Monday, 1 October 2012

Advice From Nick Wealthall 2:My Poker Plan

My aim in poker is simply to win a Sit N Go Jackpot and have total poker winnings of at least $50,000. Here is my plan and the thinking behind it, to get from where I am now (six jackpot near misses) and a bankroll total of $21,554 to where I want to be in a realistic time frame.
Having thought about and analysed the various jackpot games I believe my best route to success is to focus on the Maui Jackpot Sit N Go games. There are several reasons for this. Based on my win rates I will statistically have a higher chance of winning five of these ten player games than winning six consecutive six player games. Also I am much more comfortable at the $5 level. The Rio and Fort Knox games attract a lot more solid regulars and the variance swings in these games can be brutal, which can affect my game. I have a really good ten man sit n go record and hold/have held Sharkscope rankings at the $5 level on both I-Poker and Cake. I can also play more ten man games at the same time comfortably than six man games. The only downside of this approach is that the Maui Jackpot starts lower at $15,000 and does not often get to very high levels. In a way though this just supports my theory that it is more winnable.
So that's decided, I will play the Maui games. Then, what can I do to improve my chances of achieving my goal given this. I am currently playing the Mauis with a first place percentage of around 13% having played around 6000 of them. Based on this (if these wins occur randomly) I will win a Jackpot on average every 27000 games and have a final game opportunity every 3500 games. However, If I can improve this win rate to 16% I will win a Jackpot on average every 9500 games and have a final game opportunity every 1500 games. In reality I think winning opportunities come along more often than this as wins are more likely to be clustered during periods of good form and fortune. Whatever take you have on this statistically theory it is clearly worth working hard on my game to improve my win rate and bring forward my Jackpot win date.
I could comfortably play 10000 games over about three years or so which equates to around 1000 games per quarter. Neatly by the end of 2015 I will have been playing poker for ten years. What is the worst that can happen? I don't win one and my returns per game diminish. I will probably still make another $6000 trying.
So how do I improve my Maui win rate from 13% to 16%. I believe the following ten point plan can help me attain the improved win rate I need and I will be working on them all over the coming months.
1)Get some more coaching. This had a massive impact on me and my game back in 2009 which was my best poker year to date. Choosing the right coach will be key here.
2)Working on my game. More time spent on my Maui game strategy and hand histories both myself and with fellow players. It would be great to form a small group of like minded players helping each others games.
3)Get a new laptop. My current one occasionally lets me down, freezing at a bad moment for example. A bigger screen would help me multi-table better too.
4)Improved general well being. Too often I play when too tired. Generally I would benefit from more sleep and becoming a little fitter.
5)Be more focused on winning. My approach on the bubble of these sit n goes is to maximise my returns rather than the number of wins. By compromising my overall rate of return here a little I can increase the number of wins. Basically I need to take more risks around the bubble in order to win.
6)Focus on my heads up game. This is an area I currently neglect believing this final element of the Maui games is highly luck based. A small additional edge here though could make a lot of difference.
7)No surfing the Internet whilst playing. I major flaw in my play that is inexcusable really as it can only distract me.
8)Develop a consistent evening routine. One that fits with my family life but maximises my winning potential.
9)Keep working on my mental mindset. I must ignore bad fortune and short term thinking. I am really looking forward to Jared Tendler's follow up book which I believe will be out next spring.
10)Reduce the amount of non Maui play. I will continue to play a small percentage of other games but on I-Poker I will be Maui only. This worked well for me in 2010.
Each part of my plan will be the subject of an individual post over the coming months.
As well as Nick Wealthall's video I have also recently been inspired by a TV show looking behind the scenes of Sky cycling's team approach to winning. In every single area of the sport they had the best of everything to add those extra few percentage points advantage over their opponents to give the team an edge. Having high quality riders and strategy was obvious but they also included minor items like having the best food, best mattresses and even the best coach driver. Attention to detail was everything. The result has been Britain's best ever year in cycling. It demonstrated to me that lots of little improvements can add up to make a big difference. I think that could really work for me here. If I am well rested, more focused on winning, unlikely to go on tilt and have improved my game by working hard on it I cannot fail to improve my results.
Nicks advice was also to think about how I will reward myself based on my success and log my performance as I go along, which I will do in this blog. This is my best route to make the outcome inevitable. He suggested rewards for smaller milestones, say in my case improving my win rate to 14% over a thousand games. The reward for hitting the jackpot could include involvement with a new syndicated racehorse in training (something I have enjoyed in the past) and a family holiday.
To Summarise:
To ensure I win a Maui Sit N Go Jackpot in the next three years and take my poker earnings above £50,000 I will play 10000 games and work on various things to maximise my win rate per game, making it statistically more likely than not that I will achieve my goal. 
So here goes, 1000 games at a time.

Thanks Nick and Team Sky for the inspiration.

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