By Tony Dunst
If you love gambling on sports, there’s no better time of year than March Madness. But March is also one of the best months of the year for tournament poker; especially on the West Coast, where there’s a major tournament almost every day from late February through early April. I compiled those events into a schedule that runs from February 26th until March 31st—when the WPT begins filming for Season XVIII at the Luxor—and plan on playing every event I’m available for in that span.
The schedule includes a variety of venues and tours, headlined by series like the LAPC, WPT Rolling Thunder and WPT at Venetian. It’s tough to estimate the total cost of buy-ins in the age of re-entry, but assuming I played the event listed every day I’m looking at roughly $55,000 in buy-ins across 25 tournament entries (I’d take the over on both).
When possible, I’ve even put multiple events per day on the schedule just in case I bust one in the afternoon and have time for another in the evening: AKA, the Ari Engel method.
Although it sounds exhausting, I look forward to periods of intense play. There’s definitely a risk of burn out—and if I don’t feel up to playing one day, I won’t—but usually, I feel energized by the chance to put in volume. Much like golf, poker is a game where you perform your best when you’re ‘in form’; and that’s mostly achieved by playing and studying consistently. That option isn’t always available (I’ve spent the last two weeks hunting for action in Vegas) and a dense schedule like this presents the chance to really get dialed in.
I know better than to make predictions about results, so what I’m really hoping for is a high level of focus throughout the month; putting my phone away from Day 2 and beyond in events, and following the action after I fold (sounds so much easier than it is). If I’m still doing that by the end of the month, then I’ll consider March Madness a success…even if my bracket is a mess.