2016 Recap

By: pgt4jc
Published: Jan 10th, 2017
2016 turned out to be another incredible year for me in poker. The year started out really strong before having a 2 ½ month rough period in the summer. It then closed out with an even stronger finish even with December being a down month. When the year started I had 6 goals I had set for myself which I’ll recap here with some commentary.

1. $120,000 in cashes- This is down from the $175k in 2015 because I anticipate the church will take more time this year. SUCCESS

The church that I pastor at bought a new building at the end of 2015 that was in need of desperate renovation. So I set the above goal with that in mind. Happy to report that I did way better than I thought! Here’s a breakdown:
2004…Tournaments Played
744…. Cashes (37%)
340…. Final Tables
139... …Top 3 Finishes

$152795.35 in total cashes (38.7% ROI)

2. 1000 WPN Tourneys- With the slow Merge cash out times I need to put more volume in on WPN. This is an increase over the 499 on WPN I played in 2015. FAIL

At the end of 2015, Merge was just beginning to pay-out again in a reasonable time period although I didn’t know it at the time that they would be able to keep it up. To be honest I had 15x the amount of bankroll stuck on Merge that I like to have at any one time. So I thought I’d give more volume to WPN.

However, Merge gave me early in the year an option to get 5k bank wires. Miraculously they started processing for me about every 8-10 days. It took a few months but eventually I was able to get my roll down to a reasonable size.

Once I realized I’d be able to get my money off Merge, I just kept playing on there and gave up on this goal. In fact I only ended up playing 362 tourney’s WPN which was even less than the previous year.

3. Obtain a top 10 USA Ranking on Pocket Fives at least once- I ended 2015 at 13th and have previously been ranked as high as 11th. FAIL (Sort of)

For the 1st half of the year I hung around in the top 20 and again at one point got as high as #11. Then in the summer I went through a bad downswing which dropped my ranking to in the top 25. Through late summer things started turning back around and I again climbed into the top 20.

Then on September 5th, Merge decided to stop allowing Pocket Fives to track their tourneys. This was super bad timing because I proceeded to go on an epic heater that would see me get over $52,000 in cashes in just over a 7 week period. The points I’d have accumulated on P5’s would have been massive and I’d have easily gotten into the top 10. Instead, without the results counting, I continue to plummet week after week in the rankings.

However, it was because of the Merge decision that I started this blog so if you’re enjoying what you’re reading, you can put Merge on your Christmas card list. ;)

4. Have at least 1 live score that qualifies for Hendon Mob- I have only played 5 that have qualified in the past but have yet to cash in any. SUCCESS

Being a pastor means I don’t get a lot of opportunity to travel to play live tourneys. I have cashed and won a number of tourneys through the years live but none that actually counted in the Hendon Mob results.

This summer for the 2nd time I was able to play at the WSOP and ended up cashing in 2 of the 5 events I played. Then went 0 for 2 this December at the WSOPc tour stop at Cherokee. So 2 for 7 live this year…not bad, not great but at least I met my goal.

5. Write a poker article that gets published- FAIL

Don’t know that I have a lot to offer on the strategy side of things but as a pastor and player, I think I have a lot to say about life and balance in general that could be helpful to players. To be honest I just didn’t put any time into this particular goal. However, I did write quite a few emails to players helping them with a variety of issues that could be adapted into an article(s) for the future.

About as close as I got to this goal was answering numerous questions from players on how to respond to people who ask if it’s ok for Christians to be playing poker/gambling. I believe sometime in 2017, the Bet On Drew web-site is planning on adapting my answer for an article so that will have to do for now.

6. Spend at least 3 hours a week in study/review- SUCCESS

I got into a nice rhythm for the year where on the days I could wrap-up my church work by 5-5:30, I would then spend the next hour reading, studying, reviewing, watching training videos, etc. Also Friday’s are my day off from church so I usually get some time on Friday mornings for more study. I probably got closer to 5-6 hours a week towards this goal so happy I blew it away.

So there you have it. Only 3 of 6 goals met but I still feel pretty good about the year. At this point I’m behind on getting my 2017 goals set but will be getting to it soon. Still amazed that something that is essentially a hobby in my “free time” makes me so much money and gives me relaxation and enjoyment all at the same time. Hope and pray you have a great year…as always please don’t hesitate to contact me if there is ever anything I can do for you.


P.S. Follow my monthly results in real-time by following me on Twitter: @YourPokerPastor

P.P.S Here is a repeat of the end of the December blog in case you missed the most up-to-date numbers as of the end of 2016:

Now onto my Merge up-date. For those not familiar with my blog, Merge stopped allowing Pocket Fives to track scores on September 5th 2016, so what I’m doing here is tracking where I would have been had they not stopped tracking. I do play some on other networks but Merge gets out 95% of my volume so I thought it would be fun and motivating to keep things going as if though it never stopped. I use Poker Dominator to track all tourney’s so these are the most accurate and up-to-date numbers as of the last day of the month.

Merge Lifetime Total: $ 397023.41

Career Lifetime Total: $451081.46

Career number of Cashes: 3613


    1. Great read and awesome job in 2016 GT! Seeing you be able to do all you do with the church, and still find the time to study/play poker and have the success you do is very inspiring. I look forward to great things with you and the crew in 2017!
    2. Great read. I look forward to reading more of your entries and using some of your goals as my own (but on a much smaller scale lol). Good luck in 2017!
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