Goal Setting – professional and personal

Determination
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With all the reading that I have done, I think it is time to do some goal setting – personal and professional so I will start by listing my goals for April.

Professional:
Work 20/25 hours playing poker weekly.
Document each type of game and session with a summary of number of hands played, profit or or loss for the session and comments about how each session was played. Document these by site.
Continue reading and learning poker from books, blogs, and magazines.

Personal:
Work 15/20 hours weekly around the house; lawn, garden, garage, home
Exercise 30/45 minutes a day minimum; walking or on exercise bike.
Lose weight, 1/4 lb. per week average

Hopefully by setting these goals down, recording the progress and comparing the results, I will start achieving the results that I want.

Do you set goals for your career? How do you record them? Do you adjust your goals or set new ones?

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These are a few of my favorite things – Poker Books

My last couple of posts have been about Poker Books. I currently own 30 or more of these books and have a shopping list for at least 12 more that I would like to own and read. I have read each of these books at least once and have gone back to some of them many times for specific tips to help me with my game.

The following is a list of my Poker Books, in no particular order:
Play Poker Like the Pros by Phil Hellmuth, Jr.
Professional Poker: The Essential Guide to Playing for a Living by Mark Blade
Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves: Expert Plays for No-Limit Tournaments by Michael Cogert
Omaha Poker by Bob Ciaffone
Doyle Brunson’s Super System: A Course in Power Poker, 3rd Edition by Doyle Brunson
Doyle Brunson’s Super System 2: A Course in Power Poker by Doyle Brunson
Online Poker: Your Guide to Playing Online Poker Safely & Winning Money by Doyle Brunson
Middle Limit Holdem Poker by Bob Ciaffone
Pot-Limit & No-Limit Poker by Bob Ciaffone
Caro’s Book of Poker Tells by Mike Caro
Caro’s Fundamental Secrets of Winning Poker by Mike Caro
Harrington on Hold ’em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments, Vol. 1: Strategic Play by Dan Harrington
Harrington on Hold ’em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments, Vol. 2: Endgame by Dan Harrington
Cash Games (How to Win at No-Limit Hold’em Money Games) Vol. 1 by Dan Harrington
Harrington on Cash Games, Volume II: How to Play No-Limit Hold ’em Cash Games by Dan Harrington
Farha on Omaha: Expert Strategy for Beating Cash Games and Tournaments by Sam Farha
World Poker Tour(TM): Shuffle Up and Deal by Mike Sexton
Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book: Lessons and Teachings in No Limit Texas Hold’em by Phil Gordon
Winning at Internet Poker For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))
Weighing the Odds in Hold’em Poker by King Yao
How to Win at Omaha High-Low Poker by Mike Cappelletti
Ace on the River: An Advanced Poker Guide by Barry Greenstein
Tournament Poker for Advanced Players (Advance Player) by David Sklansky
The Theory of Poker by David Skyansky
The Psychology of Poker by Alan N. Schoonmaker
Poker Essays by Mason Malmuth
Improve Your Poker by Bob Ciaffone
Hold ‘Em Poker by David Sklansky
Small Stakes Hold ’em: Winning Big With Expert Play by Ed Miller, David Sklansky, Mason Malmuth
Annie Duke: How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed, and Won Millions at the World Series of Poker by Annie Duke

Do poker books help your games? Do you find too many conflicting ideas? Do you have recommendations for books not on my list?

Review: World Poker Tour: Making the Final Table – Erick Lindgren

In my quest for self-improvement in tournament poker, I read the book “World Poker Tour(TM): Making the Final Table“.

Erick Lindgren took me through all the steps of getting to a World Poker Tour event. He explained that you can gain entry to the events by buying into it directly for $10,000 to $25,000 or you can win a satellite game costing as little as $60 or so and advance a stage at a time, providing you win each stage. In fact, his first WPT tourney was through a satellite.

The book is divided into nine chapters; each one showing the progression from just considering a WPT event, to the winning concepts needed overall. It covers the start of the tourney, Day 1. Erick discusses his methods of playing after the flop. His takes us through the middle stages of a tourney; getting past the bubble and making money; the final table, heads up play, and if you are successful, living the life of a pro.

The appendix contains a wealth of World Poker Tour History; poker math and poker bluffing tips by Matt Matros.

If you are interested in winning tournaments and learning from one of the best tourney players, I recommend this book to you.

Do you have goals to play in a large tourney such as the WPT or WSOP? How have you prepared your self for that goal? Can you imagine playing in a event requiring you to play up to 12 hours per day for at least five days?

Playing with a wild man at Limit Hold Em

Poker Texas Hold'em : Shuffling Cards On The Board
Image by brtsergio via Flickr

Last Wednesday night, I was playing poker, Limit Texas Hold ‘Em, online at a $1/2 table. I started off playing shorthanded, actually, one on one or heads up until the table attracted more players. I was more than holding my own when we were joined by a couple more players. One of the new ones, I will call JJ, was pretty aggressive, always raising, which is what you are supposed to do, except that he liked to bluff.

Now, this is Limit Hold ‘Em and bluffing does not work too well when you can look someone up, see what his hand is, for just a couple of big bets. It did not take long and he eventually lost his entire stack of chips or about $35 dollars and then he left.

There were five of us left at the table and we continued playing. There was not any chatting going on, just serious play. All of a sudden the madman, JJ, was back, at a different seating position and starting with $35 in chips again. He continued his very aggressive action similar to the last time. This time half of the hands he played were not bluffs and he started to make a profit. By the time I had called it quits for the evening, he had more than doubled up, and had a chip stack of $80.00. I left the table, $8.00 ahead and was thankful for that. It was a very interesting session. About five of the six of us had seen our profits reduced by the “madman”.

Have you ever had that happen? Had someone at the table taken over the action and you could never tell if they had a hand or were bluffing? How did you combat that or did you just leave the table?

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Review: Caro's Fundamental Secrets of Winning Poker.

I have just recently purchased and read Caro’s Fundamental Secrets of Winning Poker written by Mike Caro, the “Mad Genius of Poker”.  The book contained only 158 pages but there was a lot of meat to be gleaned for both the amateur and the professional poker player. Mike’s writing style is interesting in that he likes to use blackboards to highlight his main talking points and he has a lot of them.

This book contained tips and thinking points and sayings. Some of the tips pertained to seven-card stud, seven-card stud high-low, Hold ‘Em, and draw poker. He had tips about why you can really win at poker, how to play poker, general winning advice, money management tips, and much much more.

For example, one of the tips pertaining to bankroll management said “Protect your bankroll! Money you don’t lose is the same as money you win”. He talked about not going on tilt and just throwing your money in the pot, trying to get even after you had a series of bad beats.

There is a lot that can be learned or re-learned just from reading this book. If nothing else, you get to catch a glimpse of what is in the mind of Mike Caro. I highly recommend you read this book.

Have you read any of the other Mike Caro books? How has that helped your game?

Seeking a level playing ground

Gambling man
Image by waffler via Flickr

Lately I have been playing various styles of poker at different sites and trying to find my level at those sites and games. I have been playing Limit Hold ‘Em, No Limit Hold ‘Em and 2-7 Triple Draw. I have been playing in the .10/.20 games mostly for 2-7 triple draw, .25/.50 for No Limit Hold ‘Em, and .50/1.00 1.00/2.00 for Limit Hold ‘Em.

So far these are my most profitable limits as I learn the sites, the players and the games.

Recently I have had good success at 2-7 triple draw at the .10/.20 limits. The table buy-in is $4.00 and at most sessions I have been able to double up within an hour. Over the last two weeks at this level, I have made about $32 in profit. So with that in mind, I thought that I would move up to the next level, which  is .25/.50.

Of course when I wanted to play, no one was playing at those levels. But there were three 1.00/2.00 tables playing so I thought that would be close enough and joined a waiting list while playing on the .10/.20 table. After about 20 minutes, a seat opened up and I joined the table and bought in with $40.00. It only took about a half hour, but I found this table to be very tough for me to play at. My card runs were similar to those at the lower limit tables but the players were more aggressive. It did not take long for me to go from my starting $40 down to $10 before I left the table.I was not comfortable and did not wish to risk more at this level.

Overall my initial profit at this game was reduced from $32 down to $2.

The lesson I learned was that I was not ready for this limit. I was not prepared for the variances of the game at this higher level of the blinds. I should point out that my results at the .10/.20 tables were similar. Some days I started with $4.00 and left with $0.50, but most days I left with $2, $3, $4 or even $5 more than I started with. So over the course of 10 sessions at this level, I had built up a profit.

The second lesson I learned was to only play at a level that I am comfortable and profitable with. When you are ready, test the next level. Plan how much you want to risk and how long you want to test that level. If you are unsuccessful, don’t be afraid to go back to the previous level. By all means, do not risk a significant portion of your bankroll in making those moves, thereby avoiding even more pressure on yourself.

