by Tom McEvoy
The 2012 World Series of Poker is with us at last. I’m writing this column just a couple of days before the first event, so it’s too early to tell how things will turn out for the players this year, but I will make a few predictions and offer some tips. First off, the excitement in the air always seems tangible around the WSOP, and 2012 should be no exception. Every year, patrons speculate that the WSOP will fail to match the previous year. And, every year, that speculation is dispelled. Even in the aftermath of Black Friday (April 15th of last year) there were record crowds, and I predict that will be the case again this year.
Another record will likely be set in terms of the largest payoff. The previous record is held by Jamie Gold for his $12,000,000 win in the 2006 main event. The addition of the $1,000,000 event should almost guarantee that the total prize money for this year’s World Series of Poker will set a new record.
I have often been quoted as saying: “You must survive in a tournament long enough to give yourself a chance to get lucky.” That is still true today, but mere survival is not enough; you have to accumulate enough chips to give yourself a chance to win or go deep. Simply put, you have to take more chances to get enough chips to be competitive. The number of players in tournaments—especially the World Series of Poker events, has grown substantially. In order to gather enough chips to compete effectively, players must take more risks earlier than in the past. It does you very little good to hang on with a short stack, waiting for only premium hands, then have the blinds eat you up before you even get to the money. Also, if you are playing extremely tight, observant opponents will be aware of this, and will adjust their play accordingly. You often won’t get any action on your better hands unless you are up against an even stronger hand.
To win a tournament, you only need to beat one table—the one you are currently playing on. You have no control over the other tables that surround you. The big difference in these huge tournaments with sometimes thousands of players, is that you have more tables to conquer. This means you must take more chances to get enough chips to do proper battle. Many players start playing super aggressive right from the start. They are willing to risk busting out in order to try for big stack status early on. Players like this are tough to play against once they have accumulated a large stack. When up against these types of players, you can often trap them if they get too aggressive. There are many ways to be successful in poker tournaments. A lot of your strategy has to do with mental attitude. Do you want to say you cashed a big event for bragging rights with your friends, or do you want to risk going broke before the money to give yourself a chance to win the big bucks? Only you can decide. I will say this: often in a World Series of Poker event, I will hear players say their only goal is to make the money, or to just survive until the end of the day’s play. Take advantage of this, and bluff these players more often.
Tom McEvoy is not only a professional player, but a teacher and an author. He is also the head pro for www.faceupgaming.com, a legal subscription site with a monthly membership of $24.95. Check it out, and use “Tom” for your bonus code. Tom also has a website www.tommcevoy.com and is available for public seminars and private instruction.