Sunday, January 06, 2008

Looking behind, looking ahead

A new year has begun , so it's probably time to review how I fared in 2007, and what I plan to do in 2008.

I keep records of my play, so I have a pretty good idea of my results for online play for the past year. (I have left live play out of this review because I played so little live poker.) Here are some figures that I have to chew on:

Tournaments played (SNG and scheduled): 107
Tournaments cashed: 21
Tournaments won (finished first): 3
Cash game sessions: 88
Cash game sessions where I quit with a profit: 42

I don't even know what constitutes a "good" record for cashes per tourneys played or anything like that, but I definitely lost a chunk of change, compared to the stakes I play, in tournaments in 2007. I came out just a few dollars behind for the year in cash games, but I didn't spend nearly as much time at ring games as in tourneys, so I don't think I have a good sample to know if I am better suited for ring game play than tourneys.

Here are some more telling stats:
Tournaments played with buy-in of $11.00: 22 (of the 107 total above)
Tournaments cashed with buy-in of $11.00: 4

These $11.00 games were all blogger tourneys, and my performance in them was pretty poor. Other than one charity tourney where I put in $40.00, these blogger tourneys were the highest buy-in games that I played, and therefore put the biggest dents in my bankroll. Although my cashing percentage in lower buy-in tourneys isn't much higher than for the blogger tourneys, they also don't drain my roll as much when I finish out of the money.

What does this tell me about how I am doing as a poker player, and about what I should do in the coming year?

First, I have to look at my roll. I have funds on three sites at the moment: FullTilt, PokerStars, and Bodog. I only have money on Bodog because they offered to stake me in exchange for the link on this blog; the other two sites have been funded for a while, although I needed some help to get more money onto FullTilt when that account got low. As of now, PokerStars has the most and FullTilt has the least. One significant equation that I have looked at is this:

FT is where almost all the blogger tourneys are.
Blogger tourneys cost $11.00 or more to enter.
I have less than $100 on FT now.
I don't do well in blogger tourneys.

All of these factors add up to:
I won't be playing in any blogger games on FT until I build my roll there.

I don't want to deposit any more funds on any sites right now; I would rather add to my accounts the old fashioned way: by EARNING (read: winning) it.

I have less than $100 on Bodog too, so I will have to see if I can build that up through smaller-stakes tourneys and such so I can play in their Tuesday night blogger game more often.

I have a somewhat bigger roll on PokerStars, although it is still under $200, so I might be able to play in a few mid-level games there if I do so intelligently. Unfortunately, the blogger group that I know best doesn't seem to play much over there, or at least doesn't have regularly scheduled tourneys or games, so it isn't quite as much fun.

So, I know I won't be playing in the blogger games any time real soon. But what is on my list of things to *do* rather than *not do*?

1. Read and study more to improve my game. I know that I need to refresh my mind and memory on the proper techniques so I can make better decisions, which should help my bottom line results in the long run.
2. Work on playing my opponents more and my cards less. I really need to develop these skills a lot further if I hope to succeed at all.
3. Play more ring games and see how I do there. I want to be a well-rounded player and not narrow my focus too much onto tournaments.
4. Learn more about, and play more often in, several varieties of poker. I don't want to spread myself too thin and try to become an expert in everything, but I do want to have a decent working knowledge of multiple games and of poker in general.
5. Be more focused and in the game, and not allow myself to be distracted while playing. If I can improve at this, I'm sure it will help me perform better and, again, make better decisions.
6. Take more notes on my opponents, and use them to my advantage. I've done very little of this, although I know that it could be a huge help to me, so I need to be more disciplined about it.

How are those for New Year's resolutions? I'll bet they match those of some of the rest of the poker players in the world, and maybe some of you who read this. I wish us all luck in keeping up with them, and in becoming better poker players in 2008.

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