Friday, January 04, 2008

2008 Poker Goals

OK so today I will end my week-long look back at the year that was, with a look ahead to 2008, specifically as it relates to my poker play and to my blog. I took a look at my last two years' worth of goals, and I am happy to say that most of the attainable ones I have done pretty well at. It's nice to not be someone who keeps listing the same goals every single year because I keep either setting them too high, not focusing on meeting them, or am just flat unable to accomplish them despite my best efforts. That said, there are a few goals that I have still left undone from the past year or two and those will make another appearance on this year's list as well. It's hard in a way when I know that the goals I write here today will be the same ones I will be copying and pasting into a post here a year from now and evaluating myself against them. But at the same time, I have always believed in aiming high with my goals, and I guess I just don't see the point if I just come up here and put some easily-attainable things that I know are softballs and will easily make me look good a year from now. I don't do the goals just to be able to beat them, as that misses the entire point of doing them in the first point and all the thought that goes into them. I do them to set high standards for myself, and then to have something to strive hard for during the year.

So that said, here is my list of poker- and blog-related goals for 2008:

1. Win the phucking Mookie!!! This one is a re-tread from last year, as it is the single biggest poker-related goal of mine that I have yet to attain. As I've written about here many times over the past year-plus, I have come close to this one several times. I was one card and six outs away earlier last summer against great poker player and Mookie dominator to the tune of five lifetime wins Surflexus, but alas it was not meant to be that night. I came in 4th place I think twice in the Mookie during the BBTwo, both times having AQ, playing them strong, and both times running into a bigger hand when down to just four players left. All of those were and still are hard for me to take. Overall I had a decent year in the Mookie (somehow), amazingly winning a little over $397 in exactly 39 Mookie tournaments, meaning that I incredibly managed to eke out a tiny profit from this thing in 2007 despite about 31 suckout eliminations in 39 tries. I still think Mookie and Good Wonka might have got the numbers wrong on that thing, but I guess I did have 3 or 4 deep runs in some of the larger fields which is enough to bring in some nice cash. So 2007 was clearly a better year than my non-profitable 2006 in the Mookie, but all I care about with this thing at this point is a win. And the Hoy Haters should probably want me to win about as bad as anyone, because there is a chance that I will just shut down the blog and stop writing about poker forever once I finally attain my last and greatest poker goal. I would cry real tears if I ever got to read my own profile on Mookie's blog, and be listed as a former champion under the "Mookie Winners" tab alongside the names of all-time poker greats like NomeyMyHomey, bonehet, Marxst1 and Xanthius. I'm crying a little here just thinking about it.

2. Win at least 15 blogger tournaments. This one is actually a lot harder to do than to win one measly Mookie, but as I mentioned in a post earlier this week, the blonkaments are what I focused on most during the past year or more, and they are something I plan to continue as a major focus during 2008. Competing against the bloggers is for me the most fun aspect of my poker play, and beating up on you clowns is what I like to do. While the number 15 may seem like a completely arbitrary number, it's actually not. In 2007 I won 5 MATHs, 3 Dookies, 3 Riverchasers (not counting the recockulous runner-up finish to the 12-year-old that one fun evening), 3 Donkaments and 1 Big Game for a total of 15 blonkament victories on the year. I started off intending to pick a larger number than 15 then for 2008, especially with the advent of KOD's Skill Game series which will not only add more total blonkaments but also increase the non-holdem proportion of blonkaments which is all good for a well-rounded guy like me with skills in all the major forms of poker. But then I remembered the BBT, and how things like this have tended to increase the field sizes of these blonkaments somewhat dramatically. Not that I find it impossible to win tournaments with 60-100 people in them, as I won two tournaments during the first BBT and came very close in several other of the large events during the year, but the fact remains that if we do a BBThree with a WSOP ME package on the line, the field sizes are likely to be significant and that does make it much harder to win. Plus, with all the BBT stuff and just another year of blogdom in the books, the audience that is attracted to our ghey weekly tournaments has grown noticeably, even in just the past twelve months. So even without any more BBT stuff the field sizes in the weekly private games are definitely larger than they were a year ago, when I was winnig 18-person Hoys and getting recockusucked out of 38-person Mookies. The days of the small blonkaments seem to be beyond us, which is a great thing as far as I'm concerned don't get me wrong, but that does again simply make it harder to win these things outright on any given night. So if I can come up with 15 more blonkament wins in 2008 -- more than one for every month of the year -- then I will consider my year a success once again in for this goal. This one is going to be harder than it may seem, as anyone who plays in our games regularly I'm sure can attest to. But I did at least get started on the right foot for this one, winning the first Dookie of the year this week so I'm already 6.7% of the way to my goal. And with the way that people with 6.7% chances seem to find a way to beat me on full tilt lately, I should have no problem getting the rest of the way there from this beginning.

