My 10 New Year’s Poker Resolutions

Lee DavyPosted by Lee Davy, December 7, 2014

With the current year readying itself for the memory banks, it’s time to sharpen that pencil. A new year is coming and with it a brand new set of New Year poker resolutions. Get a sheet of paper out, get thinking, and start scribbling.

Did you know that only 46% of New Year’s resolutions make it to June?

Think you can do better?


We do.

Here at Titanbet Poker we advocate a Happy New Year. We celebrate it with aplomb. But we prefer a happy all round year. 46%? Don’t make us laugh. We are beasts. New Year’s Eve turns us into habit-forming maniacs.

Don’t be the butt of the New Year’s jokes. Join us and commit to 10 New Year’s poker resolutions that will change your life.


#1 Give to Charity

Happy New Year! You have spent a small fortune buying presents for your friends and family. You have that giving bug. Keep hold of it. Don’t let it flap its wings and fly away.

poker give to charity

Giving to others has become vogue within the poker community in 2014, and it's set to become even trendier in 2015. Raising for Effective Giving (REG) is a community of poker players interested in making an impact. The face of REG belongs to Philipp Gruissem, Igor Kurganov, and Liv Boeree, but so many of the poker community are now donating 2% of their gross quarterly winnings to help people less fortunate than themselves.

Poker players suffering from a moral conflict over their daily grind can use REG to make their actions have a positive ending. Consider this. Could you earn as much money as you do playing poker trying to do something else? If the answer is no then keep playing poker and donate 2% to the charities suggested by REG.


#2 Promote Poker

Poker is transparent. What you see is what you get, warts and all.

Unfortunately, in 2014 it seemed that the media only got to show the warts.

Poker gets a bum wrap. The negative side of the game preventing it from going supernova. This is a game that should be taught in schools such are the benefits that can be gained from it.

promote poker

What it needs is more promotion and there is nobody better suited to market the game than a professional poker player. In terms of results, Dan Colman was undoubtedly the man of the year. He has become an icon for a fresh generation. A role model for hundreds, if not thousands of poker players. Follow him by all means. Imitate his game, but don’t imitate his actions.

As previously explained in New Year’s resolution #1, poker can be used as a positive weapon. The people at REG are saving the lives of thousands of people. The BIG ONE for ONE DROP raised millions of dollars for charity.

Promote the game whenever you can. Sing its virtues. Encourage people to get involved. If you play the game responsibly the rewards are rich and we are not talking about cash. The poker community is vibrant. It’s a great way to meet people and to learn about math, psychology, and many other of life’s special skills.

Without promotion, poker dies. Nobody comes to sit at your table and you are forced to find something else to do with your time. Don’t expect somebody else to stand up and be counted. Make your difference this New Year’s eve and beyond.


#3 Work Harder

Poker presents a paradox. On the face of it the game can seem so easy. This is especially true if you hit a golden streak of variance and the results go your way. You start to think you have all of the answers at your fingertips. You stop thinking and start clicking buttons. Autopilot is well and truly locked in.

work harder

Nosebleed is a French documentary that follows the lives of two High Stakes online cash game players: Alex Luneau and Sebastien Sabic. Whilst the poker community at large will tell you that Phil Ivey is the greatest poker player in the world, some within the inner circle will tell you than Luneau is that man.

In the documentary, Luneau tells the tale of his rise to the top. He has earned millions in 2014, but it wasn’t always that way. So what was his secret? It was work ethic. He never stops analyzing his game, and the game of his opponents. He is a tireless self-improvement fanatic.

The Frenchman believes that some of his opponent’s games are stuck in time. They have not progressed. Instead, they have taken what they know for granted. This is why Luneau is lapping them. Don’t fall into the same trap. You need to develop that professional mindset and work just as hard off the felt as you do on it.


#4 Dream Big

The most popular News Year’s resolution is to lose weight. People generally set resolutions like: “I will lose three stone in weight by January 1, 2015.” This is known as a SMART goal - an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

SMART goals are helpful, and there is certainly room for them in your life, but this year we want you to dream bigger. Why don’t you shoot for the stars? SMART goals can be restrictive. Instead, of losing three stone in weight by January 1,2015, why not set a goal to be able to financially free and able to give every single penny that you earn to a worthwhile cause?

dream big

In poker terms, players set New Year resolutions to win titles and trophies. “I want to win a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet,” is a common resolution. Is this really what you want to be remembered for when you leave this world? The memories from these moments will be amazing, but what then?

Thinking beyond poker, and dreaming big, can improve your game immensely. Poker becomes purposeful because the money you are earning, or the knowledge that you are gaining, is going towards a bigger picture. Focusing purely on the game can turn you inward. The results affect you more because poker becomes all that matters. Dream big.


#5 Pay Yourself First

Too many people get paid and then pay their bills. If they have any money left it’s a bonus. If they don’t, they live in debt until the next paycheck. Poker is the same. A lot of professional poker players have backing deals. They build up large amounts of make up, and every penny they earn fills a gap in that make up. This takes away the enjoyment of the game and turns it into a grind.

Even professionals who are not backed can fall into the trap of not paying themselves first. They put their money back into poker. Then one day the bank runs dry and they are back to where they first started.

pay yourself first

To avoid this we want you to pay yourself first. Each time you win any money in poker immediately put 20% of your winnings into a savings account. Do not touch that money until you have enough to pay for six months worth of expenses. This is your emergency fund. If you have an emergency in your life this is the money you use.

