Is Your WSOP Mental Game All Set? Mindset Coach Elliot Roe Shares Key Tips

Primed Mind's Elliot Roe

The American edition of the 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Online is in full swing, GGPoker just announced their 33-bracelet schedule, and the WSOP 2021 in Las Vegas has 88 gold bracelets up for grabs this fall.

It is an exciting yet stressful time for poker tournament grinders, so who better to guide you through the trials and tribulations of trying to secure some poker gold than renowned mindset coach, Elliot Roe.

Roe is highly respected in both the poker world and the wider community, with high-stakes icons like Fedor Holz closely aligned with him. PokerNews reached out to Roe and quizzed him for his hints, tips, and tactics for players wanting to become a WSOP champion.

Who is Elliot Roe?

PN: First things first: for those uninitiated, who exactly is Elliot Roe?

ER: “I’m a mindset & performance coach who works with clients in high-stress, mentally demanding, industries on overcoming the roadblocks holding them back from becoming the best versions of themselves.

I’m also the voice and head coach of Primed Mind, a mobile app we designed to make world-class mindset content easily accessible to anyone who is interested in bettering themselves.

Last but certainly not least, I’m a husband and father to twin girls.”

Elliot Roe
Elliot Roe has worked with some of the game's elite stars

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The Gap Between Good and Elite Players

PN: One of the biggest differences between being a good poker player and one of the best often comes down to the player’s mental game strength. There is often little to separate a good from a great player in terms of skills. Does Roe agree?

ER: “The gap in technical skill between the world’s elite players, and solid mid to high-stakes players is smaller than you think. In the intro to my poker podcast, there is a great quote from Daniel Dvoress. “I’d rather take a 1/2 player playing their A-Game than a 25/50 player playing their C-Game. I think that says a lot coming from a player of Daniel’s caliber.

The gap in technical skill between the world’s elite players, and solid mid to high-stakes players is smaller than you think

That gap, between good players and elite, it isn’t the knowledge that’s available, it’s about their systems for absorbing that knowledge, and consistently applying that skill while playing.

Most players likely know someone who is incredibly knowledgeable off-the-table but struggles to execute when they play. You also likely know someone who seems to have a natural ability to win but puts in little work off-the-table.

To become truly world-class at the game, you need someone who is able to put it all together, both in-game and in preparation.”

Daniel Dvoress
Daniel Dvoress

Believing It's Possible

PN: There are some massive tournaments taking place online and around the world over the next few months as the world slowly but surely begins to return to some sort of normality. Players worldwide are dreaming of a life-changing score and the prestige that comes with being a champion of poker.

So where should players begin their journey? Does it start with strategic planning of their schedules? It does not, in fact, as Roe explained the first step to take is a mental one.

To become truly world-class at the game, you need someone who is able to put it all together, both in-game and in preparation

ER: “The first step to winning a major tournament, such as a WSOP or WPT event, is believing that it’s possible. So many players — both recreational and professional alike — get down to the final few tables before absolutely falling apart.

In multi-table tournaments (MTT's), all the money is earned in the top 3, and all the glory is reserved for the player who wins. This means, your performance in the end game is especially important.

This is where experience comes into play. Where inexperienced players start to fall apart at the end, world-class players lock in and bring their best. In the absence of real-world opportunities to gain that experience, visualization can be a great way to “hack” this part of the game.

If you can picture yourself navigating the final few tables of a WSOP event, with the ups and downs that come with it, you’re much more likely to perform your best when you eventually find yourself in that situation. For players who are spending the fall hunting for bracelets, you can give yourself a significant edge by planning your playing schedule, as well as your exercise and nutrition.

Those who wing these things tend to burn out quickly, meaning you’ll be operating well below your capabilities when it comes time to perform."

GGPoker Announces Full 33-Bracelet WSOP Online 2021 Schedule

Every Hand is a New Puzzle

PN: For many grinders, the WSOP tournaments, for example, are the biggest, most expensive events they have and will ever play. That creates additional pressure. How should you deal with playing in such prestigious events? Treat them like your regular games, perhaps?

ER: "The best mindset to have at the poker table is “Every hand is a new puzzle.” Your only job is to solve the puzzle in front of you to the best of your abilities. Whether it’s the first hand or heads up for the Main Event win, your job is the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re at a table with rich business people, or at a “table of death” with the game’s best when you get dealt a hand of poker.

The first step to winning a major tournament is believing that it’s possible

Your one job is to solve the puzzle in front of you to the best of your abilities. Preparation, however, is a different story. For these destination events, the goal is to prepare in a way that allows you to execute this “Every hand is a new puzzle” mindset, as well as prevent any distractions and overwhelm during the event.”

Related: Fedor Holz Helps Players Get Their Mind Primed for WSOP Main Event

On Keeping Focus

PN: Anyone who has played a major event, such as a WSOP, World Poker Tour, European Poker Tour, or partypoker MILLIONS Main Event knows the rigors of the long days. Keeping focused for long periods of time is especially difficult when playing a game like poker. Are there any techniques players can employ to keep their focus?

