UK Poker Player Poker Strategy Articles Setting Your Goals When Playing Poker

Setting Your Goals When Playing Poker

Posted by David Cowell on July 26, 2010 at 12:34 GMT

setting goalsAlthough every time you enter a poker room, the goal is to leave with more than you came in with, we have to accept that it is not going to happen every single time. That is why we have “Meta-goals”.

A Meta-goal exists because we are all natural born optimists (we would not be playing poker if the opposite were true) and we all like to take something away from our poker playing experiences. So, even on those (rare) occasions when we are not successful in our pursuit of untold riches, we can leave the casino – real or virtual – with the compensating thought that “Well, at least today I did/learned/accomplished … … …”.

Of course, it is far better to leave the casino thinking “At least today I accomplished an outrageous bluff AND won three grand”, but here are some thoughts on finding ways to win – even when you lose.

Before you enter the casino, or turn on your computer, think about some of the elements that may need polishing within your game.

  • Do you fold enough/too much?
  • What is your % for seeing flop?
  • Are you playing the right stakes for your bankroll?
  • Have you frequently opened out of position recently?
  • Do you spend enough time identifying the players around your table?
  • Why are you entering all those freerolls when you could be winning more money elsewhere?
  • Whatever it is that you want to improve about your game, focus on it and set yourself a goal that has nothing to do with profit and loss, so that even if you have a losing session you will still come out of it winning.

Frustration Levels

One area in which many players could find improvement in their game is recognising, and coping with, frustration levels. When you have just suffered a bad beat or folded when you should have committed to the pot. When you may have just been eliminated from a tournament one place outside the bubble or expensively trapped by a well manoeuvred continuation bet – all these frustrations manifest themselves in different formats, but it is vital that you do not give away signs that you are antagonised by what has happened.

Playing online, it is much easier to hide the signs of frustration, but you need to be conscious that everybody on the table will be looking out for signs of you going on tilt. It is often better to sit out for a couple of hands, take stock of the situation and accept that these things happen.

When you rejoin the game you will play far better for being calmer, and in a nuch clearer frame of mind than if you instantly try to win back the lost chips or recreate the previously lost opportunity.

Maybe today’s meta-goal should be that we all chill!