WSOP 2018
2018 World Series of Poker Cash Game Festival London

PN Blog: It's Time for the Annual Poker Media Boot Camp

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  • Poker blogger Christian Zetzsche describes what the World Series of Poker means to him.

The World Series of Poker is calling poker enthusiasts from near and far to Las Vegas in the pursuit of fame, fortune, bracelets — and a lot of money. Indeed, when one uses Twitter in Sin City, it tends to show “Paradise, Nevada” as the current location and it has indeed become the place to be for all card lovers during the summer months.

Leading up to the pinnacle of the annual live poker calendar, I have already worked at 10 live events in nine different countries in the current year. The locations were as near as the King's Casino in Czech Republic and as far away as the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia. While the travel may have not yet been as crazy last year, the 2018 schedule shapes up to be as frantic as the previous 12 months.

Events covered:10
Travel days:19
Live coverage days:68
Flights taken:19
Hours on planes:67
Kilometers on planes:45,604

Each of these events has been, in their very own way, a preparation for the madness to come in the next one and a half months. While the vast majority of the live tournaments have some kind of tracking system to identify the participants without asking for their names, the WSOP is most definitely a different kind of beast.

Each of these events has been a preparation for the madness to come in the next one and a half months.

Whereas only the Main Event of a festival may attract more than a thousand players, this is very common for the low buy-ins in Las Vegas and that makes it very difficult to establish a tracking system from the get-go. The list of registered hopefuls and their respective seat assignments at the start is only a temporary help, as the size of the field will be cut down considerably throughout the first few hours.

What follows is essentially the poker media boot camp, an endurance challenge that requires a lot of effort and consistency. Not only the new faces on board of the live reporting team will be sent to the edges of their dedication, the same also applies for the experienced writers. No matter how many times someone has already covered the WSOP, adjustments along the way are a necessity. The experience simply helps to take that fact as given and not get overwhelmed by an entire room filled with poker tables and hundreds of players in the hunt for glory.

It's a different kind of pressure that doesn't allow for much room to make mistakes. It is almost inevitable that mistakes will indeed happen, though, we are all humans after all. How we deal with the aftermath, though, defines the path for the rest of the summer. Mistakes are lessons to be learned, and the price to pay for them are some upset comments on Twitter instead of 20 push-ups.

The WSOP is also the very place to rise and shine when it comes to covering mixed games.

The WSOP (and the WSOPE to some extent) is also the very place to rise and shine when it comes to covering mixed games. Despite the odd Pot-Limit Omaha Side Event at other major tours, there is barely any live reporting done on less common game types. I still vividly remember to be utterly lost after being thrown into a Seven Card Stud event for the first time. A few months later in Berlin during the WSOPE, I covered all the mixed games without any hesitation or fear.

During the seven weeks, live reporters will jump from one event to another, sometimes even into a Day 2 or 3 without having worked the tournament on the previous day. The tight schedule doesn't allow for longer breaks and sooner or later, exhaustion will play a crucial role. Using the days in between to refuel, relax or get some shopping done seems to be the most reasonable choice. However, the temptation to hit the tables and play some poker will always be there, especially in Sin City.

A lot of interesting stories are to be told and the elusive golden bracelets, possibly life-changing paydays and fame will be up for grabs when the poker world is heading to Las Vegas in order to determine their champions once more. Only the strongest will leave this melting pot with the urge for more after seven weeks of madness, players and media alike.

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