Taking notes live...?

Marc-KevinMarc-Kevin Red Chipper Posts: 27
Was looking through the store and saw splits poker journal... as a rec player, I'm thinking of taking my game to live play where I think I might have more fun playing poker. I mean I'm not going to go pro playing online 20 tables so I might as well make it a social experience...

With that being said I take poker very seriously and was wondering if taking notes live between hands was frowned upon as I've never seen any one taking notes playing live before...
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  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,749 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Yeah I used to wonder about that too. I keep complete records on my own live play (not what hands I play obviously, just financially). But I decided I needed to get more serious about recording opponents' play as well.

    I've got a Windows phone and use One Note to jot down info between hands. People just assume I'm texting. Not sure what's available for iPhone but I'm sure there's something.
  • Marc-KevinMarc-Kevin Red Chipper Posts: 27
    There are a couple good ones on iPhone too one I own is actually named poker journal, where you can keep track of pretty much anything you can update manually...
    But is taking out a physical notebook and writing down in it after hands frowned upon more my question... if it isn't it would be a lot more convenient for me as I'm not very efficient writing on a cell phone...
    Now I would assume if split created such a note book it isn't but since assumption is mother of all fuck ups, I'd rather make sure before taking one to a poker room...
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 2,402 -
    I think the danger is that a large notebook is conspicuous, and irrespective of any frowning it generates it may have the undesired consequence of marking you as a serious player.

    As usual, I think the best solution is to lie. If anyone asks wtf you're doing, tell them you're correlating hand distribution with the lunar cycle or the stock market or something.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • Marc-KevinMarc-Kevin Red Chipper Posts: 27
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    I think the danger is that a large notebook is conspicuous, and irrespective of any frowning it generates it may have the undesired consequence of marking you as a serious player.

    As usual, I think the best solution is to lie. If anyone asks wtf you're doing, tell them you're correlating hand distribution with the lunar cycle or the stock market or something.

    That's a good point! Still lmao!
  • Marc-KevinMarc-Kevin Red Chipper Posts: 27
    Thanks for the response... I've only played live a couple of times and never saw anyone taking notes in a notebook... And if only for the reason that it paints you as a serious player, it's enough for me to stick to the iphone imo...
  • Skors3Skors3 Red Chipper Posts: 667 ✭✭✭
    I take notes at the table. I have prepared sheets I created and I always have a couple on me to write down interesting spots or questions I have. I do write on my lap and usually only players on either side on me will see. Sometimes people say something, sometimes they don't. And it's usually the later. But it's never gone past one comment.

    And once a guy asked me if I was taking notes on a hand. I nodded yes and he pulled out a notebook, wiggled it at me, and nodded.
  • Marc-KevinMarc-Kevin Red Chipper Posts: 27
    I'm thinking of finding the online game that best replicate the live game I'll be playing at and play that game online so I can keep track with ps4. ... that way you can find similar trouble spots and study them... I'm just spewing off ideas here as its easy to keep track online without any additional effort... I'm already going to have a hands full keeping track of everyone's stack, pot size and pots odds without the assistance of pokerstars and all...
  • FilthyCasualFilthyCasual Red Chipper Posts: 871 ✭✭✭
    I have a little black notebook about the size of phone I use. I do think the phone would be less conspicuous, but currently just more used to the notebook
  • ChipXtractorChipXtractor Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 1,191 ✭✭✭✭
    If you are uncomfortable with using actual pen and paper at the table just use any note taking app you feel comfortable with. I would experiment with a few and also find a concise 'language' for your HH's that you feel at ease jotting down quickly in real time at the tables. Overthinking it is not going to help in all honesty. Just get started and fine tune along the way.
    Twitter = @ChipXtractor
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,749 ✭✭✭✭✭
    If you want to take paper notes, wasn't there a description of a code in Doug Hull's book? Or was that the "Late Position" book?
  • ChibberChibber Red Chipper Posts: 376 ✭✭✭
    When the vast majority of players are listening to music, watching movies, looking at TV, or zoning out because they are card dead, I would not be overally worried about what others think of you in this regard.

