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How to Prepare for a Big Tournament

July 11, 2022
by Raise Your Edge

How do you like to prepare for a big tournament or a big final table?

Do you focus on strategy and game planning? Or do you relax, get some rest, and prepare internally? Whatever your focus points, the fact is that everyone has their own ways of getting in the zone.

However, there are some common pieces of advice for preparing for a massive tournament that will apply to you no matter what your preparation looks like.

The Holy Trifecta of Coaching

Whenever you’re preparing for an important or stressful event of any kind, getting these three things in order will have a huge impact on your performance.

First, get your diet right. Eating healthy before the event will get your brain into a state of clarity and clear up the brain fog that junk food induces. You’ll notice a massive difference after just a day of eating right. Eat that apple.

Second, make sure your sleep is right. Ideally you should get 7-8 hours of sleep minimum before the event. If nerves are getting to you, wind down by turning your screens off an hour before bed. 15 minutes before bed make yourself some tea, read a book, or meditate. Before lying down to sleep, take 10 deep breaths and calm your breathing. You’ll naturally find a routine that works best for you, but generally following these few tips should work wonders.

Finally, make sure you get in some form of exercise 24 hours or less before the tournament. Getting your body moving is very helpful when it comes to focus, and it just makes you feel good afterwards, which boosts performance. You don’t need to crush a crazy hard workout, just going for a walk can have a positive impact.

Now, following this Holy Trifecta is a great start. But you might be asking, ‘Shouldn’t I be focusing on studying?’

How Much to Study

Many players like to cram before big tournaments, the urge for last minute preparation is part of being a human. But it’s important to remember that you won’t be able to raise your ceiling (how good of a poker player you are) in just 24 hours.

Rather than exhausting your mental capacity with solver analysis and strategy, work on reaching the peak of where you’re at right now by gaining mental clarity and focus.

Accept the skill level you’re at right now, and work on raising your confidence, focus and clarity by following the Holy Trifecta. You can study a little if it will help your confidence, but don’t over-do it or your results will suffer.

Reach Out for Support

Talking to people who’ve also been in high pressure situations in the past can be a great help. Ask other players who’ve reached big final tables or played in big tournaments before how they’ve prepared.

How did they recover from bad beats and stay focused and disciplined? What did they learn from these high-pressure situations, and what would they do differently?

The advice of friends and peers can instill a lot of confidence before a big event, so if you have peers who’ve been in this situation before, utilize them.

Enjoy It

This last point is simple, but often overlooked. One of the biggest regrets people who’ve been in high-performance, high-pressure situations have is that they didn’t enjoy the moment more.

We often get so caught up in our heads, with the enormity of the situation in front of us, that we forget how blessed we are to be there.

Sure, there’s lots of money at stake, but having an abundance mindset and remembering that you’ll probably be in a position like this again gives you confidence, clarity and will aid your decision making.

This isn’t your one chance, your big shot – others will come. Enjoy what you’ve been given and be grateful for the experience.

Hopefully this article was helpful! If you’d like to read more about preparing for your next big tournament, check out this article on what you should study first when it comes to poker tournaments.

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