New year is approaching fast, and with it an opportunity to make a ‘fresh start’ with your poker game, or maybe become more disciplined about improving certain aspects of an already solid system… New year resolutions do not need to be about losing weight, getting fit or giving up those pleasures in life! I thought I’d put together a list of 100 possible poker new year resolutions to choose from… some serious, others light-hearted.
100Poker New Year Resolutions:
#1 – Re-read some old poker books you may have stored away… ask yourself how the advice relates to today’s online games, from the perspective of fundamentals and ‘moves’.
#2 – Focus on one game (SNGs, Fifty50, Double Or Nothing, MTTs, Cash, PLO etc etc) at one buy-in level until you beat it over a large sample.
#3 – Become a Supernova Elite (or Palladium at Party)
#4 – Spend 1 hour studying your hand histories for every 4 hours of play. Search for spots where you could have got more value, not just the tough beats.
#5 – State out loud the specific reason for flat calling a raise while other players are still to act in the hand. Review those reasons later.
#6 – There are some excellent poker software tools out there, invest in one specific to your preferred game.
#7 – Do not play when tired, ill or feeling down.
#8 – No berating the fish in the chat this year… remember that without fish, the poker economy (and thus your profits) falls over.
#9 – That baby photo you uploaded to your Stars account… take it down, your baby looks just the same as every other damn baby… and you are giving away the fact you are a fish (of course, sharks might consider uploading baby pictures?)
#10 – One poker variation at a time. Make this the year when you stop playing 2 tables of PLO, 2 NLHE tournaments and a SNG at the same time.
#11 – Find a forum where players actively discuss hands, contribute to the discussion and post some hands of your own. If you are offered advice, try to understand it rather than fighting the other posters.
#12 – Exercise and eat healthy food. If you do not do this you will never understand how much of a difference it can make to your game.
#13 – Try smaller field tournaments, those $3 games with 6000 entrants are bad for your mental health!
#14 – Stop sitting down at the first table at your buy-in level with an empty seat. A little discipline with table selection could easily see your profits double.
#15 – If you enjoy SNGs, learn about ICM. Even if you do not use it yourself (though I have no idea why you would not!) then your opponents are making decisions based on this math… you need to know how they are thinking in order to beat them.
#16 – Find yourself a study-buddy, discussing hands / situations with a friend can often reveal refreshing new perspectives
#17 – Learn satellite strategy, these games attract a lot of new players and can be very profitable – especially at the weekends.
#18 – If you play for fun then why not cut down on the number of tables you play. Sure, there is pressure to multi-table … however, if this is making poker more automated and less enjoyable then try just a few games for a change.
#19 – Cover up your hole cards on the screen for a game or two, this will give you some insights into the importance of position and spotting weakness in your opponents.
#20 – Switch off those distractions, no IM, no web, no TV while playing… there is plenty of time for these when you are relaxing later.
#21 – Implement a system of colour coding your opponents… learn how to quickly spot the regulars and mark them for next time, choose a colour for fish and then seek them out.
#22 – Join a training site, there are a huge number to choose from depending on which form of poker you prefer.
#23 – Make this the year you stop bluffing calling stations.
#24 – Review your bankroll management approach, if you are serious about the game then make sure your bankroll shows you when to move up and down levels.
#25 – Try out some of the smaller to mid-sized poker sites… especially those on networks which are home to sports-betting brands. You will often be surprised how much fishier the tables are.
#26 – Be more honest with yourself next year, if you are constantly reloading then the chances are you are not ‘just a little unlucky’, but have some leaks in your game. Find those leaks!
#27 – Learn push / fold poker for the late stages of multi-table tournaments. This will give most players an immediate profitable edge.
#28 – Learn to spot those mid-game SNG spots when a shove would be +ev, yet a different line might be even more profitable.
#29 – Take shots! While online pros need to manage their bankrolls tightly, recreational players should be willing to take a shot at the occasional bigger buy-in tournament or next level up of cash game.
#30 – If your regular site offers you a reload bonus, take it every time. If you were going to play there anyway this is basically free money.
#31 – Sign-up bonuses are still the easiest money in online poker. Clear just one every few months and you could easily have $1000+ extra at the end of the year.
#32 – Get yourself a tilt plan… learn to identify those times you are tilting and know what you are going to do (walking away, even for a couple of minutes, is a great help).
#33 – Keep stats based on time of day, use these to determine if some sessions are more profitable than others.
#34 – Create a better balance between poker and life, make more time for friends and put family first.
#35 – Pay more attention to the game when not in a hand, try and guess what the players still involved have. If you see a showdown, try and work out how they were thinking about the hand in question.
#36 – Get some free education, absorb the huge number of strategy articles and forum posts online. Make a point of pausing to think about how new concepts could improve your own game.
#37 – Give PLO a try, its fast, furious and fun.
