Whether you enjoy No Limit Texas Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, or Mixed Games, there are dozens of events both at the WSOP and away from it you can play this summer.

The schedules are also riddled with events in different buyin brackets, but there are so many of them that choosing which ones to play can be a bit of a challenge.

So, spend some time examining the calendar and figure out what events you want to play and how big of a bankroll you will need to play in them.

#4 – Prepare Your Bankroll/Sell Action

One of the prerequisites to play in WSOP events is that you bring enough money with you, and that will take some planning.

Once you know approximately which events you want to play, you should figure out how big of a bankroll you will need to play all of them.

Of course, you don’t necessarily have to cover every last buyin you plan to play, as you should have some cashes along the way, but being as ready as possible is always prudent.

If you are a successful tournament player already, you may be able to sell some of your WSOP action at a reasonable markup on platforms such as StakeKings and YouStake.

If not, you may still be able to get your friends and other players to buy pieces, and even doing so without any markup can help reduce your variance and allow you to play more events.

#5 – Plan Out Your Travel Expenses

Spending two months in Las Vegas can be quite costly, but can also be done on a budget, depending on what you are aiming for.

Accommodations will generally be the biggest cost, as Vegas hotels tend to be on the more expensive side, so finding a good deal in this area is advisable.

Remember, you will be spending up to 15 hours a day at the casinos, so paying too much for accommodations may not be the best idea ever.

What you want is a place close enough to the Strip that it doesn’t take too long to get to the events, and one that is comfortable and clean enough that you can relax after a long day at the tables.

Past that, figure out the preferred places to eat your meals, or a way to fix your own meals while at the WSOP, which is why a private accommodation may be best.

AirBNB options in Las Vegas are plentiful, and if you rent for a long time, they can be much more affordable than the hotels.

What’s even more, this gives you a chance to have more space, have a kitchen where you can prepare affordable and healthy meals, and not have to deal with any annoying resort fees, surcharges, or other hotel nonsense.

#6 – Consider Cash Games

While many poker players, like Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth, only play tournaments during the WSOP, other like Matt Berkey play almost exclusively cash games in this period.

WSOP is one of the best times to play cash games at various Las Vegas properties, as there are countless poker players coming into the city to play poker.

While a lot of European pros do also come out, most of them are busy playing the tournaments, while many recreational players take to the cash game tables as soon as they bust out of the events.

Lower stakes tables get incredibly fishy this time of the year, as pros look to play higher and maximize their hourly win rate, leaving the $1/3 and $2/5 tables populated with tons of recreational players.

Even if you will be playing a heavy tournament schedule, getting involved in some cash game action could be a good idea to reduce the variance and add some variety.

#7 – Be Ready for Anything

The World Series of Poker is the biggest stage for poker players, and anything can happen once the cards are in the air.

By the time the summer is over, some of the players who come out to Vegas will go home with tails between their legs, while others will be proudly showcasing their newly won bling.

There is a lot of variance of poker and there is really no telling which side you will end up on, so you should be ready for just about anything.

If you are a skilled player and do all the necessary preparation, chances are you will come out on top in one way or another.

Yet, whatever happens, remember to take it all in stride and enjoy the experience that WSOP brings itself as much as any potential success you may have at the tables.

If you want to be a poker player and do it for a long time, being able to enjoy the game at all times is a necessary ingredient for success.

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