Archive for January, 2012

HEALTH:

Get health insurance. For the 4th straight year this makes the list of resolutions. I guess I gamble more than I realize considering I never seem to take the appropriate steps to securing some sort of insurance. I’ve said it before, but the reason I don’t have coverage is simply because I don’t want to pay into a policy that I’m uneducated on. However, now that I’m leaving my 20’s behind I think it’s time I bite the bullet and educate myself on the matter, resulting in some peace of mind should something terrible happen.

Get a physical. I know I’m living right and am likely healthy as an ox. However, I haven’t had a simple check up since I was in college (’05). Heart disease and diabetes run rampant through both sides of my family so it seems insane to stay in the dark. The problem is my whole “rub some dirt on it” mentality toward doctors. I trust my body healing itself and have a hard time biting the bullet and getting the tests done. This one may take some outside forces pushing me to accomplish.

Reduce my caffeine consumption. Probably one of my only real vices, aside from my sweet tooth, and I let it get the best of me too often. I’ve actually all but eliminated drinking energy drinks such as monster and red bull, but I still have my pre-workout drink. Which in itself is fine. But I tend to have another before I play, so those two combine are equivalent to 4 cups of coffee/day. There is a lot of room to ween off or at least cut back. The road block is the actual benefits caffeine provides. Maybe I have ADD?

Get under and maintain 10% body fat. A year ago I would have thought this to be somewhat lofty. I’m already taking strides toward it, but I’m certainly fighting against the aging process. They say 30 is a man’s peak so getting under 10% should be no prob. Maintaining it may be a little more difficult, but hopefully once I see that single digit I’ll stay motivated to continue to strive to lower it. 5% would be pretty sick. Lord knows I have enough time on my hands to make it happen. I was 8% in college and that was with a very below avg. diet with the majority of my calories coming from white pasta and fried food. Working with a trainer has been a great experience so far. It really amazes me how much further I push myself when I have someone other than myself and God to answer to. I hope that isn’t the case in all aspects of my life.

Continue to challenge myself mentally and physically. I’m a long way from slowing down, but I do catch myself wasting a lot of time and effort. Always choosing the entertaining outlet over the educational one will catch up with me sooner than later. I want to spend more time educating myself on pressing matters such as finance, economy, world affairs, etc. rather than get lost in facebook for hours on end. Same with my physical health. I want more of a concentrated effort toward improvement rather than just going through the motions. And all things considered that doesn’t mean it has to be torture. I’m ultra competitive and there are a lot of outlets for that aside from Madden and NHL ’12.

WEALTH (Career Goals):

The past 18 months or so was the first time in my life I was dealing w/a 6-figure bankroll and I certainly showed my inexperience. There were a lot of ups and downs, but moreover big mistakes made along the way. Keeping an over inflated ego in check is a daunting task that I clearly wasn’t prepared for. Fortunately it didn’t break me. Chalk it up to an expensive lesson in experience and move on. I’m far more forgiving of aggressive mistakes made out of arrogance and optimism than I am of complacency. Ultimately, I fell short of a few very lofty goals last year. Rather than set the bar lower and appease myself with a sense of accomplishment, I intend to maintain or extend those failed goals.

General:

Profit $500k. I made this goal last year and was actually on pace to accomplish it after my wsop final table. Unfortunately that would end up being the pinnacle of my year as I suffered a major downswing as well as a sizable backing downswing. That’s not to say I think this goal to be too lofty. I was a few spots away from making that in my final table alone. Assuming I can play my way back into the big games I think I can make a sizable chunk of this in cash alone. With no horses to stimulate nor detract from this goal the pressure is solely on my shoulders, which I prefer.

Get back to/surpass my peak of $250k life money. Ended 2011 on a mini upswing recouping a little over half of my downswing. More importantly though it gave me more capital to play with, which ultimately increases my overall earning power. I don’t anticipate being involved with staking this year, but I do plan to play a higher % of tournaments. It’s going to take a 6-fig. score and/or consistently moving up stakes in cash between now and the WSOP to give myself a shot at both reaching and maintaining $250k+. In order to continue to increase my earn I need to increase my bank roll exponentially as well as be in a situation to obtain all of my WSOP action playing as many events as possible. Completely obtainable, to the point of where I would consider it a big failure if I really miss the mark.

Diversify. Investing has been a very grey area these past few years and I’ve chosen to just keep my distance. However, considering this is an all cash business, I’m taking on far too much risk putting all of my stock in the strength of the dollar. Remaining liquid is fine in the short term, but I’m entering my 8th year in this profession, it’s time to take steps to help solidify my future. I’ve already started the process of better educating myself and plan to continue to do so. In the meantime I’ll continue to reinvest most of my worth in myself while further exploring my best options to avoid future financial turmoil.

Explore profitability in ventures outside of playing. Over the past couple of years I’ve actually made some pretty outstanding friends outside of the poker community, more so tied to the business world. Great guys who would like nothing more than to see me prosper. I have a couple ideas I’ve been throwing around, but really did nothing to bring them to fruition. I’d like to see myself take the next step and put myself in a position to sink or swim.

Cash Games:

Play 150 sessions. For normal cash game players this is probably a down year volume wise. My time has always been spread a little thinner. In the past I have always put in a moderate tournament volume as well as online volume. Given the current state of online poker I should be able to make up a few sessions in place of the usual Mon. Wed. Sun. online grind. However, I do plan to travel more and increase my live tournament volume. It’ll be a tricky balance to play often enough to reach this goal, yet take enough time to myself to enjoy the liberties poker provides in order to avoid burnout. I’ve maxed out in the past at 130 sessions and on avg. play about 110 so this will actually be a significant milestone for me to reach.

