Monday, January 03, 2005

Branching Out

I am as much a New Year’s Resolution kind of guy as I am a Dressing Up in Fishnets kind of guy. Which is to say, not at all. The turn of the year is simply a convenient marker to examine one’s life. I take shots at introspection more often than that, not that I meet with regular success.

So, this is not a magna carta of “must do’s.” This is not a laundry list of solutions to smoothing out the wrinkles in the linen shirt that is my poker life (congratulations to me for the worst metaphor ever). It is simply a kick-off, a celebration, of the first New Year where I am a regular poker player--more importantly, a serious poker student—and what hills I expect to climb on my way to (hopefully) greater knowledge.

* Play more multi-table tournaments. Two- and three- table SnGs, the smaller buy-in tourneys on Party ($20, $30). I’ve been successful with the single-table format, but, as discussed here previously, it is largely because of my tight style. Can’t fold your way mostly to the money in the multi-table format. I need to develop my skills here, especially in loosening up during the early orbits and playing better poker than my opponents after the flop.

* Play more B&M. Indian casinos are sprouting and expanding around me like weeds. The closest is 20 minutes away. I can’t envision truly growing as a serious player with the overwhelming majority of play coming online. It’s too lazy, too anonymous.

* Find a nearby home game. Anybody know one? Area code 951? I’ll bring liquor. And a cheery disposition.

* Play more ring games. Sensing a pattern here? I’ve become so comfortable with my single-table SnGs. I like the format, I’ve been successful, but am I learning much at this point? I think a little. Some knowledge and experience is trickling through. But it’s specialized. I’m a long-snapper. Growing as a player demands I expand my palette.

* Read more poker books. Got one for Christmas, and it had been so long since I picked one up, I’d forgotten how enjoyable and inspirational they could be. When you can take that inspiration and apply it directly into action...giddyup.

* Don’t flake on the blog. Goodness knows I enjoy writing here, but it’s not exactly a haven for instant gratification. Yes, at it’s most basic, I do it for me, but a goal for anyone who writes has to be to inform or entertain others. I’d like to manage that last part. So, basically, write gooder.

* Get my ass handed to me at the late-night $25 NL blogger table.

* Less focus on bankroll. Yes, to move up limits, I need to build my stack. The two go hand in hand. But to be able to COMPETE at the higher limits, there needs to be a focus on my continuing education, not just the numbers in my account. I could go on posting a solid ROI at the $20 SnGs, but that does not automatically prepare me for playing at higher levels. Emphasis needs to be equally placed on improvement and learning.

* Avoiding tilt. I’ve made strides in this area. Big strides, I think. I’m no longer apt to dive right into another game after taking a beat (or making an error) that strongly, and negatively, affects me. Still, letting go of the sting of such hands is taking longer than it should. Furthermore, I need to recognize the more subtle forms of tilt, those that cause me to play at below my abilities. Playing “scared,” playing without maximum focus (i.e. also watching Chelsea beat Liverpool), playing after drinking for 8 hours.

So, there it is, a rosy look ahead at 2005. May it bring good cards to us all.


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