Was running through my pre-game checklist today, reminding myself of a number of things I want to keep in mind while playing in the tournament on Friday. For early stage play, for example, these include such wide-ranging things as:
- Be very patient. Let game come to me. Don't force the action.
- Tight/semi-passive play in first few blind levels (play almost a weak-tight game). Start adding aggression as the blinds climb. Be in full blown (re)attack mode by the time the antes kick in.
- Do not gamble early. Main goal is to not lose a lot of chips early. Don't dig a hole.
- First: Survive and observe. Second: Chip-up if I can. This reverses deep into antes.
- Don't LP steal with hands I'm not willing to call a re-reraise with (or 4bet with). Stealing isn't worth it at the early stages.
- Dump the small pairs and trouble hands in EP.
- And so on...
- Have Fun. This is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind. Why am I going to Vegas in the first place? Because it's on my bucket list, that's why. I'm doing this because I want to experience, well, the experience of the WSOP. The stress of playing in a big event like this can easily overwhelm the whole big picture if I let it. I have to actually remind myself that the point of this fandango is to enjoy the WSOP. Experience it. Have fun. Enjoy. Take it all in. Play poker. Smile.
- Play With Heart. Trust my instincts and have the courage to pull the trigger when the time comes. And have the courage to fold, too. The buy-in money is already gone, so don't stress the money part. It's like posting your blinds; that money no longer belongs to me. These be sunk costs, boy. Play irrespective of the buy-in or the payout structure. Which brings us to...
- Make Good Decisions. It may sound simpleminded, but this is perhaps the biggest, most important and fundamental secret to winning poker. The results don't freaking matter: it's all about the decisions, mate. The absolute last thing I want to do is come back from Vegas wishing I'd played a key hand differently than I did, especially in tough spots. I can take coolers. I can live with bad beats. What I can't stand, however, is bad decisions. Especially hasty, bad decisions. My internal dialog on each tough hand is going to include something along the lines of: If this hand busts me out, how am I going to justify my play tomorrow on the blog? If I can't justify the play, I should not make it. It's really that simple. Think, reason it out, make a decision, then act.
All-in for now...