3. Get back to my cash-payout mtt success from 2006. This is a very significant goal for me and was not something I thought hardly at all about during 2007. But I need to get back there. My mtt game overall in 2007 was not good. I've mentioned the reasons for this previously here, but generally speaking I spent most of my time during the past year either playing satellites, cash games or sitngos, leaving very little time to play in the actual cash-payout multi-table tournaments that I had so much success with in 2006. As a result, I did not give myself nearly the number of chances one needs to really be able to overcome the luck needed to make some really big cash scores, and that showed in my mtt results which were not good, especially in the second half of the year. Moreover, the lack of playing in these tournaments also clearly affected the quality of my play in them, as I had much more trouble making the deep runs than I have had in the past, and more than that, I made plays that I know were bad ones time and time again when I did get down deep into these things. My game, and in particular my late game, clearly suffered as a result of playing so many satellites where you only play down to a certain number of seats (such as in the nightly token frenzy where both myself and NewinNov won another $75 token apiece last night, thank you very much). I could feel and see myself making bad plays, calling off my stack late in a tournament with just top pair decent kicker, missing a key read against one of the few stacks at my table who could really hurt me, stuff like that that one simply cannot really ever fuck up in late-stage mtt play if you expect to be there at the end for the bigass payouts. That's just the way it is in tournaments, you don't get many second chances after big effups late in the game, and I did not make good decisions overall in these mtts, again especially during the second half of 2007. In 2008 I need to focus much better on playing winning, profitable mtt poker again.

This one is going to be a very tough goal for me to attain, but I simply have to make it a priority and I must succeed on it because I had a significant net loss since the summertime in the few cash-payout mtt's I did play in. It is also going to be a very hard goal to quantify come year-end. I mean, I can look at my overall mtt profitability at the end of the year, but I'm not sure if that is the end-all be-all of my performance. Really, I know when I am playing well just as surely as I know when I am making bad decisions. That is the thing that I really need to improve for 2008. I know that I have it in me to kick some ass in nlh mtts. I've been there before. I just need to get myself back to that place again this year. One thing I think will help with that is to only play mtts when I feel I am honestly ready and able to focus on that particular mtt. Another thing is that I will need to play more of the cash-payout mtts as opposed to focusing on so many satellite tournaments. And don't get me wrong, I expect to still focus on playing mtt satellites. But I need to find a better balance this year -- either playing fewer satellites to give me more opportunity to win some actual cash in cash tournaments, or playing fewer cash-payout mtts so as to minimize my losses in that arena. One way or another, my mtt results have to improve in 2008, and that is a major goal I intend to get done in the coming year.