ER: “Sleep, fitness, and nutrition are the foundation which focus is built on. Fitness isn’t something that you can change overnight, so I suggest you start ASAP with a simple routine that can increase your baseline fitness level. Most tournament food is the exact opposite of focus-friendly, so bringing your own food or sourcing health options is always wise.

Sleep is critical, so do your best to sleep well leading up to the tournament, as well as before and during. If you have trouble sleeping before a big event, there are some Primed Mind Primers designed to help with that.

Sleep, fitness, and nutrition are the foundation which focus is built on

Meditation is also a great way to build up your focus muscle, and just like with physical fitness, the sooner you get started the better as it won’t be an overnight fix. During the tournament, make sure to optimize your breaks, taking care of physical needs first, and focusing on quick mental recovery second. Caffeine can certainly help, but make sure you deploy it strategically.

If you’re slamming energy drinks from hand one, you’re not going to see much benefit later in the day when you actually need the quick focus boost."

Fedor Holz
Fedor Holz, who founded Primed Mind with Elliot Roe

Follow all the action from the 2021 WSOP Online in the United States

The Pressure of the Money Bubble

PN" The money bubble is a crucial time in any poker tournament because you are almost in the money. Bubbles at the WSOP, for instance, come with increased pressure because of the prestige associated with cashing in a WSOP event. The final table pressure is intensified in major events, too. How can you deal with this?

ER: “The first step is to understand what your goal is. If your goal is to make the highest ROI possible, you’ll play quite differently than if your goal is to simply cash in a WSOP event. Both goals are perfectly fine, as long as you choose them consciously. Everyone plays for different reasons and it’s important to solidify your vision for your game.

The first step is to understand what your goal is

As for staying calm, doing visualization is once again a great tool to prepare for these situations. It allows you to gain “experience” without being there physically. If you find yourself in one of these situations and notice you’re not keeping calm, some deep breathing exercises can certainly help, as well as firing up some of the Primers we have in the Primed Mind app specifically for these situations."

Nicolas Sievers Bubbles the 2019 WSOPE Main Event
The bubble in the 2019 WSOPE Main Event

WSOP 2021 Schedule Released: 88 Bracelet Events, Sept. 30 - Nov. 23

How to Deal With Running Bad

PN: Bad beats happen in every tournament, and players often go through spells where the deck seems to be against them. This can feel like it is snowballing if it continues across several events. Are there any tips for players who feel they are running or playing badly?

It all starts with embracing the “every hand is a new puzzle” mindset

ER: “It all starts with embracing the “every hand is a new puzzle” mindset that I’ve been talking about so far," Roe reiterated. "The best players in the world wipe the slate clean each hand and focus on playing the hand in front of them to the best of their abilities. This is simple in principle and difficult in practice, especially for an inexperienced player.

Poker is a difficult game on its own, and it only gets harder when you put your focus on things you can’t control.

Bad beats are going to happen in almost every tournament you play, especially large WSOP events. When you play well and win extra chips, think of it like getting extra lives in a video game. When you have these extra lives, you are able to withstand a few bad beats that would knock out other players."

Related: Read how poker commentator Norman Chad deals with bad beats

Conversely, running hot and seemingly being able to do nothing wrong can be equally as damaging to a player’s psyche because it lulls them into a false sense of security. They can be playing sub-optimal poker yet still reaping the rewards. How do you keep your feet firmly on the floor, so to speak?

I’m sure I sound like a broken record, but it just comes down to the “every hand is a new puzzle” mindset. Trying to play each hand to the best of your abilities no matter what’s happening externally is a great way to stay level-headed and play A-Game Poker.“

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Avoiding the Burnout

PN: Grinding the entire WSOP schedule is hard work, both mentally and physically. Burning out is a very real possibility. What can players do to avoiding burning out before the series is done and dusted?

If you treat your body poorly before a series, you’re not going to get your best when you ask it to push through a physically and mentally taxing series

ER: "Your preparation starts now. If you treat your body poorly before a series, you’re not going to get your best when you ask it to push through a physically and mentally taxing series.

All the preparation we discussed earlier applies here. I’m a huge proponent of scheduling in time off during a long series, as I’ve seen so many players fail when they take the approach of taking time off “when they feel like it.”

Remember, some of the highest value tournaments come at the end of the series, especially the Main Event, so it’s important to run a marathon and not a sprint if you want to optimize your performance over the long haul.”

Celebrate Your Wins!

PN: Let's say, after all this, you finally get your hands on a coveted WSOP bracelet, and can call yourself a world champion. Congratulations! Is it important to celebrate your achievement even in the middle of the series, and how do you come back down from cloud nine if you have more tournaments left to play?

ER: “I think it’s important to celebrate your wins, that level of celebration comes down to your personal vision of the series. If your goal is simply to win a bracelet, what comes next is up to you. If your goal is to win the most money over the entire series, or something like winning player of the series, you’ll want to take a different approach. That might mean a quiet celebration, a day off, and jumping back into the grind the following day.

The principle here is to have a vision of your series, and make your decisions based on that, whether you’re up or you’re down."

Andrew Moreno
Andrew Moreno winning the $10M Gtd Wynn Millions

For more information about Elliot's Roe Primed Mind mindset app, visit

  • Renowned mindset coach Elliot Roe gives PokerNews readers vital WSOP tips.

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