Being in Vegas for the WSOP

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Losing Stress Podcast Ep 35- Being in Vegas for the WSOP

Arriving in Vegas for the summer, a player arrives with feelings of excitement. These feelings often change. This is what is explored in this episode of The Losing Stress Podcast.


[00:00] Hey guys! It’s Chiggs. It’s another Losing Stress Podcast. In this episode, I want to delve into the experience of being in Vegas in the summer for The World Series of Poker.

The reason I want to delve into this is that from my own experiences and from observing experiences of friends in poker that the experience of being in Vegas for an extended period leads to certain psychological issues.

Certain issues crop up.

And I think this is interesting to look at.

Excited to be in Vegas for the WSOP

[00:34] Now, when we start to look into this, what’s clear is that the experience of being in Vegas is very different for players under different circumstances.

[00:45] If it’s your first time going to Vegas then there’s naturally this excitement there.

In fact, every time you do go to Vegas there is this excitement there (that might dampen with intensity each time you go but clearly you can observe this excitement for going to Vegas) and this arises from the atmosphere from the place in general.

[01:11] When you go to the Rio and you see crowds of people and this huge room with so many tables there is this excitement there for poker happening.

And there is this excitement for the potential to make a lot of money.

[01:27] So this is the first thing I wanted to talk about. Because I think it is fair to assume that when you land in Vegas, whether you’re new or have been a number of times to play in the World Series, there is this excitement there for everyone.

What I want to explore in this podcast is how this excitement can change based on different situational happenings.

[01:53] Now, first of all, I think it warrants discussing, who you actually know when you are there in Vegas has a big effect on how the trip goes.

The people you know in Vegas have an effect on your WSOP trip

Putting aside any personality types, the people that you know in Vegas for the length of trip that you go for is going to have an effect on the mind.

And the perception of how the trip goes.

Because if you’ve got some good friends with you or you have a family with you then you have something as a safety-net (per se) outside of poker, which may not go well, that you can engage in and fall back into.

[02:39] Essentially, there is this psychological comfort there when you have people there that you can comfortably hang out with.

[02:48] Now, some people may not necessarily have people there that they have these relationships with.

And if you are one of these people, this is something actually interesting to look at.

Because happily being in Vegas can become a real issue if you’re there essentially by yourself.

And it becomes a real issue, especially if poker isn’t going well.

[03:14] Before we actually start talking about poker results during the trip, I want to refer back to the travel article I wrote on And how that article directly addresses this factor of knowing people in Vegas.

Because if you can go ahead and proactively, do things with people even if you don’t know them very well, then that in itself is going to generate human interaction and happiness.

[03:43] The other thing you can do for yourself if you are in Vegas by yourself is to have regular contact with people that are closest to you back home.

So having regular phone calls and not just text conversations.

With a phone call, there is that interaction, which is more personable.

Whereas, if you just interact with a text conversation quite clearly this isn’t quite the same thing.

[04:11] And so what I have suggested here is a couple of things that hopefully make a lot of sense. And they make a lot of sense for someone that is interested in their own mind and in their own psyche.

And so interested in their own well-being.

This is not being neglected against this striving for wanting to play a lot and potentially make a lot of money.  

Vegas is a unique environment

[04:35] The other thing that does warrant discussing is the environment of Vegas in general.

Obviously, Vegas is a quite unique environment; with it being a desert and the whole culture there with the activities that are prevalent there.

[04:54] Now, when you do go to Vegas a few times or even the first time there is this possibility of falling into this habit or addiction (which we can use another label) for certain vices. Say:

  • Gambling/ Playing table games;
  • Going out a lot;
  • Drugs;
  • Sex
  • Etc.

Rather than, delve into these things specifically, what I think is incredibly beneficial to point out is are you really aware of these activities that you’re engaging in?

Are you really aware of the habits that are being formed?

And the necessity to actually look into this intelligently, clearly and honestly for yourself.

[05:43] And with that being said, let’s move on to discuss poker results.

Results in Vegas can have a huge effect on the psyche

[05:49] One of the cases that can come up when you do go to play in Vegas, supposing you are going for a fairly long trip at least, is that you can go and start out winning.

