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Setting Poker Goals

Setting Poker Goals
by Chad Holloway of

With the start of the New Year, comes the opportunity for poker players to reflect on the past year's successes and failures. Many players take this opportunity to establish poker goals for the upcoming year, poker resolutions if you will. Setting poker goals is important to both professionals and amateurs alike by establishing something to strive for other than just winning. For example, instead of setting a goal to win, a poker player might set the more specific goal of winning five sessions in a row in Pot Limit Omaha.

So who sets poker goals? Daniel Negreanu is one professional, who sets goal every year, but this is not something exclusive to poker professionals; in fact, I know a number of amateurs who set goals for themselves, myself included. What kind of goals do players tend to set? Well that's the great part, they can be anything. Many players will look at areas where they need to improve and set a goal based on those criteria, while others set a goal that they would like to add to their poker résumé. The number of goals each players sets is also subjective. Last year, Negreanu set only one goal, to pass Jamie Gold on the all-time money leader list (a goal he accomplished). For 2010, Negreanu decided to be more specific and set a number of goals which he expressed in his blog. They included:

1.) $1 million in tournament earnings in 2010 (he has accomplished this 4 out of the past 6 years)
2.) Stay #1 on the all-time money leader list (he has to hold off Phil Ivey who is only a couple hundred thousand behind)
3.) Stay #1 on the WPT all-time money leader list (this time he has to hold off Carlos Mortenson who is just under three hundred thousand behind)
4.) Win two World Series of Poker bracelets (there seems to be numerous bracelet winners every year so why not Negreanu; after all, he does have 4 wins, 4 runner-up, and 2 third place finishes)
5.) One tour win (He is a sponsored PokerStars pro so if he does nab another WPT event, he'll have his shot at an EPT, LAPT, and APPT title)
6.) Move up to 12th on the WSOP all-time cash list (currently sitting at 16th, Negreanu predicts he'll need 7 cashes at this WSOP to pass Mike Sexton and Thor Hansen, who both sit at 12th with 46 cashes)
7.) Move up to 25th on the WSOP all-time money list (he currently sits at 28th and only needs a couple hundred thousand to pass Dan Harrington at 25th)
8.) Get to the $3-$6 level in my bankroll challenge.

Negreanu states, "If I accomplish 5 out of the 8 goals I'll be satisfied with my year." As you can see, Negreanu has set some pretty lofty, yet accomplishable, goals. He doesn't seem to be stressed over accomplishing these goals, since he'd settle for 5 out of 8, but they serve as a friendly challenge to himself and will motivate him throughout the year.

Setting poker goals is something you may want to consider. Of course they won't be along the lines of Negreanu's (heck, I'd love to win $1 million in tournament earnings this year too), but they can be more realistic to your situation.

Personally, I kept it simple. I set three poker goals: to win $30,000 this year, to play in a WSOP event, and to continue my Fantasy Poker journalistic endeavors (I currently write Fantasy Poker related articles for Poker Pro Magazine).

These are accomplishable goals, the type almost any poker player can meet. So go ahead, take some time and establish some of your own goals for 2010, you might just be surprised how motivating they can be.

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