ALL ABOUT POKER:
SETTING GOALS TO IMPROVE YOUR PLAY
By Bill Burton
Bill Burton is the Casino Gambling Guide and columnist for the Internet portal About.com located at:www.casinogambling.about.com. He is the author of "1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets" (available online at www.billburton.com) and "Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em". Bill is also an instructor for Golden Touch Craps: www.thecrapsclub.com
Each year at this time I sit down and reflect on the past year and make plans for the year to come. Many people make New Yearís resolutions, but I prefer to set goals. Resolutions are usually aimed at correcting some sort of negative behavior. On the other hand, goals are designed to help you work toward something that will have a positive outcome. It has been proven that resolutions usually fall by the wayside within a month or two because you are dwelling on the negative. You are more likely to stick with and accomplish a goal you are working toward because you are focusing on the positive instead of the negative.
The beginning of the year is the best time to set the goals that will help you become a better poker player. Here are a few suggestions for goals you might consider setting for the New Year.
Before you start, you have to determine your strengths and your weaknesses and the best way to determine this is to review your log book. Are you better at tournaments or cash games? Do you play better limit or no limit games? So how did you do last year? Were you an overall winner?
Keep a Log Book
The only way to answer these questions is by checking your log book. If you donít have one, now is the time to start. You log book does not have to be elaborate. I keep mine on an excel spread sheet that works just fine. Keeping an honest and accurate log (or diary of your play) is the only way you can determine if you are a winning player. Many of us have selective memory and we can remember our big wins and losses but forget about the small ones. We might think we are better players than we are.
Your log should include:
Where you played.
The game and the limits you played.
The hours you played.
How much you won or lost.
If you donít keep a log, set a goal to start one this year.
Read About Poker
Show me a player who thinks he knows everything about the game and I will show you a losing player. No matter how much you think you know about the game there is always something new to learn. There are literally hundreds of poker books on the market. Reading a book or two can really help you become a better player.
Need more convincing? Howís this: I once heard that a person who reads about a subject for 30 minutes a day will know more about that subject than 95 percent of the population within a year. While there is no way to actually measure this number, I'm sure there is quite a bit of truth to it. You donít have to read about poker every day but why not set a goal to read at least one poker book this year. There are many books that deal with specific poker situations. If you have determined you have a weakness in a certain area you can choose a book that deals with the specific part of your game that you want to improve. If you donít have time or want to read a book, then at least set a goal to read an article or two from a poker magazine or website. There is plenty of information available to help you improve your game; you just have to take the time to read it.
Learn a New Game
Playing the same game at the same limits can get boring for some players. There are also times when you may not be able to get a seat at the table for your game of choice. Why not set a goal to learn a new game this year? Many experienced players are trying their hand at new games. Some limit Holdíem players are branching out to play No Limit Holdíem, and quite a few of them are trying the game of Omaha or Stud. If you know how to play a second game it can add a little variety to your poker room visits and help guarantee that you will find a game when you get here. You might just find a game that you like better than the game you are currently playing.
The above are just a few suggestions to get you thinking about setting goals. You may have a few goals of your own you want to set for the upcoming year. No matter what you decide, make sure you include a goal to Have Fun! Thatís what life is all about. I wish you a very happy healthy and prosperous New Year!
Until Next time remember:
Luck comes and goes.....Knowledge Stays Forever.
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