From Mallorca to Vegas
Hello from Mallorca, the Spanish island in the Mediterranean between Spain and Italy. I'm here conducting a one-week poker seminar along with some other coaches. We're here helping a big group of people learn about poker and the poker player's lifestyle.
Teaching the seminar has been quite interesting, and we're staying in a nice, big house right by the sea. I also have my family with me, so there's really nothing to complain about.
One thing I've realized during my time here is how helpful it is for me not only to teach others about poker, but to talk to the other coaches as well. It has turned out to be a nice way to prepare for the WSOP, even though I wasn't really expecting that when I came here. But revisiting concepts -- even basic fundamentals -- can really help your thinking and gives you a better chance to play well.
In truth, all the great athletes work on the basics a lot. Top golfers practice their swing for days on end so they don't have to worry about it when they compete. It's good to internalize the basics, so to speak, so you aren't having to think about them as you try to do perform more complicated maneuvers or, in the case of poker, try to work through more complicated decisions.
For this year's WSOP I'm going out for the last few weeks, instead of doing the whole eight-week marathon as I used to do in the past. The first six years I played the WSOP I went for the entire time, then the last three years I've only gone for the last three weeks which I've found has helped considerably when it comes to keeping my focus.
I found that staying eight weeks in Vegas playing lots of tournaments and putting in lots of hours is extremely tough. Obviously it is very hard to win poker tournaments. You go through a lot of ups and downs, and more often than not you end up disappointed and so that becomes a lot to deal with over a long period of time. Las Vegas can be a difficult place to be for two months as well. I admire guys like Jason Mercier and Daniel Negreanu who can pull that off, but for me I've done better scaling back a bit.
My good buddy George Danzer is another player who can play the entire eight weeks, and I predict good things for him this year. In fact, I think he's going to get a bracelet this summer. He crushed the SCOOP in May He final tabled a WSOP event during the first week, so he's playing really well right now. He had a second and a third last year at the WSOP as well, so he's bound to get a win soon.
George is a great hold'em player, but he's especially good at the other games, too, which improves his chances to win a bracelet. One time he was playing in one of those non-hold'em events and was at a table with Erik Seidel. They had been playing for a few hours when George started to talk about how much he wanted to win a bracelet, and apparently Erik answered by saying "Don't worry about it... you're going to have a carton full of bracelets, the way that you play."
That was a pretty cool compliment to get from a player like Erik Seidel. And I think that's really going to happen.
Between the poker seminar getting me really pumped up and watching George do well, I'm starting to get excited to get back out to the WSOP again. I'm also eager to return after my deep Main Event run last year (when I finished 26th). Since then I definitely feel like I've improved from a technical standpoint, but psychologically as well. Time to make some final tables!
Jan Heitmann is a member of Team PokerStars Pro