It is that time of the year again when poker players all around the world are preparing to play on the biggest stage in the poker world—the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. The 46th Annual WSOP officially starts on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, but players have been preparing for months, if not years, for their shot at poker glory.
One such player is Harrison Ashdown, a 23-year-old professional poker player and personal trainer from England. He started playing home games when he was 17. He moved to the U.S. four years ago to become a personal trainer, but destiny had different plans for him.
He studied nutrition at Santa Monica College. He would bring his books to the poker table to study anatomy, but soon school wasn’t his main focus, and Ashdown made the decision to play poker professionally about ten months ago.
It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but his wife has been supportive of his choice. Ashdown has been honing his game at Hollywood Park Casino where he plays everything from large No-Limit games to mixed games and PLO.
His mentor and friend Bruce Levitt has been encouraging Ashdown in his poker career. Levitt suggests books to read, and they discuss hands. They met at the table about six months ago when Ashdown kept trying to bluff Levitt.
Ashdown is going to Las Vegas for the first time this summer to play in the WSOP. In addition to playing cash games, he intends to play No-Limit Hold’em tournaments, such as the $565 Colossus No-Limit Hold’em event and the $777 Lucky 7’s No-Limit Hold’em event.
Regarding his preparation, Ashdown says a month before the WSOP he will be eating a stricter diet since he feels much more energetic when consuming lower calories.
He will keep hitting the gym early in the morning, knowing he has to accomplish something before he has to play for long hours.
Ashdown says the WSOP is going to be “a great learning experience for me and hopefully I can adapt using what I will have learned for the following years’ WSOP.”
Another player who is preparing for the WSOP is Cyndy Violette. A native of Queens, New York, Violette’s family moved to Las Vegas when she was 12 years old. She was a blackjack and poker dealer at the Horseshoe.
She began playing poker on her pregnancy leave from her job, and she hasn’t looked back since.
With lifetime earnings of over $1 million and 35 cashes at the WSOP, Violette is one of the most respected poker players in the world. She was inducted into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame in 2009.
If you see Violette on her iPod in a tournament, she isn’t playing Candy Crush; she is listening to positive words and meditations. Her preparation begins in the mind.
Violette says when she was doing the best at the WSOP, preparation was the key to her success. She would get up every morning and exercise, mediate and eat healthy vegan food.
She also stresses the importance of sunshine to recharge your energy field. Because players are sitting in a casino all day, it is imperative to get sun and some fresh air.
Violette has recently focused much of her energy running her restaurant Violette’s Vegan Organic Eatery and Juice Bar, which she describes as “healthy, hip and inspiring,” which can just as easily describe Violette herself.
Located at 8560 W. Desert Inn Road in Las Vegas, Violette’s Vegan features a variety of fresh organic vegan food, perfect for poker players looking to perform their best.
From Sunshine Sausage Melts for breakfast to BBQ “beef” sandwiches for lunch and daily Chef Mark’s specials for dinner, there is something for every palate on the menu.
The menu has recently been redone with Pamela Brunson’s favorite wild buffalo sticks renamed Brunson’s Choice. With All-In Quesadillas called Ante-Up Bandito and Texas Hold’em, Violette’s restaurant honors her poker roots.
In fact, Violette’s Vegan will have a special menu for the WSOP. Players will be able to text in their orders. Check the website violettesvegan.com for a special number and menu coming soon.
In Las Vegas where illusion often rules, Violette and her restaurant stand out as true originals.
Whether a novice like Ashdown or a veteran like Violette, any player who buys into the WSOP has a chance at poker immortality. That’s the beauty of it.