    Whether you use your phone or pen and paper. The reality is most people will not really care, even less will say anything. Why sacrifice your quest to get better for the sake of what people might think because you're writing notes.
  • ChipDouglas1ChipDouglas1 Red Chipper Posts: 95 ✭✭
    At the Casino I play in (Perth, Australia) they do not let you take notes at the table as they consider it a "recording device". If you step away from the table to take your notes then that is ok. I play cash and probably take 1 note an hour on a hand and generally do not get any comments from the other players.

    If I do get asked I just use the Jonathan Little excuse of "I have a bad memory') :)
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,749 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @Chibber, I don't think the reservation about taking paper notes would be about embarrassment, I think it would be about image.
  • jimbo123jimbo123 Red Chipper Posts: 107 ✭✭
    I use the facility on my poker graphing app occasionally; I tend to know a lot of people quite well at my casino though so it becomes easier to remember.

    These days I try to switch off my phone when I'm playing like Bart Hanson recommended in an article, although sometimes you do come across a few really really dull games when its a bit quiet and I dont know any of the regs.
  • DeleuzerDeleuzer Las VegasRed Chipper Posts: 25 ✭✭
    Having played in Vegas for a number of months, I rarely see people taking notes. However, I document my hands on my phone and no one has ever said anything. In addition, I've encountered one regular who took notes in a paper notebook for about 2 months. I was not around when he did this, but other regulars talked about him taking notes and asked him directly why he stopped. No one frowned upon it, and no one judged him negatively for it, but they obviously took notice of the practice.

    I have yet had anyone comment upon my documenting hands on my phone. As long as it's allowed in your game, I think you should just suck up any fear you have about being "that person" and take notes. You'll see almost immediate improvements in your game and rarely have players even notice, let alone complain.
  • ChipXtractorChipXtractor Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 1,191 ✭✭✭✭
  • Doug HullDoug Hull RCP Coach Posts: 1,784 -
    If you care about what other people at the table think, that is a leak.

    Do not bow to social pressure. Ever notice how people try to shame you for frequent raises?

    I took notes on one guy for like 20 hours for my first book. He never noticed. Hell, when I told him he was the subject and that I had the notes, he did not even ask for them. How crazy is that? I would pay good money for accurate notes on my play like that...
    Co-founder Red Chip Poker,
    Author Poker Plays You Can Use
    Author Poker Workbook for Math Geeks
  • SplitSuitSplitSuit RCP Coach Posts: 4,032 -
    If it makes you uneasy, you could always step away from the table, take the note in your notebook, and then return to the table.
  • ChipXtractorChipXtractor Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 1,191 ✭✭✭✭
    SplitSuit wrote: »
    If it makes you uneasy, you could always step away from the table, take the note in your notebook, and then return to the table.

    Or you could schedule regular short breaks...like very 60 minutes or so...and then jot down any information from the last hour that you think will help your off table work.

    Quick tip - I take breaks almost every hour. Sometimes during my break/walk I use an audio app to record notes for myself to review after my session. I just walk and record as if I was having a phone conversation.

    I do this a lot for my mental game work. Just leave myself a quick note about how I am felling and what my plans are for the next hour at the table. Rinse and repeat.
    Twitter = @ChipXtractor
  • jjakestr8jjakestr8 Red Chipper Posts: 78 ✭✭
    I find taking excessive notes disrupts my game. Once in a while I'll write down a hand in my iphone (I just use basic notes app.

    I've tried bringing my 5.5x4.25" notebook (a la Johnathan Little video):

    At the casino
    1) No one ever cared. A couple asked what I was doing.
    2) I think it makes you look too serious
    3) I found I spent more time writing down my hands and missing important action.

    At my home game
    They made a big joke out of it, and honestly I play with these guys so often and play so different at the home game than at a casino - it was worthless
  • ChibberChibber Red Chipper Posts: 376 ✭✭✭
    jeffnc wrote: »
    @Chibber, I don't think the reservation about taking paper notes would be about embarrassment, I think it would be about image.


