2016 Annual Poker Goals Blog

Before we move on to the goals we’ve set for 2016, let’s take a look back at how we did with our 2015 goals:

1. Cash for $2 million- This one came down to the wire as I closed the year with 4 straight cashes from my 11th place finish in the main event to my 3rd place finish for $640k to finish off the year and put me at $2,482,479

2. 55 tournament max- In 2013 I played 66 events, in 2014 I played 56 events and set the goal to play even less in 2015. I skipped WSOPE late in 2015 which allowed me to stay under my goal and I came in at 49 for the year.

3. 12 cashes- If I actually played 55 events rather than 49 I think I would have hit this goal, coming just shy with 11. The WSOP during the summer only produced 4 cashes and that’s definitely below what I expect to do each summer considering the high volume I put in during the WSOP.

4. 5 Final Tables- Just missed this one too, finishing with 4 final tables.

5. 3 WSOP Bracelets- I have been setting this lofty goal each year and while it’s obviously a major stretch, I know it is a goal I am capable of accomplishing. I ended the year missing out on a bracelet with my closest finish coming in the $10k Stud 8 event where I came a disappointing 3rd.

6. Move up on the WSOP All-Time Cash list from 5th to 3rd- Didn’t quite get enough cashes to pass Men Nguyen for 3rd place finishing with 83. Men has a total of 84 and I’m very confident that I will pass him this year and then set my sights on #2 on the list Erik Seidel who has 95. Phil Hellmuth is going to be out of reach for probably a decade or so since he is way ahead with 115. I do believe that I will catch my buddy Phil by the time they bury me in the ground.

7. Maintain 3rd on the WSOP all-time money list- I was able to do this, but Jonathan Duhamel put in a big effort to get within a million. To move up an additional spot I’ll need about $1.6 million to surpass Daniel Colman who trumped me in the One drop in 2014.

8. End 2015 in the Top 10 of the Global Poker Index- I didn’t put in enough volume especially in the second half of the year to contend for a top 10 spot, finishing a respectable #39 in a very competitive field. My goals of playing less events certainly were at odds with accomplishing this goal as there is no question that playing more volume equals a higher ranking in the GPI

9. Top 10 CP or BLUFF- The Story is the same year. A lack of volume and just 4 final tables isn’t going to get you in the top 10 of either of these lists.

10. Two Non Poker Vacations- You would think it would be easy to accomplish this goal, right? Well, I planned on attending Burning Man but backed out at the very last minute. I am not a drug user, and while I understand you could enjoy the experience without doing any hallucinogenic drugs, the more I heard about it, the more I realized I didn’t want to go. I love my life. I’m extremely happy and I felt a massive relief when I finally backed out of going. I get that lots of people absolutely love the experience, but I also know me, and I just don’t think it’s for me. Other than that, I’d hoped to make a trip to Romania and didn’t do that either.

So with that, I accomplished 3 of the 10 goals I set for the year, narrowly missing out on a couple that would have gotten me to 5. As you can see, I set lofty goals, and I do so for a reason. I am NOT ATTACHED to the result! This is really important to wrap your head around so that you don’t get into trouble when goal setting. I throw things out in the universe that I’d like to see happen. Whether I do or not has NO EFFECT on my psyche. If I accomplished just 1 of the 10, I don’t see failure, I celebrate the result I accomplished as well as the journey towards all of them.
Each year people mock me for setting a goal of winning 3 WSOP Bracelets. They tell me it’s not realistic. I’m not interested in realistic! That’s boring! 3 WSOP bracelets HAS been done by several people. I have won 2 in a year but never 3. Now, I wouldn’t bet even money that I accomplish this goal, but I know it’s attainable and I have the tools to make it happen.
When I set goals, I reach high, but not so high that it takes me off the hook. For example, I could set a goal of 10 WSOP bracelets in a single year. It’s theoretically possible, but when I set a target that’s in fantasy land, it doesn’t do me much good. A goal of 3 WSOP bracelets is a major stretch, but again, it has been done and I know that I can do it!
Poker players tend to be very analytic thinkers and have a difficult time with the idea of setting their intention on goals that aren’t within their control. Obviously, I could play perfectly during the WSOP and still not accomplish the goal of winning 3 bracelets. Some people may argue that they see no value in setting goals that are out of your control. I disagree vehemently, but the most important aspect in order to do this correctly is learning to be completely detached from the end result. Detaching yourself from the idea that coming up short of your lofty goals is a failure.

So what should you be attached to? The journey! Did you do your absolute best to achieve your goals? What worked? What didn’t work? What can you do differently next year to increase the chances that you achieve your goals? Acknowledge what you did well, and be honest with yourself about areas that you could improve upon. Then get committed to making the adjustments in areas that need improvement.