Once you have an emergency fund continue saving 20%. Make this a habit. The rest of the free poker money goes towards your future. This is not to be used for poker. It’s to help you realize your ‘dream big’ goals that you have set in #4. This way if poker goes belly up, you always have money saved to pursue your dreams.


Do you have resolutions for poker in the coming year?

Comment below with your New Year's poker resolutions!


#6 Learn a New Game

The beautiful thing about poker is the sheer number of derivatives that it has spawned, and the wide variety of different people who play those derivatives. In the aforementioned Nosebleed documentary, Alex Luneau fast became one of the greatest No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE) and Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) players in the world. Then he changed poker games.

His decision to move into mixed games was genius. The games were weaker, and so coupled with his work ethic he was able to soon crush them. He sound made millions of dollars, something he was incapable of doing whilst playing NLHE/PLO.

learn a new game

Luneau also had a dream to win a WSOP bracelet. Learning mixed games increased the likelihood that this would happen because the mixed game fields were weaker and smaller.

Finally, Luneau’s decision to learn different games turned him into a better all round player. There isn’t a game that Luneau doesn’t know how to play and the decisions he makes on a daily basis, are vastly different, and more complex, than those he makes when he plays purely NLHE and PLO.

Don’t stand still.

Keep on moving.


#7 Create More Joy

What is life about anyway?

It’s all about joy.

When you win a poker hand you are happy. When you lose a poker hand you are unhappy. The best players in the world develop the ability to lessen their unhappiness when they lose. We have a better idea. Why not increase the joy when you win, and inject joy when you lose?

create more joy

When you lose a hand you lose. Nothing you can do can change that outcome. Your next series of actions will determine your mood. You can be happy or sad. Choosing to be sad will have a detrimental effect on your game. Choosing to be happy will have a wonderful impact on your game.

It’s difficult to practice joy in your life. The strains and stresses in life are prevalent. You may live in a country where the weather is continually dull. Each time you look out of your window, the clouds are closing in on you and everything looks grey.

Practice joy by waking up and being a little silly. Play a song that motivates you. Happy by Pharrell Williams is a great example. Dance to the music whilst you watch the video. A smile will break out on your face. Say a short gratitude prayer to the universe. Run around your house pulling funny faces and shouting out aloud how great life is.

Practice joy and each day will bring you so much happiness. In return your poker game will flourish like never before.


#8 Start Juicing

What are you without your health?


The protection of your health is paramount, because without it nothing else matters. You can dream as big as you want, but if you bring death to your doorstep through unhealthy choices, then you are in big trouble.

Poker can present a challenge when it comes to eating the right foods, but it’s not an insurmountable challenge. Whether you play online, or live, preparation is the key. Otherwise when the five-minute break arrives on the hour you end up grabbing for those chips and soda.

start juicing

Changing your eating regime is a huge undertaking so why not take one step at a time. Each morning when you wake up start your day with a juice. One apple, three sticks of celery, one kiwi fruit, a good piece of fresh ginger, a cucumber, some greens (such as cabbage or kale), and you have enough juice for two drinks. Take one in the morning and another in the afternoon.

The extra fruit and vegetables that you ingest will set off a chain reaction. You will start to feel good. It will become more of a strain to eat unhealthy. It won’t make sense to you. Soon you will start to prepare healthier snacks and everything will start to click into place, especially your poker game.


#9 Run a Mile a Day

Exercise is just as important as what you eat. It is also equally as difficult to squeeze into your life.

Part of the problem with exercise is it’s difficult. It pushes strain on the body, and so in return your mind will supply you with an avalanche of excuses to stop you from partaking in any.

run a mile a day

Once again we will attack this problem piecemeal. Before you go to bed at night make sure that your running gear is laid out on the floor by your bed. As soon as you wake up in the morning you start repeating the words, “Run, run, run, run,” in your mind. Do not let any other thought enter it. Smile as wide as you can and repeat the mantra. By the time you know it you are outside, running in the fresh air.

Don’t let anything stop you from running at least one mile per day. It will become a habit like brushing your teeth. After a while the mile will be easy for you. You may wish to push for two miles. Another great way to get you out of the door, and make running fun, is to listen to a great audio book. There are a lot of poker books available in this format so you can improve your game whilst also improving your health.


#10 Mindfulness

Write down the five things that bring stress into your life. Read them back. What do they all have in common? None of them are based in the current moment right?

People tend to dwell on two distinct problems. Either something has happened in the past, or they are anticipating something that will happen in the future. Thoughts of the past often produce emotions like sadness and depression. Thoughts of the future often produces anxiety.


Choose a different path. Choose to be mindful and in the moment.

Once again this takes practice. One suggestion is to set a New Year’s resolution to meditate twice daily: once in the morning and once in the afternoon. A lot of the greatest poker players in the world are practicing meditators.

Another great way to practice mindfulness is to create a picture in your mind, or create a body posture, to act as a trigger to get into the now. A great example would be worrying about a lost session. If this happens you can remember a great winning session, or you can focus on a trophy you have won, or something else you own that creates thoughts of love and joy. You can also touch your heart, play with your hair, or throw your hands into the air.

These triggers will remind you to forget the past, and the future, and instead focus on the now. This will bring deep gratitude in your life, and a lot more focus. In turn this will help you be 100% on point when playing each hand.


Do you have resolutions for poker in the coming year?

Comment below with your New Year's poker resolutions!


Lee DavyLee Davy is a professional life coach who helps people with their addictions at In his spare time he is a writer and poker enthusiast. He is a member of the select group of media that votes for the Poker Hall of Fame. Read all of Lee Davy's articles.



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