And when that occurs that’s usually a great thing in that it typically build this confidence in the mind and this comfort knowing that you’ve gone to Vegas and you’re making money.

With a mind that is in this space it’s typically making good rational decisions.

‘Good’ being this blunt, paint-brushed label we put over this, By this we mean, with decisions about:

  • what games to play;
  • when you quit if you’re playing cash games,;
  • what tournaments to play;
  • the decisions you make when playing tend to be made more logically.

[06:47] And so rather than delve into this particular scenario, let’s look at the scenario, which can easily come about (and which does come about frequently), when the trip to Vegas doesn’t go well. It doesn’t go well:

  • To start with;
  • For a few days;
  • For a few weeks;
  • Or possibly for the whole trip.

[07:10] And so it’s very interesting to look at this because this can very much affect the psychology and happiness of a poker player.  

This, in reality, does occur.

[07:22] And so can we first of all look at this and see that even if a Vegas trip doesn’t go well that the opportunity to make money in Vegas is certainly there.

So even if the whole trip doesn’t go well, the perspective to take and to look at this, is to see that you’ve put yourself beforehand before going into Vegas into a situation where you can make very good money.

Because even if the cash games year-on-year do get worse and the tournaments do (but to a much lesser extent) there is certainly this great opportunity to make money there; simply based off the fact of the crowd and the audience that the World Series of Poker attracts.

In that, it attracts a lot of semi-professional and non-professional players around the world and predominantly the United States.

[08:18] And so the point I’m trying to make here is that:

When going to Vegas, you’ve put yourself in a situation, which is +EV so you’ve given yourself the potential to do well.

And clearly, it could not go well for whatever reason.

Some rational thoughts on the WSOP

And you have to at least acknowledge the fact, you’ve put yourself in a situation for it to go well.

If it doesn’t then logically and rationally we can look at this and see that it was a possibility and it has occurred.    

[08:48] But I also think this warrants going into further.

Because this perspective of looking at it may not completely clear up this disappointment, this feeling and this feeling of sadness that may be sat there with you.

[09:09] And so what we have talked about on the podcast before; that going into Vegas with an expectation of it going well in some way, which the mind naturally does when looking forward to something, creates these psychological issues.  

Because when the trip doesn’t quite meet the expectations that you have in mind in one way or another then inherently, naturally, there is this suffering and struggle that occurs in your :

  • Emotions;
  • Thoughts;
  • Behaviours.

[09:46] Now, just to make sure we are moving together with this, we started the podcast by saying that when a person first arrives to Vegas then there quite naturally is this excitement there.

And what we’ve talked about now, is that if the trip isn’t going well, which is a good thing to talk about right now seeing as it’s the middle of June, then this excited feeling to start with can turn to this disappointment and this sadness for being there.

The emotions that result from things not going well

[10:12] And what I’m really wondering, speaking about this now, is whether a poker player or anyone ever really goes ahead and looks this disappointment and sadness.

Rather than simply just operate automatically. And say:

  • carry on playing or;
  • stop playing or;
  • jump into another activity.

[10:33] From observing this from years gone by and from observing the fact that meditation and looking at the mind is very much on the fringes of poker.

Even if it is explored, it is only ever really explored as a tactic per se to help deal with playing poker rather than living in general and daily living.  

Then it’s clear to me that, perhaps, no one ever really looks at this.  

And I think this is most likely because this occurs internally and culturally, we’ve not been brought up in a way that has one look at oneself internally; very clearly.

We’ve not been brought up in a way that questions consciousness.

[11:19] But rather than delve into this path, can you see that if the poker trip isn’t going well and there are these feelings of disappointment and sadness (or whatever label you want to put on it) can you look at what’s going on without the label?

That is can you look at, what’s going on internally past the movement of thought?

And see clearly what is actually going on? And delve into this.

That is looking at this with care. Which implies full attention.

And then from this, can you see that this entity to what you’re seeing and what is happening is in fact, within the field of the mind? And is in fact, connected to these feelings and these thoughts that are occurring.  

[12:13] And I think rather than continue on with this podcast, I think this is a great place to end it because it has left you if you’re willing to test this, incredibly profound.

[12:25] As always guys you’ll find me on Instagram, I’m @lChiggsl.

Take care!