Note Taking in Poker
Every online poker site has built in
capabilities to take notes on players. So do the major poker
tracking software. If the site is one that allows screen name
changes but carries the notes over through screen name changes,
definitely use the built in software. Otherwise, using the
tracking software note taking is better, because it can be
accessed more easily while reviewing hands, as well as the
potential to track bad and
players using the same screen name on multiple sites.
So what should you write in a note about
Specific actions that expose the thought
process of another player.
Use abbreviations and shorthand that you
will understand in the future. Something like RR3x =
reraised to 3x initial raise size, BLF = bluff, SWPY = slow
play, and so on.
Make note of odd actions and
betting patterns (overbets, very small bets, unusual
lines, etc) even if you don’t get to see your opponent’s
cards. This way when it happens again, you will have an idea
of how frequently these actions occur.
Differentiate between hands that involve
you and those that don’t involve you. If the hand doesn’t
involve you, make note of the basic stats of the other
player in the hand.
Dates. We can’t stress this one enough.
When we first took notes we weren’t even thinking about the
fact that we might be playing the same guys 3 years later.
Sure enough, we ended up playing against players at 1000nl
with notes that may have been from 50nl. Both you and the
other player will have likely changed greatly. If you label
your notes (month and year is good enough), you will know
how relevant your notes are.
If you have a battle with another player,
whether in the chat box or through targeted aggressive play,
you should make note of this. Forgetting a contentious
history with another player could cost you a lot of money if
you don’t realize you are getting bluffed more frequently
Good note taking is certainly an advantage as
most players are not rigorous about it, and some do not even do
it at all. If you play way too many tables to take good notes
and if you’ve found a way to play a lot of tables and make money
without doing much more than looking at a heads up display,
there is not much reason to fix it.
At the beginning, you will struggle just to
be making a profit, so your focus should be on making as many
quality decisions on very few tables to ensure that you play
But taking good notes will absolutely boost
your win rate, at a small sacrifice to how fast you can play. It
will not only help you recognize some players and how they play,
it will also help you
learn the game of poker. Because by taking such notes you
will learn the various styles of players you will meet on the