Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Poker Goals and Targets

Setting goals or targets can help to improve your overall poker performance in several ways including aiding with discipline and motivation. However it's important to understand how goal-setting works otherwise it could actually have a detrimental effect on your poker profits.

When I used to teach maths in England, we were introduced to "SMART Targets."

Smart Targets Definition

Quoting from the above link:

Goals should be SMART - specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-based.

The acronym SMART has a number of slightly different variations, which can be used to provide a more comprehensive definition for goal setting:

S - specific, significant, stretching

M - measurable, meaningful, motivational

A - agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented

R - realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented

T - time-based, timely, tangible, trackable

Basically, what this means is that your goal is defined in such a way that it will directly help your game, as opposed to simply being a "wish."

The following "goals" are fairly common examples of what are really just wishes which by themselves won't actually help a player's game at all:

*** Make over $2k this month

*** Win 2 MTTs this month

*** Increase my STT ROI to 10%

It's true that simply by putting these targets in print can help to motivate a player, but with a little more thought we can give ourselves more of a chance of achieving them.

Here's an example of what I mean:

*** Make over $2k this month by:

**Reducing my VPIP% at full-ring games from 26% to 20% (by not playing Axs from early/mid-position, not playing less than AQ from UTG, only playing connectors from late position, not playing ATC just because they're suited.) I will analyse my stats on Poker Tracker at the end of each session.

**Taking a 10-minute break everytime I loss a big pot and start to tilt. (To help recognise tilt, I'll define it as shouting out loud or hitting something.)

**Having my girlfriend change my password and hide my mouse everytime I go out on the piss, so that when I come in shit-faced I'm unable to play poker.

Here's another example:

*** Increase my STT ROI to 10% by:

**Calling less all-ins when the blinds are high, and pushing more often instead. (I will analyse the times when I do call all-ins, and assess whether it was the correct play or not.)

**Reducing bluffing on the river against players that I have noted as calling stations. (I will record any river bluffs that I do make and their results, and make a note of my success rate.)

**Turning off my chat so that I don't get distracted by getting involved in pointless arguments at the table.

October's Goal

So, onto my goal for October which I will keep very simple:

***Play over 200 hours by:

**Spending no more than 90 minutes a day on poker forums.

**Planning each week in advance, allowing for times when I will be working-out, playing football, sleeping, and shagging.


Shark Bait said...

Great post!

Smart Money said...

Thanks Mum. :)

raylapsley said...

Planning sessiona nd times to play is good - but what do you do when you have planned say 3-4 hours play and the tables are shit and its just not worth it? Play through it anyway and at least get the rakeback, or have a degree of flexibility, and play longer another time?

Anonymous said...

hello, i am fairly new to poker and im just wondering if you could explain the term BB/100.


Smart Money said...

BB/100 is a measure of how much you are winning (or losing.)

BB usually refers to "Big Blind" in NL games, but in Limit games it's more commonly taken to mean "Big Bets" (2 x Big Blind.)

The "100" part refers to "every 100 hands."

So, if you played 1000 hands of $1/$2 NL and made $120 then that is an average profit of $12 every 100 hands. $12 is 6 Big Blinds, so your win rate would be 6BB/100.

Smart Money said...

Ian. To be honest, if you play from, say, 10pm to 6am EST you're not going to have bad tables. Obviously you can still find the odd tough table occassionally during these times, but generally the standard is pretty dire.

I wouldn't play at times of the day when I would expect to just profit from rakeback. (Although even when the tables are really tight, a decent player should stil expect to profit even without rakeback.) I'd prefer to either rest or do something else, so that I'm fresh at the optimal times of the day.

Smart Money said...

(If I do feel like playing during the day when the tables are tight, I prefer to just play a few $55 STTs on my laptop in front of the TV for a bit of fun.)

Anonymous said...

hey smart, cracking blog pal! just wondering wot u think the best nl low/medium stakes poker book there is to buy? basically, tell me how be as consistent as u! lol. nice one

Anonymous said...

hey, cracking blog, cant fault it! just wondering if u cud recommend the best NL low/mid stakes poker book i shud buy. cheers mate

Smart Money said...

Thanks (twice) :)

I've not read any NL books at all. When I first started three years ago, pretty much all that was around was books on Limit Hold 'Em.

However, I recently bought the Professional No Limit Hold 'Em Book:


I've only had a quick skim through, but it looks good. (In fact, I've lost my copy and was intending to get a new copy later today.)

Smart Money said...

One more thing: There is a Study Group for that book on the 2+2 forums:


I've not looked at it but I'm sure it's helpful.

VENOM_G said...

Hey, nice blog m8 a very good read. I've had mine for few months, wondering if u wanted to swap links?



Smart Money said...

Done VG.

Anonymous said...

arrite mate, just wondering how much ur dellboyscost?? the 30" and the 24". did u buy them from american dell or uk? nice one! oh, one more thing..how many full tilt tables can u fit on ur 24" monitor without making them smaller!

Smart Money said...

I've just replaced the 24" with another 30", so I've 3 x 30" now.

I bought the latest one from Amazon.com (US) brand new for just under $1,300.

I can play 6 tables on the 24" with a slight overlap.

Amatay said...

ahahahhahaha How much time did you allow for shagging m8 lol

Smart Money said...

20 minutes a day (Four 5-minute sessions.)