** 750th Post - My Poker Goals **
For my 750th post here at CardsChat, I thought I would write about the single thing that has affected my game the most. A lot of people have asked about the poker goal numbers I have in my signature, so here it is.
First, let's rewind to July, 2008. I had been playing and winning for some time, but I never seemed to make any headway. I'd either win at the cash tables, then lose it all back at SNGs, or vice versa. I would get bored playing games that were profitable for me, and waste hours losing money playing HORSE and RAZZ. In short, I had a half-way decent game, and knew I could be a winning player, but I lacked the discipline and consistency of a pro. I was becoming disillusioned with poker, and wondered exactly why I was still playing. So, after searching for a solution, I came across this article on CC:
I suggest reading it if you haven't already. Don't worry, I'll still be here when you get back.
That article made a lot of sense to me, so I decided to set goals for my poker career. I had already been tracking my stats via PokerTracker, but by adding goals I could hold myself accountable for success or failure. A losing session was no longer just a waste of my time, it also put me back on the road to my goals; which was no longer acceptable. I learned from the article that goals should be concrete, and measurable. I also wanted my goals difficult enough to give me some satisfaction, but not so difficult that I went months on end without a victory. After all, it was meant to be a reward for a job well done.
It started simple enough. My bankroll at the time was in the $150 range, so I set a goal to reach $250. Now when I won $6 at the cash tables, I wasn't so quick to play a $5.50 45-man SNG. I stuck with the games I was good at to achieve my goals. Then, as I reached a goal, it naturally led to another one behind it. Once my BR hit $250, the next goal was $500. Alongside this, I had goals for profit; daily, monthly, and overall. To focus my ring games, I added numerous goals based on my performance there. Things like: "Post Monthly Profit over at least 5,000 hands at $0.05/$0.10." That kept me from wandering off to another game in mid-month. It also gave me a sense of satisfaction at the end of the month when I had achieved one or more goals. Having a winning session gives a poker player a good feeling. Sticking to a long-term plan and succeeding gives a poker player a great feeling.
Before I knew it, I had created a monster. I was adding every goal I could think of. My last section was even a wishlist of goals that I wanted to achieve, but realized might never happen. What had once been a tiny text file turned into a color-coded spreadsheet. In order to track my goals, I had to keep rigid stats about my bankroll, something that I should have been doing from the beginning.
Missing goals didn't provide solutions, but they did point out some holes in my game. For instance, I was profitable at $5 SNGs, but not $10 ones. Had I not played enough to get a valid sample? Was I playing on scared money in the higher buy-ins? Was the competition that much better? I still had to do the hard work to plug leaks in my game, but the goals definitely helped highlight some of them.
Probably the biggest benefit stemming from my goals was the growing sense of confidence in my poker game
as time went on. Was I capable of posting a monthly profit playing just $2 Sunday Quarter-Mil satellites? Yes I was, and I had the completed goal to prove it.
Then, in January of 2009, I hit a wall. I had been trying to break into 50NL for ages, and my game just wasn't good enough. I went on serious tilt and played even worse. To avoid tilting more of my hard-earned cash away, I withdrew most of my BR and went back to less than $150. Again, my goal list helped me maintain focus. Now I could work my way up through the micros, grabbing every missed goal along the way. Restarting wasn't a failure, it was an opportunity! Now every goal was like a badge of honor, and I went after as many as I could, no matter how seemingly menial. It gave me a sense of having paid my dues; like a baseball player who tears up the minors before finally making the major leagues, or a musician who plays hundreds of bars and clubs before landing that elusive record deal.
Fast-forward to today. My bankroll is at its highest point ever, as is my overall profit/loss. I have achieved 89 of my 167 goals. Even though I still have a lot of holes to fill, I know my game is good and that confidence makes it better. Without further ado, here is my current list of goals, as of 17/05/2009. Since I had to backfill some of the goals, the dates are not 100% accurate, but they are close. I also have a lot of tournament summaries yet to import into PokerTracker, so many of my in-progress SNG/MTT goals have actually been completed.
The quest never ends, though. As I hit some goals, I add others. Some goals I have removed from the list, deeming them unnecessary or pointless. The total number changes, but my percentage of completed goals increases slightly with each one I achieve. This may not work for everyone, but for me it has helped my game immensely. Feel free to create your own goal lists, or even steal mine verbatim. And I would be interested to hear if any of you have any suggestions for goals that I may have missed.
And finally, I'd like thank the whole CardsChat gang. Had I not done that google search for "why is pokertracker not ^*%!*&!$% working"
(or something like that), I never would have found the site, and I wouldn't be half the player I am today.