Every year you want to improve as a poker player, winning more money, growing as a player and removing the minor errors that stop you soaring to the top of the Hendon Mob All-Time Money List.
Yet every December, you find yourself scrawling the same New Year’s Resolutions onto the page as you pledge once again to eradicate the erroneous habits you’ve slipped into whilst simultaneously learning GTO poker from scratch in a month.
You need some new New Year’s Resolutions.
1. Focus on positives
Your poker game isn’t perfect. You never play perfect poker, you’re never wholly unlucky and you always make mistakes. The good news is that it’s just you and literally everyone else who plays poker who are in the same boat.
This year, instead of looking at what went wrong, look at what you did right, what went well and how you enjoyed a festival even if you didn’t cash, your taxi was late and they only had Earl Grey tea in your hotel room upon your arrival.
2. Resist Tilt
While everyone experiences anger in their lifetime, being annoyed by poker is a fool’s game if ever there was one. There is so much pleasure to be had in the game that to take displeasure in the card game we all love seems counter-intuitive to say the least.
In 2020, try to resist letting that anger cloud your judgement and bleed into your profit. Because Tilt is a monster that only feeds on your money in the end. Consider buying a book to help you resist tilt, such as The Mental Game of Poker by Jared Tendler and Barry Carter or Tommy Angelo’s On Tilt.
3. Learn your limitations
We’d all love to be Stephen Chidwick or Bryn Kenney. Or, frankly, anyone who has cashed for six figures in poker tournaments. Life, however, can often have other plans, so if for whatever reason you’re not currently the poker player you’d like to be, it’s important to remain grounded.
While self-improvement is an obvious aim in the New Year for almost all of us, keeping yourself limited to smaller, achievable goals may sounds less exciting but is vital for giving you that endorphin rush from successfully completely tasks along your journey.
4. Visit a new country
There are poker tournaments in every continent on the planet, so why do you always end up going to Barcelona and complaining about the fact that your room didn’t have any tea bags, or heading to Malta only to remember at 1am on the first night that nightly fireworks are on your Room 101 list?
Freshen up your horizons by heading out to Tallinn or taking a trip to Sochi or Las Vegas. Why not wind your way to Ireland or France? If you’ve never been to a country where there’s a poker festival, make 2020 the year that you make the break to hop on a plane, train or boat to somewhere completely new to you.
5. Play on a new platform
With the usual online poker platforms always going to be there, try somewhere different to PokerStars, partypoker or 888poker. With the World Series of Poker likely to add even more online bracelet events at www.wsop.com, that might be your aspirational destination.
There are plenty of other sites to look at, however. Unibet have made strides in recent years with their fun-filled satellite qualification route to original European travels spots, while other brands such as Run It Once and GGPoker will have years on huge growth, giving you a chance to tell your friends you were there from the start.
6. Take more notes
Taking notes at the poker table is a tricky prospect if you’ve only got a pad and pend and a terrible memory, but assuming that you’re playing online, it’s easy to take more notes on players you’re taking on at the tables. If you regularly play certain events, your nemeses may also do so, giving you a good chance of putting those notes to good use later in the year.
If you’re only playing live poker, one of the best things you can do is to take notes via a blog or podcast. Let’s face it, there’s only around 10% of the poker-playing world who isn’t producing a poker product to sell on to fans and fellow players. Join in.
7. Be nicer
One thing we can all do at the poker table by making the merest of personal efforts is to be nicer to our fellow player. There are a lot of blogs making references to not ‘tapping the tank’ if you’re surrounded by fish and hoping to keep the game good when you have advantage. But that presumes you’re not the fish. They need to be nicer, too.
In fact, we all do. In a world where debate and social separation are virtually encouraged, putting yourself out there to be kind in 2020 can separate you from others in a positive way, until we’re all doing it, and everyone’s just generally nice people.
And when that happens, we’re inviting you all to a home game. Dealer’s Choice.