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Poker Goals 2015

February 7 Sandra Wong

Taking my poker game online in 2015…

December 9, 2014

It’s been a long minute since I played or even thought about playing poker on a serious level. Why? Mainly because:

  • Myself: I had too much going on to with other areas of my life and had to focus my priority on my family and business. Poker took a backseat but now that my kids are in school I have a bit of an open window in my lifestyle to put some time into playing. I can’t travel to play anymore due to my daughter’s diabetes management, but luckily there is online.
  • Mental game was unstable. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what was up in the past poker mind, but I knew there was something off and luckily I knew better than to play when my mental game wasn’t right. Simply by knowing that I didn’t even know what my leaks were, was the biggest leak in itself. I can say however, I actually know where my leaks are now and how to truly improve my game to be the next level poker player I aim to be.  I attributed this improvement in my poker game to fixing leaks in all areas of my life. I am very excited to start plugging these leaks and just be great!

Setting Poker Goals

I believe this is very important in all areas of life to set goals, so if I am to finally take poker seriously I am going to set goals here as well. The secret to goal setting in my opinion is to be realistic about them.

Poker Goals for 2015

  • Build my bankroll online for the first time in life.
  • Create a goals schedule and track progression
  • Put some time into really learning all of the range equities, HUDs, creating my own GTO strategy and all that good advance poker type stuff.
  • Document all learning and experiences for frequent performance review

Dec 2014: Starting with a $50 roll. The only reason I chose this starting amount was because it was already in my Party Poker account. I built it up from a free $10 they gave me years ago that I never cashed out because of a minimum cash-out requirement. So hopefully I don’t have to deposit any money at all.

I will grind & build this to $500 before Jan 2015.

I will also stay at the $10NL or the $25NL (test jumps) in cash games until I grind my way up to milestone hands. The reason I am starting at such micro limits is because I want to test my poker skills and make sure I can crush low limits before moving up to bigger. I guess this is a confidence and a discipline thing as well because I know I get very impatient trying to put enough volume to meet my goals. But I plan to not move up unless I have WON 20 Buyins at the min. limit I will be playing. So when I reach $500 roll, I will play the $25NL, and test waters in the $50NL.

Here is a cool little bankroll management system I found online. I should make my own custom one… but this is the general idea, even though I am starting with a super small roll, i feel confident enough that I won’t lose it playing $10NL/$25NL at my skill level. (if I can stay on track of course).

Anytime I drop down in roll I will go back to the last level until I grind my way back up again. In a way it feels like punishment for running bad… but this will help to improve my decision making as well as plug my leaks while the financial risk is rather low.

What is GTO / game theory optimal anyways? It’s a logical way of looking at a game to beat it.

Know why you would deviate from the GTO strategy

  • Basic ‘perfect’ GTO strategy is boring and though it’s suicidal to deviate from it, you have to if you ever want to make any money.
  • Creating a GTO Strategy:
    • what frequency of bluffs
    • B defend frequencies, bluff catchers, defend range so that A is indifferent to bluffing
    • ie: in Zoom poker strategy: min raise UTG with top 10% of hands, raising button with 35% range.
      10% range looks like: {22+, AQo+, AJs+, 76s-98s, A3s-A5s}
      35% range looks like: {22+, Ax, K2s+, Any two broadway, 54s+, 64s+, 74s+}- Dont check call
      – Always be the aggressor, either raise or fold 90% of the time.
      – if someone shows aggression, ie. on the river THEY HAVE IT. Bluff catching I find rarely works, but donk bets and blockers bets are great. I think also, c-betting dry flops is also +EV.
      – Play your fold equity. If you smell any weakness at all, pounce. I find that in Zoom check generally means draw or nothing. You will get the occasional playback from solid players, but just avoid those guys and fold.  (Let go of the ego!)

Current Status

I have been playing online poker ‘seriously’ for 1 week now to test my poker skills to get back into poker brain and to figure out which game best suits my lifestyle and style of play for 2015. Of course I am planning on testing all games, and poker is poker, but I think choosing a game type and specializing in it where it’s my money maker is super key to bankroll building.

It’s sooooo hard to stay disciplined playing low stakes online to build a bankroll and to just not jump up limits to make up. Losing to 70-30’s on the river hurts so bad especially time and time again but learning to not tilt about it and remembering variance is part of the game. If you take the good… you absolutely must take the bad with it. Even the best players can lose up to 35 buyins… hence why you MUST practice good bankroll management early.

I must also find a style and specialize in it because I am playing poker to make money, not to just have fun both playing and learning. Though it’s nice to know all the different styles of poker games, being the jack of all trades may end up being negative EV. Specialize, specialize, specialize!

My strongest game online (meaning where I have the best results) so far I believe is Zoom/Fast Fold, but I will still spend a few days trying out different styles. Most of my poker winnings have come from Live MTTs to date, so online I am still quite the newbie.

Thinking behind this game selection:

ZOOM: Being a mom of 2 and working from home on contracts, it is critically important for my time to be as flexible as possible.

1) I need to be able to sit down and play a couple of hours without having to be stuck in a tournament in order to make any money.

2) I need to be able to get a good volume of hands in a short time to be profitable and reach the goals I set.

MTTs: I need to take shots at binking something big as a bankroll booster or I feel like it is a waste of my poker talent. There is no faster way to make money playing poker than to take a win over massive fields….but massive fields means even higher variance with average cashing to be 1/40 tourneys. It really scares me big time especially knowing and hearing the stories of all my online grinder friends running deep in so many events just t play break even poker and making most of their money on rake back. Of course many of these guys are backed, so that for sure changes the game in a big way. I am free rolling myself so I don’t have the luxury of an endless bankroll or the time commitment to put into many MTTs. With this all said, I still need to devote time to playing a few tourneys a week however…so we will see how this will pan out.

Also, note about MTT bankroll… I will put a bankroll for MTTs separate from my cash game bankroll rather than mix them in. The reason I will do this is because I know my MTT skills are competitive and don’t want to be stuck grinding at the super low limit as my time is worth way more than money in this instance.

So my starting cash roll of $50 after 1 week of grinding for roughly 25 hours is over $300. I am definitely crushing these limits… and would have already met my goal if it wasn’t for some sick sick river beats, and flopping top 2 into sets (how do I ever get away from that situation and get value? for the times they didn’t hit top set?) it still feels awesome to know that I am averaging a 4 buy-ins a day at the $10NL. I don’t know if this is great or not compared to other pros but I feel great that I’m not just playing break-even or slightly losing poker like most online pros do. I mean, I am only averaging about $12/hour at the moment, not including the rake perks. If the win trend continues like this I will be happy.

I know $300 sounds so petty and let me be the first to tell you… play $10NL and winning 25 buy-ins is not as easy as it may seem.

Also some notes… I have cheated and played quite a few $25NL cause I got impatient after being stuck 3 buy-ins early on some days. I know I shouldn’t be jumping up in stakes so fast and that discipline and patience for me is a big leak in my game. I will work on this, hence why I’m really glad I’m building my roll starting at only $10nl. I also know that there is also a possibility to lose my entire roll jumping up limits too fast, so must stay mission focused. Don’t think $$… think buy-ins and percentages!

I plan on doing a poker status post once a month… so look out for the next on in Jan 2015! Thanks for reading. If you want to follow more of my poker rants, I generally do this on Twitter:@astrogurl


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