#38 – Play some satellites to one of the fantastic live events occurring around the world, the PCA, WSOP and huge number of EPT and WPT events available could mean an experience of a lifetime.
#39 – Stop making those smaller raises / 3-bets with strong hands and bigger ones when weak, good players can see right through it and are exploiting it right now!
#40 – Download Pokerstove and learn equity of different hands vs ranges of hands your opponents might hold. This is a free tool, and this is basic knowledge that every player must know.
#41 – Fold more hands UTG and UTG+1.
#42 – Stop open limping, unless you have a damn fine reason for it.
#43 – Mixed Games attract a lot of recreational players, if you are disciplined, these can be very profitable indeed.
#44 – New games / variations also attract a lot of recreational players… jump in quick and use your experience to work out a basic and solid strategy.
#45 – Take a break, if you are a cash game or SNG player then take proper breaks of 30 minutes+, every few hours… take a walk and refresh your brain.
#46 – Sign up for my ‘$16 / Hour SNG Blueprint’ course, its free and a great grounding in beating 1-table SNG tournaments.
#47 – Make a resolution not to tell bad beat stories… nobody cares, really!
#48 – Start a blog, make it entertaining and cover your poker career
#49 – (For US readers) Write to or phone your local congressman next time legislation for regulated online poker comes around, make your voice heard rather than simply signing some random online petition.
#50 – Get into the habit of keeping a notepad file open while you play, you can then copy and paste any interesting or difficult hands via your site’s hand history into this and review them later.
#51 – Have a personal coach, there are a lot available at the moment – some very good US players who used to make their living online are now coaching.
#52 – Identify some of the profitable regulars in your game. Take the time to watch and analyse their play, look for learning opportunities as well as ways you can profitably exploit them.
#53 – Find yourself a backer. If you have a track record and willingness to learn and move up levels, then selling a stake could allow you to move up faster than grinding the bankroll for yourself. Particularly useful as a hedge against the huge variance in MTTs. #54 – Tournament players, make sure you learn Nash Equilibrium for heads-up play. If you get to the last 2 in a big tournament this year and find yourself lacking in heads-up skills you will regret it!!
#55 – If you are comfortable with 4 tables, try 5 – and so on… adding another table will accelerate your profits. This does contradict the ‘less tables’ above. This one applied for those taking the game more seriously!
#56 – Replay a session in using a hand replayer, watch yourself as if you were observing someone else… anything surprising?
#57 – Play a game with no money involved at all, try and win some ‘play chips’ by observing and exploiting the (huge) errors opponents make. You’ll find you focus more on decisions and less on money – a trait that many players need to take to the real money tables.
#58 – Invest in a better chair, for just a few hundred dollars / euros you can get an excellent chair for grinding. Many players sit for 8+ hours at a time… make sure you are sitting comfortably!
#59 – Make a pledge to report any collusion / cheats to your poker site security department this year. Even if you send the occasional false positive (the sites can tell the difference), failing to report suspicious activity is contributing to the problem.
#60 – Take more detailed notes on your opponents, especially those who make unusual bet sizes (overbetting pots in cash games, raising 3x or 4x late in tournaments, raise / folding short in SNGs etc etc)
#61 – If your site allows short-stackers (20 to 30BBs) and does not have deep-stacked tables then move. Many sites have already solved the issue of short-stackers… there is no reason to stay anywhere that has not!
#62 – Tournament players should stop playing at sites without synchronized breaks. That 5 minutes every hour is great for refreshing your focus. If your site does not have them (ipoker for example) then write and tell them why you are leaving.
#63 – Play more live poker, whether it is a home-game or casino this can be great fun! #64 – Stop raising 2.05x the big blind early in tournaments until you learn how to play better post-flop!!
#65 – Teach someone else to play poker this coming year, try and get them to the level where they can profit from the games.
#66 – Switch off chat, especially if you are multi-tabling. Many people say this misses important information… it is so rare that any usable info comes from this that this statement is 99.5% redundant – and that half a percentage point is already given back by getting distracted from your decisions by dumb ‘rigged’ theories and petty name calling!
#67 – Join Twitter, there are a huge number of poker players sharing great articles (you’ll need to avoid the spammers / self-publicists though!). (I am @PlanetMark there)
#68 – Write an article and send it to your favourite blog , website or magazine, you might end up in ‘print’.
#69 – Isolate fish more often in position with speculative hands by raising. You’ll get many more shots at bad player’s entire stack.
#70 – Try a new poker variation to break the monotony of your regular games. ‘Rush Poker’ is available at Terminal Poker and Party have the 3 card ‘double holdem’… or how about an 8-game SNG at Stars?
#71 – Give a percentage of your winnings to charity, you’ll feel good about contributing to making the world a better place.
