Preaload Image

How to make player notes effectively in online poker

As we all know, being a game of incomplete information every minute detail is important in poker. 

When you play online poker on various sites, it is next to impossible to keep a mental note on each player you encounter. Sure there might be some regulars that you know personally or engage with more often than others. But that still doesn’t take away from the face that those minute details are lost if not recorded somewhere.

Having these details and information can aide you in making more informed decisions, without making many mistakes and in turn increase profitability.

Now that we have realised that taking notes is a step in the right direction in our journey towards profitable & winning poker, let’s go over how and what we should consider while taking notes on other players.

A. Player Profile/Playing Style

Basic profiling of players will go a long way. Start out with a broad classification i.e. loose, fishy, tight etc. Once you have a decent enough sample size (30-40 hands), start honing down on the specificity of the player’s playing style.

These can be any of the following : – 

  1. Tight Aggressive
  2. Loose Aggressive
  3. TIght Passive
  4. Loose Passive

It helps to develop some sort of a shorthand for the above mentioned styles. For example : – TAG = Tight Aggressive, LAG = Loose Aggressive etc. 

B. Position

Make note of how positionally aware a player is.In a very broad sense, players who are pros or regulars, will be highly aware and raise more often in position. In contrast, the recreational or the loose player would be unaware of his/her position while raising or jumping into a pot.

Make notes accordingly and again, develop some sort of shorthand for the same. For eg:-

TAG RFI IP(tight aggressive, raise first in,  in position)

C. At Showdown

What kind of hands does the player show up with at showdown. If for instance, the player has been betting continuously in a hand, and shows up with a winning hand, this must be noted as such. This player’s bets are not bluffs. He is betting for value/protection. 

On the contrary if a player shows up with air, notes must be made accordingly. 

For example, if the player wins the showdown with T8s, record his position and pre-flop. Action-Call, Raise or 3-bet? Example: Raised 2X BB with T8s @ MP. This will help you figure out the range of your opponents and how they play.

Some common shorthands for player behaviour/profiling

BBR – Bets aRe Real

RRR- Raises aRe Real

POB – (Post Oak Bluff) – A very small bet relative to the size of the already-existing pot

CFC – Can’t Fold a Chair. A player is a calling station who doesn’t fold where most players fold.

TES – Top End Shover. This player only goes all-in when he has the best hand.

TEC – Top End Caller. This is a player with a tight calling range and will only call with the nuts.

Apart from these you could always invent your own abbreviations to suit your needs. It goes without saying, you should keep a separate ledger with all your custom abbreviations, in case you forget.

D. Observe & Report

Be vigil and observant of the game and all players involved, especially when it is your turn. When you find yourself in a spot which needs an important note, finish playing the hand first. Remember to make the notes right after hand completion. Go over your hand history\ and review any past hands that you might have missed. Remember to always use shorthand while taking notes.

E. Be Concise

In the beginning, this won’t be a problem. But as you keep adding notes on various players as you gain more information about them, soon, you’ll have a long list of notes on a particular player. This is not very efficient as every time you are up against this particular player, you’ll have to go over all the notes you have made on that player. So, everytime you see a player you have a lot of notes on, try and summarise it into few lines of meaningful information.

F. Colors are your friends!

Almost every poker site has a color coding feature while making player notes. In continuation of the previous point in being concise, color coding goes a long way in being concise. While you assign colors to players, it is helpful to use a universal method. Green represents weak players, yellow represents more experienced players, and red represents serious and pro poker players. You can use other colors or symbols to rate other types of players as you see fit, which is most logical for you.

G. Be Precise

Avoid taking vague notes. For example : – “raised with JTs”. As mentioned earlier, use the various shorthands and points to note down a detailed breakdown of the player. 

  1. Player Style
  2. In Position v Out of Position
  3. Bet sizing
  4. Showdown results

This would also include blinds & stack sizes(in MTTs)

Conclusion

Making and organising player notes will always be advantageous for you in the long run. More information equates to better decision making capabilities. Organised information elevates this to a higher level of decision making. So, in conclusion, there isn’t any reason for you not to invest some time in taking notes during your daily grind!