I’ve made two deductions from my 2016 goals and replaced them. The CardPlayer/Bluff Ranking just seems redundant at this point and the GPI has taken over as the “go to” ranking system. Also, I failed so miserably at taking any vacations this year that it’s out! Replacing those two with some exciting goals inspired by watching “KidPoker” and reminiscing about how fun it is to play in the biggest mixed games in the world in Bobby’s Room at Bellagio.

1. Cash for $2.5 million- I’m not entirely sure the $1 million One Drop event is even on the schedule this year, but either way, the price of poker tournaments has reached new heights so buyins could exceed $2 million in a single year quite easily. Setting a goal of $1.5 or $2 million aren’t guaranteed to show a profit, so I needed to up this from $2 million t $2.5 million. I won’t be attending Aussie Millions this year which offer some great opportunities, but there is going to be another High Roller Bowl with a $300k buy in prior to the WSOP this year that I will most certainly play.

2. 55 Tournament minimum- Oddly, I’ve decided to go from a max ceiling to a minimum floor to help ensure that it supports some of my other goals on this list. One of the ways I plan to attack this goal is to increase the number of events I play during the WSOP this summer. Normally I skip most all of the no limit hold’em events, but this year you will see me playing far more of the big field no limit hold’em events in addition to my already heavy mixed game schedule. Why? Well, I much prefer playing mixed games and those events tend to be smaller fields which should lead to more bracelets. Having said that, my edge in no limit hold’em is likely far bigger than it is in mixed game formats. I haven’t tested this theory out yet, but I am starting to think that my chances of winning a 150 player field mixed game event isn’t all that different than a 1500 player no limit hold’em field. Once I’m able to build a hefty stack in a no limit event, I think I’ll be able to get down to the end and give myself plenty of opportunities to win one of those massive field events.

3. 12 cashes- I only cashed 11 times last year, but only played 49 events. With an increased schedule in 2016 I think this should be a piece of cake and will likely target 15 cashes in 2017 once I achieve this goal on 2016.

4. 5 final tables- Doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s quite difficult I think. Playing in short field high roller events certainly helps make this goal a reality.

5. 3 WSOP Bracelets- F*** the haters!!! This goal matters to me and would help me get back into the race for the all-time bracelet lead once I achieve it. When I win the third, I promise to write a blog that very evening entitled I TOLD YOU SO!!!

6. Move to 3rd on WSOP All-Time Cashes List- I’m sitting in 4th right now with 83 cashes, just one behind Men Nguyen’s 84. Men’s schedule has lightened each year and he doesn’t play in most of the bigger buy in events. I will achieve this goal and then work towards narrowing the gap on the top two horses who have 10+ years on me!

7. Move to 2nd on WSOP All-Time Money List- This is a tall order to say the least. Currently I sit about $1.6 million behind Daniel Colman for second on this list, and while I don”t foresee him playing a full schedule of events, I will need a massive score to get past him.

8. End 2016 in the top 10 of the GPI- I didn’t really set myself up for success by limiting the number of events I would play in 2015, but I will be rectifying that this year.

9. Play 200 hours of cash games- This is a new one! I used to really enjoy playing the high stakes mixed games at Bellagio and this goal is an effort to spark that once again. I used to do really well in those games and it’s a challenge for me to see how I stack up against some of the best mixed game players in the world today. There is some “young blood” that have now taken over as the mainstays in those games, so I’m very curious to see how I matchup. I imagine I will be at a disadvantage in the early stages of this goal since the players have so much more knowledge about how their opponents tendencies, but I’m confident that I will be able to succeed as I have in the past, mainly because of the mental stability I have now that I didn’t quite have nailed down when I used to play those games regularly. I’m so much more mentally tough, and I think that’s really important in those games.

10. Win $250,000 in Cash Games- So, I’ve set my hours at a modest 200 for the entire year. That amounts to about 16 hours a month. The stakes I’ll be playing should hopefully be no smaller than $1000-$2000 and would require an hourly rate of about half a big bet an hour. The games aren’t the same as they were when I used to play them regularly, but back then, my win rate always exceeded one big bet an hour.

Final Stats for 2015:
Events Played 49
Events Cashed 11
Cash Percentage 22.4
Average Buy In $30,880
Hourly Rate $3388
Buy Ins $1,513,125
Payouts $2,482,479
Profit $969,354

3 Year Total
Events 171
Cashes 37
Cash % 21.6
Buy Ins 5,908,934
Avg Buy In $34,555
Payouts $15,969,992
Profit 10,061,058
Hourly $6426.74
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Daniel Negreanu Daniel Negreanu