Whether you’ve locked the booze away for dry January, you’ve been exercising every day, or you’re limiting your smartphone screen time, we all tend to make resolutions and set goals at the beginning of a new year.
But what about your poker goals? Have you set them yet? If not, read on.
It’s easy to say “I want to win a WCOOP title in 2022”, but that was surely also true in 2021. If it didn’t happen, perhaps that’s not the best way to set goals in poker.
Instead, we have to break things down. BBZ’s performance coach François Hamel recently conducted a seminar on the types of goals poker players should be making, to help you see which principles apply to you.
Here, we’re going to use Hamel’s information to provide you with a goal-setting guide for your poker career in 2022.
Before we get to the types of goals you could set, let’s cover the tactical variables we require first to put ourselves in the best position to achieve them.
“We should focus on the tactical aspect even before we start our sessions or our careers in poker,” says Hamel.
You should have an appropriate bankroll management plan in place. It’s up to you, but this could look something like this:
- MTTs: 200 buy-ins
- Turbo MTTs: 200-400 buy-ins
- Hyper MTTs: 400-600 buy-ins
- Cash games: 100+ buy-ins
Following strict bankroll management will ensure we can play poker for longer (i.e. avoid going broke) and ride out any stretches of bad luck which come our way. This leads us to our next point.
Make sure you have a good understanding of the variance that can occur in the types of games you play. You can use tools like PrimeDope’s Tournament Variance Calculator for this.
You also need to be aware of the risks that you’re ready to take. Which games should you be playing in?
“With these three variables, we’re reducing the pressure or the need to win at all costs, because we know we have the appropriate bankroll, we know we can sustain variance, and we know we can manage risks,” says Hamel.
Now let’s look at the technical variables which will ensure our game improves throughout the year, increasing the likelihood that we’ll achieve our goals.
Making the right decisions
The aim of the game is to make as many correct decisions as possible. This doesn’t just apply to our in-game decisions, but also everything around our sessions, from the amount of sleep we get before a session, the food we eat, the environment we play in, etc.
Reviewing your game
One of the most crucial elements to improving our technical performance is to review our play, either post-session or soon thereafter. This, along with a healthy study routine, will not only make you more confident in your next session but will increase your enjoyment of the game overall as you’ll face fewer spots in which you’re not sure what to do.
When you review your game and conduct an analysis of your database, you’ll be able to identify the mistakes you’re making and areas where you can improve.
Now let’s get to your goals.
TYPES OF POKER GOALS YOU COULD SET IN 2022
Outcome goals are based on the returns you wish to see throughout the year, i.e. specific results in time. These could be:
- Winning an MTT
- Winning a certain amount of money
- Improving your hourly or BB/100
Unfortunately, we have virtually no control over these outcomes when they’re isolated and not linked to our performance and process goals.
Performance goals are set in the measurable aspects of your performance. These could include:
- Amount of study plan hours
- Amount of seminars you attend
- Amount of volume
- Improving specific stats in our database
- Increasing knowledge of ranges
- Amount of sleep
“Changes in your performance over time get you closer to your desired outcomes,” says Hamel.
These goals are almost 100% within your control if you’re willing to commit and put in the work through your process goals.
“It’s easy to say ‘I’m going to play more hands from the small blind’, but what does that entail?” says Hamel. “What hands are you going to be playing? Let’s find the answer to that so you can identify it and implement it in your game.”
Process goals are the steps or actions we take in our behavior that lead to desirable performance. They could include:
- Reviewing your performance
- Reviewing hands after sessions
- Running drills/range study
- Regular database analysis
- Following exercise/diet/meditation routines to minimise stress and anxiety
These goals are 100% within your control. There is no one stopping you from doing these things.
From everyone at BBZ Poker, we wish you the best of luck in achieving your poker goals throughout 2022.
To learn more from BBZ’s performance coach François Hamel and all of the BBZ coaches, sign up for the BBZ Daily Seminars today.