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Preparing for a road trip

Whether you play poker for a living or just travel to play tournaments for the enjoyment of it,

I assume your goal before getting on that airplane is to win the tournament. The question I have for you, is do you do everything you can to best prepare yourself for that goal? Are all of your decisions leading up to the tournament in line with your ultimate goal?

This year I attended the PCA for the 10th time and knew exactly what to expect from this massive tournament. I know the areas in which I struggle to stay in line with my goals, and I also know exactly what needs to be done to address them. Here is a short list of things I've struggled with in the past, and what I did to prepare this year:

FOOD:

Being a vegan on the road can be tough, and Bahamas isn't exactly vegan friendly, so this year I made sure to start off the year right by calling ahead a month in advance to set up nutritious daily meals for me on every dinner break of the tourmanent. Each night at roughly 7pm a meal was delivered to my room. For breakfast, I packed enough Meusli for the 12 days I'd be there, as well as protien powder, protien bars, and some healthy snacks. Also, a nice surprise this year was that the snack bar outside the tournament room had healthier options this year. Pretty much everyday I had some couscous and a bag of veggies as a snack during the second break to tide me over until dinner.

SLEEP:

I wouldn't say that a 3 hour time change is much to worry about in terms of jet lag, but it is so important to be well rested for long tournament days that I did two things to prepare myself for the trip. First of all, the Super High Roller was on the 5th so I showed up a day early on the 3rd. The other thing I did was to make sure the day before I left, that I woke up at 7am PST which is exactly the time I'd need to be up each day in Bahamas, 10am EST.


DRINKING:

There is a lot of fun to be had at the Bahamas, and I have had my fair share of amazing trips here in the past, but sometimes that fun can interfere with your primary goal of the trip- winning the tournament. This year I am committed to being 100% effective with not drinking the night before a tournament, and so far so good. I didn't have one sip of alcohol until the PokerStars party at the end of the trip which is always a blast!

8G2A0904_PCA2013_Daniel_Negreanu_Neil Stoddart.jpg

WORKING OUT:

The other thing I'm dedicated to is completing P90x in 90 days. For those unfamiliar, P90x is a workout program where you do something different everyday and it's a great workout that delivers results. My struggle in the past has always been keeping up with workouts on the road. Tournaments start at noon and often goes as late as 2am which leaves little time to keep up with workouts.

To help ensure that I was going to be able to keep up with my workouts I called ahead and had the hotel provide me dumbbells in my room as well as a yoga mat. I also brought my bands as well as a hook to place over the door to do my modified pullup routine which is a big part of P90x. I'm proud to say I kept up with all of my daily workouts and it feels great!

I feel great about all the things I did to make sure that my decisions leading up to this trip were in line with my ultimate goal: to win the tournament. In the end, luck wasn't on my side but I still view the PCA as a very successful trip for me because my decisions matched my vision and I'm confident that by doing that, it will set me up for success in the future. So what do YOU need to do to prepare for a tournament? I challenge you to write out a short list of things that are important to your success, then create a plan to get it done!

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