New Year's Poker Resolutions

Just About Everyone Makes Resolutions on New Year's Eve for the Upcoming Year Even Poker Players. Here Are Some of My New Year's Poker Resolutions

(The following is an original article from

Over the winter, I picked up two new poker books, including Tournament Poker by Tom McEvoy and Texas Hold Em for Advanced Players by Sklansky and Malmuth. I really want to improve my Hold Em game. I spent a lot of time reading these books, as well as going over some of my other books, especially The Theory of Poker. I approach these poker books similar to the way I approached my engineering textbooks in college. My view is that if you find a good work, it should be read and re-read to reinforce the ideas presented by it. I also have come up with a list of things that I think will improve my game. I take this list with me to the poker rooms and review it from time to time or when I feel I need some motivation. I am printing it here for you, but also as a means of reinforcing these ideas for myself.

  • CONSERVE BLUFFS (Especially In Limit Poker)

I'd like to address each one if these poker goals to see how it applies to past sessions I've had. I also plan to refer to this list and compare it to future sessions to see in which areas I require the most improvement. I suspect, as I mature as a player this list should diminish. My goal is to meet each one of these goals every time I play, but I am human and I think this might be impossible anyway.

You will also notice that this list is in no particular order and is not numbered. The reason for this is that I still don't know in which areas I require the most improvement and in which areas I just need a little help. Prioritizing this list may be a good idea for some, however, because it can provide even more focus. With this list in hand, I can now address the times I violate each of these goals and see what habits are harder for me to break. In Part One of this series of articles describing my own poker play, I seem to have gone against my instincts several times where it ended up costing me, but I have not played my most disciplined game either.

My first rule is to play a more disciplined game. There were several instances where I was up significantly and began to play recklessly and ended up giving back my profits and, ultimately, booking a loss. By playing more disciplined, I should set a stop loss goal for myself once I am up considerably and adhere to it strictly. I am also talking about not playing when I'm tired or sick, as I've done on several occasions in Part One.

I also plan to conserve my bluffs. I believe I have a tendency to bluff too much on the end in both Hold Em and Stud. Sometimes I am successful, but there were definitely other times where it cost me. Sklansky says that bluffing too much in limit poker is a common flaw among many players. I need to reserve the majority of my bluffs for those times when I am down to a heads up situation, the other player is not a calling station and the pot is not so large that it would justify a (correct) call on my opponent's part.

To only play in the best games is probably easier said than done. I don't have the luxury of being very selective in my game choices. I only have a limited number of hours to play in any given week and I often have to wait for a seat so, in order to maximize my playing time, I usually take the first seat that is available. If I played full time, I'm sure I could be more selective. In any event, I plan on being conscious of the type of game in which I'm playing and document this is my future sessions. Also if the game is tough or unprofitable, I will make an attempt to move. This is something I have not tried in the past.

I also plan on taking calculated shots at the higher limits. I must be cautious, however. I remember what happened during that one 10-20 Stud session where I was killing the game and ended up getting killed myself. It ended up taking over a month to recover from that loss.

Listen to instincts. What more can I say? My instincts have been correct an overwhelming number of times. Play perfectly. This is really just something to which I aspire and as long as I can come close I should be a consistent winner. Perfect play is something towards which we should all strive, if you cant reach this level of play, don't feel bad, since no one can! Do our best, try to put some of these poker resolutions to work for you and hopefully our next session at the tables will have the chips flying in your direction.

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