Do you play better at one blind level versus another? Is the pressusre due to the amount at risk or the better players found at the higher level?  Do you ever move down a level when you are not winning as well as you would like at  your current level?

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Following @realAnnieDuke on Twitter and Railing AnnieDuke on UltimateBet.Com

Annie Duke in 2005 World Series of Poker (WSOP...
Image via Wikipedia

In between blogging and playing poker, I assist my wife, Diane, with setting up and selling wire sculptured gifts and jewelry she creates for sale at Arts and Craft shows and on line at WWW.Brogan-Arts.Com. I also receive and send tweets on my cell phone while at these shows as there are some slow times, meaning no customers are at our booth. Because I don’t have unlimited text, I only follow a select few tweeple on my cell phone, occasionally turning those updates off as I approach my 5,000 text message limit for the month. I received a tweet from one of my fellow poker players that mentioned the “@realannieduke“.

Being a fan of Annie Duke, I was intrigued so I started following her and started receiving her tweet updates. I found out she was going to a yard sale with her daughters who were going to be selling lemonade. Later I found out that Annie Duke was going to be playing at the UltimateBet Sunday Night $200K Guaranteed Tourney which started at 5:30pm Sunday night.

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The following are some of the tweets leading up to, during, and after the tourney written by @realannieduke (Annie Duke).

Playing the Sunday $200K on Ultimatebet.com. Then doing my weekly radio show with p0kerH0 on roundersradio.com. Listen in at 5pm pacific.(about 12 hours ago from web )

Came late to the Sunday $200K. Limped in with 33, flopped a set, won a huge pot. Glad I waited to play. (about 12 hours ago from web)

You are all welcome to rail me on UB today, btw. Come say hi!  (about 12 hours ago from web)

Bad news: I accidentally called an all in on an AXX boad with 86 no pair no draw. Disabled hit enter to bet option after that obviously  (about 10 hours ago from web)

Good news: Doubled up with 88 vs AQ when the board flopped T8X. Back up close to 6K. (about 10 hours ago from web)

radio show starts in 1 minute…http://www.roundersradio.com/ (about 10 hours ago from web)

Just doubled up while doing a radio show. Ha! Life is sweet.  (about 9 hours ago from web)

Joe Navarro is always the best guest! (about 9 hours ago from web)

Just got kocked out of the UB Sunday $200K AQ vs AK. Fair enough. Now I can focus on the radio show.  (about 8 hours ago from web)

@joshsuth Bubbled.  (about 8 hours ago from web in reply to joshsuth)

Will be tweeting from @CelebApprentice tonight. Follow me there during the west coast feed of the show starting at 9pm pacific.  (about 6 hours ago from web)

Check out my Dad, Richard Lederer, in this clip. I can only say I love him unconditionally http://tinyurl.com/d8jzwc (about 6 hours ago from web)

Just finished tweeting for @CelebApprentice. Going to write my blog now on http://www.annieduke.com/ (about 4 hours ago from web)

Blog is done. http://tinyurl.com/c5gd9f  (about 2 hours ago from web)

Annie finished in 129th place in the tourney, just 30 places shy of getting in the money. First place payed out $44,660.00 and 99th place payed out $280.00. The buy-in was $215.00 and there were 997 entrants.

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When I got home, I logged onto the UltimateBet Poker site and started watching Annie play at her assigned table. The practice of watching a game you are not involved in is called “railing”, being on the viewing rails outside of a tourney playing area, looking in at the players from a distance.

The reason I found this interesting is that she appears to be just like every other poker player I know. Really human. She showed up late for an online tourney. I have done that and I know others that have as well. She was multitasking; twittering, conducting a Rounders Radio Interview, playing in a tourney, typing the occasional  “tyty” while winning a pot and being told “nh”  for nice hand. With so many distractions, she appeared to have made some bad decisions during her play of certain hands and before she knew it she was out in 129th place. I am just guessing about the bad plays, I am sure she may have had a very good reason for everything she did. Based on the fact she was doing both a tourney and a radio show I would guess this could lead to distractions.

Have you ever been in a tourney but was not giving it a 100%?   Were you reading blogs, typing blogs, answering emails, leaving comments while playing a tourney or a game?   Were you disappointed at your results, but not sure what happened?   Could you have lost your focus while dancing, chewing gum, playing cards, whistling, and drinking beer at the same time? (I’d like a video clip if you did that last one, please).

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