Bodog Ari

I'm Ari Engel and am also known as BodogAri online. I've played poker for a living for virtually my entire post-college life. In the last few years I have started teaching people my style and philosophy on poker tournaments. Many of them have done very well. If you are interested in getting my help, email: thebodogari@gmail.com

Monday, November 27, 2006

Goals

Many people have wrote that setting goals is an important part of becoming a winning player. I am not so sure. I have never set a monetary goal for myself, and I feel like the inherent variance in poker make those kind of goals non-productive. Is it better for your long term game, if u repeatedly get your money in behind, but luck your way to a tourney win, or if you routinely get in as a favorite, but happen to lose money. Clearly, the latter is a better strategy, yet having a monetary goal will lead one to the wrong conclusion.

I try to be decision oriented rather than results oriented when it comes to evaluating my play and setting goals. My only goal for 2006 was to play my "A" game 80%+ of the time.

Another thing, what is the point of a goal? The bottom line is that at the end of every session, you will have issues to consider regardless of the outcome. By working on those issues, thinking them through, and trying to figure out the optimal move, you will become a better player. Meeting your monetary goal might just be enough to convince you that you are above this process, and that cannot be a good thing.

8 Comments:

Blogger Winston said...

http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/
Hey, not sure if you already read Scott Adams' blog, but based on reading your blog, it seems like something you would enjoy. As I enjoy reading your blog, I thought I would pass this on.
Mike

8:39 AM  
Blogger slb159 said...

Very noce post, sir. I don't play nearly the stakes that you and some of the other high rollers play, but it's nice to get some insight on poker mindsets, no matter what the stakes may be.

Doubleas )http://www.doubleas.blogspot.com/) recently posted something similar and I always appreciate the better players giving their 2 cents.

But what the hell does he care anyway...he's going to the Bahamas. Hope you guys meet up there.

Best of luck.

11:03 PM  
Blogger Nabomb said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I actually think that setting goals can lead to tilt. I also don't play at your levels, although I hope to soon, but I think it's applicable at any level/stakes.

I actually posted on my blog regarding this as follow:

3) It is wrong to set goals

Part of my problem was that I was playing saying "ok I need to win $100 more tonight to make the plasma or if only I could win the 40k nightly on Bodog then I could pay off all these debts, bank my year end bonus and set off to travel the world." Each hand is independent of the other. There is no factor which will allow me to win $100 tonight and $1000 tomorrow night because I really need it. If I play each hand correctly I will win $$ over time. The only thing which determines the amount is the number of hands played, the stakes you're playing for and to a lesser degree you're opponents. If you're going to set goals it should be to play hands correctly, or to hit a certain number of hands, although until you're certain that you're making correct decisions then choosing your opponents wisely is likely of equal value as well. Like wise it is futile to say "I'm stuck 200 and I'm going to play for 3 more hours until I'm unstuck" Yes the longer you play, assuming you're playing correctly and better than your opponents the more likely you are to recover some of your losses but it could go the other way plus that mind set is a lose/lose situation.

8:58 AM  
Blogger UrBluffingMe said...

Honestly, I haven't had anything close to the success you have had playing poker. I don't have your skill. blah blah blah. You have heard it all before. But I have to totally disagree with you about setting goals. It all depends on the goals you set. I agree that setting a monetary goal could be bad because if you hit it, what then?

The idea is to set ONE BIG goal. Something you will have a difficult time achieving. Then set a series of smaller more attainable goals that will help you along. Think of it this way, if you set your goals to win $5 million dollars playing poker within the next 5 years. Every MTT money finish and every 3+buyin cash game session will move you towards that goal. Will you every get to $5M? Who knows? But as long as you have something to work towards, a goal can be very motivating.

Not to mention, there is something spiritual in writing a goal down. Something universal that seems to make it easier to obtain. Just a thought.

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