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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

Poker Plus - New Year Poker Resolutions

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Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? Do you make a list or simply keep them all to yourself in case you fall short of your goal? Whichever way you do it, making plans to do better next year is a good plan, especially when it comes to your poker play.

All of us have leaks in our game, the important thing is to realize what they are, admit we have them and work on plugging them. Your biggest weakness could be when you play if you are tired. Fatigue can play havoc on your patience, stamina and solid decision making. This is an easy fix, just change your playing schedule and only play when you are rested and alert. In our busy lives, many times we can only play at night when the kids are in bed and by then we should be relaxing and preparing for sleep ourselves, but we take that opportunity to play instead.  If this is the case for you, think of another time you can play, like maybe Saturday mornings when the kids are at Soccer practice.

Other weaknesses you may have could be more complex like deciding the right bet amount in No-Limit, hand selection and playing position. While much of your play is trial, error and learning as you go; there are a billion experts out there who you can call on to get answers.  Poker sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker boast a stable of pro players, who are happy to answer your questions via their blogs. Or, you could invest in some of the hundreds of excellent books on poker that are readily available.

Another problem you may have is game selection. Hold’em may be your favorite game but if your cards are running bad, you may need to back off, regroup and find a different game.  With the variety of game choices and limits available, trying them all is easy. Don’t be stubborn and keep playing a game you can’t win in, just because it is what you like best. If your objective is winning, it shouldn’t matter what game you win in – as long as you win. Don’t be hesitant to try something new and if you want to get comfortable with a game you haven’t played before, play a micro buy-in tournament or play money game.

Lately I have had this happen to me, I can’t seem to win in my beloved seven card stud hi-lo split.  A friend coaxed me into playing a $2.20 buy-in Badugi tournament. Since I had been a LowBall dealer for years, the low only format of the game was familiar and comfortable to me. The two things I had to watch for and remember was; the best hand contains no pairs and no duplicate suits.  The best hand is A-2-3-4 all different suits and you get to draw three times to try and make your hand. After a few mistakes like overlooking two spades in my hand, I got the hang of the game pretty quick. The best part of this is that very few players have a good grasp of the game, so the games, for now at least, are pretty soft. While I find the game rather boring and very slow because of the triple draw, I have been doing very well when I play it.  Therefore, as much as I love the 7 Stud, I have backed off and been playing what I am winning at, Badugi. So, don’t be afraid to try a new game, it just may revive your bankroll.

If you have been in a slump, it may be refreshing and provide a change of attitude if you play on different poker sites.  The same thing all the time gets old, so get a new view and sign-up at a site you haven’t played at before. Be sure to take advantage of any deposit bonuses, first depositor freerolls and any other bonus deals.  If you live outside the USA, your choices are unlimited, for those of us in the states, we have fewer options, but we still have them, like Cake Poker. A nice 100% deposit bonus up to $600 is offered by Cake Poker plus they have a freeroll for new depositors only.  Sadly, the best promotions for new players are found on poker sites that players in the USA are prohibited from playing at. Thanks again to the UIGEA for our limited choices, but look around and you can still find some nice incentives.

In the New Year I hope to be able to play more poker and plug up my biggest leaks. I know what they are; it is just hard to stop the flow. Distractions, illness, fatigue, impatience and limited time, those are all the things I have to work around to improve my game.  Some are easier than others to change and the easiest one for me may be distractions. My biggest distraction seems to be the phone ringing when I am in a tourney. My new plan is to let calls go to voice mail and return the call when the break comes. Next is time and tiredness. If I plan on playing at night when I have the time with no distractions, I will try to fit a nap into my daily schedule to feel more rested. The harder stumbling blocks to playing my best game are patience and ill health, those two I just can’t see much hope of mastering. The patience thing I keep in check by just leaving the game instead of going on tilt and continuing to lose, this naturally is more difficult in tournaments than cash games.

Whatever your poker resolutions are, here is a big New Years wish that you will achieve all your poker goals!

*Visit PokerHack's Blog for more of life and poker reading."

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