How does one get ready for a major tournament?

Antonio Esfandiari & Phil Laak - World Series ...
Image by Kaloozer via Flickr

I am starting to wonder just how do the professional poker players get ready for a tournament? I have read a lot books about playing in a tournament. I also have read a lot of blogs written by professionals on how they played in a tournament. I have even read the tweets (messages sent via Twitter.Com) of the pros as they get ready to play or are playing in a tourney.

Not all of what I have read says what you should do to get ready before playing in a tourney. So I am going to attempt to break down a list of what I think I should do prior to entering a major event — just in case I do.

A. Prepare physically: I have heard that some tourneys have very grueling schedules, sometimes players will sit at the tables for over 20 hours at a stretch with just a lunch and a dinner break. Prior to the event, I would have an  exercise routine that would build up my strength and endurance. During the event, I would take advantage of what ever breaks I was given to stretch to move around to get my blood circulation. If healthy food was not being served, I would make sure to take a small cooler with the foods that I require so that I would not have to go off my diet by eating improperly.

B. Prepare mentally: I have heard that the physiological aspects of the tourney are very tough. You have to be prepared to handle set backs and bad calls and keep on going for as long as you have chips in front of you. Just because you lose half  a stack or more does not mean you do not have a chance unless of course you lose all of your chips. You need a certain mental toughness and confidence that is needed to play and win in a major tourney. Reading inspirational books could be helpful.

C. Prepare strategically: You need a plan and a goal other than just an overall goal of wanting to win. You should know before you get your cards just how you want to play your hands.  Try reading books about playing in tournaments that have been written by successful professionals and by amateurs that have won big and have proved that they are not one day wonders. Talk with your successful poker friends and listen to what they have to say. Playing with a plan will take a lot of the stress off what to do.

How would you prepare for tourney?

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