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Doing things differently in 2014

It's another year, and looking ahead the schedule for me looks a lot like what it has been in past years. However, there are a few things I'm looking forward to doing a little differently in 2014.

The last few months of 2013 weren't that great for me in terms of results after having started out the year pretty well. Of course, with tournaments you aim so high all of the time whenever you don't win one you immediately feel bad, but that's just part of the ups and downs of tournament poker.

As I write I've just returned from the PCA and am readying to go to the Aussie Millions where I'll be playing several events along with the Main Event.

8G2A5300__PCA2014_Jonathan_Duhamel_Neil Stoddart.jpg

I'm especially looking forward to being able to play some non-hold'em games there. I did well in the $50K Poker Players Championship at the WSOP last summer (finishing eighth), and I think this will be the first time since then I'll get a chance to play mixed games live. I play them online quite a lot, but those opportunities don't come along too often in live tournament series.

But what I'm really looking forward to is the short vacation I have scheduled right after things wind up in Melbourne. I'll be spending three days in Sydney to visit. I've never been there before, so it will be a real "tourist" trip for me during which I'll try to see all of the sights. The weather should be nice, as it is summer there now.

I'd like to spend more time there, but I'll be coming back home right away to Montreal to play hockey. I play regularly in a league -- it's actually indoor hockey or what they call "dek hockey," and we play four-on-four instead of five-on-five. It actually provides even more of a cardio workout than ice hockey because you're basically on the move running nonstop for 90 minutes. It's great exercise and it's also a lot of fun to play with my friends.

So as I look ahead to the year, I definitely want to try to do more of both of those things -- find opportunities to vacation now and then and relax between tournaments, and get lots of exercise and eat well, too, when I can. I'm going to try to be a little more selective with my traveling and give myself chances to rest. And while I did pretty well last year to stay in shape, in my opinion I could have done better. When your body is fit you always stand a better chance of being mentally fit, too, which helps you perform better at the poker table.

I'm additionally planning to play a little more online this year -- both tournaments and cash games -- than I did last year, because it's so good for keeping you sharp when it comes to strategy and improving your play. I find when I get to a live tournament, if I've been playing a lot online I often know with 100% certainty what to do in every situation, because it really helps me keep focused on correct strategy.

That's the plan, then, for the coming year -- to play a lot, but also to keep some balance and enjoy life as much as I can, which should help me perform better, too.

Jonathan Duhamel is a member of Team PokerStars Pro

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