2014 Poker Goals

It’s time for the annual Poker Goals blog that I do at the start of every year. First let’s take a look at how I did with my goals in 2013:

1. Cash for $1.5 million in tournaments– I doubled it and cashed for $3.2 million with a couple million dollar scored that also resulted in a couple WSOP Bracelet wins.

2. Top the WPT All-Time Money List– Didn’t really get a sniff at this one. I played Bay 101, WPT Championship and the Five Diamond Classic, and also a small one in Florida. This year I’ll be skipping the WPT Championship for the first time ever in favor of he EPT Championship due to a scheduling conflict, but I’ll also be adding back in the LAPC. The WPT has become more affordable, with lower buy in main events that attract larger fields and I think that’s great, but I’m not at a point in my life where I will travel to play events under $10k so this won’t be part of my 2014 goals. I’m less than a million behind Carlos Morensen in second currently.

3. Win a Bracelet in 2013-  Ding Ding Ding! I won one really early in Australia and then also capped it off by winning another one in the very last WSOP event in France.

4. Win a Major outside the WSOP-  Had a 2nd place finish in an EPT High Roller again! I also did win the $5000 PLO 6max SCOOP event on PokerStars for $216k which I’m proud of and will give myself a nod here since it’s my first ever big win online in a tournament.

5. Move up on WSOP cash list- Goal was top crack the top 7 and I ended up at #5 after 10 total WSOP cashes on 2013.

6. Move up to 35th on WSOP All-Time Money List- I crossed the $6 million mark and ended up moving up to 19th. Of the 18 in front of me, each has either a WSOP Main event final table or a One Drop final table under their belt.

7. End 2013 in the top 10 of the GPI (Global Poker Index)-  Holy shit I’m #1!!!! 6 weeks running at the time of this writing. I think Jason Mercier holds the record for most weeks at #1, so that’s something to strive for in 2014 and beyond.

8. No partying the night before any event-  I did it! Not one sip of alcohol the night before a tournament the entire year. I had a crucial moment arise for me in Paris. I was in Paris with my dear friend Laura having dinner on her first night ever in the city. I didn’t want her to drink alone, but there was a 1k WSOP event the next day. It was such an important decision for me because integrity is all we have and I was torn.

I could make it all about me and make her drink alone, or I could be a good friend and show her a good night on the town. I could still play the tournament too, BUT that would be OUT OF INTEGRITY! So I chose to have some wine with Laura and SKIP the event so that I was in INTEGRITY. It worked out well! 25th in the main event and then a win in the high roller for my 6th bracelet.

9. Make the top 10 of CardPlayer or Bluff Player of the Year-  BOOM! I ended up #1 on both Player of the Year standings. I believe John Phan is the only other player to do that. My CardPlayer point total exceeded the 5000 mark which was tops, but it didn’t quite reach 2004 status where I captured close to 9000 points winning a bracelet, two WPT’s, and another $10k buy in event that year. No one has ever crossed 8000 points on that list I don’t believe.

10. Shoot at least 12 Rants- Did it! They were different. Some short, some longer, and I’m not too concerned with the length, just the fact that I created some videos that I hope some of you enjoyed or perhaps were inspired by.

I achieved 9 out of the 10 goals and I didn’t sell out on myself so I’m definitely proud of that. Here is what’s in store for 2014:

1. Cash for $2 million- There is a $1 million buy in event again at the WSOP this year that I plan on playing so that will likely mean I spend about $2 million in buyins on the year. My plan is to put up one third of the money and get investors for the other two thirds. It’s just too much money to risk in one tournament and I’m just not that 23 year old kid anymore who would play a $2000 buy in tournament despite having a bankroll of just $2800! (I won that event btw, 2008 WSOP Pot Limit Hold’em in my first WSOP event ever)

2. 52 Tourney Max Down From 66-  this one may seem a bit controversial, I mean, how much of a “goal” is not playing? In 2014 I’m looking for QUALITY over quantity. That holds true both in the hours I put in as well as my personal life. I will likely play 30-35 events at the WSOP, the PCA, Aussie Millions, and Monte Carlo as well as some other stops in the fall, but the point of this goal is to both really appreciate the opportunities I get to play, as well as open up some more space and time to enjoy my life in other areas.

3. 12 cashes-  In 2013 I played 66 events and had 13 cashes. I’m playing 14 less events in 2014 at least, and 12 out of 52 is a pretty high cash percentage of 23% since typically only 10% of the field makes the money.

4. 5 Final Tables-  I made 7 out of 66 last year, so again, 5 out of 52 is a rather high percentage for making a final table at just under 10%.

5. 3 WSOP Bracelets-  I know what you are thinking… NO WAY! I was tempted to put 2, but then realized that my vision is 3. I have 3 on my vision board right now, and I am not selling out on myself by settling easily attainable goals (not that 2 is easy either) 3 this year would get me to 9. I started playing in 1998 so that would be 9 bracelets in 17 years at the series. Yes, I’m well aware of how lofty this goal is, but I believe I’m going to make it happen which in turn would likely win me WSOP Player of the Year honors for the third time, and second straight year.

 6. WSOP Cash list from 5th to 4th-  Humberto Brenes sits at #4 with 71 cashes and I’m at 69. I believe I can pass Humberto. Next up ahead of me is Men Nguyen with 79 so I’ll set my sights on catching him in 2015.

 7. WSOP Money list from 19th to 15th- My targets are Ben Lamb, Paul Wasicka, Ivan Demidov, and Greg Raymer. The other issue with this goal is that both the main event and the One Drop will sky rocket several people into the top 10. I’ll just have to make sure that one of those people is me :-)

8. End 2013 Top 5 in the Global Poker Index-  The GPI 300 is an excellent barometer and I’ve been eying that list for quite a while now. So many great players in the game today that being among the top 5 is quite an honor. Since I’m scaling back my tournaments by 20% I think this is a reasonable adjustment despite me being at #1 now.

9.Top 10 CardPlayer or BLUFF- Same as above really. Two slightly different models in terms of how they calculate POY points, CardPlayer I believe only counts final tables while Bluff counts all cashes. Both interesting in their own right, and I’m not adjusting this goal from what it was last year because I’m scaling back as I’ve said.

10. 2 Non Poker Vacations-  Another one some of you may see as silly, but it makes sense to me! Time away from poker actually helps me stay sharp and focused when I do play so this one is helpful for me and again, it’s about balance and quality of life. I’ll be turning 40 next year. In my early 20’s I loved life on the road and living out of a suitcase, but those days are gone and I crave routine, I LOVE being at home and on a schedule, and traveling the tournament circuit can be really disruptive in that regard. I have a lot more health and relationship goals that will take over as a priority for me in 2014, but don’t let any of that fool you. I’m not going soft, I’m not retiring or anything like that, I plan to be a contender for WSOP player of the year again and will put in another solid effort in 2014.