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“I think I learned the most at breaks, lunch, and after class, just sitting and talking to the instructors. They’re fantastic people to sit and talk with—they’re always willing to share their knowledge."
Bob Talbot: Cash Game Player Finds Tournament Success after WPT Boot Camp
Bob Talbot had been a serious cash game player for more than five years. Since he retired from his job as a city employee in Fort Worth, Texas, he’d been playing poker 40 to 50 hours a week at one of the five local cardrooms in Tunica, Mississippi.
“I learned to play just by hard knocks and reading some books,” Bob says. “It took me about 6 months to become a winning player.” Soon Bob was taking home about $500 each week from full-time play at the $1-$3 and $2-$5 levels.
Despite his success at the cash games, Bob had never really gotten into tournaments. Attracted by the prospect of big paydays for relatively small entry fees, he decided to give tournaments a try.
“You invest $350 in a cash game and you’re lucky if you make $350,” he says. “Invest $350 in a tournament, and you can make $40,000-$50,000.”
Bob had taught himself cash poker, but he didn’t think he could teach himself tournament poker. So he decided to take a Tournament Camp.
“I thought I needed to learn more than I could just by reading some books, so I took a Boot Camp,” he explains. “I just knew I did not know enough about the game, and I needed more knowledge if I was going to play it."
Even knowing that he had a lot to learn, Bob’s experience at WPT Boot Camp was a revelation.
I learned that I was making a lot of mistakes,” he says frankly. “I needed to change it up from cash games and get a little bit more, shall I say, aggressive? Because in cash games, you got all the time in the world to wait for hands. In tournaments, you aren’t always catching cards, and you have to make people think you caught ‘em.”
Like many poker players, Bob was discovering that the strategies that worked for him in cash games were quite different from what he needed to win a tournament. But it took specific suggestions from WPT Boot Camp instructors before he could incorporate new approaches into his game.
Bob especially appreciated how available and helpful the instructors were.
“I think I learned the most at breaks, lunch, and after class, just sitting and talking to the instructors,” he said. “They’re fantastic people to sit and talk with—they’re always willing to share their knowledge."
“I would say, ‘You’ve seen me here in class, what am I doing wrong?’ And everybody would have a critique, and I just took their knowledge and let it soak in.”
WPT Boot Camp paid off. Bob went to a WSOP Circuit event the month after camp and cashed in three tournaments, making one final table. Soon after that, he made another Circuit event final table for his biggest win so far. He’s also done well at tournaments in Tunica and Biloxi. Now he’s mixing up his cash games with regular trips to play tournaments.
Even though Bob took Boot Camp more than a year ago, he feels that it’s continuing to help him grow as a player. “Of course, I took notes,” he says. “And sometimes when I’m playing tournaments now, I refer back to those note cards. I say to myself, ‘Okay, this is what I’m doing wrong,’ and I fix it.” With more than $71,000 in tournament winnings in little more than a year, Bob knows his Boot Camp experience is still paying off.