Staying normal at the WSOP
It's WSOP time again! This year we've rented a house with a number of other people -- about 10 total -- which will do a lot, I think, to help create kind of a domestic environment during the many weeks we'll be in Las Vegas.
It's necessary, actually, when going away from home for a long period of time to play poker to create a kind of "normal" environment in which to stay, especially when we're talking about going to a place like Las Vegas, which is as far from normal as it gets!
Staying in a "home"-like place is much better than in a hotel-casino, I think, where every time you get off the elevator you hear that "ding-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling" of the slot machines and the person you saw sitting at a machine going up the night before is still sitting there the next morning! It gets a little surreal after a while, and so that's why it's going to be nice to have our group of friends -- some of whom aren't even poker players -- to be with and to help keep us all sane and grounded.
Players definitely get burned out at the WSOP, letting their sleep schedules get all out of sorts and not maintaining a good life balance as it plays out. But it's a big investment, and so it's important to do what you can to keep it together and give yourself the best chance to do well. It's all part of taking a professional approach to the game and doing what you can to increase your profitability.
A lot of Vegas housing is located some distance from the Strip, which creates other problems, but we've found a place that's only a 10-minute drive away, and so that will help a lot this time, too. We'll get our groceries and probably a gym pass and try to live a normal life while playing event after event.
A couple of years ago my girlfriend came out for part of the time while I was at the WSOP. In a way I'm not a huge fan of combining relationships and poker playing like that, because it can be difficult to focus both on making sure your companion is having a good time while also trying to focus on your game and playing well.
What usually happens is you do both kind of halfway, which isn't good for your companion nor for your poker playing. That won't be the case this time, though, which as I say is probably best all around.
It should be a fun time, I think, both at the tables and when at our "home away from home," too!
Matthias de Meulder is a member of Team PokerStars Pro