#72 – Mix up your play a little, even if you are convinced that one particular line is best – this will help put enough doubt in the mind of other regulars when they play against you and stop them exploiting any predictable patterns. Not really needed at the lowest levels!
#73 – Leader boards and races can be great for additional cash, make sure your site has them and that you are opted in if this step is required.
#74 – No more checking your stats or site cashier during sessions. Focus on making the best decisions over the long run, there is plenty of time for analysis between sessions.
#75 – Invest in a faster computer, bigger monitor… or dual screen setup. Consider these an investment in your poker career – not an expense.
#76 – Get a backup internet connection, even a USB mobile dongle, for those disconnect emergencies.
#77 – For non-US players, give pokerstars.fr a try – non-French players are welcome… and the games are eye-wateringly soft!!
#78 – No tapping the glass, if a bad player beats you against the odds then gracefully accept that this is the reason why poker is so profitable. There is no need to educate your opponent in the error of their play (especially with insults). This might result in them studying the game instead of donating!
#79 – If your site allows you to change screen-name, then make sure you do this regularly… many opponents are too lazy to take notes, though might remember your style of play based on recognising your name.
#80 – Next time a fish makes a ‘horror play’ against you and wins a big pot, resolve to go back through the game history and see if there were any clues you missed that this might happen. There often are, train yourself to spot them!
#81 – Never play side-games, they are –ev and bad for your bankroll!!
#82 – No need to keep all of your poker bankroll in one place this year, even the safest sites can be risky… only keeping what you need for your day-to-day use online is a sensible precaution.
#83 – Come into the year with a positive mindset, if you believe you are going to lose – then you will.
#84 – Review your value betting this year, are you checking behind too often? Betting the river in situations where a re-raise would be horrible? Betting different amounts with nut hands and weaker ones? The river betting round is important, so why not resolve to work on this.
#85 – Make this the year when you never lose the ability to get opponents to fold by blinding away in a poker tournament… make your stand while you still have enough chips to dent your opponents stacks.
#86 – Never give up in a tournament or SNG when your stack gets devastated (down to a few big blinds). You may have a few hands before the blinds, and you only need to make a comeback 10% of the time to make a big difference to your profits at the end of the year.
#87 – Sober poker only! Sure its fun to play after a night out or when a little worse for wear after some smokes… if you really can not stop yourself then why not make a separate account at a different site with a few dollars in it – your wasted alter-ego might stop you accidentally devastating your real bankroll!
#88 – Fold more this coming year, particularly early in the hand and particularly when the chances of your hand improving are small – and the chance of facing a big bet on a future street is high.
#89 – You are not naturally talented ‘just unlucky’, get it into your head that succeeding in poker involves working on your game, plugging those leaks and study away from the tables.
#90 – Cut down on the ‘hollywooding’ next year. If someone raises UTG, gets 3-bet and then a 3rd player shoves there is no need to time down while you ‘consider’ things, you have a trivial fold 95% of the time, an easy call most of the rest…
#91 – Try a tournament with antes, Pokerstars do ‘big antes’ and ‘ante up’ variations, the change in structure is both entertaining and educational – challenge yourself to work out the mistakes your opponents are making in terms of the new structure.
#92 – Get into the habit of quantifying your edge in every game you play… you should be able to articulate exactly how you will make money in each game, whose chips are your target and how you will get them!
#93 – No poker on an empty stomach!
#94 – Make yourself a starting hands chart by table position and be disciplined enough to stick to it. As with #92 above, if you deviate you should try and quantify the reasons for it.
#95 – Think one level higher next year. If you currently only consider your own hand, then think about what your opponent might hold. If you think of their hand, tune in to what they might think you hold… if you already do that then think about what they might be thinking about your perception of what they are putting you on.
#96 – Remember that poker is supposed to be fun. Unless you are a pro, then when you stop enjoying the game –take a break. Poker will still be there next week.
#97 – Review your table selections every 20 to 30 minutes. Just because you found some profitable games when you logged on does not guarantee that they will remain profitable… there may be a better game just waiting for you.
#98 – If you ever find yourself turning down a social, sporting or family occasion to play poker then make sure you have a serious think about life… well, maybe not so much for the family meetups. #99 – Learn to read hands better in 2012, start with opening ranges and narrow from there – if you get it wrong try and work out why.
#100 – If you’ll allow me the indulgence! Make this the year you bookmark SNG Planet, tell your friends about it and remember to come back often and read the huge archive of 100’s of top quality strategy articles! Whew, that post took days... I'll be back between xmas and new year with a forward looking Planet Corp update - wishing you all a happy holidays until then! GL at the tables, Mark PS: I killed comments on all my blogs due to excessive spam, if you would like to discuss this or any SNG Planet article then come over to our facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/sngplanet
Submitted by Planet Mark on Fri, 12/23/2011 - 10:44