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10 Winning Poker Resolutions For 2014

by Geno Lawrenzi Jr.

Every New Year’s Eve I gather with friends at a favorite watering hole. Iced champagne is served by pretty waitresses who look more like Playboy Centerfolds than the girl next door.

We watch the wall clock move slowly toward midnight. When it hits that magical hour and we are in the New Year, I reveal my New Year’s Resolutions. Excuse me? The room has suddenly gone silent. Okay, all of you called my bluff. You know that most people do not keep their resolutions. In my case, that, unfortunately, has been true.

In 1962, I resolved to marry Kathy, my childhood sweetheart. There was only one problem. She was already on her second husband and would go through two more before we met at a class reunion a couple of years ago. When I saw her, I was happy I hadn’t made good on the resolution. Boy, what time and four ex-husbands can do to a woman.

In 1984—what a wonderful George Orwellian year that was!—I resolved to stop drinking in excess. And I did.

Ten years later.

In 2013, I resolved to buy a horse.

I didn’t, but my brother did. A pretty dark brown harness race horse called Victoria March. The horse turned out to be a winner and returned over $15,000 for their paltry $700 investment at an Amish auction in Pennsylvania before someone claimed her for $12,500.

No, sadly most people do not keep their New Year’s Resolutions. It isn’t because they don’t want to. It’s human nature. People generally stay with what is comfortable to them, and that usually means remaining with the old ways.

Well, I have news for you. The last six months of 2013 did not treat my bankroll well at the poker tables. Not well at all. And so here are my 10 Winning Poker Resolutions for 2014. I call them ‘winning’ because who wants to buy a poker newspaper listing ‘10 Losing Poker Resolutions’?

Here goes:

  1. I resolve to never again call an all-in bet by an elderly man wearing bib overalls and a John Deere hat with anything but the stone cold nuts—especially if he happens to be smiling.
  2. I will never again flirt with an attractive poker dealer without knowing if she is married to the poker room supervisor or casino manager. That’s a no-no.
  3. From this day forth, I will limit my ATM visits to two in any single evening. Well....maybe three. But only if I feel really lucky.
  4. When I do get lucky and cash in for a bundle at the cashier’s cage, you can flatter my play all you want. You’ll never get another loan from me. And if I ever catch that poker pro in Las Vegas who borrowed that $40 buy-in from me and who never seems to want to repay it—his defense is always the same, ‘My chips are all in action and I have a partner, see me later’—I think I’ll just punch him in the nose and call it even.
  5. The next time I win a poker tournament or even place high in the money, I am actually going to take that cruise to Hawaii, and not try to run my small windfall into a major one. When you have the cash, players, spend it on the good stuff—not another poker game.
  6. I will remember Doyle Brunson’s definition of no-limit poker—‘Hours of boredom interspersed by moments of sheer terror’—and act accordingly.
  7. If an attractive female player in expensive perfume and a lowcut blouse takes the seat next to me, I will request a seat change.
  8. Any time a smallish man with a grin shoves his chips into the center of the table to put me all in, I will remember my mother’s admonition, ‘Curiosity killed the cat,’ and happily fold.
  9. If I have a nut hand and two players who hate each other are raising and re-raising in bits and pieces, I will let them have fun before making the definitive bet on the river.
  10. I will remember that it’s only a game. There are many other things in life that are far more important than poker or money, like family, friends, and good health.

Happy New Year.

Geno Lawrenzi Jr. is an international journalist, magazine author, ghostwriter, novelist and winner of the 2003 World Poker Open Omaha High-Low championship in Tunica, MS. who lives in Springfield, MO. with his daughter and three grandchildren. His email address is

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