In Defense of Results-Oriented Goals

Results-oriented goals have gotten a bad rap lately. Conventional poker wisdom shifted and now suggests that setting goals based on results, such as money or titles, are a big mistake because of how much variance there is in the short term. If you can play amazingly well and get crushed in a cash game and not even make the money in a tournament, why does is make sense to set goals to win money or titles?

It makes sense to set goals connected to money or titles because results matter a lot. And in my experience, the players who advocate setting only process-oriented goals are really attempting to reduce the pain of losing or avoid failing.

In a game where variance plays such a big role, it can sometimes take thousands of hands and months or even years for your real edge in the game to show itself in your results. Sometimes that means getting unfairly crushed and other times it means being unfairly rewarded. That’s poker. But when your mental state becomes overly attached to results as a way of determining your skill or edge winning makes you happy and losing pisses you off.

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