WSOP 2017: Dealing with the dog days? Ask Akkari

July 10, 2017

There was a rainstorm this afternoon in Las Vegas, something many of us only just discovered during the last break here on Day 1C of the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event.

The rain cooled things off a little… all the way down to 96°F (about 36°C). In other words, it’s still sweltering.

There are differing opinions, but the “dog days” of summer most often refer to the weeks lasting from July and August when temperatures are their hottest — here in the northern hemisphere, anyway.

Some argue the dog days technically begin a little later in the month, but don’t tell that to poker players who have been in Las Vegas for the last seven weeks. Even the most fit and prepared among them are dog-tired, though the start of Main does have a reinvigorating effect.

Speaking of dogs, we were chatting during today’s second break with Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari, who has a special interest in the subject. The Brazilian player breeds golden retrievers, and currently has about 30 of them — plus a couple more he keeps as pets — back in Sao Paolo.

“This is the best season for them, because it’s winter there and it’s not hot,” he told us. “They are hairy dogs, so they suffer when it’s hot. But now it is good.”

Akkari arrived on May 29th and after playing 22 events is now part of the enormous Day 1C field for the Main. And really, he’s looking no worse for wear, seemingly full of energy and enthusiasm. He’s collected five cashes with a couple of deep runs mixed in, and currently sits with just below the starting stack after a quiet first couple of levels.

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Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari

“I’m playing really tight, really solid,” he said. “The next level is going to have antes — that’s where the game starts.”

In a way, being patient and smart about picking spots doesn’t just explain Akkari’s approach today, or even just his approach for the entire WSOP.

“Sometimes when you’re not used to playing big tournaments like this, you sit at a table and you start to look for opportunities and try to get every spot that you can,” Akkari explained. “But that’s not the best way to play this kind of tournament. It’s a marathon. You have to get to Day 10 or Day 11 to win. You have to play tight and safe, and if you see good spots you have to take them.”

“You can compare it to the whole series — you can’t play every event, just like you can’t play every hand,” he continued. “There are so many great tournaments and big prizes and you’re hunting bracelets… you want to play everything. But you have to manage that. It’s money, and if you play the wrong tournament you’ll have no edge and you’ll be doing something that’s not profitable.”

In fact, such pace-setting in a way has been his approach during his entire career.

“I think I’ve been successful because I’ve done that,” he said. “I play the right tournaments for me and pick my spots. I don’t have a backer or anything and I’m not playing the $50K’s and the $100K’s. I play the right ones and I keep going.”

The conversation returned to Akkari’s golden retrievers, a breed for which gentleness and patience are distinguishing characteristics, making them especially good pets.

“Every day is a ‘dog day’ for me,” Akkari smiled as he readied to return for Level 3.

The skies have cleared and the temperature is starting to climb again. Inside play is about to heat up again, too.

But if you can keep cool like Akkari during the dog days, you’ll do just fine.

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Day 1C continues

WSOP photos by


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