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Am I SCOOP Ready? | Planning, Bankroll, Mindset
The Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) is practically upon us with the starting date announced as Sunday May 12th 2019. Here is a checklist of things you will want to take care of to ensure that you are ready to tackle your favourite events of the series.

Bankroll Considerations

There are two options here, but the main thing to avoid is risking too much of a bankroll that you are unable or unwilling to replenish.
  • Treat the SCOOP like you would any other bunch of tournaments.
The first option is to treat the SCOOP like you would your daily grind and ensure that you have 100+ buy-ins for the tournaments that you play. This will protect your bankroll and make sure that you are not putting yourself under any mental-game pressure likely to result in a lower standard of play. There is nothing worse than playing with a desperation to make the money at all costs through fear of busting and losing the buy-in. In any MTT, you must be psychologically prepared to bust at any time, as only through fearless play can you maximise your chances of going deep into the event and reaching the big money. If you are spending a tenth or worse still, a fifth of your bankroll to take a shot at a big SCOOP event, you are bound to play poorly and succumb to some form of fear tilt. If you are using your normal poker bankroll for the SCOOP, then play within your means to reduce your risk of ruin.
  • Budget a separate bankroll for the SCOOP and pick your events carefully.
The second option is to treat the SCOOP as a one-off chance to take shots at tournaments that are normally outside of your regular bankroll. Let's say that you normally play $10 MTTs with a bankroll of $1500. You have been building this bankroll gradually over the last few months and have taken great pride in running it up from just a few hundred bucks. You fancy playing a few SCOOP events with buy-ins between $50 and $150 and can afford this based on your finances outside of poker. Rather than risking your hard-earned poker bankroll that represents your success as a player so far, it is a better idea to deposit a separate SCOOP roll based on what you are comfortable investing. To do this, pick exactly which events you want to play and stick to it. This way, you are only risking a few predefined bullets that you have already cleared with yourself as disposable income. The precious poker bankroll remains unthreatened, allowing you to return to your regular stakes after the SCOOP is over, withdrawing any winnings to keep the investment totally separate.

Play to Your Strengths

When planning which events to add to your SCOOP schedule, it makes sense to choose the tournaments in which you will have the highest EV. If you are generally a 6-max cash player or sit and go player, then prioritise short-handed table events such as 6-Max and 4-Max. These tournaments should give you a decent edge over players who normally frequent nine-handed tournaments since they will struggle to adapt to the intensified need to steal blinds, defend blinds, 3-bet, call 3-bets, 4-bet bluff, apply pressure post-flop etc. etc.
If you typically play Spin & Gos then try to play a few three handed events that again might make 6 handed and 9 handed specialists insecure.

Omaha players should use the SCOOP as an opportunity to play Omaha events and exploit Holdem players who are trying their luck in games they would normally avoid due to the lure of the large field sizes and massive potential pay-outs that go hand in hand with the SCOOP each year.

It might even be worth learning a less mainstream game in order to prepare for the series. The SCOOP attracts Holdem specialists to all sorts of games they really haven't prepared for, and so, for less experienced Holdem players, branching out and studying a new game for a week or two before the series begins could be a great way to level the playing field and maximise the chances of a big score.

Endurance Mindset

The chances are that SCOOP events have the potential to last a lot longer than the faster paced games that are more harmonious with a busy everyday life. The SCOOP is a poker holiday – a time to disregard the normal rules and join in the fun. Many players take this opportunity to take time off from their normal lives to play a bunch of longer tournaments with huge prize-pools and large fields. As a result, a different mindset is required for success – that of the long game.

It is very important to keep up healthy self-talk. Upon taking a bad beat remind yourself that there is a lot more time on the clock than you are used to in a turbo sit and go. Recovery is very possible if you can remain composed and focus on your job for the next three hours as you look to slowly chip-up, choosing the right spots to invest.

We are programmed to quit a bad cash session and go for a walk or to start shoving after losing a big pot in a hyper-turbo heads up sit and go. In the SCOOP, these reflexes threaten to ruin our chances. Many tournaments have been won by people who were once below the average stack and card dead. You never know when the deck will hit you in the face, so bide your time and relish every opportunity to build your stack. This mindset will give you a huge edge over opponents who are lashing out impatiently as they would in a faster-paced event.

Summary

Do not risk a hard-earned poker bankroll by playing outside of its means. Either make an one off allowance to plat a few bigger events with separate money or stick to what your bankroll allows.

Choose events that best compliment your skill set or build a new skill-set in preparation for playing some less mainstream tournaments.

Train yourself to think in a long-term, disciplined manner before the start of a slower SCOOP event. This will give you an edge over those who are still in turbo mode.
 
Are you ready?
Post your 2019 SCOOP goals & targets below.

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