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Date Posted: December 22nd, 2010 (3:52am)

At the end of each year, we typically see a lot of personal and professional lists presented that either look backward in review or forward in hope and planning.  There are a lot of Top 10 lists along with some predictions and of course the usual New Year's resolutions. Today's blog will be none of those and all of those.  It is inspired by a Lee Pitts article that tried to capture his poignant and nostalgic wishes for his grandchildren having reflected on raising his own children.

These Things I Wish For You

1. A thrilling and enthralling poker journey - We set out on a journey with much hope and some planning, but our poker path is rarely of our making.  We can work hard, sweat hard, travel hard, but the twists and turns that our journey will take are not known to anyone. Embrace it and enjoy the ride.

2. The journey is more enjoyable with company - Whether it be supportive family and friends, a cohesive learning community, or a close knit group of poker buddies, poker is enriched when share the journey. There are too many highs and lows in poker to celebrate and commiserate alone. Make the effort to engage those around you who show an interest in your poker life. Seek out those that share your passions.

3. A significant downswing - Only in hardship can a player really test his or her mettle. While it would be nice if we could go on a lifetime heater of run good, it is not realistic or particularly satisfying to not earn our good fortune. When we hit the inevitable variance-laden downswing, only then do we have the clear choice to tilt, quit, or regroup, retrain and return to glory.  All the best poker players have battled through personal and professional hardship to become better players.

4. A 30" monitor - The exact dimensions may vary, as mine is only 27", but having a large monitor makes your poker playing, productivity and overall internet experience so much richer and "multi-taskable."   The prices have come down considerably the last several years to where it's a wise investment for even lower stakes players.

5. A teacher, guide, or learning community - As online poker exploded across the globe over the last five years, so have the options offering to assist poker players in improving their game. There are poker training sites, software teaching tools, and coaches for every kind of player and game. They run from all inclusive large training sites like CardRunners to those that focus on MTT's, SNG, 6max cash games or even just HUSNG's. Each site has a different price point, teaching styles or approach. Within and without those learning communities are hundreds of individual coaches willing to teach all possible levels for all possible prices. No one player has all the answers, no matter how brilliant. Even when you do find the answers, they are likely to change and develop in the near future, so look for reputable company to keep that will help you along your journey.  Accessing collective wisdom will always accelerate and stimulate your poker learning curve.

6. The Rush experience - No form of poker better embraces the potential time saving advantages of online poker than the Rush format played on Full Tilt (except Heads Up play which is constant action as well). The great advantage and benefit of online poker is the ability to play many hands in a shorter time period.  Playing many tables at once can accomplish that goal, but it takes considerable effort and concentration to manage. Time is money in our busy and complicated lives. Rush poker removes all the wasted time experienced in live and traditional online play.

7. Poker freerolls - Not only do poker professionals have to put up the costs of travel, meals and accommodations, but they put up the money for the entire prize pool of a tournament or the funds available to be won in a cash game. I hope that poker grows and evolves to a point where the revenues from marketing and advertising poker can flow into freerolls at all levels of play, allowing hard toiling poker players to compete and earn without constantly risking their own resources. A rare example would be the WSOP Tournament of Champions where there is no buy-in and the invited or qualifying players compete for the contributed guaranteed prize pool.

8.  Transparent and equitable poker payback/rakeback - Any serious player realizes that poker rakeback or a good rewards program is one of the keys to any player maintaining some advantage/discount on the considerable rake that poker rooms collect.  It would benefit the entire poker economy if the model were adjusted to be more transparent and equitable to all players.  The goal shouldn't be to take advantage of the uninformed, but rather to reward loyalty, volume or some combination of factors that reflect the customer's investment of time, play and money deposited at a particular poker room.

9. Risk It - It is better to have risked and failed, than to not have risked at all. While I don't advocate playing outside of reasonable bankroll management parameters, it is necessary to push yourself out of your comfort zone if you are ever to make your poker journey go far.  Whether it's making your first deposit, your first level jump, or your first multi-tabling, force yourself outside of your comfort zone little by little. Expand the boundaries and watch your game grow.  Evaluate any hardship or difficulty encountered to determine what are your most reasonable boundaries as a developing poker player.

10. Track it and remark it - Poker tracking software revolutionized online poker. The ability to track and analyze your and your opponents hands after you play has altered the online poker landscape immeasurably.  While some may argue the advantages or disadvantages of using HUD (heads up display) there is no debating the advantage of being able to access and interpret all those results and data.  Equally important, in my opinion, is some effort to mentally record and analyze your poker journey.  That can be done in poker forums, poker blogs, or some other format where you express your thoughts and feelings along your journey.  Capturing and processing your thoughts and perceptions along your poker journey will ultimately prove more valuable than any statistics and data ever could.

I wish you all Happy Holidays!  Thursday I am heading to Ohio, to visit Mrs. Zimba's family for a few days around Christmas.  My wife and kids left several days ago and have informed me my mother-in-law doesn't have internet, so it will be an interesting experience to be detached from the matrix.

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JackDogWelch Added 12/23/10 2:54pm
OMG! No matrix?? Yikes. Please be assured I have enjoyed all of #3 I need. That being said, I am planning a superior 2011 and I pray your year will be better than mine. Many good thoughts to you and yours. - JDW
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XPOKERCHIC Added 12/22/10 2:08pm
Happy Holidays to you also. X
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