4. Play some more large-buyin tournaments. This is one of those goals that I did a very good job at in 2007, but I want to do it even better in 2008. That means more attempts at satellites into the big events, and hopefully more live tournaments as well like the WSOP, the WSOP Circuit Events, and perhaps some of the big casino tournament series at Foxwoods and in Atlantic City. To date I have never played a poker tournament at Foxwoods, I've never been to Turning Stone upstate in New York, and I have only ever played the regular daily tournaments in the largest poker rooms in AC, other than the Caesar's WSOP Circuit event I played in March of 2007. My hope is that this year I will get to play at least one major tournament in each of those poker rooms, in addition of course to playing in at least one more World Series of Poker tournament this coming summer. Similarly, I want to make a more concerted effort to try to satellite in to things like the Monday 1k tournament on full tilt, which I played in only three times during 2007, as well as continue to play as many of the FTOPS events and other special big-buyin tournaments whenever I can.

5. Attend one more WPBT gathering, and play in the WSOP. So I mentioned my intention of playing in the WSOP again this summer, and this time around, rather than just playing in the event, I am going to go into that with the goal of cashing once again in my third ever appearance at the Series. I have renewed confidence after my showing in June 2007, where I played in the $1500 shorthanded nlh tournament, and my big sub-goals on this point for 2008 will be (1) win as many Bracelet Races as I can once those start up again in a few months, and (2) play in whichever event I think gives me the best chance to succeed. In 2007 I wavered between a number of different events in the WSOP, but ended up going with the shorthanded nlh event because, basically, at the time I had been killing the 6-max tournaments and satellites on full tilt, and that was what I felt most comfortable at, and frankly the "best" at, at the time I headed out to Vegas, so that was the event I played, and the results were great IMO. So I want to do that same thing this time around -- make a conscious decision to play the event or events that give me the best chance to win given my then-current mindset and the state of my game at the time. And of course, I will do my best to time my WSOP action with the WPBT gathering in the summer in Vegas. The last two summer meetings have both been incredible times for me, and with the friends I have made through all this blogging and playing together, I really can't wait to get back out to LV and meet up with everyone again, as well as hopefully to get to know a number of new faces and people that I have yet to meet in person. I truly cherish the two weekends I have spent live with the bloggers thus far, and I can't wait to add another set of good times and great memories to the list out in the desert in 2008.

6. Minimize tilt!! I know, I know, it seems pretty foolish that I keep putting this up here every year and talking about it all the time, and yet I don't seem to be getting any better about it. The first thing I would say here is that, despite what you may think about me or my blog, I undeniably have gotten better about my poker tilt over the past few years. Keep in mind, this is someone whose chat was completely banned by pokerstars probably 6 times in the first year that I played there, as was my ability to keep notes on other players and various other little things they used to do to punish me for my dirty chatting. I was a real psychopath in the chatbox back in the day. Now, I never really do that anymore. Never. So there have been some strides in this area. My big area of tilt this year was more about people and less about bad beats I took at the online tables (I have never even come close to tilting in a live venue). I don't know if this is a good change or nothing to be excited about, but although I take without a doubt the most bad beats of anyone I've ever known or even heard stories about, and sometimes I do find myself being a little bit of a wiseass about it in the chat (i.e., "Nice call!" or "well played!" sort of things on my way out), I really do not tilt these days so much about individual beats I take, and that is something I have gotten much better at. But all that being said, I would describe myself as still being legendarily tilty when it comes to some people, even people I like, and some of the decisions that I see made or some of the things they say about me or otherwise, and that is an area I intend to improve at in 2008. Now let me make this loud and clear: I will not be stopping analyzing the plays I see in the blonkaments and otherwise during my poker travels here at the blog. If I see something done that I think is worthy of discussion or analysis and/or something that I think can help other people approach their own games in a more skilled or thoughtful way, you will likely see it here. That's just me and that's not going to change and I wouldn't want it to. I reject any notion that this done in an anonymous, respectful way is anything but a positive aspect of my blog and I don't have any plans to stop doing that. But it is my sincere hope that you will read much less this year about me being on work tilt, life tilt, or tilt about something that some particular person did or did not do. And that is that, we will see how I fare on this point twelve months from now.

