Accomplishments, defeats and goals

I am not normally the type of person that looks back at a previous year and tries to sum all 365 days up in a nice pretty little package. I do like to learn from my past, the good, the bad, and the ugly. So having said that, I feel that I should take inventory of what went well last year, what I could improve upon, and what I am planning on doing moving forward. Hopefully along the way I can keep you at least mildly entertained as well 🙂

 

Accomplishments

Always easier to start out with the good stuff right? 2013 was a big year for so many reasons. I am actually starting with the positive stuff so that I don’t lose focus of them all by getting bogged down by what went wrong. So here is the list of accomplishments:

  • Wife became pregnant I know, not exactly poker related, but one of the greatest things that happened last year. In a round about way, this did affect my poker playing though as it really jumpstarted my tournament play. Coming in to 2013 I had set a goal to finish the year in the top 10 for MN Poker Magazine Player of the Year. Prior to 2013, I had been spending the last few years focusing on cash games, not tournaments, and I wanted to motivate myself to play more tournaments. Well, up until I found out that my wife was pregnant, I hadn’t really played many tournaments, and was never going to be able to achieve the goal. Once I knew we were having a baby, I knew that I would be spending less time playing when the baby came, so I better start playing more tournaments. This brings us to the next accomplishment:
  • 2nd place finish Not normally the goal for any of us, but I was very pleased with my 2nd place showing at the MSPT at Canterbury Park in April. I didn’t really have a whole lot of expectations heading into the tournament as it was the first major tourney I was going to play in some time. I thought it would be a great way for me to get my feet wet though as I have played, and cashed, in MSPT events in the past. Imagine my dismay though when Day 1B was over and even though I had survived, I was in 114th place out of 118 remaining players. My stack was less than a starting stack. I made the hour long drive home debating whether or not I should even make the drive back the next day since I would most likely make a quick exit. During the drive, I analyzed how I had played and let that make my decision, not how likely I was to make a move with such a short stack. In analyzing my play, I realized that it had taken all of my skill & knowledge to avoid going home early. This may not sound like much, but I became very proud of the fact that I did not get discouraged even though I constantly found myself folding, something you all know I HATE doing. I decided that I would be doing myself a great disservice if I did not show up for Day 2; therefore, I made the drive and ultimately finished in 2nd place.
  • Running Aces Anniversary Champ This couldn’t have come at a better time. I had just come home from an unsuccessful trip to Vegas for the WSOP and was starting to doubt my game. On Day 1, I again found myself having to fold large hands most of the day, folding JJ twice, QQ & KK once each pre-flop, and being shown that they were the correct laydowns. I was also table hopping, playing at 9 different tables in under 4 hours, making it very difficult to gain any traction. My final table of the night had very few soft spots, but I was able to take advantage of them, and came into day 2 with a lot of confidence, and a top 15 stack. I rolled through Day 2 without much difficulty. I even spent a large part of the day with Matt Alexander at my table, and was able to just keep building my stack. Not by avoiding Matt, but by playing well, and picking my spots. Winning the Anniversary Tournament for my home room is one of the best poker accomplishments I have ever achieved, or will achieve. It really meant a lot to me to bring that one home for the Running Aces regulars.
  • Launching a website I still have to pinch myself about this one, and maybe I should pinch myself more often, then I might actually post more on my own site! I never thought that this would be something I would do. I am not very outspoken, and tend to keep my thoughts to myself. But when I realized that there are several people in the poker community that want to know what I have to say, by following me through Twitter, I thought that a website would allow me to express myself more fully. I really hate the character limit of Twitter, though I think it is part of what makes it such an ingenious tool. It is hard for me to fully express my opinions and/or thoughts with such limitations, hence the website was born!
  • Running Aces Pro Ok, we all know that I have not been named a card room pro by Running Aces. However; I list this as one of my accomplishments because many people assume that I am. I do love playing at Running Aces, and I do my best to promote the room. Whenever I travel, I wear RA gear. I tweet about it being my favorite card room. On my way to play tournaments there, I tweet about it, and ask others to come up as well. Heck, I even wore a dress to a ladies event during the Midwest Poker Classic to try and bring even more traffic to the room. While being named an official pro by the room would provide extremely honorable validation from my favorite place to play, it’s almost more satisfying that other people assume that I am.
  • Wrote an article for MN Poker Mag I was honored when Bryan Mileski asked me to contribute to the website. I thought I wrote a fairly decent article on the impact of social media on the poker community, and hope to contribute to the magazine again in the future. Oh by the way, I just wrote an article for the magazine 🙂 You can pick up a copy at your local card room, or read the digital version here!
  • Joining Team Poker Joker This is a great team, of great people, solid players, an amazing brand, and a very cool opportunity. As many of you know, prior to this I was on Team Hammerdong, I even said the words: “proud member of hammerdong” on the radio. I have nothing but respect for Rooster, and the great people involved with that team, but being a Poker Joker was an opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up. Team Poker Joker is an extremely positive group, and the support that we show for one another is second to none. Please help support our team, and make yourself stand out from the crowd, by visiting our website and purchasing yourself some sweet gear here. Make sure to use me as your referral 🙂
  • The birth of my second son Again, not really poker related, but the single best thing that happened last year. In addition to expanding my family, this also gives me another Boston sports jersey to wear at the tables! First came Brady, now Beckett. Who’s next? Bourque?
  • MSPT Live Broadcast This was a really cool opportunity! While I was obviously disappointed that I was not playing at the final table, doing the live broadcast was an awesome consolation prize! I hope that you all enjoyed my commentary, and if you haven’t had a chance to listen to it, feel free to go back and watch it here, and then let me know your thoughts.
  • Nice Guy Award This took me by complete surprise. I definitely do try to hold myself to a higher standard of conduct than I see other players exhibiting, but I never thought that this would be an award that I would win, let alone get nominated for. When Fox posted the award categories, and the nominations, I was floored to be in the company of such great guys as John Morgan and Mike Lovelace. Receiving the nomination was like winning the award already, actually winning the award left me speechless. Thank you all who voted, and I will continue to try and act in a manner that you can be proud of.

