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3 Steps for Achieving Your 2021 Poker Goals


Sky Matsuhashi

on January 14, 2021

I want to help you achieve your 2021 poker goals. The new year is always an opportunity to make some important changes in your life and to strive for new things that are important to you. This post will help you do exactly that within your poker journey.

Maybe you’ve played poker for years and you’ve finally decided to take this game seriously in 2021. Or, you’ve always taken it seriously and you want 2021 to be your best poker year ever.

In this post, I’ll give you the 3 steps you must follow to have a successful 2021 poker journey. You’re going to record your recent results, make SMART goals and determine what you must study and work on to achieve your 2021 poker goals.

Listen to podcast #322 as you follow along below:

Step 1: Record Current Results

You have to do an honest assessment of where you are in poker at the start of your 2021 journey. What areas do you know you need to work on? Where are your skills lacking? What are your poker leaks?

To help you track your results, in episode #320, I gave you a list of 41 different statistics and win rates to monitor that will help you find your areas of opportunity. You can download the 41 Stats & Win Rates Tracker here.

Download the tracker, open up PokerTracker 4 and record the stats and win rates for your last 20K hands. No hesitation! Stop reading and do it right now!



The results you record are your yardstick for measuring your 2021 progress. Every 2 weeks you're going to re-record all of these stats and win rates to see how your journey is progressing. You’re doing this because the only way to know if your skills and results are actually improving is to track your progress in these important measurements.

When you look at your numbers, you’ll see some that downright disgust you. “I’m losing 2.5bb’s every time I call a raise from the BB?!” Or, “I’m losing 18bb’s on average every time I call on the river!?” These natural reactions to bad numbers indicate exactly what you need to work on.

Step 2: Make SMART 2021 Poker Goals

Now that you know your current results and spot some areas of opportunity, you need to set some SMART poker goals around those areas. To begin, set just one SMART goal at a time and strive to achieve it before you set your next one.

SMART is an acronym that stands for:

  • Specific – it details exactly what you want to accomplish.
  • Measurable – you can track your progress to see if you’ve accomplished it or how close you got.
  • Achievable – it must be in the realm of possibility and challenge you to work hard to achieve it.
  • Relevant – the goal must matter to you and fit within your overall aim.
  • Time-bound – deadlines add a sense of urgency. Also, I recommend that your goals be either weekly, bi-weekly or at most monthly. It’s so much easier to stay focused on short-term goals as opposed to year-long goals.

Here is a goal from one of my students that fits the SMART criteria:

Improve my BB calling results in the next two weeks from -265bb/100 hands to better than -100bb/100 handswhich is what it would be if I had folded every BB hand.


Step 3: Determine What You Need to Do

The key to achieving your 2021 poker goals is to do the things that will get you there.

As a simple example, here’s one of my own SMART goals for January:

I will finish the “Analyzing Your Opponents Course” within the Poker Forge by doing one of the 11 remaining videos every day before I work on anything else.

So, with 16 days remaining in the month, I need to make one video per day with a few missed days thrown in. If I do it, I’ll be done by January 31st and will have completed one of my January goals.

The Problem: Too many people make a goal just in hopes that they'll achieve it.

But here's the thing, hoping or wishing for something won’t make it happen. You may have heard this old expression before: “Wish in one hand, take a crap in the other, and see which one fills up first.”

There's no substance to hoping or wishing for something to happen. You’re better off taking action as you’ll be more likely to get what you want.

So, let’s discuss what you would need to do to achieve a better BB calling win rate (the example goal above).

You decide to study and play with purpose over the next two weeks. Everything will revolve around calling out of the BB.

Here's how you will purposefully take action:

  1. Find 3 videos to study, one every 4 days.
  2. Day one, you’ll watch the first video and take notes on important strategies that you want to practice for yourself.
  3. Over the first 4 days you’ll play one session per day where you will review your notes before you begin your session. Then, you’ll play with the strategies in mind and try to implement them as you strive to make better BB calling decisions. You’ll tag all relevant hands to study later.
  4. Each morning before work you’ll review your tagged hands along with your strategy notes and figure out what you’re doing right and wrong.
  5. That night after work, you’ll play another session with improved strategies.
  6. After 4 days of this, you’ll repeat the process with the next video and then the third video after that.
  7. Re-record all your stats and win rates at the end of 14 days to see how you’ve improved.

Review Results

Let's say that after 2 weeks you improved your BB calling win rate from -265bb/100 hands to -75bb/100 hands. Success!

But is it good enough for you? Do you want to improve your win rate even further or move on to your next goal? That decision’s up to you but either way, you’ll repeat the same process: Find an area of opportunity, make a SMART goal, figure out what you need to do to achieve it then work smartly to do so.

If you continue with this process through 2021, you’ll have the best year ever and your results will blow you away.


Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:

Follow the 3 steps outlined above to achieve you 2021 poker goals:

  1. Record your current results so you can figure out what you need to work on. (download the 41 Stats & Win Rates tracker)
  2. Set a SMART goal for the next week or two.
  3. Determine what actions will help you achieve your goal… and get to work!

Now it’s your turn to take action and do something positive for your poker journey.

Support the Show

Rodney Salsa, J Brink, Jamison Anderson, Bjorn Beyers, HJ, Nick Henderson, Peg, Martin Murray, Ströller, Matej, Victor Candeias, Paul Fleischer, V, Amarra, Stonemonk, Greg Vogelsperger, soupmarine and Chris Dobson bought the Smart HUD with a 1.5 hour webinar for PokerTracker 4.  It’s the best online poker HUD in the business with every critical stat in the HUD and the 7 custom popups. This is what every online journey needs for maximum player exploitation.


Sky Matsuhashi

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