Planning for EPT London

ept-thumb-promo.jpgOne of the most exciting events on the PokerStars Women calendar is just a week away, the London stop of the European Poker Tour!

In order to get significantly better at poker, it's important to play consistently. So while looking forward to the PokerStars Women Live Event on October 2nd, I played at the WPT Borgata Open in Atlantic City, which gave me some inspiration for my trip to London.

1. Study the Structure in Advance: In Atlantic City, I made sure to pick up a structure sheet the night before the tournament to get a sense of how deep the event was and the likely dynamics at various points.

The European Poker Tour publishes the structures of its tournaments in advance at // For instance, the PokerStars Women Live EPT event starts with 8000 chips and 25/50 blinds, meaning that you begin with over 150 big blinds, allowing plenty of room to maneuver. Antes kick in on the fourth level. You can even plan your approximate bet-sizing for the first levels in advance, giving you one less thing to worry about as you sink into the event.

2. Plan Your Schedule to Your Strengths: Many women who come out for the PokerStars Women Live EPT events also participate in some other side events during the series. Additionally, many female pros and members of Team PokerStars Pro who bust from the Main Event participate in the women's event.

When I arrived in Atlantic City, I wasn't sure if I would play side events or the Main, but eventually decided to play a $700+50 satellite to the Main. The buyin of the satellite was such that the majority of competitors planned to play regardless of whether they qualified. You would think this would mean that the field was quite tough, but I got a table draw with many players who seemed inexperienced with satellite structures. I was satisfied with my play as I found lots of good spots, winning my seat with one coinflip, a few well timed three-bet shoves, and hours of maintaining by min-raising. The experience convinced me that I may be better off playing a Main Event qualifier in London, rather than another side event I had intended to play.

3. Avoid "Mistake Tilt": During the Borgata Championship Event, I played for most of day two with Team PokerStars Pro David Williams, who was chip leader going into day three. A little later, I played poorly in a hand against David where I bluffed the river in a spot where both previous action in the hand and live reads suggested to me that he would call.

Unfortunately, I didn't want to show down 9 high and couldn't resist outleveling myself into betting.

However, I was happy that I recovered quickly from the mistake, adjusting quickly to my new stack, and 3-betting in a profitable spot a few hands later. I've been reading an excellent book on poker psychology called The Mental Game of Poker by Jared Tendler with Barry Carter. The book has a section on "mistake tilt," which is definitely the type of tilt I am most susceptible to. It made me realize that in the past I dwelled upon mistakes partly in order to convince myself that I was a serious poker player. To the contrary, such self-flagellation can be very self-indulgent and an excuse to stop thinking.

4. Plan Some Fun: London is one of the most vibrant cultural cities in the world, and you'll definitely want to explore the city between poker hands. When I plan around MTTs, I find it's ideal to make a plan that's flexible enough to cancel if you go deep, but enticing enough to get your mind off poker if you lose in an unlucky but inevitable fashion. In London, I have some plans around my two main passions outside of poker, chess and art.

For some suggestions on what to see and do in London, see Lynn Gilmartin's recent post on the PokerStars Blog.

For more information, visit the PokerStars Women Live Event web page.


Jennifer Shahade

Jennifer Shahade
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour