Project Poker | Using WCOOP to practice for live tourneys

I am mainly a live player, or at least that’s what I’ve become after having transitioned over the last few years into playing mostly live tournaments. I still play online throughout the year, but the only time I focus entirely on online poker tends to happen during the “COOPs” — the SCOOP and WCOOP.
I really like those series, not just because I get to play a lot of tournaments in a short period, but I also use the COOPs to improve as a player. They are kind of learning tool for me, you might say, to practice new things and work on my game.
During WCOOP, for instance, I’ll play so many hands during those three weeks, it becomes a great opportunity to experiment. I love trying out new plays and thinking outside the box. Just because everyone is playing in a certain way in certain spots, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to approach those situations.
In order to develop an edge over all players — not just the bad ones, but the good ones, too — you have to be trying new things. You can learn so much by seeing how other players react to your plays, and when you get to try those plays many, many times as is possible in SCOOP and WCOOP, you can really get a sense for how well they work.
In addition, the online tournaments tend to feature lower buy-ins than the live events I typically play. With live tourneys, my buy-ins will usually range between $2,000-$10,000, but online (say in WCOOP), the range will be more like $100-$1,000. The players are still very, very good in these events, so I’m getting to practice against solid opponents for a relatively inexpensive price. I get to see how top pros and regulars react to certain things I’m trying to do, and can learn what works and what doesn’t.
The 20- and 30-minute levels and deep stacks in WCOOP also make those tournaments great for this sort of practice. In most online tournaments the average stacks can be fairly shallow, say 20-30 big blinds most of the time. But in the WCOOP events there’s a lot of play with much deeper stacks, which can be similar to what you face in a lot of live tournaments and thus makes the practice that much more valuable.
I mostly focused on hold’em during this year’s WCOOP. I played some of the mixed-game tournaments, but I mostly wanted to use the three weeks to focus on hold’em. Believe it or not, I still feel like I have so much more to learn in hold’em, and so relished the chance to polish my game and work on a few leaks.
I had a decent number of cashes and several deep runs in the WCOOP. I made a few Day 2s and a final table in the $1K fixed-limit six-handed hold’em event. I’m happy with where my game is now — especially after having taken that time off this summer to be on the reality TV show — and pleased both with my results and with the chance to get in a lot of good practice.
Time soon to go back on the road and take what I’ve learned during WCOOP back to the live games!  By Eugene Katchalov

Categories Business