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Goals and the Fear of Stagnancy

As a poker player, I have always had some goals in the back of my head: play in a WSOP event (not Circuit), play in the WSOP Main Event, win as much per year as I earn as a lawyer while maintaining both. Those are the goals that come into my head most readily. I have already completed some goals, most notably my annual profit goal for the last three years and playing in WSOP Circuit events, but the first three goals I listed are far from happening.

I have no illusions about the game of poker or my place in the game. I started off playing .25/.50 limit, and have worked myself up to decent bankrolls several times before using those funds for me or wifey Kim. Still, I have been able to increase my goals yearly because I have been able to move up the ranks.

Things change, though. I have begun to fear stagnation, particularly when it comes to live poker. If my stakes don't increase and my amount of time playing doesn't increase, how can I expect to make more this year than next year. If there was an answer it would be that I have to play better. Frankly, though, even the best play can only get you so far when your stakes are low.

It seems to me then, that I have three choices: (1) play higher stakes, (2) play more often, and (3) accept stagnation for now.

(1) Play higher stakes. Plainly put, I just can't do this right now. The truth is that my bankroll probably cannot handle it. I would like to move up to 2/5 NL regularly, but my roll is inadequate, plain and simple. I will, however, work toward increasing the roll through non-poker means. It feels like a cop-out to me, since I prided myself with earning my way up the ladder, but I have spent enough of my poker bankroll over the years to justify reclaiming some of those funds. Ultimately, however, higher stakes may not be possible all that regularly, due to the same problems I have with (2).

(2) Play more often. Ah, if only this were possible. I am working like a dog lately, and work must come before poker. I have other responsibilities too, including spending some time with wifey Kim, so it isn't like I can spend 5 days a week at a cardroom from the end of the workday until late night. But if there were any real block to (1) and (2), it is availability. Live games are just not readily available unless I am willing to play in underground clubs...and I'm not willing to play in underground clubs. I did it and I'm done with it. I am unwilling to risk losing my bankroll to a robbery or raid. I am unable to jump through the hoops necessary to get into some of the newly opened rooms. I do not want to live like a fucking bandit. AC is still available, but its a bitch of a trip at about 3 hours. Even so, I may look into more weekend day trips and travel via bus. Lord I hate the idea of taking a bus, but Matty Ebs does it regularly and he seems to think its a good setup.

(3) Accept stagnation. NO DAMNIT! I cannot! I will not! Okay, I have. I will do what I can to increase profit this year, but I will be happy if I can repeat 2007's profit. Poker is a long term goal for me, and I don't intend to abandon these long term goals anytime soon. I will also not allow speedbumps or slow downs to take me off course.

I am 28 years old. I can play the WSOP when I'm 50 and be happy. I can hit my goal to earn as much with poker as I do as a lawyer when I am 60 and be content. This is a long ass game. There is no 3 lives and you are out. There is no end boss that I can stomp out and save the princess. This is poker, damnit, a game that can be played by children and seniors alike. It would be great to have immediate success, but it is not a prerequisite.

Thanks for reading through my ramblings. If I'm not mistaken, I've got poker this weekend, so hopefully this will help me develop some new strategy ideas to share with you. But whatever the case, I just need to keep on playing.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:14 AM,


At 6:34 PM, Blogger MrGoss said...

Good to have goals J. You can never get to point "B" when you don't know where you are starting and where you are going.

Looking forward to reading about the journey. Finished 42nd (I think) last night when my AQ got snapped off by Cowboys. See ya player.


At 11:47 PM, Blogger Lucypher said...

Jordan, Rage against the dying of the light! Go play live more often. Somehow, you will find the balance you need with K. The very fact that you are so keenly aware of it makes it so.

At 3:30 AM, Blogger Matt said...

Good luck with whatever goals you eventually decide upon, whether or not it means you improve upon last year. If I recall, you did have a pretty good last year, and even a repeat performance wouldn't be shameful.

I totally understand about increasing your bankroll artificially. I know that I intend to boost mine via non-poker funds in May, and after grinding $5 SNGs for the past couple of months, let me tell ya....I have no problem with it.

At 5:34 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

One thing I would add is that there is no actual reason for a goal of making more in poker profits than any previous year, or than x amount for that matter. Maybe something comes up and you have to take some time off from poker this year. Maybe you are just busier at work this year than last. Maybe one of your more profitable games dries up for a while. I am all about poker goals, don't get me wrong, but I like to focus on setting ones that are attainable and that make sense for me in absolute terms. I much prefer a goal of "play solid live poker" or "don't lose more than 2 buyins in any session" than something like "make more than last year" or "win more tournaments than x this year", etc.

Best of luck in meeting your goals, J.


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