Eyes on the prize

Get the knowledge – beat the field

It’s Saturday morning and I have a very sore head. Unfortunately it’s not just from a less-than-judicious use of the local pub’s revised opening hours. My online account today is $500 lighter than yesterday afternoon after I had ‘a quick pop’ at the cash tables while generously lubricated. Don’t groan. This isn’t about to turn into a puritanical rant about not playing when drunk – although it would be true to say that getting peeled out of a cab by an irritable taxi driver is not the best preparation for making astute laydowns.

Poker should be played with long-term goals in mind

No, my message, poker players, is all to do with objectives. I know I’m in danger of sounding like a second-rate careers adviser, but giving yourself a set aim for your bankroll will help you maintain focus. It’s easy to stick £10 in an account here or play a £20 freezeout there. Sure, you might keep track of your overall ups and downs – and kudos to you for doing so – but by adopting a piecemeal approach to poker you’ll lose focus, and when that happens complacency creeps in.

Poker is a game that should be played with long-term goals in mind. If you’re new to the game, deposit £20 and try to play for a month without reloading. And if you’re trying to turn into a winning rather than just break- even player, why not attempt to grind £100 up to £200 and reward yourself by withdrawing £50 at the end of the month?

Give yourself a tough but achievable target and a reward should you make it, whether it’s relative in terms of cost or not. This kind of positive enforcement will ensure you bring your A-game to the table every time you look at your cards.

I’m following my own advice and setting myself the aim of cracking my account into five figures by the end of the year. It’s already irking me that I dropped that cash playing drunk, as it puts me a full half a grand further away from the target. But I’m sure I’ll get there.

And my reward? Playing in a bigger game, of course…

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