2008 Goals Assessment
Well well well. It's that time of the year again, when the dorky among us go and dig up their goals for 2007 post, and assess how they did against those goals now that 2008 is mercifully coming to an end. Interestingly, in each of the three years I have done this on my blog now, I have found that some of my goals come the end of the year really changed in many ways from what they were at the beginning, and this year is no different, with one of my goals in particular. So, without further adieu, I turn to my "2008 Goals" post and how I think I fared on each of those points, and why:
1. Win the phucking Mookie!!!
Nope, still no Mookie victory this year. And I didn't really even come close. I think I had maybe three or four final tables in playing almost every Mookie of 2008, but none in which I made the top three that I can recall. I specifically remember having the chip lead at some point at the final table at least twice, one time with a monster lead, but I managed to give it all away in typical Hoy fashion whenever that occurred. I know I regretted some of the plays and decisions I made late in those few Mookie runs, but the bottom line is, I had a horrendous year playing this tournament, unlike my fellow prop bettor Mookie himself, who I'm sure had more final tables and I know made it to heads-up at least once if not twice, once with a more than 2-to-1 chip lead over Carmen. The sad thing about this particular goal is that things are not likely to change for me in the near future. I still look forward to playing the Mook every week, but I care far less about attaining this goal than I once did. Sure the prop bet has been fun and all, and I've been in discussions with Mookie about renewing it in some form for 2009, but even with the prop bet in place I barely ever thought about it. I know I've made a big deal about winning a Mookie here over the years, but the more I have focused on cash mtts and the less on the blonkaments during 2008, understandably the less import this particular goal has taken on.
2. Win at least 15 blogger tournaments.
Wow. It is hard to believe that was even me writing that just 12 short months ago, isn't it? I mean, in a lot of ways, 2007 was the year of the blonkament for me. I ended up focusing far more last year on blogger tournaments than I did on actually winning real money in real poker tournaments, and it clearly showed in my results for 2007. In 2008, my stated goal was to focus more on winning cash in larger online mtts, and at some point during the year after the end of BBT3 I recall specifically making the decision not to focus so much at all on the blogger events, at least not like I had been in the past. That decision clearly helped me to focus on the larger mtts I am really more interested in anyways, and again I would say this has obviously helped my profit and results overall in 2008. But it makes a goal like winning 15 blogger tournaments nearly impossible, and really quite moot as I just haven't viewed that as much of a goal throughout the better part of 2008, regardless of how I was feeling back in early January.
And don't get me wrong -- I think I had a perfectly fine year, blonkaments-wise. I won a couple of Dookies, a couple of Skillz events despite barely playing in those tournaments after the BBT3 ended, four Bodonkeys, at least three Riverchasers tournaments and at least two Donkaments, literally all of which other than the Bodonkeys occurred in the first half of the year. I just haven't played blogger events other than the Mookie with any regularity -- again other than the Bodonkey, which I really enjoyed per my previous posts -- during the majority of 2008. I understand from Al that the BBT4 is on its way back, and I imagine that will pique some interest from me in these events again, but for the most part I have turned into mostly a Mookie-only guy these days. Again, it's not anything to do with the blogger events per se, but the initial fun is long gone for me from these things, and the bottom line is that they make it harder to focus on winning real money in larger events on many occasions. So that's another goal that I failed at during 2008, although it doesn't feel like a failure because I was well on my way to surpassing that goal before I kinda gave up trying, and it's just not something I care a whole lot about at this point.
3. Get back to my cash-payout mtt success from 2006.
In retrospect, this was easily my most important goal of the year, and happily it is also the one where I think I performed the best. Without having to review the numbers in detail, I am quite sure that I exceed my overall profitability at poker in 2008 as compared to any other year that I've been playing seriously. I had a number of big cashes in 2008, surely more than in 2007, and for larger dollar amounts as well. I made the full tilt 50-50 tournament my biatch in 2008, playing it probably about 180 times for total buyins of $9000, and I final tabled it I believe 9 times out of those 180 attempts this year. Basically 1 in 20 times I played a $50 buyin tournament with a roughly 1000-person field, I final tabled. If that ain't making a tournament your biatch, then I don't know what is. I'm too lazy to do it again now, but I recently added up all of my cashes just from the 50-50 alone this year, and it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $25,000. That is a nice tidy profit just one from one tournament alone on one poker site. I was also solidly profitable from the 50-50 equivalent on stars, which quickly turned into a 70k guaranteed event. This one I probably only played maybe 40 or 50 times during the year, but I final tabled it twice for a 2nd and a 4th place finish, netting me over 4k in profits overall. This enabled me to turn a clear profit on stars for all my play for the entire year, in addition to playing profitably overall on Bodog and on UltimateBet.
With the advent of $T on full tilt, I was also able to nab some big scores via FTOPS and other regular satellites and just keep the winnings as cash. This equated to two $1000 seat victories for FTOPS events and/or the Monday 1k on full tilt, plus I recall two $2600 wins in two days over the summer I think in advance of the August FTOPS series. Although I surely need to do better at converting my satellite wins into cash wins at the end of the day, I was able to use juicy satellite formats and structures to my advantage and to keep the cash via the $T process for the first time on full tilt in 2008.
Lastly, Ultimate Bet has proven to be a real find for me here as the year comes to a close. Even though I never thought I would even consider putting a dime on that site, here I am and so far the experiment has been hugely positive. I am up over 10 large in pure profit there over just a week and a half of play. What do you say to that, right? My plan is just to try to keep as little money as possible there on a regular basis, and keep playing the tournaments there with the great structures that are most geared towards my skills and playing style, and take it one day at a time.
In all, 2008 will go down as my best year of poker, profit-wise. And it's not like I'm making a couple hundred g's a year or anything at this game. Far from it. Poker has always -- ever since I was a teenager learning to play at the 1-2 Sutd Hi-Lo games at the Taj Mahal in AC -- been about the entertainment value of playing. The money is just a way of keeping score, and if I end up positive over a given period of time, then that's all gravy. So I will end up a few thousand overall this year -- for all the fun I've had, the personal enjoyment and satisfaction that I've felt, and all the great experiences I have had, to think that I will actually get paid to do all that? Effing awesome.
4. Play some more large-buyin tournaments.
I'm not sure how I fared on this one. I did not play any WSOP Circuit Events this year as I had planned to back twelve months ago, but then I really didn't feel like trying as 2008 wore on, so I'm not sure what all that means. I did manage to play the $500 buyin FTOPS Main Event two times this year -- getting suckout-eliminated from both of them, thank you very much -- in addition to playing the Monday 1k twice and the $1000 buyin FTOPS event on one occasion as well, where I donked out with AJ on an A high flop likea guy who has no business whatsoever playing in a $1000 buyin event. I also made it out to play in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas again in the summer of 2008, making a solid run through about 1100 players before busting in around 250th place in a field that paid only the top 99 finishers. But other than these, I really did not play in too many other large-buyin events, which it turns out I sacrificed in exchange for playing in medium-buyin events like the 50-50 and these $120 UB tournaments to a decent profit on the year.
5. Attend one more WPBT gathering, and play in the WSOP.
Well, 1 for 2 ain't bad. As I mentioned, I did play in the WSOP again, making a solid run with no cards to speak of whatsoever. I lasted nine hours -- the longest I have played in one live tournament in a casino in my very few attempts at the big events -- and I had a great time doing it, and really just capturing the whole Vegas and WSOP experience as I have over the past few years of heading out for my regular summer pilgrimage to poker Mecca. And I did spend a small amount of time with some bloggers while out there -- a memorable nice breakfast with cmitch and Vinnay, both excellent guys, comes immediately to mind -- but the fact was that this was the year when the summer WBPT gathering officially went by the wayside. So there was no summer gathering of the bloggers in Vegas, and I am not the type to try to push for two Vegas trips a year away from my family, and so, since I like to play the WSOP every year I can these days, it is highly likely that you donks will continue to avoid seeing me on a yearly basis going forward.
6. Minimize tilt!!
Man I love seeing this one at the end of every year. Let's put it this way -- I am, and will always be, a tiltmonkey. It's just how I'm wired, and I accept that. I'm always going to blow up in the girly whenever I suffer my lifetime-worst-ever beat (that happens about once a week, just ask my chat friends). I strongly suspect that most of the people who girly chat with me on a regular basis only put up with the rest of my yammerings so that they can be around when I absolutely blow the top off the chatbox after a particularly ferocious screwage by some poker site or some donkey across the table from me. Because I know that shit is funny. I read it the next day, the next week or whatever, and it is really funny to look at some of the stuff that came out of my head, my fingers, whatever you wanna call it. So I'm a tilter, and I don't think that's going to change.
But the fact remains that 2008, much like 2007, saw me improve marginally in the tilt factor as well. Sure, I will blow my ass up in the chat like there's no tomorrow after a bad beat, but every day I get better at dealing with it, at accepting it, and most of all at moving on in whatever other poker I am currently playing without letting it affect the quality of my play. For example, just last week when I won that 30k guaranteed sniper tournament on Ultimate Bet, I took once of the sickest beats of all time in the middle of the third hour. I had some of my girly chat people rolling in the aisles I'm sure reading the shit I was saying about what had just happened to me. But you know what? I perserved. I didn't push allin on the next hand with that J7o just to get myself eliminated so I could steam about it all night. I kept my composure, I played the rest of that blind round, that hour, and that entire tournament like it was important to me, and look what happened three or four hours later. That I am sure would not have happened even a year ago. And I see similar examples all the time these days. I use the girly as my outlet to let off some steam after a bad beat, and although I surely still have my moments where tilt gets the best of me in a big way, where I donk right out of two other tournaments within seconds of an anal rape at a third table, those moments are fewer and further between all the time these days. So I don't know if I would describe me as "minimizing" tilt. But decreasing it maybe, slowly but surely.
7. Tell some stories in my blog.
I'll give myself a B on this goal. I did manage to post a couple of the stories I had going around my head a year ago when I wrote this particular goal down. But in the end, I ended up finding other outlets to write about non-poker topics here, and I did so with some regularity. Sports, the economy, the stock market, you name it and I wrote about it here if I was of such a mind to. And to tell the truth, I am really proud of what I've written here in 2008 outside of the poker context, in particular all of my thoughts about the economy, the bailout and the great crash of 2008. Frankly, on a couple of lazy afternoons I have had a blast going back and reading my real-time thoughts during the collapse of my former employer Lehman Brothers, and seeing what I thought the government ought to be doing to right things and comparing to what has actually been done during the balance of 2008. In fact, if I dare say so, I think a lot of what I predicted and said needed to be done actually makes me look like I know what the F I'm talking about, given what we now know. But it's that realtime-ness that makes blogging as a medium so powerful, and the fact that I took the opportunity to write about the events of the day as they unfolded during this truly unprecedented year outside of the realm of poker is one of my happiest and proudest achievements of 2008. So it wasn't nearly as much fiction as I had expected, but the overall point of this goal was met as I found other topics to write about and clearly expanded the scope of what I do here far beyond all poker, all the time. And I've alluded to this here before, but my readership swelled bigtime during the crash. I picked up literally hundreds of new readers since September, which my traffic stats bear out in a big way. Comparing my average hits per month in the four month period prior to September (May-August) to my average hits per month from September to December of this year, my traffic is up a whopping 37% here at Hammerplayer. And it's not slowing down, with December on track to come in about 12% higher than November's traffic and even a couple percentage points over October's levels. And that is something again that I am extremely happy about, and, frankly, proud of because it means that other people out there feel they are getting something meaningful out of my posts about everything I've written on since then.
So that's it for the goals I set for myself and this blog back on January 4, 2008. In all I think I fared well on the goals that mattered the most in retrospect, and as usual many of the things I had been planning on focusing on earlier ended up not being big priorities for me as 2008 rolled on. Most importantly, playing profitable tournament poker has been a great, fun experience for me all throughout this year, especially in light of what's been going on in the world throughout most of 2008. To be able to win more than 20k in online tournaments in January alone to start the year, and to end it with this 10k+ month just on UB, has been quite an experience, and obviously dwarfs all my other goals from a pure poker perspective. Within the next few days I intend to get up a post detailing some goals I will set for myself for 2009, although to be honest sitting here right now I really have no idea what I am expecting for next year. Not sure if I will post again this week as I am on vacay until next Monday, but if I'm not back before then you can expect me here doing my same thing next week as 2009 rolls in. It's been a great year of expansion in more ways than one here on my blog, and I thank each and every one of you for your interest and for all the great contributions that I get here on an almost daily basis in the form of insightful, well thought-out comments. You guys really are the glue that holds this little corner of the internet together, and I can't wait to see what we do with it next.