Friday, January 02, 2009

2009 Goals

I guess I better get this up before we're too far into 2009.

It's tough trying to come up with goals for 2009. I'm still jobless at this point, so the amount of poker I can play is limited. I've still a small amount on PokerStars to pass the time, but I'm limited to micro stakes SNGs for the forseeable future. Setting any kind of goal measured by profit or by amount of poker played seems unreasonable right now.

I'm not as concerned with any kind of visibility goals regarding this blog or being a poker blogger either. Eventually, I hope to get back into things like the Mookie or Goat's next Bad Bankroll game, and maybe this will finally be the year I join all you donkeys in Vegas, but otherwise, I'll just let come what may.

Last's year goal of reading all my poker books is still unfulfilled, but it really isn't much of a goal. In fact, setting it as a goal is more symbolic of my own laziness than anything else. However, when I was writing my 2008 recap post, I started thinking about that goal as being part of a bigger goal.

The sad truth is that, despite 2008 being one of my most financially successful years in poker, I'm not really that much of a poker player. Additionally, it seems like any improvement in my game has become stagnant, which really isn't surprising; I can't say I've put any emphasis on improving my game to begin with.

So, for 2009, I've got one and only goal: to be able to say at the end of the year, with confidence, that I am a better poker player than I was at the beginning.

The first part of that, of course, is figuring out where I can improve. I know of a couple things I need to refine (properly applying aggression, playing specific hands OOP, etc), but besides refinement, I think improvement in my case goes far beyond that.

It seems one of my recurring problems has been a lack of focus. There's been too many times to count where I've sabotaged by bluffing in the wrong spots, overplaying a hand too aggressively, or making unnecessary hero calls. I'm beginning to think that these problems aren't due to a lack of focus, but more of a lack of understanding of key principles that I should understand by now. And I think that's where a dedication to really improving my game comes into play. Reading my poker books is just only a small part of that.

Of course, the flip side is trying to improve my game at the stakes I play. At the micro stakes, players are often unpredictable, and I don't mean that as a compliment. Certain plays that may be part of an experienced player's repertoire are less effective against players that are willing to call down with any pair or any draw. Trying to properly identify which plays work against which players, all while playing with a bankroll that I can't easily replace if I go busto, makes playing at these stakes often infuriating. But instead of getting frustrated by the often volatile play, I'm going to focus more on continually playing my best game.

So as it stands, I've got my one and only goal set for 2009. How I measure that or how I obtain that goal is still TBD, not to mention the possible obstacle of not being able to play at certain times during the year, whether it be due to financial constrains or due to the UIGEA finally putting the clamps on online poker. What I do know is this; for the first time in my life, I'm putting an additional focus on improving my play. I've still got dreams of hitting up the WSOP next year, and if I want to have any remote chance of being anything but dead money, it's time to start making some changes.


At January 6, 2009 at 6:36 AM, Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Have you considered doing the Chris Ferguson thing. He started with nothing and built his stack up through (originally) free plays. He had certain rules about how much he could risk, etc.

You actually wouldn't be starting at zero, because you already have a little in your account.

If you tried this and were able to build your stack, it would make great blog material. I know I'd be interested in following along.

At January 6, 2009 at 10:43 PM, Blogger lightning36 said...

Your post reminds me that I should get a little more serious about this stuff since I invest so much free time playing online poker.


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