2015 Annual Poker Goals Blog

Before we move on to my 2015 goals, let’s take a look at how we did with our 2014 goals:

1. Cash for $2 million– With all of the $100k buy ins and above, especially early on in the year, I was able to crush this goal in January alone! By the end of the year, thanks to my second place finish in the One Drop, my final tally was $10,284,090. I spent over a whopping $3 million in buy ins due to the One Drop, but that number is going to shrink considerably in 2015.

2. 52 Tourney Max Down From 66– I wasn’t able to tighten my schedule enough to accomplish this goal and it’s not like I’m upset about it or anything. This goal is really about prioritizing what’s important to me in my life and maintaining balance. Most touring pros are going to play in the neighborhood of 150 tournaments a year, but that’s not what I want to do anymore and I haven’t for years. I ended up playing 56 events. My goal is quality over quantity.

3. 12 cashes– I ended up cashing 13 times, same as in 2013, only with 10 less events played. I accomplished this goal during the WSOP at the Rio, but really fizzled at WSOP Australia putting up a goose egg.

4. 5 Final Tables– Just barely! Made exactly 5 final tables after a strong start in January with two in high roller events. The WSOP was a weird one with lots of 9th and 10th place finishes.

5. 3 WSOP Bracelets– I certainly had my chances! A second place finish in the 2-7 Single Draw NL event vs Paul Volpe, followed up by another second place in the One Drop to Dan Coleman.

6. WSOP Cash list from 5th to 4th– I certainly did my part cashing nine times! Humberto also had a big year, however, and I wasn’t able to pass him so I remain 4th on the list with 78, while Humberto Brenes and Men Nguyen sit tied for 3rd with 81.

7. WSOP Money list from 19th to 15th– Cashing for $8+ million in one tournament will certainly shoot you up the list! I sit 3rd behind the previous two One Drop Champions Antonio Esfandiari and Dan Coleman.

8. End 2014 Top 5 in the Global Poker Index– I remained in the top 5 for most of the year, but failing to put up any points at the WSOP APAC saw me fall from the top 10 and finish the year ranked 47th. It will be difficult for me to maintain a high position in the GPI because the vast majority of my play is concentrated in one short span during the summer at the WSOP. I don’t put in enough volume to keep up with the touring regulars.

9.Top 10 CardPlayer or BLUFF– Not enough final tables to be relevant in the CardPlayer of the Year race where I finished 146th. None of my 9th and 10th place finishes counted as they only track final table results. The Bluff ranking looks a lot better as I finished the year in 35th place.

10. 2 Non Poker Vacations– I took a really fun vacation with my brother, his wife, and my girlfriend at the time, to Cabo San Lucas thanks to the hospitality of my good friend Phil Ivey. I also took a few fun one day trips to LA either for charity events, or to see the Raptors play the Clippers, but I’m going to call this one a fail. I really wanted to take a Euro trip and revisit Romania, but I never made the time

So in the end, I set 10 goals and accomplished 4 of them! As you can see, I set really high and “unrealistic” standards and there is method to the madness. The higher I set my goals, the better. I don’t want to set 10 goals each year that are easily attainable, I want to dream bigger, reach higher, and stretch myself each year.

Here are the goals for 2015:

1. Cash for $2 million– there is no million dollar buy in One Drop event this year, but there are plenty of super high rollers on the schedule and I’ll start off in one at the PCA in January. I will, however, be missing out on a couple great tournaments at the Aussie Millions this year, so $2 million is certainly a lofty goal.

2. 55 tournament max– each year I’d like to lower the number of events I play. Again, it’s all about balance and while I love poker, I’m not in the same place I was in life as when I was 22 looking to play every tournament on the schedule. I have so many other interests and I want to give them more time.

3. 12 cashes– theoretically if I’m playing 55 events and the average tournament pays out 10% I should cash about 6 times. Having a cash rate of 20% is both reasonable and consistent with what I’ve done for most of my career.

4. 5 Final Tables– I plan to accomplish this in June alone. I’ve done it before, it’s been a while, but my intention is to do it again this year.

5. 3 WSOP Bracelets– When I started my career, every time I made the final table you may as well have passed me the trophy! I finished first at an alarming rate. In the last few years I’ve put together a long string of second place finishes. I’ve been thinking about why recently, and I think I have it figured out. I’ll be making a few adjustments to my end play that will be conducive to finishing in the winners circle more often, rather than watching my opponent hoist the trophy while I congratulate him.

6. Move up on the WSOP All-Time Cash list from 5th to 3rd– Humberto surprised me last year and he plays a lot of the small buy in events that are easier to cash in, but Men Nguyen has slowed considerably over the last few years in terms of both events played and events cashed. I will pass Men, but will need to out cash Humberto by at least 3 to secure 3rd place behind Phil Hellmuth and Erik Seidel. I believe that when it’s all said and done, I will be #1 on this list within 10 years.

7. Maintain 3rd on the WSOP all-time money list– Antonio has a massive lead and I’m about a million behind Dan Coleman. Both would be tough to catch this year, so the goal is to maintain 3rd and put a dent into the deficit.

8. End 2015 in the Top 10 of the Global Poker Index– to make a go at the #1 spot it requires a heavy schedule that I’m no longer willing to make a part of my life. The GPI heavily favors the touring pro grinders who will put in the volume. Having said that, I do believe a top 10 finish to end the year is doable on a 55 event schedule that I plan to play.

9. Top 10 CP or BLUFF– same story here. In order to rank highly on the CardPlayer list, I’ll need to make more than 5 final tables.

10. Two Non Poker Vacations– since I don’t live in Toronto I’m going to count a trip there to watch Raptors and Leafs playoff games a non poker vacation. Of course, the Leafs will have to qualify first which is no cinch to say the least. The Raptors are for real and they will most certainly be making a deep run for the NBA championship and I want to be a part of it!

For my other trip, Romania remains high on the list. I speak the language, and it’s where my roots are and I always feel closer to my parents when I’m there since that’s where they were both born. I may also include a trip to Venice. I’ve never been, and just think it would be really cool to see a city on water.

Then there is Burning Man. I have an RV and am prepared to give it a shot! Antonio raves about it each year so I’d like to experience it for myself and see what all the hype is about. I have no idea what to really expect, but I’m going with an open mind.

Final Stats 2014:
Events 56
Cashes 13
Final Tables 5
Hours Played 505.5
Buy Ins $3,183,926.00
Payouts $10,284,090.00
Average Buy In $55,855
Hourly Rate $14,047
Profit before sold pieces and swaps $7,100,164.00