Now let's talk about your goals. Where do you want your poker game to be a week or a month or a year from now? It's a given about goals that you can't begin to move toward them until you state them, so I would ask you to take a moment to think about-and write down as precisely as possible-your poker goal or goals. Here are some possibilities that cross the mind.
• To be a working pro
• To appear on a World Poker Tour telecast
• To dominate and crush all comers online
• To win small tournaments on a regular basis
• To be a net-plus player over time
Here's a general goal that encompasses all these individual goals and more: to acquire, nurture and enhance my practice of poker.
What does it mean to have a practice of poker? Several things. You study and think about the game a lot. You read about the game and discuss it at length with like-minded friends. Every time you play, you try to take some learning away from the game. Every time you play, you devote your full concentration to the matter at hand. In short, you take this shit seriously.
You keep score. Of course you keep score. You book every win and every loss, not because you're obsessed with numbers, and not because you have some silly requirement to win every time you play. You keep score because you know that keeping score tells both you and the world that it's your intent to improve and grow in the game.
You're realistic and clear-eyed. You know you're neither the world's best player nor the world's worst. You also know that "... comparisons are odious," and you recognize that measuring your status against any other player's is a frivolous waste of time. You don't let contempt or envy cloud your thinking.
You hold self-indulgence at bay. Your purpose in playing is not to kill time or chase the buzz or distract yourself from other facts of life. Your purpose in playing is to strive for razor-sharp execution on every hand you play. You understand that having a practice of poker means nothing more and nothing less than closing the gap between the player you are and the player you want to be.
How do you build a practice of poker? That's easy. Just work a little on your game every day, and soon the act of working on your game will become your habit, as natural as breathing. Whatever your long-term goals, set yourself this short-term one: to be a better poker player today than yesterday. This is a goal you can always achieve, just by thinking about and working on their game, and always trying to play your best.
Remember: To fulfill your destiny you must first define your destiny.