2017: Climb The Poker Tree, Master The Mental Game & Crush Life

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2017: Climb The Poker Tree, Master The Mental Game & Crush Life

BACKGROUND
After a decade of floating through the poker world it's time to get serious and get s**t done! Poker obsession, a gambling addiction, an ego problem, stress, and an unhealthy lifestyle are all factors that have prevented any real progress, and at times have made poker a brutal career choice!

Over the last 5 years my base has been 200NL, not that it's ever stopped me shooting higher when I get bored of the monotonous daily grind, or go on one of my mega-tilted splurge sessions! Poker hasn't always been my priority, with other hobbies/interests and running a staking business eating up all the focus I could muster in one day. This, combined with possessing a 'mental game' weaker than Rory Mcilroy at the 2011 US Masters goes a long way to explaining my stagnation at 200NL.

My 2016 graph highlights the volatile nature of my poker career. On countless occasions my tilted game selection crippled my bankroll and undid weeks/months of hard graft!

2016 STATS


WHY A BLOG?
Other 'regs' who I'm in contact with have suggested blogging is a good way to maintain motivation, track progress, get involved in the poker community, learn from others, and be accountable. We shall see if they're right....

POKER GOALS
With the risk of sounding like another 'brag blogger', I believe I have the poker skills to be playing far higher than 200NL. I hand-read and analyse situations better than most at low-mid stakes and have never encountered many problems when I've played 400-1000NL in the right frame of mind! My actual skills aren't the problem, it's everything else - mental health, handling variance, study, motivation, lifestyle choices etc. Get those in check and I'll be on the right track! I don't plan on putting in crazy volume, but aim to approach every session in the right mental state and avoid/quit playing when unmotivated or tired. My volume has also decreased in recent months as I attempt to maintain what I consider a healthy work/life balance.

- 600k hands
- 200NL fr winrate 4bb+/100
- progress from 200NL fr to 1kNL fr (when traffic allows)
- transition into 6-max games
- finish year at 6-max 400NL

By the end of 2017 I aim to be playing primarily 6-max games. Poker traffic seems to be shifting this way and top pro's/training sites focus the majority of their material on these games. I will use monthly/weekly goals to track my transition by determining when it's right to include more/less 6-max. Dictating factors include motivation, confidence, skills, traffic, and table selection. With 6-max prone to bigger swings I will be focusing a lot on developing my 'mental game' in the early parts of 2017 with many of my blog articles on my website and forums geared towards these aspects.

THE MENTAL GAME/POKER STUDY
I initially became a 'mental game fish' (as Jared Tendler would describe me) as soon as PokerStars ripped a large % of my income from under my feet! Tougher games and not being 'bailed out' by lucrative loyalty rewards has meant downswings are far more frequent and financially crippling, therefore far harder to handle!

Poker is no longer the exciting venture it was when I was 18, it's my livelihood! I'm now 28 and have recently bought my first house. Mortgage payments, bills and food are all financial responsibilities I now endure. Added to this I have my wedding to pay for in 2017 and will be the sole bread winner from late 2017-2018 as my 'soon to be' wife goes to Uni for a Law Masters. All this has meant that poker (and life) is more pressured and stressful than it's ever been! My progression will undoubtedly be affected by cashing out chunks of my bankroll for various life costs, so I may need to adjust my goals for the year at some stage.

So with all the above in mind it's come down to the point in my life/career where I need to kick my arse into gear or quit the game altogether!

- develop a solid 'mental game'
- regular hand reviews
- weekly study sessions (database/HUD analysis, poker theory, mental training, forum chat etc)
- weekly blog updates on website/forums
- monthly videos on website (hand reviews/training/twitch)

LIFESTYLE GOALS
In recent months I've started sorting out my life. I'm no longer a recluse sat on my arse all day playing poker or researching my latest interest! 2017 will be a year where I focus on mastering the work/life balance whereby I attribute enough time to poker in order to achieve my goals, but also live a healthy stress-free lifestyle.

- prioritise diet/hydration/exercise/sleep cycle
- create and achieve gym based goals
- create and maintain a session preparation schedule for poker
- at least 1 poker free day per week
- create socialising opportunities/don't be a recluse

OTHER GOALS
I am a successful sports bettor/FanDuel player and see these as part of my yearly 'income'. I plan on continuing to dedicate the appropriate time in order to make sound bets/picks. Also, I have recently started a free sports tipping service ('GC Tipster') focused on my main two interests, Football and Cricket. My long term ambition is to build a reputable business, but I can't make it a revenue stream until I build up credibility.

I am getting married this year so a priority for 2017 is organising a special day! We have a lot done already so it should be fairly stress-free....

I play a decent level of Cricket and am captain of my local club who got promoted last season. My goal for the coming season is to avoid relegation and enjoy every Saturday fixture with the boys regardless of the result.

FINAL THOUGHTS
To help achieve my overall goals for 2017 I will create weekly and monthly objectives for all aspects. I don't know if they're worth posting as they will be fairly mundane, but we'll see how we go. This approach will break it down into very manageable periods of time, and being accountable will help deal with any issues in a more professional manner. In the past I've often brushed off bad results without appropriately analysing the reasons behind them.

I will post updates and reply to comments on here, but you can find all my articles/videos and track my progress at www.chaps1988.net (I hope I'm allowed to link this here?!). I hope you find my blog insightful and interesting.

I wish everyone all the best for 2017, thanks for reading!

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