Well, I leave on Saturday to fly to Vegas for the WSOP Marathon and here’s what I’ve done to prepare for it.

The first thing that I did is to get ready to play a long, tough poker tournament.  I’ve played many live tourneys before, but nothing as long as this one will be.  Since I’ve been so busy this year, I haven’t been able to get away and play in the live tournaments that I normally do.  To make up for this, I took the last big online series on the site that I have to play on since I’m in the US and used the two largest events that I played as a warm-up for the WSOP.  TV off, everything else off, except for my grind list on Itunes (which I’d be listening to live on my Ipod).  No distractions, just serious poker.  While I didn’t win either tourney, I did have two deeper runs where I got $276 back from a ticket that I won to an $88 buy-in and then sattied into a $320 buy-in and went out of it for $714.  I was really happy with my play in the $320 as not only on my exit hand, did I have it in good for a top 25 stack, but played multiple hours and held my own with a WSOP ME final tabler as I had Joshua Beckley sitting next to me.

Being in a big tourney like any of the WSOP tourneys, let alone one that has everyone starting with 26200 chips and 100 min levels, it’s not just my poker playing that I want to have ready to go, but also all of the other aspects relating to the game. 

I started to work on my weight last year when I was at the WSOP, as I got a fitbit and started walking to lose weight.  Over the last year, I’ve walked over 2200 miles and have lost almost 50 pounds in the process (still have another 40 to go as I want to get down to about 200 pounds).  It’s not the first time I’ve done this, as my first two years of college, where most people end up gaining about 20 pounds of weight, I dropped 100.  I’d let things go over the previous years and my weight had gone back up.  This time I’m going to take it off and keep it off.  Being more fit has not only helped with my stamina playing poker, but also with my golf game, as I’m keeping the ball in play more often, which helped me win the first day of the annual golf outing that I go on every year.

Another aspect of the game is the mental game and to play in this type of tourney, you have to be mentally tough.  Well, this, along with my walking, led me to try to accomplish what I did yesterday.  I had a goal to be able to walk a marathon within a day, by the time that my weight got down to 200.  I tried to see how far I could go last fall, and made it over 19 miles with over 9 miles in one continuous part of it (could have gone more but didn’t get a start on the day until about noon, so ran out of time to get it over 20 miles).  The weather yesterday was going to be pretty good for walking (high of about 70 degrees with a 10-15 mph wind out of the north), so I set my alarm an hour earlier in the morning and decided to see what I could do. 

I start off and minus a quick restroom stop and a stop in the grocery to grab something to drink (intentionally set up my course to allow for both and to be near home if I needed a short break), ran off 14 miles on a 16:35 mile pace (last year I was doing between 18 and 20 minute miles).  Since this put me back near home, I decided to make a quick stop for more water and to grab a quick bite to eat and to recharge my phone since I had it on the entire time so that I could GPS my route. 

As I start out again, my second stint was basically another 6 miles and toward the end, I see there is one thing I forgot to do while I was eating… recharge my Ipod, as the battery died on me, so I lost my grinding music (had on the same playlist that I use when playing poker).  OOPS!  I thought that my pace would have dropped off considerably by now, but I was still going at 17:30 miles and felt pretty good, so after a water/restroom stop at home, I went back out after changing to my second pair of walking shoes.  I have two pairs of shoes that I use, that were fitted and have custom insoles from a local running shop.  The one pair that I used to start out with are the most comfortable for walking, but they are a bit tighter on my feet.  The reason that I switched was that the second pair has a bit more room in them, which I figured I could now use as when I had walked longer distances in the past, my feet had started to swell a bit.

As I start out on the third stint, while my pace has dropped off some, I’m still doing about 18:30 miles (which is faster than most of my walking last year).  They say that the wall hits marathon runners at mile 22, well, I can tell you exactly where I smacked face first into it… 22.86 miles.  Luckily, I was near home when it happened and I had to sit down and give my feet a break.  I had planned on resting for 15 minutes, but that quickly turned into 45 min as my feet, especially my right heel and hamstring were absolutely killing me.  When my foot calmed down and I got my hamstring stretched out, I put my shoes back on and tried to get as much in before dark as I could.  The time from 22.86 miles to about 24 miles were probably the roughest that I’ve ever had walking.  My pace had dropped to just over a 20 minute mile and every step was excruciating.  Getting thru this was as much, if not more, mental than physical.  Then as I passed the 24-mile point, it all changed.  Suddenly, I was back at the 18:30 pace and things were going smoothly.  As I passed the 25 mile marker, that’s when it gets dark, so I’m going inside to finish off the last half mile to get to the marathon distance.

As I cross the marathon distance finish line, I realize that I’m only about 200 steps away from getting the next step award trophy on fitbit (every 5k steps you earn one), so decide to grind it out to get past 50k steps.  I finish the day with these numbers.

There’s more to playing poker than just the two cards you have in front of you.  It’s mentally and physically exhausting to play a very long tourney like this, so we need to look at every aspect of our game and be at the top of each part of it. 

My plan for Vegas is to fly on Saturday, relax on Sunday (which includes getting a massage with the resort credit that I get with my room package) and then to be ready to go on Monday morning in the WSOP Marathon.  I hope to be playing in it all week, but if I am unfortunate to bust out of it earlier than I have planned, I’ll play either a $235 WSOP afternoon deepstack or possibly play in either the Aria Classic or to go downtown to play at the Golden Nugget.   I’ll be posting updates on my twitter account, in the PS discord channel and will do a blog when I’m back from Vegas.