Many World Series of Poker stories focus on the game’s superstars or the first-time visitors. In real life, however, there’s a vast range of WSOP experiences. Particularly for online grinders, the WSOP represents more than just a change from online to live action. It can also force changes in how one approaches tournament play itself.
Consider Jeff Boski, for example. The fast-talking, faster-playing Boski is usually found online, hammering away in innumerable smaller-stakes tourneys. He’s very good at what he does — he’s a sponsored pro at Americas Cardroom, where he’s known as the “King of the Micros” — and he’s often playing 12 tables at once. He’s also a skilled self-promoter, running a popular Twitch poker channel where he streams a large volume of his small and mid-stakes play.
That’s fine for most times of the year. But when the WSOP arrives, whether it’s summer or fall, even the online pros come to play, searching for the added prestige attached to winning WSOP gold. For Boski and hundreds of other online grinders, it’s a change of pace.
‘Prepare for devastation, hope for success’
Boski (real last name Sluzinski) has enjoyed a WSOP career far better than most. He’s cashed a collected 59 times since 2008 in live and online WSOP and WSOP Circuit events, for well over $300,000. Yet that deep, deep live-WSOP run hasn’t happened. It hasn’t slowed Boski down.
“My expectations are low,” Boski admitted. “Year after year after year at this place I’ve never final tabled…. So I always say prepare for devastation but hope for success.” The truth therein is important for all WSOP dreamers. Every year brings some great winner’s stories, but for a lot of players, even very skilled players, it often doesn’t happen. It takes both skill and luck.
Slowing down your online-poker brain
For a fast-paced online grinder like Boski, that shift to live play compounds the challenge. “You’ve got to slow down your brain,” he said. “I really love stimulus. Online I’m like 12 tables and have other stuff going on — phone, editing and other stuff.
“But here you just have to slow down and just dumb down everything. If you don’t you’re just going to tilt off all your live poker, very slow. You can’t allow things to tilt you because they will. Bad dealers, long lines. Bad temperature, shoddy chairs and more. People smelling bad. No, you can’t tilt; you’ve just got to brush it all off. You’ve got to be bulletproof.”
And that’s even without the unexpected happenings. Boski had hoped to play in Day 1A of the 2021 WSOP’s first massive-field event, the $500 Reunion, but when he heard of Friday’s tech issues and long lines, he switched to a Wynn Summer Classic event, but didn’t cash. Then he spent two-and-a-half hours in line waiting to register for Saturday’s Reunion Day 1B starting flight instead.
And there’s still some online poker to be played. Whenever he’s done with his “daily drive of shame,” as he called it, there’s plenty of online action still waiting. Boski plans on filling up his non-live hours with several of WSOP.com’s online bracelet events, plus a scaled-back portion of his ACR tourney schedule. That latter includes his own weekly “Boski Special” tourney.
For Jeff Boski, the grind never stops. It just takes a different form within the framework of the WSOP. And, perhaps, this will be that special WSOP year.
Featured image source: Haley Hintze