After the unexpected popularity of my 2012 thread, I thought a 2013 thread would be a good idea. You can find my 2012 graphs in the above thread, but here's my lifetime graph just for good measure:
I'm 25, from the UK, been playing only poker since September 2009. Started in micro stakes SNGs and cash games, never really got anything going, binked a couple MTTs and cashed out, and then got myself a backing deal in 2011 and started playing semi-seriously. After another couple of backing deals and a couple of really bad non-poker jobs, I went pro at the beginning of 2012 and made upwards of $40k in my first year. This was well short of my goal of $100k but still enough to leave me more or less financially secure for the short-term future, and living in my own apartment in Southampton, in Hampshire.
Last year I set myself a profit goal for the year, which in MTTs is just stupid. You can't control how much money you make, and you'll never know how much over or under $EV you were anyway. This year, I'll be taking a different approach. When is a goals thread not a goals thread? When there are no goals!
Well, that's not entirely true. I will have some goals. The difference this time, however, is that all of these goals will be things that I directly control. That doesn't mean I won't be keeping track of things like yearly profit or PocketFives ranking (yes, I have an ego) but with no specific goals in mind that are outside my control, I hope my mindset will remain stable and focused.
There's a technique I picked up over the past few years outside of poker called SMART goal-setting. It says that when setting any kind of goals, your goals should be:
Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-bound
With all these things in mind, here are my poker goals for 2013, all based on factors that I control (mostly volume):
- 18k MTTs/year, 1.5k/month, 75/session - I was originally thinking of going bigger than this at around 2k games/month, but when I realised that my most intense month of MTT-only grinding this year included 1.8k games, I thought that'd be a little too much. I want to maintain a solid poker/life balance, so 1.5k games a month should be sufficient volume.
- 200k VPPs on PokerStars - Might be tough now that I'm not playing many 180s, but I'll give it a go anyway. I can always grind a bunch of 180s if I get to 150k in November or whatever.
- Supernova (100k VPPs) on PokerStars.fr - Self-explanatory really - I play a lot on .fr, and I think I should be able to make SN on there this year.
- Diamond Edge status on FTP maintained throughout the year - Tough to really work out a goal for this with FTP's rolling rakeback system, but I should hit Diamond pretty early in the year, so keeping it up for the rest of the year would be nice.
- Watch at least 50 training videos per month - I've done a lot of work on my game over the last few months and I feel like ten times the player I was a year ago. I'm really confident and excited for the year to come but I know there's always more work to be done. I want to continue that improvement and make sure I don't get sloppy, so I've renewed a lot of my training site subscriptions and really got back into watching videos lately. I didn't put a daily goal on this just because there will be some days where I don't want to ruin my focus by introducing new ideas, and some days where I want to really plough through a particular series and get some new concepts down.
- Review 10 full tournament HHs of mine per week - Kinda easy to understand this one. Reviewing your own play is crucial, and 10 HHs/week shouldn't take more than a couple of hours. Add in group coaching sessions and daily conversations with stablemates and I should get a steady flow of reviews going.
- Monthly performance reviews using HM2 - I've ordered a new PC which should be delivered in early January, and one of the huge advantages of this is being able to upgrade to HM2 and actually use it for the first time since I bought it this January. My old PC couldn't handle it, and I want to use this new opportunity to really pore over my HM2 stats in more detail. Monthly reviews should give me an idea of how my game evolves over the year, and give me a chance to plug any leaks that I can spot once I get to a big enough sample size.
- Focus on game selection and rejection - This isn't really SMART, but one of the main things that's made the difference for me in the latter part of the year is having game selected a lot better and helped myself avoid big downswings. I honestly think that with appropriate game selection this year, there shouldn't really be much of a need for me to get into anything more than a manageable amount of makeup at any point.
Non-Poker Aims (not really goals, as they're not SMART):
- Poker/Life Balance - One of the things that I struggled with this year was maintaining a balance between poker and other aspects of life. I was so focused on getting volume and making money that I neglected a lot of other things. I didn't do enough socialising and was pretty detached from friends and family. I'm prepared for another year of hard grinding, but I want to make sure I take at least a couple of days off per week and spend time with the people in my life who matter.
- Mental Wellbeing - This kinda goes hand in hand with the above. I've been seeing a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist for the past 9-10 weeks and it's been very useful for the purposes of self-awareness and understanding how my brain works. There's very little poker-applicable stuff involved, but I certainly want to continue making the most of these sessions and use them to make myself a happier and more fulfilled person.
- Physical Health - I don't know whether I've made progress on this front this year or not. My diet is a whole lot better, and I exercise way more than I did before, but I still haven't really lost any weight lately, and I keep slipping back into old habits, cutting corners and slacking off. This year I really want to hold myself to a higher standard and get into shape.
- Creative Projects - I've started a bunch of screen projects this year and not really made too much progress with them. It doesn't bother me too much because these things have to develop organically, and I like the fact that I have a lot of ideas in the pipeline, but I do want to spend more time writing and setting myself up for life after poker. Getting my life balanced out a little should help with that, so hopefully I'll have something finished off this year that I can start sending out to people for initial feedback.
I think that's almost everything I can think of for the moment. I think it's important to have goals both inside and outside of poker, and I want to keep everyone updated on my other goals ITT too, just because accountability is never a bad thing and it'll hopefully motivate me a little too.
If anyone has any questions or suggestions of things they'd like to see ITT during the year, feel free to fire away. I feel like from the beginning I'll start by simply tracking my Volume, Yearly Profit, and PocketFives Ranking, but if anyone wants to see other stuff (people seem to request graphs a lot? Do we like those?), then do let me know.
GL for the year everyone, let's make it a big one, and thanks for reading!