Making every day count
I had a blast this summer. I wasn't able to get all the way to the finish line in any of the 32 events I played, but I was able to pick up 9 cashes worth over $8.5 million and a total of 6 top ten finishes. I'm also ending the summer in the running for the WSOP player of the year for a second straight year, currently siting in 4th, and the third time of my career. There are still 10 events yet to take place in Australia and I'm confident that I'll be able to gather enough points down under to win that prestigious title once again.
I came into the 2014 WSOP very clear on what I wanted to accomplish and very confident that I would have a great summer. The one thing I did differently this year was creating a WSOP daily journal where I wrote down my thoughts each day, but more importantly my intention for each day. I play a wide variety of games during the WSOP, so I also wrote down some key strategy points I wanted to be mindful of before I sat down to play. An example of that would look like this:
Omaha 8 or better
-Isolate with hands that have both high and low features like A34K, or A2QJ by 3 betting
-Flat or limp with hands that play better multi-way A235, KQJT
-Don't overplay flops. Unless I have a monster don't get into raising wars till the turn
-Represent high hands when on big draws by barreling turn and river even if I miss
-Unless deep stacked, avoid defending the big blind too wide
So that would be the strategy thoughts I'd jot down each day. What I love most about the WSOP is the fact that we get a chance to play games outside of no limit hold'em. I enjoy no limit hold'em, but for me it's by far the most boring poker variant so I always feel like a kid in a candy store during WSOP. The other thing I'd write down is my INTENTION for the day. That may look like this:
My intention for day one is to end the day with 100k in chips on my way to winning the event two nights from now. The ways of being I will choose to be: joyful, focused, intense, humble, engaging, calm, present, and connected.
I know for a lot of you this this all sounds like kooky new age mumbo jumbo! There are lots of books that cover the subject of clear intention, and the power of intention. In fact, one book I read was called just that, The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer. I'm a firm believer in there being value in speaking out your intentions. I do so in my journal, aloud to myself, and often on twitter where I deal with some mocking that fortunately I can handle because I have thick skin! It doesn't bother me when people don't really understand what I'm doing, because I'm clear on what it is I want to accomplish and I know what works for me.
The concept is something I struggled with immensely, especially at first, because I made the common mistake of being attached to results. Like, if I said to myself, "My intention is to end day one with 100k in chips," in the last hour when I was at, say, 84k the pressure to get to 100k may have me doing something foolish. Take a risk in the hopes of getting to 100k by the end of the day and realizing my intention.
There is a big difference between setting a goal and having clear intention. Setting goals for how many chips you have at each level can be problematic, but having an intention on what you would like to have can actually be beneficial. Today, I am completely unattached from the result! When I set my intention and speak it out, it's essentially me saying what I'd like to see happen in my day. This doesn't just relate to poker, it relates to all things in life. Being clear on the WHY you are doing something, and the WHAT you want to create, I believe helps you avoid living a life where you are just going through the motions without any real clear vision or purpose for what you want to accomplish. I've always been a very goal driven person and I'm happiest when I'm striving to achieve something, or create something in my life. Whether it's a health and fitness goal, career goal, or even a humanitarian goal, I live a more fulfilled life when I'm clear on my purpose and why I'm doing what I'm doing.
This is just a suggestion, but I find it worthwhile when I wake up in the morning to ask the question: what is my purpose for today? What am I intending to create? How will I make a difference? Who will I make a difference for? I answer these questions in my written journal daily. Of course, I don't always accomplish all the things I want to, but I wake up and start my day being clear on what it is I want to accomplish. Make every day count!
Daniel Negreanu is a member of Team PokerStars Pro