The Daily Grind for a Live Pro

Playing great online poker often means playing a few hours a day and quitting when you get fatigued. Though this is true for live poker as well, the fatigue is often physical, rather than mental. Since decisions are so few and far between, live players can often expect to grind for more than eight solid hours. Bearing this in mind, I have found the most success with a strategy like the following:

# 30 minutes before arrival, phone the poker room and put your name on the waiting list for a table. Let them know when you arrive and you should be at the top of the list by then.
# Arrive and take your seat. Typically, buy in for the maximum and have several rebuys in higher denomination chips in your pocket: green $25s for 1/2 and black $100s for 2/5 and higher. This is the live equivalent of topping up your stack. Don’t forget to sign up and use your players comp card, as it is often worth a dollar or two an hour in free food.
# Snap a picture of the table, leave the table and sit at the bar for a minute, order a soda and consult your notebook for notes on the players at the table. Do this before posting your first blind and you aren’t missing out on any hands.
# Play poker until lunch, grab something to eat. Casino food is expensive, but often comped. If you’d like, just leave the casino and visit a deli or something. The casino buffet is obviously the most expensive place to eat a terrible meal, so don’t spend your money there. You can leave your chips on the table for at least an hour before any floor manager can remove them, but if it is around mealtime, you can usually disappear for two hours without any problem. If someone is in your seat after returning from a long meal, the floor manager probably removed your chips to a special safe in the poker room. I usually use my lunch break to write notes about players in my notebook.
# Snap another picture of the table when you return. Play the rest of the day, and, if it is a Friday or Saturday, you may consider playing on into the night as well.

This kind of life can have consequences even for young and healthy players. The chairs in a poker room are often uncomfortable, and sitting in them for many hours can be painful. Many players grab the latest issue of Bluff (never CardPlayer, in this writer’s opinion) and place it on their seat. The extra padding help in some card rooms. Always carry Advil or another NSAID in your car or in a jacket pocket, just in case. Not to mention, the guy at the table with the pain relievers is often warmly welcomed. Other valuables that you might want to carry are the same things you would want if living out of your car, including a change of clothes, food and drinks, a book or two, and, of course, condoms. After all, you’re already going to Hell for gambling.

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