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.
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.