If you'd like to advertise on this site, please email me to discuss details and rates.

Poker, Goals, and Focus [Updated]

I'm finally back after an extended Christmas vacation. The good news? I weigh less than I did on December 1st. The bad news? My current weight can be attributed to a rather nasty bout of the stomach flu that I've been fighting since Sunday morning. As I sat at home yesterday locked in my (seemingly) tireless struggle between sitting upright in bed, slouched over in the washroom, or hunched over the toilet bowl, poker called to me. After a month of staying away from the online tables, I'm planning on getting back on the horse this month.

Since I'm here and talking about poker, I thought I'd take the chance to briefly review my 2008 year in poker and set out my goals for 2009.

According to my first post of 2008, my goals for 2008 were pretty simple:

  1. Work my way up to the $200 NLHE tables and continue winning.
  2. Continue to strengthen the role of my poker winnings on my bankroll growth and rely less on blackjack and sportsbetting.
  3. Improve my poker game - especially in terms of 6-max NLHE.
  4. Have a banner year in poker.
Even though I felt that I played less poker in 2008 than in previous years, my numbers disagree. I played about 40,000 hands of cash-game poker last year. While that may not seem like a lot when compared to professional online poker players grinding out 10K hands a day, I assure you that this represents quite a feat on my part.

In terms of strict poker winnings, 2008 was my best year ever. I more than doubled my best-ever yearly winnings and maintained a decent $20/hr win rate across all cash games. My best games were 6-max $100 and $200 no-limit hold'em; my worst poker performance came from playing the $20+ buy-in turbo SNGs. I really feel that my NLHE game is coming along nicely. I've done myself a disservice by casting poker aside in favour of video games in recent months. I plan on correcting this mistep as soon as possible.

I'm going to keep my goals for 2009 fairly simple:
  1. Play at least 60,000 hands of cash game poker: any game, any stakes.
    I need more poker experience and playing poker is the only way to get it. I need to learn to focus on making good decisions and not letting short-term results, good and bad, affect my mood too drastically. If I can increase my volume, I hope to better my ability to deal with variance, losing streaks, and tilt.
  2. Learn to play Pot-Limit Omaha; play $50 PLO regularly by year's end.
    I still think that PLO is going to be big in the coming years. I'm going to start playing the $25 PLO games in the coming months. I'd like to be a winning player at the $50 buy-in PLO games by the end of the year. To that end, I'll be picking up a copy of Poker Tracker Omaha to help me track my play at the tables. I'm also going to invest in a DeucesCracked membership and see what they've got going on in terms of PLO instruction.
  3. Continue beating the 6-max $200 NLHE games; play the $400 NLHE games by year's end.
    I'm not giving up on the 6-max NLHE games. My numbers from last year have shown me that NLHE cash games are my bread and butter. I'd like to make a concerted effort to improve my game and continue working my way up in stakes.
  4. Consistently beat the $50 HU NLHE  games; play $100 HU NLHE games by year's end
    I had some early success playing $50 heads-up no-limit hold'em in 2008. I'd like to continue working on my heads-up game and make the move to the $100 games by the end of the year. I'd like to be a solid winning player at the $50 buy-in level over 10K hands before testing the waters at the higher limits. I feel that becoming a proficient heads-up player will have many positive effects on the other games I play including both 6-max and full-ring Hold'em and even pot-limit Omaha.
  5. Focus, focus, focus.
    I'm going to try and focus exclusively on no-limit hold'em and PLO cash games this year. Though I may play the occasional sit-n-go or tournament, I believe that my time will be best spent improving on what I do best. No more PokerGoals [NB: In theory, I really liked the idea; in practice, takes too many cycles to properly implement and leads to too much game diversity at this stage in my poker career], no more pushes to be a great SNG player, and forgo any crazy stabs at games like Razz and Triple Draw.
  6. Have fun playing poker!
    Poker is a game. Before I can focus on making real money at poker, I must learn to enjoy the game and take it at face value. Poker is a competitive game that will let me test my intelligence, cunning, patience, and sheer force of will against anyone willing to sit down at a table with me. I hope to regain the passion that makes minute-to-minute poker decisions a pleasant way to spend an evening.  Poker is not a second job...yet.
In preparation for this upcoming year of poker, I reformatted my laptop's hard drive and re-installed everything yesterday while fending off waves of nausea. I'll likely start playing poker this coming Saturday. Due to the ongoing public transporation strike going on in my neck of the woods (30 days and counting), I've lost roughy 9 hours of poker study time a week. And given my increased responsibility at work and being forced to wake up an hour and a half earlier every day, I'm probably not in the best mental shape possible.

But I'm done sitting on the sidelines. This year will be the year that makes me or breaks me as a poker player. If I can succeed in all my goals, I could potentially set myself up for many years of poker success.

I'm ready to enjoy poker again.

No comments: