A huge field descended on the Bahamas for the first PSPC in 2019
Home / Live Poker / PSPC Live Poker Tips from Jen Shahade

PSPC Live Poker Tips from Jen Shahade

January 16, 2023
by PokerStars Learn

What three tips would you suggest to a player who’s never played a large buy-in event before?


  1. Don’t get intimidated by big names at your table. It will really take a ton of energy away from you, and creates a narrative where you feel like a secondary character to celebrity players at the table.
  2. Nope! YOU are the main character, and on any given day, any player can run and play among the best. That’s why you are the PSPC. Don’t forget it, and don’t let a star studded draw take an inch away from your confidence.
  3. That all said, if you want to shave off a few marginal hands from some of your ranges at tougher tables, of course that’s smart and reasonable. But your mental game is so precious at an event like PSPC— make sure that your narrative is protected.

What can a beginner do to reduce nervousness at the table?

Jen: Visualize nerve racking situations and think about how you’d react. Focus on your game plan over your emotions. Acknowledge that you can get unlucky and be eliminated from the tournament extremely quickly.

If you come to peace with the idea that playing well necessarily means an occasional early KO, that should help reduce your nerves. Also embrace a few butterflies, this is indeed a big deal, try to use those butterflies to fuel your focus.


Do you make any changes or preplanning when playing at a major event like the PSPC?

Jen: I try not to play too differently, because if you change up your strategy too much, it’s more likely to hinder than help you.


What type of food do you try and eat whilst playing a long tournament? And do you take snacks to the table?


Jen: I usually would only bring snacks that I can eat without touching for sanitary reasons, like roll up power bars (NOT crumbly ones!). I try to eat a decent amount at the start of the day, and very little on the dinner break, then a larger meal at the end of it all.


How do you stay focused and fresh when playing long days at live events?

Jen: I late reg most day 1s a couple hours so that I can have more focus at the end of the day. Day 1s are particularly key because the play is usually pretty deep stacked. If I am fortunate enough to continue into day 2, 3 and 4, I find that adrenaline can help me a lot.

It’s also important to remember that you can’t stay focused every minute of every level when you go deep in an MTT. Ration your focus so that you have it for the big pots and soften your focus in smaller pots you’re not involved in-especially ones that don’t seem likely to go to showdown.


How do you deal with a bad run of hands in a big live tournament?

Jen: Remember that it could be worse. You could have good hands and run into better ones! Seriously…there are just as many ways to get unlucky in poker as there are to get lucky, and it’s not all about hitting an ace on the river.

If you’re getting an extremely low frequency of playable hands, you can certainly open up a few more marginal ones as other players may give you a little more credit than otherwise. Just don’t get frustrated or change things too dramatically. You don’t “HAVE” to do anything but play your own game and the cards and positions you’re dealt.

How would you suggest playing if you build up a big stack in a high buy-in tournament like the PSPC?

Jen: Play very aggressively during the bubble, and during the pre-bubble period with about 25-30% of the field remaining. People are becoming more aware of the ICM effects that begin far before the actual bubble so you may be able to pick up a lot of free chips from players with healthy stacks adroitly avoiding big confrontations with an even bigger stack

When you’re a big stack, you have a lot to consider, bubble or no bubble. Asymmetric (aka varying) stack sizes mean that every move you make, you need to consider what to do if a shorter stack goes all in against you.

For example, you may try to pressure a loose opener with a 3b on the button. But did you also note the stack sizes of the blinds? That’s something that a big stack must be hyper aware about. Smaller stacks benefit from noticing this too, but since they’re only playing for their own stack, there’s less of a penalty if they miss something.


What do you do during your breaks?

Jen: In the Bahamas, I’ll definitely be getting some fresh air and feeling that sea breeze.


How would you celebrate after winning a live event?

Jen: In the Bahamas, I’d celebrate on the beach with a Bahama Mama and a day off from tournaments to enjoy the sun with my family and all my friends at the PSPC.


Study Poker with Pokerstars Learn, practice with the PokerStars app