In my last blog I said I would expand on 2014 goals. I begin with reporting on how I am using my time with poker and define more specific goals. The initial phase has been time away from the poker tables so as to study. I had said that as of November, 2013, I was spending approximately“10 hours studying, including my lesson with Dave (TheLangolier).” Indeed I have been quite accurate in my timing as I go through certain trainers’ blogs and videos, Poker Bites which I find enormously helpful, and I follow a variety of member blogs, plus the array of other material to be found on PSO.

With 3-4 Live Trainings to choose from, separate from above, it is so tough given all our trainers are so awesome. I do enjoy when courageous PSO members have their hands analyzed by a trainer so as to find and patch a leak(s). Getting to Dave's Thursday eve training is a must. A training on cash games, specifically Zoom, is of great interest which makes Gareth’s or Felix’s training most sensible and enjoyable. And how could I miss a training with 'ChewMe1' whose spirit is infectious!

At the same time, I had a ‘aha’ moment today: I like my anonymity on PSO and PS. While I really encourage members to play, for example, in PSO leagues and Saturday’s “Cash Clash,’ I am so very self-conscious to play against my peers and both Zoom and Sit & Goes seem to give me the inconspicuousness I enjoy. No doubt this stems from feelings that I assumed I was adversely judged by peers when I first played against PSO members. I know this to be silly as I welcome new members/players!

I have maintained my Silver status for February and have accumulated about 1183 over this past month and 6582 since starting play during January 2013.Who knows, maybe by December, 2014 I will be a Gold Star but  for me I would think such a star would really only show how much I play, how much money I put in the pot, not how I play. So do I want to get on a racing bicycle aiming for a Gold Star? Right now, I think NOT! During my last blog, I wrote: “more importantly, I am making the transition from 10NL to 25NL Zoom as there is nothing in between. It’s an excellent challenge for me as the weakest and most costly part of my game is at showdown and this is the one place where some of the 25 NL players are better than 10NL." As of now the transition in the Zoom game feels like home and I feel like a complete anomaly.

Roland GTX responded to my private message, stating:
“As for moving up stakes, I found there was a huge difference between 2NL and 5NL. After that it has been a gradual reduction of in the number of weak players at each level. I am shot taking at 50NL. . I have played a bit at 100NL, but that was when I didn’t know better! So I can’t say much about that level. However, from what I have seen, it doesn’t scare me. My goal for 2014 is to get up to 100NL."

Chris (Fadyen), wrote me in a PSO message that there are three main issues:
“How much you can afford to play without it being a risk? Od course this leads to shot taking. It’s perfectly reasonable to take a certain portion of your bankroll, say just a few buy-ins for the next level up. . . and if you lose it you move back to your regular game. Finally what do you hope to accomplish from moving up? If one of your main goals is to make more money. . . that’s a good reason. If you want to challenge yourself more and try to improve your skills and think you can do it without becoming a losing player that too seems like a valid reason."

Firstly and on the flip side, should bankroll not be an issue, how easy to lose money if a $1 $5 $10, etc., bet means nothing to you. Unfortunately, regarding the second point, if you only try a few games at a higher level, you may be playing ‘scared money’ which may not be indicative of your ability to maintain playing at a higher level, rather a fleeting reaction to that level. But a theme that arises over and over is that if you are doing well at level X then you may be ready to level XX.

Such has not been the case for me. I was not playing 10NL well as the ‘milieu’ of the table is often established by weaker players, including limping, generally folding to 3-bets, not protecting the button and such. I was bored and as Fadyen refers to, one may need a sense of challenge. The challenge has made an enormous difference to my results. Since mid-January, for cash I have accumulated $563 playing Zoom and $235 playing Sit & Goes.

This leaves me with both moving toward comfort in a tournament, thus I anticipate playing 45-90 person Sit & Goes to start. Lastly, in my work with Dave (TheLangolier), my most challenging goal at the table is working on how mine and opponent(s)’ ranges interact with board texture as part of work on showdown.

May all your aspirations in life and poker come to fruition