After World Series, Coach needs a coach

August 05, 2018, Mark Brement  

Having just finished a two-week stint at the Rio in Las Vegas, I hereby declare it to be a good trip. In poker terms, this translates to leaving with more than you came with and paying for your hotel and restaurant expenses. A great trip would include a final table and more profit.

I was one of the entrants in a Day 1 record-breaking 5,918 entries into the senior event. I placed 148th for a $4,340 purse.

There’s a certain agony of defeat that goes along with a cash like this because the deep money feels ever so close. My June column, How to Avoid Tournament Mistakes, speaks volumes and I thought it would be interesting to grade myself on the categories listed:

FATIGUE … B: After the seven-hour drive from Tucson, I gave myself ample time for rest and get-ready time, which included diet, exercise and study. But I made two poor plays through the course of the 10 hours of Day 1.

Tournaments can be a bit grueling and while I came in with plenty of sleep, fatigue set in early and I needed to put my break time to better use.

Yes, there are long lines to use the bathroom, but we must plan for that. As it says in June’s column: “Mistakes happen when fatigue sets in.”

STAGES ... C: One of my poor habits is being too active early on. This is fine for a fast tournament, (30-minute blinds) but the World Series of Poker is a slow structure with plenty of chips and time. “Avoid trying to win the event too early.” And how I wish I had reread my column before I played.

TOO TIGHT … A: I never have to worry about playing too tight. I was mixing things up and changing gears.

STACKS … C: As fatigue wears on into Day 2, my awareness of what I call “the everything” started to wane. I really needed a poker buddy to talk it over with, late on Day 2. I needed a coach. What a novel concept.

BUBBLE PLAY … A: I was able to take advantage of the tight play and chip up when approaching the money.
All in all, I had a great time over two weeks at the Rio. I paced myself, met all kinds of players from all over the country and all over the world. Plan ahead, and I hope to meet you in Las Vegas in 2019.

— Mark Brement has spent 15 years teaching and coaching all facets of poker, including at Pima CC. Email him at