The sun is shining. The weather is sweet, yeah. By all means, get outside and move your dancing feet.
But when you get home, it’s time to get your study hat on. Why?
Because the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) on PokerStars is just around the corner, not to mention all of the other big online series that will run alongside it on other poker sites.
WCOOP 2022 runs from September 4 – 28 and if you want to be ready to compete in the massive fields and enormous prize pools, the time to start working is right now.
If you’re not sure how to get started, we’ve got you covered. Here, you’ll find everything you need to know to help you use the next month as efficiently as possible.
Right, first things first. What and how should you study over the next month?
This all depends on how much you’re willing to invest in yourself. It might seem counterintuitive to make a withdrawal from your poker bankroll in the lead-up to a series, but if you invest the money wisely, there’s a very good chance it will come back to you on the tables.
INVEST IN YOURSELF
When he was coming up in the game, BBZ community member Barrebløff made a promise to himself that when he got his bankroll up to a certain amount, he would withdraw some of the funds and purchase a poker training course.
“I used the money I won to invest in things that could improve my game,” he says. “People see a number like $99 and avoid spending it on a training course when in reality that money will come back really quickly through the knowledge you gain.”
To read more about the benefits of investing in yourself, check out our article:
How to invest in yourself in poker: “The money comes back quickly through the knowledge you gain”
So let’s assume you’re willing to invest a little into your study regime.
Well, watching coaching content is one of the best–and easiest–ways for recreational players to study poker.
Whether you watch a training video on your way to work, while you’re at the gym, before a session or when you’re in bed, coaching content is easy to access and consume at a time suitable for you.
So let’s say you’ve bought yourself a bundle from BBZ Poker…
HOW TO STUDY A BUNDLE
One person who can answer that for you is BBZ community member ‘TheRobRide’, better known in his real life as 22-year-old Robert Kjellström. The student from Uppsala, Sweden recently purchased Jordan ‘bigbluffzinc’ Drummond’s BBZ Bundle for just $99. Three days later he took down a tournament for $1,645. “It’s already paying off!” he told the BBZ Discord.
“Since the bundle includes a lot of content, I’ve been trying to approach studying in a way that helps me fix my biggest leaks first while also focusing on spots where I know that the majority of the player base is weak and there’s a lot of money to be made. One example of this is multiway pots. Multiway pots are not as well studied as heads-up pots are which makes this a pretty common situation where you easily can get an edge on your opponent.
“My second tip for studying is kind of boring but it has to be said. Study the basics ALOT and study them before you take on more advanced spots. When I say study the basics I mean stuff such as your pre-flop ranges, ICM, blind vs blind play, 3-betting and squeezing. These are common spots that you will find yourself in a lot while playing. So, knowing the optimal play is important or you will be losing a lot of money. Just try to not get ahead of yourself and understand your own level so you study the right spots.”
To read more about how to study a BBZ Poker Bundle, check out: How to study poker: What are the best ways to consume a BBZ Poker Bundle?
Next up would be to invest in tools to help you study.
WHAT TOOLS CAN YOU USE
BBZ thinks rec players should look towards solution-based tools such as DTO, Odin or GTO Wizard. These are tools where hundreds of thousands, even millions of simulations have already been run for you, so you can simply look up the answers you’re seeking rather than having to input the data and run the sim on your own.
“I personally flex between GTO Wizard and Odin, but I use GTO Wizard the most,” says BBZ. “The idea that someone would start with their own solver and running their own sims, I think that’s a waste of time and resources.”
A good way to use these tools would be to mark a bunch of hands during your next session in which you were unsure what to do. At the end of your session, you can pull up each hand individually and find the solution in the tool. This is a great way to bolster your knowledge and will make you feel more comfortable at the tables every session you play.
WHAT AREAS DO YOU NEED TO STUDY THE MOST?
No limit hold’em is one of the most complex games ever invented and as a result, there’s no limit to the number of different spots we need to study.
This is where things get tricky. Let’s say it’s a Monday morning and you’re putting together a study schedule for the week. You list a bunch of spots and allocate one to each day (for example, early position push/fold on a Monday, blind vs blind on a Tuesday etc.).
Beautiful. But are those really the spots you need to be working on? Perhaps you have significant leaks in other areas that really need to be fixed, but you just don’t know about them.
The best way to find out which areas you need to study is to have a coach or a player better than yourself look through your database in order to identify the areas you need to work on the most.
That’s exactly what Jordan ‘bigbluffzinc’ Drummond does for Ben Spragg in the Spraggy Bundle.
Consider booking a one-on-one coaching session, or asking an experienced member of the BBZ Discord to take a look at your database for you.
Once you’re given direction (“I will tell you what you suck at and what you need to fix ASAP to improve your win rate,” says BBZ) it’s down to you to put in the study work and execute what you’ve learned on the tables.
While you’re studying over the next month, it’s also worth taking the time to get your financial affairs in order.
By that, we mean your bankroll management.
WCOOP is a great opportunity to take shots in big events, but you have to do so responsibly.
BBZ student Taylor “TG w/the Chips” Grassmick learned this the hard way. In poker, running bad is unavoidable and Grassmick’s confidence, combined with a lousy run of luck, led to his downfall. “I decided to play extremely aggressive bankroll management and got burned. [Six months later] I ended up completely broke.”
To read more about how to avoid blowing your bankroll, read our article: Battling variance in poker: how a BBZ student defeated his downswing ($135K)
Instead of blowing through your bankroll trying to play bigger, use satellite tournaments as a way to create excitement.
That’s what BBZ community member Robin ‘RobinVL’ Van Laecken did. During a bad downswing, he’d occasionally use satellites to try and qualify for events that could potentially have a massive upside (such as big SCOOP and WCOOP events).
He managed to satellite his way into the $530 Bounty Builder and ultimately finished second for $18,777, despite regularly playing an average buy-in of $5.50 to $22.
“It’s easier to remain focused on the game when the tournaments are way out of your buy-in range,” says Van Laecken. “A $5.50 tournament probably won’t change your life, but a $530 or a $5K definitely can, so you’ve got to play your best. “Just go for it. You can do it!”
To read more about why you should you play satellites, check out:
Why you should play online tournament satellites: “The experience of playing in big events is one of a kind”
It’s also important to work on your mental game as a long series grind can be testing.
In a recent BBZ Daily Seminar, performance coach Francois Hamel talked through a poker mental scorecard with a BBZ student. The scorecard allows you to keep track of everything you’re doing throughout the week to give yourself the best possible chance of winning.
At the end of each week, you score yourself (and be honest!) based on the work you put in, how you applied what you learned etc.
Here’s what it looks like:
Try setting up your own poker mental scorecard. It’s a great way to hold yourself accountable and give yourself peace of mind that you’re doing everything you can to improve.
To learn more about the poker mental scorecard, head here: The Poker Mental Scorecard: How to put yourself in the best position to win
Hamel also wrote an article for us in which he listed his top five books to help your mental game.