Sunday, January 6, 2013

2012 Review and 2013 Look Ahead

Happy New Year all!  Can't believe it is 2013...

Start by reviewing my goals from the beginning of the year:

  • $30k in profits from playing. This may be a stretch without online poker/rewards programs/etc. But it is certainly an attainable goal if I put the hours in.  Made it but not by a lot.  Talk about it more below but my perspective has changed on a few things poker-wise and with it I think some of my goals will be changed.
  • Win at least 1 live tournament of 100+ players. I have sort of resigned myself to the fact that my edges now come in non-holdem games. I still feel I can compete in Holdem tournaments but my edges are smaller and there are fewer and fewer weak spots particularly as you move deep into tournaments. This is not necessarily the case in mixed games and/or non-holdem events. So I think PLO, PLO8, HORSE events, etc. offer me more opportunity to ship.  Won a small weak field tournament at Binions but it only had 80ish mostly terribad players.  I'll take it though and it was a 6max NLHE event. I have completely changed my opinion with respect to my edge in NLHE.  A year ago I thought my edge was very small in this game.  Today I am convinced that my edge is as large as ever against most in these event. Did also finish second in a WSOP-C event in May.
  • I am going to take a different approach to the WSOP this year I think. I am still going to spend a good bit of time in Vegas but am really going to focus on some of the smaller/medium buy-in events at Caesar's and Venetian. I will likely still play 1 or 2 WSOP events but unless I have a large score pre-WSOP I will be focusing more on the $300-1k buy in events at these venues. Yes I did do this.
  • Having said the above, I will make one exception for the WSOP ME which I really would like to satellite into this year and play. My WSOP league has not started well but there are still plenty of games left to get up to the top and win a seat. Or winning a seat on-site is still an option.  Did not play. Unlikely to play in 2013 either absent some terrific run up to the ME or I can lay off a good part of my action.
So overall I am very pleased with 2012.  I did come to a few realizations though that have changed my perception of the the games and my place in those games going forward.  I realized that most NLHE players (and poker players in general) are really bad.  Frankly, most tourney circuit regs aren't very good. Unfortunately, I play so few events relative to the circuit grinders it is just hard to match some of the results they are able to put up. For example, one second level tourney grinder had a very good fall.  I played with him for 10-12 hours in a Borgata tournament that I went deep in November and saw numerous huge flaws not only in his thinking but his game execution, etc.  But he won an event and finished 3rd in another for probably a 50k+ week.  This is just one of several such instance where I saw these types of players my horrendously bad plays repeatedly and still post decent results. Make no mistake, I have holes in my game like every one else.  However, I think my holes are less glaring and less spewy than a lot of the people I play with at Borgata/WSOP/Venetian/etc.

I also realize that NLHE cash games are still really, really good and probably the easiest way to put up consistently good results.  I'm not playing high-stakes (mostly 2/5) but these games are easily beatable and a good TAG (tight aggressive player) should see consistent solid winnings with 65-70% session wins.   I started playing at Charles Town in late summer and have been playing there pretty consistently for 40-60 hours/month.   My win rates have been pretty consistent though I concede this is a small sample in the grand scheme of things.  Yeah there can be some toughish line-ups at time but there are consistently 6-10 tables of 2/5 running so a table change rarely takes long. This increased live play has also rekindled a bit of interest for me in live NLHE.  Given that online poker is far from coming back (at least the PokerStars version of online poker that I want) I just felt that embracing live poker for what it is made the most sense.

So for 2013 here are my goals:

  • $50k in profits from playing. I have a more concrete plan for this than I ever have had in the past. I feel like I know that if I put x hours in at the table my expectation is that I will win $xx in those hours.  This obviously applies to cash games mostly as they are more predictable than tournaments by their nature.
  • Along these same lines build my poker bankroll to where I can play 5/10+ NLHE comfortably.  I am properly bankrolled for 2/5 at the moment but 5/10 I would be playing a bit short.  I am pretty good about keeping these bankrolls separate but just want to be extra diligent so I can continue to take shots higher without concern of going busto.
  •  Win a 100+ player tournament and go deep in at least 1 higher buy-in MTT  ($1k+).  As I said I feel confident I can play in all the games, including NLHE, PLO, mixed, etc. so I should have some opportunities for strong finishes. 
  • I have gotten into some coaching this year for a few players and have enjoyed.  I'm not sure I am more qualified than anyone else to coach but I do think I understand concepts and explain concepts easily to less experienced players.  This, in turn, helps me think about my game more thoughtfully and hopefully makes me a better player. Like to continue this and perhaps expand it.
  • In the same way I want to get better players opinions of my game.  It's not as easy to do this in the post online poker world but it still exists.  I took a lesson from an on-line legend pre WSOP and have no doubt that some of the things we worked on helped my game. Will continue to seek out better players opinions and will likely try to find a high end coach to help me keep moving up the ladder.
So those are my goals.  Still have some personal goals obviously like the ever present: lose weight, get in better shape, travel more, etc.  They aren't really relevant to this blog but I have those goals.

I do have a busy January on the poker front leading up to my professional busy season (booooooo!!!!).  Going to be playing the following events over the next 3 weeks:

  • Delaware Park Winter Classic Main Event $1k
  • Borgata Winter Open Event 4 $560 PLO
  • Borgata Winter Open Event 5 $400 NLHE or Event 6 $1090 NLHE
  • Borgata Winter Open Event 7 $400 NLHE Shootout
  • Borgata Winter Open Main Event $3,500
Hopefully I can start the year right by going deep in one of these events.

Good luck to everyone in 2013.  Make it a great year.