The World Series of Poker Colossus II is the world’s largest live poker tournament and Lee Davy gives the virgins a few tips on what to expect as they sit down to play in the first open event of the 47th Annual Las Vegas extravaganza.
When it comes to playing poker, I am no expert. It’s the primary reason I am writing this instead of competing. However, when it comes to the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Colossus, I have as much experience as the other 22,374 entrants who entered the event during the 46th Annual WSOP.
Back then the organisers guaranteed a prize pool of $5m but forgot to secure a big enough deal for first place. A few people were wandering around the halls of The Rio, swords unsheathed, looking for a head to take off, but on the tables I played on most people didn’t care. There was a sense of sensibility. Most individuals who compete in The Colossus are excited about making the money. They never think they will win the thing.
In the end, the $5m guarantee seemed a little silly. They raked in $11,187,000. Lance ‘Cord’ Garcia was the last man seated earning $638,880 and one doubts he was complaining. I finished 1,664th for a $1,801 cash. The comfortable life would have to wait. The hard work and graft continue.
The event will be even bigger this year. Employee’s event aside it will be the big marquee opener. The guarantee has shifted to $7m. It could easily be $10m. I guess they need the extra rope for next year. They have bowed down to the pressure of the pros and created a $1m first prize for the person who takes it down. And it will be a pro. The days of the complete amateur wading through that many people to win a bracelet are few and far between.
So that’s all the boring crap out of the way.
What did I learn from my first experience in the Colossus?
Let’s find out shall we?
1# You Will be a Part of History
I can’t explain the feeling. There are no words to describe it. Competing in a world record event is the dogs bollocks. There is a real buzz about the place. Make sure that you soak it up. You will be nervous. But find the time to push that aside and revel in the fact that you have a seat in the largest live poker tournament ever held in the history of the world. Be grateful. Many people would love to be in your position, and that includes me.
2# Bring Plenty of Money
The $565 buy-in was a new move for the WSOP team. I liked it. I always believed $1,000 – $1,500 was a lot of money for a recreational player to spend playing a game of cards. I still believe $565 is a lot when you put life into perspective.
But it’s all a big con.
As previously explained, being a part of a world record produces a high of the blackened spoon variety. The higher the high, the steeper the drop. The Colossus has the lowest of all lows. Elimination from this bad boy makes you want to torture kittens.
The tournament organisers understand this. They sell you options. I think differently. I see victims. Last year, I only prepared to buy-in once. As soon as I folded my first hand, I knew I would be locked into the event no matter what. While I understand that’s my problem, and yes, I have a problem. I advise you to prepare for it.
This year the organisers are allowing you to re-enter in six different flights should you bust. While the pros might laugh and joke on Twitter about spending $3,390 on Colossus buy-ins, it’s no joke for the electrician who told his wife he was in for $565, and then realised that he was hypnotised by the event and couldn’t pull away.
Make sure you have enough money.
One buy-in will not be enough.
You will want to play in them all, so prepare for that. Otherwise, that guilt will eat into your game like a pair of hawks chowing down on a dead mouse.
3# Prepare For The Lines
Can you imagine the logistical nightmare of trying to seat over 20,000 people?
If you do, then you will appreciate their efforts instead of doing what I did last year and complain like a reborn severed head in a jar of liquid which has just realised that the technology to reconnect it to a body still doesn’t exist after 1,000 years in cryogenic status.
The organisers have tried everything in their power to reduce the lines. You can pre-register in advance. There are Fast Track kiosks. Players will cash on Day 1 throughout all six flights. And yet there will still be lines.
Take advantage of the new ways to get ahead of the lines, and then prepare to stand idle for a very long time. If you are ready, then there are no complaints. Don’t fight against what is.
I have just found a delightful new app called Blinkist. It contains over 1,500 non-fiction books, and a team of readers have done the hard work for you to condense the lessons learned into bullet points that take 15-minutes max to read.
Get stuck into that and you don’t care where you are in the world including a line in The Rio.
Start with The Upside of Stress by Kelly McGonigal and start putting the teachings into practice while standing in the line.
4# Encourage Banter
You will be nervous.
The best way to overcome your nerves will be to chat. And don’t worry about giving information away. The chances are, most people on your table come from the same non-poker playing monastery.
Encourage banter around the table. Don’t get sucked into the shades, hoodie, and backwards baseball cap image. Don’t fall for it. Pretend you are a bellboy for the day and let the tongue wag like never before.
5# Develop Relationships
Choose the one you believe you prefer talking to and strike up a relationship. Not only do you get all the benefits described in #4 but it’s so much harder for someone emotional invested in you to bluff you later on in the game. Your bluffs will also get through because they will trust you more.
So many players just want a smooth ride.
Give them a reason to create one.
6# Learn to Say Goodbye
You will end up on more tables than a beer mat.
That’s what happens when you play in the largest live tournament in the world.
Develop reads but don’t worry too much about it on Day 1 until you can get an accurate grasp that you will be staying put. If you are unsure, ask the dealer. They will know if you are likely to get chopped up or not.
7# Learn to Say: ‘Shut The Fuck Up.’
While talking and developing relationships is important you also need to learn to shut the fuck up.
Last year, a professional poker player sat to my direct right. We knew each other and started talking about pirates, what a scabbard is, and who we would most like to see walk the plank.
But he wouldn’t shut up.
Remember, he was the pro. I was the writer pretending to be the pro. I so desperately wanted to tell him to shut the fuck up, but I couldn’t do it. I’m that type of guy. My wife intends to tell the neighbours to come into our garden and clean their cat shit. I can’t do it. I will fill my dirty fingernails with the stuff before I go to far.
I didn’t want him to know that I was taking the event seriously because he obviously wasn’t. It was a stupid man thing. Don’t allow a stupid man thing to give your opponent an edge. Make sure, when you are playing a hand or are interested in observing someone else playing a hand, that you make the incessant yapper aware that you need some chill time.
8# Make People Feel Comfortable
This event attracts people who have never played poker before in their droves. And this is great news. However, a strange dynamic comes accompanied with the pure white virginal snowflakes – a bunch of idiots stinking of sulphur who want to abuse virgins each and every time they make a mistake.
If you abuse the virgins, then they withdraw. They become afraid to express themselves, and this is bad news. You want them splashing around in pots. So if you see someone ridiculing a new player do everything in your power to show solidarity and make them feel part of the clan while ostracising the twat with the big mouth.
9# Don’t Laugh
And on that note, if a player wearing shades, hoodie, and WSOP cap signed by Dan Harrington suddenly moves all-in for 100bb under the gun after failing to play a hand for four levels don’t laugh. Stick a bagel in your mouth, chew on some dates, drink some jungle juice. Just don’t laugh.
10# Don’t Watch Beach Volleyball
Pay attention to the game.
If the organisers put beach volleyball on the big screens in your area then asked them to change the channel. It’s not easy playing poker with an erection.
11# Love Your Dealer
You need a lot of dealers to cater for the mass influx of players a world record event provides. While the field is full of newbies so will are the people sat in front of you trying to deal. There will be mistakes. Berating them makes it worse. Make them feel at home and the number of errors will dwindle.
And yes, be prepared for it, dealers can deal cards while physically asleep, and many of them will be because of the long hours they have to put in to make your event happen.
Is this ideal?
It downright bad for business, but if you accept it, and show gratitude for them doing their job so you can live your dream then who the hell cares right?