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Poker News | Online Poker | News

Poker Plus - Making Your Mark

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What are your goals in poker? As players, our goals are as individual as we are.

Many up and comers are striving to be the next big “Brand Name” - the likes of Ivey, Helmuth, Brunson and others. They seek to make their mark with fame, fortune and instant recognition on the world poker stage, dreaming of being on TV, the newest poker celebrity. The art of poker and achievement may be secondary to their ultimate goal of just being famous for something, and poker may be the way in for them.

A large majority of players have dreams of winning the big one. Even though there are now many huge tournaments held around the world, most players agree the grandfather and ultimate BIG one, is still and always will be, the WSOP. Win this baby and you can flaunt it to the world by wearing the gold bracelet… which is always recognizable, even if your face is not. And, this is the time of year the wannabees gather, online and in Vegas, to take their shot at the moon with a BB gun. Their goal is to win a seat, to get in cheap by scoring in a satellite, of which there are thousands to choose from, both online and in poker rooms around the country. And so they play, dreams of besting Chris Moneymaker’s feat dancing in their heads.

Although there are thousands of players who have the “Name Brand” dreams, there are those few who have no aspirations of such grandeur. I know they must exist, as I am one of them. Never once in my 27 years of playing poker have I ever had a desire to play in the WSOP. I have been there, back in the last decade, before the poker boom hit and the cameras rolled. It was still a madhouse, so I can only imagine how insane it is today. Tournaments have never been my favorite way to play poker, and the thought of playing in them for hours or days, well, it sounds like purgatory to me. Maybe it is poker claustrophobia, but I prefer to play when I want and leave when I want. In a tournament, you are trapped there until someone tells you to take a break. Sure you can sit out, but wouldn’t you wonder, if the hand you are dealt when you are gone is that big one, the pocket Aces that would win a huge pot?

From meeting thousands of poker players over the years, I do know that my lack of enthusiasm for ever wanting to play the Big One puts me in the minority. But does this make me less of a poker player? Not to me it doesn’t. I am happy playing tournaments online, not fading the people, traffic, noise and being chained in a chair at a live poker table. Putting myself through all of that, to take a one in a gazillion shot at coming in the big money, well, it is just not on my agenda. Plus, there are plenty of opportunities, thousands in fact, to come into some serious money in tournaments online. I do take shots at these, and who knows, maybe one day I will get lucky and have a big payday. If so, it will be from the comfort of my own chair, in my own home, not a noisy chaos filled live venue.

No matter what your poker goals, they are right, for you, and that is all that counts. Whether you dream of being a Brand Name or just like to play for fun, no way is the wrong way. After all, it is your money and your time, so spend them both how you want and make your mark your way.

As for me, my goals are simple although not so easy. I want to build a bankroll from nothing. No monetary investment at all, not even one dollar, zip, zero, zilch. The size of my bankroll is of secondary importance, the main goal is building one, no matter how small. I have managed to do this, but holding on and building it has been a struggle. It takes hours of grinding, but in the end the sense of accomplishment is well worth it, no matter if I have $100 or $10,000 it is the fact of doing it, not the money amassed.

The people I admire in poker are not the Name Brands, nor the amounts of money they win. Players who get my respect are the ones who have made their mark by sitting at the table and playing their best game, day after day. The ones that have a good attitude, make the game enjoyable for all and take their beats like a wo/man, not a cry baby.

I have had a friend for years named Walt that I have always had the utmost respect for. Not only for his poker ability, but for the way he handles himself in a game. He is never out of line, has a great sense of humor and is a great winning player to boot. Walt is not famous, nowhere besides whatever local game he is currently playing in at least. But to me he will always be famous, one of my poker heroes. He was my mentor without even knowing it and I can never repay him for all he taught me. Not that I will ever be half the player he is, but I still aspire to be like him. Walt is also a professional; he has made a good living at poker for somewhere around 30 years, never holding a day job.

When I say a “good living” I mean he has paid for a custom built house, drives a nice car, lives well and put his daughter through college. These are things most people struggle to do in two income households, to do it playing poker is quite an achievement. And, his winnings don’t come from big scores in tournaments; they come from daily NLH ring games. Walt made his money in NLH when it was hard to find NL games, I can only imagine what his poker income is now, since NLH games are everywhere. I haven’t seen Walt in awhile, the last time was in Reno where he was a staple in the NLH game at the El Dorado three times a week. I picture him still there, and all the rookie hot shots trying to beat him and leaving without their shirts.

Name Brands come and go
, one day they are in the spotlight and the next they have faded from view. During my years dealing poker, I saw many of them, famous then, unheard of now. Most of them were on a “tournament rush” for months or a couple of years, then poof, they were gone. Another thing most of them had in common was they were extremely lucky in tournaments, but total fish in ring games. I read that Doyle Brunson was asked what he thought about some of the new players on the poker scene, his reply was something like “Ask me again in 20 years.” I agree with him. The test of a great player is not what they do today, but if they are still doing it years from now with the same success.

Maybe you will never sport a gold bracelet, have your name on a wall or be on TV. But success and making your mark doesn’t necessarily mean any of those things. If you have reached your personal poker goals, then you have made your mark, even if you haven’t attained worldwide fame and fortune.

Grab a Chair…see you there!

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