Friday, January 25, 2013

More Thoughts on Studying for the 2013 WSOP

Depending on which event I decide to play, I have about 20-22 weeks left before I pack up for the drive across the desert to Vegas and the 2013 World Series of Poker. This means only 4-5 months of prep time. Here's how I think I'm going to spend that limited time:
  1. Read Books. As mentioned here, I havae a lot of books to choose from. Based on some time thumbing through all of them last night, as well as some soul searching about my weaknesses and leaks, I think I'm going to concentrate on the following tomes:
    • Tournament Specific:
      • Winning Poker Tournaments, One Hand at a Time, Volumes 1, 2, and 3, by Lynch, et al. I really enjoy these books and this format, but so far I have been just dabbing in and out of them as the mood fits. I now intend to work my way through them linearly, and take copious notes along the way. I will probably do some hand analyses taken directly from these WPT:OHaaT volumes in this blog along the way, too.
      • The Poker Tournament Formula Volume 2, by Snyder. I talked a lot about Snyder's first book (volume 1) in the past, but this second volume is geared toward higher PF tourneys, like the WSOP. I've started reading it previously, but got side-tracked. Time to bring it back to the top of the list and give it another go.
      • Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker, by Little. This one will be read only if I can get through it. It's gotten very good reviews for its technical content, but the two times I've tried to read it before, my eyes glazed over and I found my mind wandering. I think there's some good stuff on bet sizing as a function of position and stack sizes, for instance, but it's a tough, rambling read.
      • ????. I think I've got time for one or two more books on this list. I'm leaving my options open a bit for now on which ones these will be. Suggestions are welcome.
    • Reads and Tells:
      • Reading Poker Tells, by Elwood. Andrew Brokos recently called this book "one of the most helpful poker books I’ve read. Ellwood covers his subject clearly and thoroughly, and his book is well-organized and easy for a player of any ability level to follow. The material isn’t earth-shattering, so if you already consider yourself adept at reading your opponents, you might not have a lot to gain. For relatively inexperienced live players like myself, though, there’s no better resource for learning to decipher your opponents’ behavior." I've skimmed the book, and it seems very readable and full of good advice. I have the electronic version of this one on both my computer and kindle, so I might start in on it Monday morning during a long biz trip flight I'll be on that day.
      • How to Read Hands at NLHE, by Miller. This one is geared toward cash games, which is Miller's specialty, but I believe many of the concepts can be carried over to tourney play.
      • ????. Perhaps the most important technical skill an intermediate to advanced player can have at the table is putting your opponent on a hand range and line. Ergo, I'm leaving room in my schedule for a third book in this subject area. I don't quite know which one, however.
    • Emotional/Tilt/Psychology:
      • Your Worst Poker Enemy, by Schoonmaker. I've skimmed this book before, and I think it's got some serious merit to a player like myself. This is the biggest unknown of all the books on my list, however, as to its true usefulness.
  2. Watch Training Videos. I have over 1800 videos to choose from my library. Of these, 100 or so were downloaded this month from the Tournament Poker Edge website. These are all aimed squarely at MTT play, so I'll work my way through as many per week as I can from this pile, and ignore all the others in my vast, rambling collection.
  3. Fitness. Time to get serious(er) about the diet. I'm doing fairly well on the exercise front, but from all I've read on the subject, the aspect of one's health that is controllable (i.e., non-hereditary/genetic) is ~80% diet and ~20% exercise (not including environmental concerns). Business trips threaten (as always) to derail this undertaking, but if want to have even a prayer of enough stamina to outlast a couple thousand other runners in Vegas, I have to get going hard on this front. My plan of attack is as follows:
    • "Primal" Diet. Over the years, I've found that my body works best on a relatively low carb intake of calories. I sleep better at night, have less heartburn, am more alert, cholesterol and blood pressure are better... and I lose weight very easily. The trick, however, is passing up things like beer, donuts, and pizza, all of which I enjoy partaking. It has to be a lifestyle change, and not a "diet" if I want to implement this approach. Check out Mark's Daily Apple if you're interested in knowing more about this approach.
    • Exercise. I currently walk 1-2 miles every day, and my wife and I do morning free weight exercises together ~3x per week. I also occasionally jump on my elliptical machine for some aerobic work. All of these are good in quality, but not sufficient in quantity. Said another way: I need to keep doing what I'm doing, but increase the frequency and duration of all. 
  4. Play Lots of Poker.
    • Online. I'm going to continue playing on Carbon/Coal for now, but I'm going shopping for a new site, too (see this post here for why). I'm also going to try to dial the cash games way back to close to zero, too, and get in lots of SnGs and MTTs.  Yes, I've built a decent 'roll playing cash, but the goal for the next 4-5 months is to master MTTs, and that isn't going to happen if I continue playing mostly ring games.
    • Live. Between now and June, I can get in 3-4 more trips up to the big city  for their last-Saturday-of-the-month tourney they hold (described here). I also can play in at least one local live event per month, plus I might try getting in another one every month, too. This would mean 2-3x live events per month, or somewhere between 8 and 15 live events prior to the WSOP. Not as many as I'd like, but it's better than nothing.
  5. Blog, blog, blog. I'll also of course continue blogging Bug Tips, Hand Analyses, I Love Poker Math, and the random rant and ramble here, too, as I believe writing down my thoughts, experiences, and lessons-learned throughout the years has helped my game immeasurably. The focus, however, has to shift to almost primarily tournament play.
Finally, I'm going to continue my Sunday recap/rehash blog post of my progress, but I'm simplifying the reporting to just match the five categories above, no more, no less. The name of the game is simplification and prioritization. Wish me luck, as time is getting short...

All-in for now...

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