7. Tell some stories in my blog. This one is a more blog-related goal, just like my final goal for 2007 was as far as writing some more about non-poker topics here. I have a few good stories that I've actually wanted to tell for some time here on the blog, but frankly I think of myself as a shit writer and that has kept me from really posting any of that stuff here to this point. But I do have the itch, and I know these things would be of interest to most of the readers I have amassed over the years I've been posting here. So 2008 should be the year that I take some chances, put myself and my writing out there and share some of the interesting stories I have to share. I look forward to exploring a different form of writing, the kind of thing you see on this blog or this blog or even this blog from time to time, something that I have never done before here or anywhere in my life. I know this is all kinda vague and I'm not trying to be on purpose, but suffice it to say that in 2007 I resolved to write a little more outside of pure poker, and I am very satisfied with the way I did that and you can look forward to more of the same musings from me about great movies, cheating undefeated sports teams, the best tv show of all time, you name it. But this year I also want to finally post some of the other stuff I've started but never finished over the past 18 months or so, some fictional and non-fictional stuff not written in the form or tone of a blog post but more the telling of a story. Believe it or not, this will definitely be the toughtest goal for me to succeed in, because it is the one I am the most uncomfortable with personally, and the one I am least confident in my skill at acocmplishing. But it's definitely in my plans for 2008.

OK so that's it for 2008 goals for me with respect to poker and this blog. It's a good list across a little bit of a spectrum of poker skills and goals, but these are things I take very seriously. I plan to check back on this post many times over the coming year to check on my progress on each of these, and hopefully you guys out there will notice me achieving some of these as they happen over the next several months. The overall goal of course is to keep focusing on analyzing poker hands and poker play in general, keep broadening my own poker skill set as far as different games, different formats like turbo, knockouts, etc. and different types of poker such as cash, mtt and sitngos. I will definitely keep this a place for ever-constant self-analysis of my play and the play of others whom I run into during my nightly poker trials and tribulations. All this starting with next week, when I am planning hopefully to do a 5-part series of posts on turbo sitngo strategy that I hope will be helpful to some of you, interesting to many of you, and hopefully will generate some analysis and discussion from some of the other great poker minds out there who have made my comments section such a thing of beauty during the past couple of years. Ha ha.

Have a great weekend everyone, and see you at the fabulous $1 rebuy donkament tonight at 9pm ET on full tilt (password as always is "donkarama") if you are (wo)man enough to try to take my title.

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Blogger Matt said...

Couple of comments:

1. What's goal no. 7? Do you have 8 goals or just 7 with the last one mislabeled?

2. Regarding goal 3. Did your late game strategy in cash MTTs suffer because you didn't have the experience from playing as many as you used to, or because your focus on satellite MTTs made it harder to adjust strategies between the two formats?

4:05 AM  
Blogger Mike Maloney said...

$10+1 x 39 Entries = $429
Hoy's 2007 Mookie winnings = $397.95

Net profit = -$31.05

What is this profit you speak of?

5:15 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Mike, thanks for the clarification. I lost money in the Mookie as I certainly should have with my lack of winnings.

Matt, good question on goal #3 (yes goal #7 was just a misprint, there are only 7 total) and I think the answer is a little bit of both. I don't generally have trouble playing proper strategy for any format of poker I am playing, but it's likely that there was some of that involved. Mostly I think I simply did not play enough cash-payout mtt's to get my mojo going as far as late-game decisions. And most of all, any mtt guy will tell you that the most important skill to making some big scores is quantity. You just have to play a lot of these donkfests to be in there the one time the luck and cards roll your way enough for your good play to take you downtown.

Good question.

5:28 AM  
Blogger JL514 said...

I'm going to turning stone tomorrow. Come!

8:17 AM  
Blogger AVIGANOLA said...


I love you BLOG. I want you start up a new list Hoy lovers.(Likers, lovers sounds gay lol.) I read it everyday, keep up the good work. BTW - I gave you a link on my BLOG, check it out if you get a chance, my BLOG that is. Happy sunday. Tony

9:46 PM  

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