Ed. note: In this guest poker blog post, Victor Luebker discusses strategy for (relatively) low-stakes poker players to potentially make big scores in high-buy-in live events via qualifier opportunities.
Folks, given all the mess we see at Full Tilt Poker with pros owing up to millions of dollars each, I want to share how I treat poker as a blue collar enterprise. I feel that the days of great poker for players like you and me have never been better if you do things right. First a quick update.
I played a $200k WPT regional event at the Hard Rock in Ft. Lauderdale, FL last week and also won a seat to the HPT main event this weekend that I’ll share more on below. The Seminole Hard Rock is a blast as far as the property goes, with great shops, casino, food, and bars and the weekends have an awesome nightlife – so I recommend you put this place on your visit list. The poker room is a bit crowded on weekends due to all the cash action. I had a great dinner at one of the plaza restaurants and just missed cashing in this event, but am still on a roll since graduating WPT Boot Camp a month ago with five top-4 cashes in 11 events! That said, let’s talk blue collar poker.
Invest in Yourself: Get a Poker Education
First thing: I think anyone looking to move up in levels or cash more in poker tournaments needs to get educated! I can’t stress how much we don’t know about our game and the holes we have at the table that other more experienced players pick up on. The only way to plug those leaks is reading and mentoring and training. I completed the WPT Boot Camp a month ago and had some great sessions with top pros like Nick Binger and Kathy Liebert. Blue collar players tend to ignore the investment in themselves they have to make in order to cash more regularly. I recommend that you instead look at this as an investment in yourself and, like any “TRUE” blue collar player, fund your training via cashes over time. I suggest you carve out 50% of your wins until you get the funds and then attend a clinic. Now let me put this in perspective. My camp after discount sold for $1595. Since then with my five cashes I’m up net $4900 in a month with a main event opportunity to still be played this weekend. All top level players in poker, baseball, football or other active endeavors have training and coaches and so should you!
Play in Qualifier Events
Next, I play many of the qualifier events as I travel and this is a great way for blue collar poker players to get into large events on the three major tours (WPT, WSOP and HPT) for pennies on the dollar. In the event this weekend I won a seat in a 20% qualifier and will now play in an event with an estimated $400k prize pool and a $1700 cost for just $360 (my qualifier cost). Many of us started in local card rooms or playing the $65 tournaments with 15 or 20 minute levels and that’s the training grounds of tourney poker. However, playing the larger $2k to $5k events is not as far out of reach as you may think. As blue collar poker players you can invest some bankroll in these qualifier events for as little as $100 in live brick and mortar rooms.
Here is what I do: First I research the event I want to play like a WPT regional. I look up the website for the host location and print the qualifier schedule out. Then, I select a couple events I plan to play in with the idea being to invest up to 30% for qualifiers looking to get a seat for the large prize pool. This budget will buy me between 3-5 chances to qualify, so if I cash just 20% of the time I’m in!
That said, you can see these larger money events are not that far out of your reach. But remember, education comes first. Get a mentor, poker books, and attend a live camp so you’re ready for the level of play that comes with $2k+ events. Now go be a “Poker Shark” like me! Next post will be about my HPT weekend and next trip in two weeks to Vegas for the Wynn Classic.