2020 Poker Goals: Process Driven Poker

The Backstory

I’m a recreational poker player.  I don’t have delusions of going pro anytime soon.

I’m capable of playing great. And I’m capable of making major, obvious, stupid blunders.   Lighting money on fire.  On my worst days I’m as bad as anyone gets.

I really love playing and I want to get better as fast as I can.  But, with a full time consulting gig, it’s not possible for me to get the volume in that all the shades and hoodie crowd can do.

So I’m building the tools for efficient and rapid learning.  This is designed to create a self-liquidating hobby and have as much fun as possible.

Phase I: I Will Build A Process-Driven Game

When we are more efficient in our process, we can get more done, faster.

There’s no substitute for volume, but if we arrange our study and play correctly we can make the most out of the time we have and get a lot better a lot faster.

I’ve got to build a process that has improvement baked-in.

This means:

  • Record all of my efforts, from the $2.00 “screwing around” sessions on Bovada to the $200 buyin MTT tournaments I play in.
  • I’ll have a process for evaluating:
    • Hands
      • Play on each street.
      • Preflop Play
      • Turn Play
    • Game Selection
    • Opponents
    • Reads
  • I’ll have a curriculum for study with a “current project” and an “on deck” project.
  • I’ll do pre-game and post mortems for every session so I get less random.
  • I’ll have a curated study group with some better players, worse players, and peers.
  • I’ll collect all the hands I play online for analysis.

Phase I is about building fundamental habits and processes.  To have a self-improving feedback loop.

I’ve started building the Tools to do this.

Getting this rolling will be the primary focus of Q1, 2020.

Phase II: I’ll Go Deep On Individual Elements Of My Game

Once I build the feedback loop, the next phase will be to work to improve my play, one spot at a time. There are a set of decisions that I need to learn, and a level of nuance and depth that I don’t have. 

I can still get good results.

It doesn’t yet make sense to go really deep with PIO/GTO/SOLVER sort of work when my fundamental game (Frequencies, Odds, Outs, Ranges, and Turn Play) isn’t fully baked.  So, the second phase will be to bake those. I estimate that this will take about 200 hours of study. 

I’m going to work on a schedule and with a plan so I know where I’m at.  I plan on playing Hold ’em for a while and then probably migrating to some Omaha events in the fall of this year.

Some of the guidelines for my journey:

  1. I’ll play on a schedule, not randomly.
  2. I’ll record my results 100% of the time (before I leave the casino).
  3. I’ll prep before I play 100% of the time.
  4. I’ll do a post mortem after 100% of my sessions.
  5. I’ll build tools to share my progress and I’ll write about it the whole time.
  6. Every tool will have its own feedback loop.
  7. We’ll have a working process for every major aspect of the game, and we’ll roll with that process and improve it as we can.

Some Closing Notes

I know where I’m at. 

I have under 600 total hours of play under my belt with about 200 gained last year.  I’m not an automatic crusher.  Yet.

I’m building an improvement engine. I need to catch up to a lot of players who have a lot of advantages over me. For the most part, they have ground out their million hands or more and I’m never going to be able to catch up in a fair fight.

But if I build a better process, I can engineer an unfair fight and gain more skill faster. And if my process continues to improve I will be able to have geometric results and catch up to the field of 19-year-olds in hoodies.

Christopher Patrick Johnson

Christopher Patrick Johnson is a ghostwriter, startup founder, entrepreneur, and a dad in the pacific northwest. He is more than a little obsessed with processes. He lives with his family of 4 in Richland, WA.