Defeats

This will be a much shorter list as I tend to be someone that focuses on the positives. With the defeats I suffered last year, I can still pull out some positivity in each experience.

  • WSOP, Venetian Deep Stack, Carnivale After starting out the year pretty hot in tournaments, I felt really confident about my Vegas trip for the summer. I was pretty sure I was coming home with some sort of hardware, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only did I not win an event, I didn’t even cash. The closest I came was collecting some bouties in the black chip bounty at the Venetian, and I went from chip leader to bubble boy in 5 hands of a Carnivale event. On the whole, I was pretty happy with how I played, but I couldn’t help feeling devastated.
  • 51st at SHRPO $1 Million I suppose that anytime you cash in a field of nearly 3400 entrants, it shouldn’t be considered a defeat, but again I was frustrated. You can all read what happened on the hand analysis page. From top 5 in chips, to out left a real nasty taste in my mouth. Again though, I was really happy with my play, just came up short, again…
  • 1 Final Table during Midwest Poker Classic I suppose I shouldn’t really complain about making a final table, but I was really hoping to enjoy some great success during the MPC. It is one of the premier events hosted by my favorite card room, Running Aces, and like the Anniversary tournament, I wanted to bring home some hardware for the regulars. Not only did I not cash in the main event, I only cashed in one event, and I didn’t win that either, taking home 2nd place. Gross.
  • 3rd Place Poker Joker of the Year I really shouldn’t feel bad about this one as I had a great year, but that trophy is super sick, and would’ve looked great in my collection. It will be mine someday, oh yes, it will be mine!
  • Didn’t finish in the top 10 MN Poker Mag POY race I did finish in the top 20 though, so I guess I shouldn’t be too upset. However; I set a goal to be in the top 10, and I failed to reach that goal. Some of that was because I didn’t play as much early, or late, in the year; but the largest reason was lack of results in some of the larger tournament series’ in town.

Goals

What good does it do to reflect on the past if you don’t take what you learned, and forge ahead with that knowledge? Hopefully I learned what is important, and can continue to be positive moving forward. This is an even smaller list, but I think that these are attainable…no fantasies about POY awards or bracelets here…

  • Spend more time with my family Last year was a pretty successful year for me in the poker world, and in my personal life. However; I feel that while I enjoyed some decent success at the tables, the reason for it was so that I could be with my family more. In retrospect, I probably played and travelled a little too much, and I want to regain that family focus this year. So far, I am off to a pretty good start, as I am now a stay at home dad! Spending every day with my youngest son, and looking forward to spending most of the summer with both of my boys, fills me with satisfaction. So sorry poker players, I may not be sending out too many BOOM tweets this year as I will not be as active in the tournament scene as I have in the past.
  • Write more I am really proud of myself for launching this website. I have a lot of admiration for people that express their views for the whole world to see, and potentially criticize, and I am now a member of that community. This website was launched though with the idea that people wanted to hear what I had to say, and I unfortunately let them down by not posting very much. I promise to all of you, that I will write MUCH more often this year, and hopefully that will include writing for other poker outlets. Did I mention that I already wrote an article for MN Poker Mag this year? Again, you can read it here!
  • More MSPT Live Broadcasts Did I mention that I had done a live broadcast last year for the MSPT? I hope you all enjoyed it, I know I did. The MSPT has done a lot of great things for MN poker players, and I love being a part of it. This is a goal that I have again already made some progress on as I did the live broadcast for the first event of the year. You can listen back to it here, and as always, let me know your thoughts.
  • Support my fellow players Since I will be focusing more on family this year, and playing less, I have to find ways to stay in touch with the game that I love. Obviously I can do this by playing, which I will, and by writing, which again I will. But one of the things I take a lot of pleasure from is seeing my fellow MN players have great success. It was pretty cool to be in the room watching Blake & Everett at their WSOP final tables last year, and I was bummed that I missed Gonia’s. I also really enjoyed rooting for Steve as he was crushing last year. So, I will still show tons of support for my fellow players. Additionally, I do coach players, and I have the hand analysis page on the website. Hopefully I’ll play in enough interesting hands to make regular updates to that, so I can share my thoughts on how certain hands can be potentially played.
  • One 5 figure score This will be the toughest goal on the list. Obviously with limiting my playing opportunities, I will not have as many chances at big scores this year. Also, since I will be playing less, it will be difficult to keep my game as sharp as I would like. While I think this is a lofty goal, I do think that it is attainable. I won’t be completely absent from poker this year, so I will have opportunities to work on my game. I also consult with other players on a regular basis. The biggest reason why I think this will be a difficult goal is actually due to the level of play here in Minnesota. This is widely recognized as one of the toughest places to play poker, and as such, setting a goal to best an extremely difficult field for a large tournament score is quite a lofty goal. I will not be traveling much, if at all this year, so I will have to make this happen here at home.

So that’s it, my 2013 year in review…published in March of 2014. I know it’s a little late, but this way my year in review didn’t get lost in the shuffle of all the year in review articles that came out in January! Though I actually started writing this in January, just like everybody else. This just speaks again to the fact that I need to write more.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Feel free to comment on what you liked, or didn’t. Also, would love to hear from everyone on what your goals are for the year, and if there are ways you think I may be able to help!

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