Table Talk: What to Expect from the WSOP

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It’s a good thing I’m in Las Vegas because everyone is heading this way. In less than one week, the 2013 World Series of Poker gets underway at the Rio here in Las Vegas, and anyone who plays poker, writes about poker, or knows someone in poker will be inundated with stories and chip counts for the next seven weeks. I, for one, will have a drink nearby at all times so I can handle all of the bad beat stories.

For those not attending the festivities in SinCity, there are some things you should know. Your Facebook and Twitter feeds will be filled with a variety of messages from the poker tables and beyond. These fall into several categories that can be summed up as follows:

1. It’s so hot in Vegas.

2. It’s so cold in the Rio.

3. I should have registered early for the tournament. Lines suck!

4. Min-cash in Event xxx. On to the next one.

5. So close but no bracelet! Here’s my bad beat story.

6. Busto. Here’s my bad beat story. Poker sucks.

7. I shouldn’t have gone out partying last night.

With these in mind, I’d like to dole out some advice to poker players who will test the limits of every friendship and family relationship by sending out these messages on a regular basis throughout the summer.

First, please be prepared for the weather. The temperatures can easily reach or exceed 100F degrees as the weeks move on, and yes, that is hot. Dress accordingly, don’t leave things in the car that will melt, and keep your sunglasses handy. Meanwhile, understand that the Convention Center of the Rio is kept rather chilly. It happens every year, so bring layers of clothes that you can put on when you’re playing poker. Many poker players bring sweaters, sweatshirts, jackets, and even scarves. It may seem silly, but it won’t when you’re seated under an air conditioning vent.

Second, know your WSOP. Register for your tournaments early or plan to stand in line, as those are the only two options. The Rio cashier cage is open 24 hours each day, and you can register during any of those hours. Get your Caesars’ player’s card in advance, know the rake that you’ll be expected to pay, and do your homework. If you’re able to put down $1K or $10K on a tournament, you should know these things.

Third, understand your audience. Many of your friends and family members will not know what to say when you min-cash a tournament, so accept the congratulations with grace. When you run deep in a tournament and cash for a hefty sum of money, celebrate just a little, even if you missed out on the victory and the bracelet. Again, accept the happiness of those around you. And if you bust from a tournament before the money, please save your bad beat story. While you believe you may be the only one to ever have aces cracked by 7-2, it is not likely. People HATE bad beat stories. Please spare your friends. Also remember that you don’t hate poker because you’re probably registering for the next tournament as you send that tweet.

Lastly, enjoy Vegas and all that it has to offer, but use some common sense. Going to a nightclub the night before a tournament is not a good idea, but you’d be surprised at how many people do it. There are many temptations in Vegas, but indulge with caution. And remember that what you do in Vegas during the WSOP may be seen by any of a number of other people in the poker industry, so just know that what happens in Vegas may not stay in Vegas; it might end up on Twitter.

With that said, it’s the WSOP! Have fun, win money, and make the trip to Las Vegas a memorable one. There are more types of cuisine and entertainment options here than in most other cities, so find time to take advantage of the city. And when you’re playing poker, give it your best.

I wish you all the best of luck, whether you’re coming to Vegas for the WSOP or following along from home. Cheers!