There are a lot of factors at the WSOP that contribute to a player's stress level. Different players get stressed out for different reasons. For some of the more amateur players, it's the money. With buy-ins ranging from $1,500 to $50,000, the cost of entering more than one tournament at the WSOP can put a pretty big dent in one's pocket. For the professional poker player, the stress is more prevalent when playing with a backer's money as opposed to one's own bankroll. Suddenly the pressure to perform is very real.
So what do players, both professional and amateur, do to ease the pressure? After cruising the poker room floor, here's what I discovered:
Drink and Be Merry
Although many players refuse to drink alcohol while playing in tournaments, this was the number one answer mainly amongst amateur players who are making a first appearance at the WSOP. Technically, alcohol is a depressant, so it does contain relaxing properties, but what about mental awareness? Apparently as long as you're not dancing naked on the poker table, a few drinks will take the edge off, and you'll still be able to play smart. Here's to hoping.
The pressure to stay alive in the game coupled with sitting hunched over and concentrating for copious hours can do wonders for tension accumulation in one's neck, shoulders and back. Lucky for the poker players, the lovely ladies (and men) of Professional Massage Inc. are positioned outside the tournament area with their kinky looking chairs ready to provide a quick fix. Or if you're a poker player who's unable to get away from the table, not too worry. The masseurs will use your seated position as leverage to give you instant gratification while you play.
In Sin City, it's easy to fall victim to sleep deprivation. With all the excitement going on at the WSOP, all night benders are a common occurrence. Not to mention those long hours spent actually playing in the tournaments. If you make it to a final table, you could find yourself playing until 6 a.m. following a 2 p.m. start. To be focused and alert, it helps if you've had more than three hours of sleep. A lot of players who've been knocked out early attribute their loss to not feeling 100%, and not feeling 100% means they wished they'd closed their eyes for more than 10% of the night.
Other useful stress-busters I either witnessed or found out about were stress balls (the foamy ones you squeeze), a day at the spa, working out, praying, swimming, betting at the sports book, sex, and Krispy Kremes. Well, whatever works for you.