The start of a new year is a poker player’s perfect opportunity to set themselves some goals for the 12 months ahead. Some may have small targets they are aiming for, others may want to conquer the poker world, if you have not made any poker-related New year’s resolutions yet, perhaps this article will be of use to you.

Set achievable goals

Anyone with ambition should be encouraged and applauded regardless of them being poker players or otherwise, but over-ambition can be as damaging as not having any ambition at all.

It is all well and good stating that your intention is to play in the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event, a tournament that costs $10,000 to enter and a few thousand more in flight and accommodation costs if your current bankroll is $150. How are you going to turn $150 into $12,000 or $15,000 from a $150 start?

By all means have a main goal, a goal that is huge, but then create smaller targets to hit along the way. By setting smaller goals that you can achieve, you will able to give yourself a morale boost when you hit them each week or month instead of having to keep your eye on the big end prize, which if you miss you are still able to look back at what you have achieved.

Try avoid monetary goals

We have all sat down and said to ourselves that we are going to make a specific profit from poker in the coming year. After all, it is cold, hard cash that we poker players use to measure our success or lack of it. However, what if I told you that you have little control over how much money you make from poker?

You could play perfect poker for 12-months and not win any money. Hell, you could even lose money by playing the best poker of your career, such is this crazy mathematics-based game.

Setting goals that revolve around money can set you up for failure. If you start drifting away from your end goal, you can become disillusioned with the game. Others may start to play more hands and extend their playing sessions in an attempt to catch up to their targets or cut sessions short in a good game to lock up a win. Neither of those scenarios is ideal.

Instead, set goals for things that you can control such as playing a certain number of cash game hands or tournaments per week. Be realistic about how much poker you can play because if you work a 40-hour week, have a couple of kiddies and a partner, and only play three tables at once, are you going to be able to play 100 multi-table tournaments every week? No, you are not.

Take some shots into bigger games

Grinding micro and low stakes games can be demoralising; I know, I have been there. Now I am not saying you should be risking large percentages of your bankroll to jump into the $109 Uppercut every night, but you should try your arm at some of the qualifiers and satellites that we run throughout the day at partypoker.

Head to the satellites tab and you will find qualifying tournaments, starting as low as $0.01, for our biggest online and live events. Imagine qualifying for the $150,000 Gtd Main Event, the $250,000 Gtd Title Fight, or even one of the massive live tournaments such as the £6 million guaranteed MILLIONS for a few bucks and then being in with a legitimate shot of winning a gargantuan prize? Sounds good, right?

Improve your poker game

It is no secret that poker is becoming harder to win at as players improve their knowledge of the game, so it is of vital importance that you continue to learn and grow throughout the year.

Paul Seaton recently penned an article giving you seven ways to improve your poker game that is more than worth a read. Improving at poker increases the likelihood you will make fewer mistakes, and fewer mistakes usually translates to bigger profits.

Set aside some time to study the game and you should start to see vast improvements. Personally, I like to study straight after playing poker, usually looking over key hands, as table dynamics are fresh in your mind, then again later in the week when you can look at those same hands in a vacuum.

Learn a new poker variant or format

Most of us specialise in one form of poker. Be it no-limit hold’em or pot-limit Omaha, cash games or tournaments, online poker or live poker. There’s nothing wrong with focussing on one particular poker game, but learning another can help you improve at your first choice.

Playing tournaments will help you adjust to different stack sizes in your regular game while playing cash games prepares you for deep stacked tournaments. Likewise, a game such as Omaha can help you with your observation and hand reading skills as you have more cards to contend with, ditto Seven-Card Stud.

Play with minimal distractions

We live in a world where technology dominates. Playing poker online is perfect for the freedom it gives you but how guilty are you of firing up your laptop, opening partypoker then messing around on social media, watching a film at the same time, or other such distraction. Make one resolution to only play poker when you are fully focussed on the task in hand and see the difference it makes to your play.

Keep your cool, don’t berate fellow players

While it can be frustrating to lose a hand of poker, particularly a key hand, it is important to try and keep your cool, especially so if you are one of those people who goes on monkey tilt in the chat box telling your opponent things you’d like to happen to their mum – we’ve all seen it!

Not only does steaming in the chat box mean you are distracted from the game in hand and makes you look like an idiot to boot, but it can also educate the weaker player, or worse still make them leave.

You will not find many people who like to be on the end of verbal abuse, and even the poorest of players will soon realise that if they are being berated for playing a hand poorly that they should play the hand differently the next time a similar situation arises. Allowing your opponents to improve makes them harder to beat, and we do not want to be sat at a table full of people who know how to play poker, do we?

What are your poker-related New Year’s resolutions? Let us know on social media and in the comments box below.

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