You have probably noticed those new charts at the top of the sidebar. I am using these charts as another motivation tool to put in more hands!

“What in the world are VPPs?” you might be wondering. On PokerStars, there is a rewards system not unlike frequent flier miles. As you earn more VIP Player Points (VPPs) you enter different levels of their VIP program. For the past 3 years I have been at the ‘Supernova’ level, which means I have earned at least 100,000 VPPs each year. The next level up is the highest achievable level, “Supernova Elite”, and requires 1,000,000 VPPs. It is quite a big jump from 100k to 1M VPPs, so in between they have milestone bonuses (bonii?) every 100k points. The bonuses work out as follows:

  • $1,000 at 100,000 VPP
  • $3,400 at 200,000 VPP
  • $3,600 at 300,000 VPP
  • $3,800 at 400,000 VPP
  • $4,000 at 500,000 VPP
  • $4,400 at 600,000 VPP
  • $4,600 at 700,000 VPP
  • $5,000 at 800,000 VPP

As I finish out 2010, my goal is to reach 600k VPPs so that I can earn one last milestone bonus for the year.

Setting Goals

Goal setting is a very important tool for achieving success in all life endeavors. I was first introduced to goal setting by my high school cross country coach. We were required to make short term (1 week to 1 month time period) goals as well as long term (>1 month) goals. A very important aspect of goal setting is that the goals must be measurable. “I want to run really fast” just does not cut it. How can you know if you achieved that goal? “I want to run a 5k in less than 18 minutes by the end of this season” is a clear goal that can by measured and has a deadline.

One hitch in setting goals for poker is that because of the variable and random nature of the game, setting short term monetary goals is a big no-no and will only set you up for disappointment. I was recently talking with a family member who is getting into poker and he asked me, “So do you just say, ‘I want to make $500 / day’ or something like that?” If only it were that simple!

So instead of setting results-oriented goals, it is much better to make PROCESS-oriented goals. Some examples of good process-oriented poker goals:

  • I want to play 500 hands each day this month on average.
  • I want to have the self-discipline to quit playing the moment I feel distracted, angry, tired, or anything else where I am not 100% on my A-game.
  • I want to review at least 3 hands every day, using pokerstove to analyze my opponents’ ranges.

By setting and achieving process-oriented goals, given a large enough time period the results will work out for themselves, in theory. 🙂

Each week I want to sit down and look at my upcoming schedule and make a “number of hands” goal. This week I plan to play at least 9,000 hands. More goals to come soon!