By: Jason Lake
We're all guilty of bad habits. Even at the poker table, where logic and mathematics are supposed to keep us on an even keel. Sometimes we just do things that make no sense, even to ourselves. It's all part of being human. This Friday is the start of a new year and a new way of doing things.
The most important part of making New Year's Resolutions is making room for mistakes. Mistakes are not only inevitable, they're a necessary part of the learning process. If you're going to make a resolution, make it something positive that you can achieve – make it a do and not a don't. Here are three suggestions that you can bring to the table in 2016, no matter what playing level you're at.
1. I Will Use Smarter Bankroll Management
Whatever you think you know about bankroll management, you could be doing better. Making sure you play at stakes you can afford is simple enough; 20 buy-ins for a cash game is a standard concept, or 1% of your bankroll for a tournament. But you also have to take into account the quality of your opponents, the size of the tournament and the size of your bankroll, among other factors.
If you're already doing these things, great. Are you using a stop-loss? Are you devoting more of your bankroll to games that you're better at? Are you familiar with economic concepts like the Kelly criterion and the Sharpe ratio? There's always more to learn and better strategies to adopt.
2. I Will Eat Healthier Food and Exercise Better
I'm not here to judge. It doesn't matter if you have a degree in nutrition, or all you eat every day is bacon – you can do better. You can learn which types of bacon will give you the fewest heart attacks. You can learn healthier cooking methods. And you can figure out how to do it while making all your bacon taste better at the same time.
Exercise can and should be treated with the same approach. If your New Year's resolution is to go to the gym three times a week, good luck with that. You'll come up short for whatever reason, then you'll just stop going. Resolve instead to take whatever you're doing now, and do it better. Then figure out an action plan. The Internet will help you, if you stick with trusted sources.
3. I Will Learn New Poker Games
Still only playing no-limit Hold 'em? At the very least, resolve to try out limit Hold 'em. Working with different bet sizes will help you develop as a poker player. Better still, play Omaha and Stud, including the Hi-Lo versions. Got those games down pat? Fantastic. Have you played any live poker yet? What about some of the more unusual variants that get spread in some casinos, like 2-7 Single Draw or Badeucy? Never stop learning.