The inaugural World Poker Tour (WPT)
Boot Camp kicked off at The Mirage last weekend, where 50 “recruits”
spent two days learning the ins and outs of championship poker.
In addition to intensive
instruction that included hands-on play in poker “labs,” the students
participated in a “live” game in which 10 students won seats to an
upcoming WPT satellite tournament.
Some of the students were
residents of Las Vegas, though most came from outside the state.
The Boot Camp’s instructors
included World Poker Tour TV show commentator Mike Sexton and the television
show’s associate producer, Alex “The Insider” Outhred.
“They have played the game
of poker and been witness to the skills of top players worldwide,” said
Lyle Berman, co-founder of the World Poker Tour and chief of Lakes Gaming.
“Together they provide the kind of coaching necessary to help amateur poker
players reach and succeed at a WPT final table.
“The best way to improve
quickly is to learn from the pros,” Berman continued. “This is
tournament poker education in a safe environment ”¦ not at a table in a
Even if they don’t reach a
championship table, the recruits learned many of the key skills needed to
compete successfully in Texas hold’em, the game of choice in most big
In addition to the basics of the
game and how to bet, instruction included tips for reading and analyzing
opponents and their hands, how to bet aggressively, when and how to bluff and
the significance of position at the table.
After exploring the basics,
students then moved along to the mathematics of poker where they were taught to
analyze poker hands, calculate odds, and decide on the right amount to bet.
There was also strategy presented that addresses pre-flop betting, post-flop
betting, early position plays, stealing a blind, avoiding dead draws and making
Lastly, students received
tutelage on how to approach tournament play so they may make it to a final
table. Early, middle, and late tournament strategies were discussed along with
the value of changing tables, overcoming bad beats, short stack play and keeping
a chip lead.
Because of his history as a poker
tournament pro (he’s a former European poker champion and the winner of a
World Series of Poker gold bracelet), Sexton provided plenty of practical
anecdotes to go along with his lectures.
Adding color to his examples were
several first-person stories related to players such as Stu Ungar and Doyle
Brunson. Instruction also used tournament video footage from the World Poker
Tour, which provided students visual examples of the points the instructor
wanted to make.
“While high-stakes poker can
be a pretty serious, stressful business, that doesn’t mean we can’t have
some fun with the folks we’re teaching. Poker is, after all, a game,”
The other lecturer and lab
instructor was Alex Outhred, who has worked on the World Poker tour for three
seasons. His job is to review and scrutinize on WPT film the players’ every
card, bet, critical decision and telling glance. By watching every hand ever
played on the tour, Outhred has gained invaluable insights as to how players
play and win.
The cost of the WPT Boot Camp is
$1,495 and its class size is limited to 50 students (the seminar at The Mirage
was sold out). The camp will be offered in other cities throughout the year. See
the WPTbootcamp web site for dates, locations and details.