Goodbye 07, Hello 08
Sunday night marked the end of my online poker playing, at least for 2007. I put in some extra hours at the computer the past couple of days, trying to work up my bankroll as much as I could before I cashed out for Christmas. I worked it up to just a shade under $200 until I went on a sick streak of getting sucked out on to drop down to about $165. I withdrew it all except for $11 with the intent that I'll replenish most, if not all, of that withrdrawal when I get my FF money.
A quick note - I played one of those new $10 multi-table Knockout SNGs the other night, finishing 9th after running AT into the almighty A4. 4 on the flop cripples me & I'm gone the next hand. Anyways, that tournament is the sickest form of poker I think I've ever played. The knockout element gets to people's heads, and you see people making the craziest decisions just to knock someone out. It's amazing how many people were risking their entire stack within 10 hands because they flopped an 8-high flush draw! I've only played two knockout tournaments (the other losing with AK against the monster hand known as A6), and if there's a different strategy to these I haven't really figured it out, but am I wrong in just trying to play strong poker, take a shot at the $230 1st place, and just consider any knockouts as gravy? Is that really that foreign of a concept? 'Cause I sure feel like I'm in the minority when I play these. I did adjust my strategy once I amassed a stack, but it was basically just a looser version of playing a big stack, reraising with crap like AT and K5 to isolate a shorty & pick up some chips and bounties. Had I not run AK into KK just a couple of hands before the final table, this would probably be a different story.
Anyways, let's move on to today's post. It's the end of the year, so I guess I should do some kind of 2007 reflection post, although I probably do enough reflection on this blog as it is.
Overall, I think 2007 was a successful year. I don't have any kind of profitability statistics, but according to Sharkscope it's been about $800 or so. Of course, that doesn't include cash game or MTT results, and it doesn't include Poker Stars stats, but it does reflect about 90% of what I played this year, which was SNGs on Full Tilt. Considering I haven't gone completely busto & reloaded in almost a year, I can say with confidence that this year was profitable.
I do feel that my game has improved from the start of last year, but I can't quite tell you how. I do think I've improved on my overall poker awareness, understanding situations from a more +EV point of view. I still do need to work on other aspects of my game, like aggressiveness & making solid reads, but I'm at least heading in the right direction.
Of course, I don't have that many solid results to show from it other than a consistent profitability. My biggest score this year was just over $100 in a multi-table SNG. I cashed in a couple MTTs and final tabled a couple of Mookie's this year, which is more than many others can say. Of course, I played within my bankroll most of the year, so I only had just a handful of chances to mark my success with some 3 & 4 figure scores.
I end 2007 on a high note (figuratively speaking. In actuality, I'll be leaving 2007 on a sour note when I flopped trips on an A87 & played it perfectly, only to lose when my opponent goes runner-runner and makes a bigger full house than I did), but I know that I've still got farther to go. I'm eyeing 2008 as the year that I grow beyond being a decent or good poker player, depending on how loosely you throw around the word "good". The struggle is trying to do so within the financial constraints and competing priorities I've mentioned here before, but I feel like I'm on the verge of turning the corner as a poker player. So, to do that, I decided to come up with some goals for 2008. Aside from my bankroll challenge, I've never really set any kind of poker related goal for myself. Any progress I've made since I started blogging is by picking up concepts & strategies from other bloggers, but application of those concepts & strategies hasn't been consistent. Above all, I still have my eyes on the WSOP in 2010, so if I'm going to start making changes, I can't wait any longer.
So, here are my 5 goals for 2008.
1. Build my bankroll up to $2000 by Thanksgiving. I think 11 months is enough time to achieve that, even with the limited amount of time I have to play. I don't see myself making any significant changes to my rules - it's just a matter of making sure I stick to them. I've been better this second time around but I keep jumping up to the $10 games lately. No one's perfect, and I'm certainly proof of that. Anyways, if I start with $100, I'd have to average about $40\week profit to reach my goal by Thankgiving. I think that's easily attainable as long as I stick to my plan.
2. Read all of my poker books. I've amassed a pretty extensive library so far:
Harrington on Hold'em Vol 1 & 2
Cloutier's Championship No Limit & Pot Limit
Sklansky's Holdem for Advanced Players
Sklansky's 7-Card Stud for Advanced Players
The Mathematics Of Poker by Bill Chen
Texas Holdem Odds & Probabilities by Mathew Hilger
Weighing The Odds by King Yao
Phil Hellmuth Presents Read'em & Weep by Joe Navarro
Caro's Book of Poker Tells
But I've only read about a third of those completely, and some I haven't even touched yet. Talk about -EV! I plan to get through all of these books in 2008, even the ones I've read already. That's about 1 book a month - that should be manageable.
3. Win a Mookie
I started playing the Mookie this year & I think I've played about 10 of them so far. I've final tabled twice, both times going out with Jacks (vs AA or AK). I could certainly use a banner for my blog. I'll still have school Wednesday nights until May so I doubt I'll be able to accomplish this anytime before then.
4. Win a MTT with over 300 players
This will probably be my toughest goal of the year. I don't always have the time to play a large MTT - I think I've only played about 10 of these this year - and I think that will be my biggest deterrent from accomplishing this goal. I've final-tabled a couple of smaller MTTs in the past month or so (around 100 players), so I look to use that as a stepping stone to improving my MTT game and taking one of these down.
5. Become a more visible blogger
I've been blogging for a year & a half and I still feel like a relatively unknown blogger. Of course, one reason may be that I don't give people a good reason to stay updated on my blog. Another reason is partly because most of blog reading time occurs at work, and I don't have the ability to comment when I'm at work. But these are mostly excuses, not reasons. I'm going to work on making my blog more interesting for my readers, but also, I'm making it a goal to put forth a greater effort to get to know all of you whose blog I read regularly. I've been following many of the trip reports from the last WPBT gathering, and to say I'm just a little jealous would be an understatement. Unfortunately, I'm already fairly certain that I won't be able to make any of the gatherings next year (planned trips to Chicago & Paris are a priority next year), but that doesn't mean I can't work on getting to know you donkeys anyways.
I decided against making goals like "improve my short-handed game" or "become better at steals & resteals" because I think setting goals on improving one's poker skill-set is futile. Those kind of goals are more long-term goals. I may improve my short-handed game in 2008, but that shouldn't be an accomplishment because there will undoubtedly be an opportunity to improve it again in 2009. And 2010. And so on.
This will be my final post for the year. I'm leaving on Wednesday to go AZ & CA with my girlfriend to see our families until Christmas. Happy Holidays & Happy New Year to all of you - I'll see you again in January.