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Have you ever truly asked yourself this question, why do you play poker?
Do you imagine it is the challenge, the competition, money, social interaction, gambling or just the love of the game?
I’m sure you have many different reasons for playing poker, other than just for fun or money. How serious are you about becoming a better poker player? Can you see yourself improving your poker skills if you assigned yourself with some poker goals to work towards?
Some people believe that if they just practice something enough they will improve and eventually get better. This can be true, but seeking dominance and excellence requires a little more than just a bit of practice. Until you ascertain exactly what it is you want to achieve, you have little chance of getting to where you want to be. Of course there are many means of achieving your poker goals, but if you don’t know what these poker goals are, how can you possibly achieve them.
Some people play poker for the social interaction, some for money, some for poker league points, but how many actually set attainable realistic goals designed to help them improve their poker skills?
Me personally, I don’t play as much as I would like, but since I started writing this blog and working on this website, I find I get a thrill out of watching and listening to different players. I love the banter that comes out of their mouths. I laugh at the one’s trying to mimic the pro’s on TV. It becomes quite amusing. Ego and pride often get in the way, which is fun to watch and detrimental to many players fortunes.
BUT, I do have goals when I do get the chance to fit a tournament in. The first is the most important to me, I must have fun. I enjoy the game and never want it to become a chore. I write my blog because I enjoy it and it helps me attain my goals, therefore when playing poker I want to ensure I am enjoying it too. It is not a job and I will never look at playing cards that way either. Unfortunately, some poker players get so caught up in the need to improve and succeed that they forget to enjoy the game for what it is.
My second goal is to always learn something about the game, an opponent or even myself. I look to improve my body language skills and see if I can pick up on as many poker tells as I can. I find I have the most fun when I am in a mischievous mood and I look for someone looking for poker tells and I do my best to trap them. You can almost see the light switch on when they believe they have figured out your tell. Then it’s just a matter of playing with them. It may sound cruel, but that’s half the fun of being able to read people.
Then I have certain challenges I set myself to achieve throughout a tournament to reach small goals along the way.
One thing I am certain of, those that know why they are at the table and know what they want to achieve are often working to a plan and have some idea of what and how much they want to get out of the game. Yes, you can have different poker strategies and techniques, but you should try and include a poker goal to you repertoire.
As it is often heard… “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”
It’s time to realise your poker goals and work out what you want to achieve from the game. Set a plan and put strategies into place to achieve your goals. You need a precise goal and plan, just saying I want to make the final table is not enough. You need to spell out what you plan to do to achieve these goals. And just thinking it is not enough. Make an effort to write down your goals, keep a journal of short, medium and long term goals.
You may want to keep record of tournaments and results you have, the books you’ve read and plan to read. Even keep record of the money spent on improving your poker skills in comparison to your entry fees and SNG money (wins and losses).
Only you can make it happen, you can’t use other people’s goals, nor can someone else plan your goals. It is time to plan your success. You can only blame luck, the cards and your opponent’s poor play for so long.