Monday, April 16, 2018

Project Phaser: My Plan for Preparing for the 2018 World Series of Poker

About a month ago I started looking at the 2018 WSOP schedule. The first time I gave it a 3 minute scan to see how many events and what was new this year. The next time I spent 10 minutes thinking about when I'd want to go and what events I'd want to play if I could make it work. The next 20 times I stared at it endlessly wearing a comatose face while running through every conceivable scenario wistfully dreaming of some way I could make it happen.

Happily between having a great March playing cash games and a larger than average tax refund I feel ready to take my shot once again. I'm going back!

This will be my 8th year at the WSOP. I played at least 3 events every year from 2005-2010, but other than taking 2 shots at the $565 buy in Colossus in 2015 I have not been back since.

I've put together a $10,000 bankroll that includes selling off a piece of my action to the usual friends and family who backed me in the past. I have 3 WSOP events I'm absolutely going to play: $1,500 HORSE on June 6th, $565 PLO on June 8th, and the $1,500 Millionaire Maker on June 9th (I'll fire a second bullet on June 10th in the Millionaire Maker if needed so mentally I kind of have this as 4 separate events).

But I also have a multiphase preparation plan! Don't try to stop me at a single phase! I need more phases than that! One phase preparation plans are for losers!

Phase 0 - Prepare for Preparation

I'm going to play a tournament at Lucky Chances this week! They have a tournament every day at 9:30 am and I figured before I get into Phase 1 I should at least get over there and get reacquainted with how they do shit over there. I haven't been there for 5 years and it's been 8 or 9 years since I played a tournament there. A $200 buy in tournament with a $4,000 first place guarantee on Tuesday is the likely candidate.

Phase 1 - Battle of the Bay

Lucky Chances is running their annual "Battle of the Bay" from April 21st to the 30th with six main tournaments and some satellites. I'll be playing a $550, two $380's and a $200. If I final table one of those or cash in two I might play the $1,100 main event as well.

Phase 2 - Battle of the Bitcoin

I recently jumped through the hoops to get myself some bitcoin and have been playing a little bit on which I think in the 2nd or 3rd largest online poker site that will take US players. I put $150 on there and have played maybe 30-40 $5-$20 multi-table tournaments with somewhere between 75-200 entrants. I've made 4 final tables and finished in 1st in 3 of those instances which is encouraging. I have about $600 on there now after my small victories, but I also just bought some more bitcoin and put $135 on America's Card Room which seems to have some larger field tournaments.

Playing online is risky these days in the sense that you never know when a site is going to shut down either because they just go out of business, pull the plug for fraudulent reasons or have the government seize their domain so I'm treading lightly. I'm not thinking about this as a source of long term significant profit, but rather a way to get a lot of reps. This is going to be like spending time on the driving range for me. It's also going to give me a chance to work on my PLO and Limit Omaha. Sadly, the stud variants are no where to be found so for the S, R and E in the HORSE I'm just going to have to rely on my past experience.

Phase 3 - Bay 101 Open

Bay 101 has a similar set of tournament to Lucky Chances running May 14-21. There are three $350 NL Hold'em events, a limit Omaha, and a $550 NL Hold'em to go along with the $1,100 2 day main event (that I will probably not play).

Phase 4 - Healthy Living

During the 6 years I hit the WSOP hard I was fat! Not really fat, but certainly overweight. I was 260-270 pounds during that stretch of my life which even at 6'5" is too heavy. I've been in the 215-230 range the past 4 years since I started running half marathons and Spartan Races and happen to be 215 right now. With that said I am far from my peak endurance level and will be putting in some time to make sure I have the energy to play from 11 am until 1 or 2 in the morning. I'm also hoping at 38 I'll have the discipline that I did not have at all at 25 and was limited at 30, to eat right, sleep right and not drink too much while in Vegas for a week.

Phase 5 - Long Sessions

I'm used to being at the Casino for 8-9 hours at a stretch and playing for 7-8. I need to put in a few sessions where I push it and play for 12 hours so I can get used to how that feels. I've tried and failed to do this once, but I think if I make a firm commitment on this blog and report back on success or failure that will be help me push through. I'm hoping to hit 12 hours at least twice before I head to Vegas.

Phase 6 - Early Arrival

I'm flying in the day before I play the HORSE. I flew in the day of my first event a few times and it's a mistake. Usually it was to save $100 on one night of hotel which is stupid. I'm sure getting into town the night before, registering the night before, and otherwise being settled so I'll be 100% fresh and all I have to do is walk from my room to the table on the day of will add way more than $100 to my expected value.

Phase 7 - HORSEing around

I've had some of my best success playing HORSE. I finished 4th in a $1,000 online Pokerstars HORSE event with about 450 entrants which paid $37,500 and I also finished 28th in a $3,000 HORSE WSOP event that had about 500 entrants and was maybe the toughest field I'd ever seen in terms of big name pros. But in this case I really wanted to play because I know during the first hour or two I'm going to be nervous and since it's limit I won't have to make any big decisions until I feel settled in. That's comfortable, settled in feeling should carryover to the other events or at least reduce the amount of time that I feel a little edgy at the start.

Phase 8 - Going Phase 8!

By this time I'll be fully prepared give it my best shot and win some money. I hope to be able to use the expression "I went Phase 8 on those mother fuckers" because that sounds really bad ass and most people will not know what it means, but will clearly be able to tell that it is bad ass, but we'll all know that it means that all of my preparation came together, which does not even sound the slightest bit bad ass, but the winning in major poker tournaments is without a doubt bad ass, so there you go.

I will report back on Phase 0 when it is complete.

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