Earn at least 50% of my yearly profit in cash, or 250k. Obviously if I rip off a 7-figure tournament score I can’t match that in the cash games. Again this is uncharted territory for me far as cash game profit goes, though going into the WSOP this past year I was up $200k in cash games from the $10/$20/$40. Unfortunately, most of that was given back through a downswing in play and backing. Moral of the story, it’s well within reach.

Play less than 75 sessions at 5/10. It’s tough to quantify how many sessions I can play at the higher stakes because the games don’t run regularly enough as well as constant bankroll fluctuations. 5/10 is always around and profitable. I hope to use it as a place to fill in the down times as well as iron out any kinks I may have in my game. I hope to avoid it being the main stake level I play. I assume worst case I will travel a little more to LA this year, than in years past.

Speak softly but carry a big stick. I’m quite confident in my ability, but my results have been less than satisfying. I consistently have wins far larger than the next best player in the game. 50k at 10/20/40, 45k at 10/20, 17k at 5/10. Those are just my biggest wins at each stake this past year, but I seem to string them together at that size. Unfortunately, when variance sets in I lose the max as well. Handful of 30k losses. They hurt and usually lead to me taking time off. My goal is to deal better with the down swings, keep climbing the profit ladder and have a career year that is a reflection of what I believe my skill set to be.

Tournaments:

Increase my volume. Last year I played 5 WPT main events (cashing in 3), 14 wsop events (cashing 2, FT 1), and 9 non affiliated (cashing 1) for a total of 28 live buyins. My hopes are to get that number closer to 50. With the re-entries becoming so popular and buyins moving away from $10k’s I hope to increase this volume at a minimal cost. My results in MTT’s have actually been, to my surprise, through the roof for the duration of my career. I plan to travel more, but also to put in a slightly higher WSOP/WPT volume. In order for that to happen I have to win immediately, cushioning my bankroll for the bigger summer volume.

Win an event. Preferably a WSOP/WPT for 7-figures. I’ve chopped a handful of events live and won I believe 2 outright, but they were all for 50k or less. My two biggest scores were far from wins. Lord knows I had some big sweats in ’11. Bubbled final table of LAPC, 27th in both Legends and Bay 101 after holding the CL late in each event. Finally 6th in WSOP $2500 where I was 1/6. Opportunities missed…

Have a 6-figure score. I’ve had one or more the past 3 years as well as a handful of 30-50k scores. Hopefully continuing to put myself in a profitable position will ultimately pay off.

Qualify for EPL. On one hand I could ultimately care less about qualifying. On the other hand it would mean I picked up a million in cashes prior to the end of Aug. and the right to play some juicy events.

Go to WSOPE if it’s feasible. Every year I say, “This will be the year I go to Europe…” and every year I dread the thought of it. I’m not saying it’s worth it if it means over extending myself, but under the right circumstances it can prove to be a great trip during a very down time of the year here.

Win a bracelet or WPT event. Lofty and mostly out of my hands. However, a must to add to the resume sooner than later…

*I can’t help but laugh a little at even making goals for tournaments. The variance is so high. So much needs to go right in those potential life changing pots. It’s so arbitrary to request a 6-fig score or to cash for a mil before Aug. They both just fall under the “Play excellent and hope for the breaks” category. Never the less it does attest to keeping the long term in plain view and avoiding complacency with marginal results.

PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS:

Could be renamed the “Things I take for granted” or “Things I need to give more priority”

Enjoy the little things. I get so overly involved in the daily grind that I often forget just how lucky I have it. Usually it takes a trip home and a week with just family and friends to remind me just how blessed I am. I often forget what it’s like to get excited over the little things; playing in a big game, anticipating a visit or vacation, meeting someone new, actually allowing myself to ride the highs rather than attempting to always remain neutral to avoid being dragged down by the lows of this career choice.

At least consider a plan B. I’ve been very fortunate to this point in my life in that whatever it was I set out to accomplish I either found success or fell into something else. Poker has been all I could ask and more from a career standpoint. However, the uncertainty of how long it will remain profitable as well as my financial situation when I get out of the game makes me nervous of things to come. In all honesty I have no idea what I would do if I woke up tomorrow and was forced to make a career change. I’m more than capable to succeed in multiple careers, but as is I’m likely under qualified and lost as to what path I would choose. I always thought having my degree would at least point me in the right direction, but I’m 6 years removed from a degree in a technological field that turns over every few years. Not to mention I have very little interest in programming or anything of that nature. Most importantly when it comes to the point of leaving the game I want to do so with money in the bank and on my own terms. Few people leave this game in any other manner than broke, I hold myself to a higher standard…

Look into being a Pitching coach or conditioning coach at least part time. This may fall a little more under wishful thinking. I don’t exactly have a ton of structure in my life and considering my travel schedule early in the year and my heavy volume during the summer it leaves very little room for coaching. However, my winter months are slow and I would love to maybe get my foot in the door now and then come winter help with conditioning and the mental aspect of the game.

Throw 100+ innings. It’s a tough goal to meet just because I’m out of town so often, but I did it in ’10 and fell just short last year. Considering there’s no Sunday online grind I’ll pick up a few more starts.

Take a poker free vacation to somewhere other than PA. I need to go to the beach or Tahoe, wherever, with a crew of friends and just hang out for a week. Everyone needs their batteries recharged.

Continue to provide for my family. My gram is a rock, she’s been what has kept our family together for as long as I can remember. She has the weight of the world on her shoulders and at some point it’s going to break her. The more I can alleviate that for her the happier I’ll be.

Shine a spotlight on the relationships in my life. Too often family, friends, etc. take a backseat to whatever shiny object has caught my attention at the time. I need the reminder to keep them in the forefront and realize the rest is just detail.

Here’s to a healthy and prosperous 2012. And to the Mayan’s getting the date wrong…

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