    Perhaps. But your image is mostly associated with whether or not you are winning or losing in the session.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,749 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I understand Doug's comment about caring about what people think being a leak, but I think there's more to it than that. We've all read, and probably given, advice about trying to make the table more happy, more loose and agreeable. I think if someone said they were at a loose, friendly game and started getting real nitty about the rules, we'd advise him to lighten up. We wouldn't tell him not to worry about what other people think. It's more about image and table dynamics than being embarrassed of what people think.
  • Christian SotoChristian Soto RCP Coach Posts: 2,195 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2016
    In a social game like poker it's important to care about what people think.

    Think about long term EV rather than the short term EV of your note-taking.

    No one wants to play with some player who openly is taking notes and trying to win at all cost. That's not fun.

    No way this player ever gets invited to a juicy private game.
    No way he befriends some whale who happens to back people he likes.
    No way the fish like him/her.
    The list goes on.

    I've gotten plenty of opportunities afforded to me because I'm fun to play with and social

    If a hand comes up that bothers you, text it to your friend or take a note on your phone if you must.

    Otherwise, pay attention to the game. Be social and become really good at remembering hands in your head.

    The old school players were really good at building games, keeping the games good, and building relationships. This is also part of being a great poker player.
    And taking notes openly on the table is not part of building a good environment for gambling.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,749 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Doug Hull wrote: »
    Do not bow to social pressure. Ever notice how people try to shame you for frequent raises?

    I've been "shamed" both for raising too much, and for folding too much. Either way, it's time to start schmoozing.
    Doug Hull wrote: »
    I told him he was the subject and that I had the notes, he did not even ask for them. How crazy is that? I would pay good money for accurate notes on my play like that...

    People are funny like that. I was watching a guy playing against the heads up Holdem computer at the Bellagio one day. Now, in this game, after each hand you can click the "Peak" button and see what the computer held, even if you folded. This is pretty useful information. Presumably the computer doesn't care because it's playing what its authors believe is pretty solid GTO. So it let's you see (I suppose it lessons worries of cheating as well.)

    I said "Hey, do you know you can see what the cards were?" He said "Yeah I know, but this thing bluffs a lot and it pisses me off, so I just don't look." People are funny like that.

  • SeekingPlumbSeekingPlumb Red Chipper Posts: 11
    I get asked this question a lot; am I making notes on my hands/opponents. (I use a small notebook.) I've tried many times to alter how and when I write and to give different answers. My typical answer is that I'm writing a book & inspiration just struck me. If they're still convinced, I don't confirm one way or the other, but try to keep it lighthearted and offer misdirection or distraction.

    I think this works both negatively & positively for me, as a woman. I seem to get needled more about it, but I can also divert attention by being friendly. Even if it means ordering free drinks for the table. It distracts long enough and big enough to move on, then they no longer care.

    I find this questioning and persistence happens more in cash games than MTTs. Maybe because I tend to seek out cash games full of drunk or tourist types, and the MTTs I play in don't seem to attract the same types? Just a guess.

    I think it all depends on how you play it off when asked. If you keep it light, they're less likely to be concerned. People don't mind losing money to someone they like. :D
  • Christian SotoChristian Soto RCP Coach Posts: 2,195 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2016
    ^ I like your attitude towards the questioning & definitely attempt to steer the convo else where. Ordering drinks always helps!
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 4,095 ✭✭✭✭✭
    SP, it's because cash is at heart a casual, social gathering and an MTT is an activity you agreed to do up front and are stuck at until it is over. Therefore you can take all the notes you want or really do anything you like at an MTT (remember the guy in the Main Event who stunk so much everyone was complaining to the floor, uselessly, and he didn't care because no one had a choice) but if you do it in a cash game you not helping make the game fun and anyone can leave at will for a better game.

    Likely your note taking will not really matter but that is the principle.
  • SeekingPlumbSeekingPlumb Red Chipper Posts: 11
    I think that's a fair assessment, persuadeo. I agree no one would probably particularly care, but I like to help cash players remain happy and willing to hand over their money. The less focus on my note taking, the less time they're thinking about any concerns they may have over it, the better. IMO, anyway.

    No one has ever commented to me in an MTT. Probably for the reasons you suggested.
  • N4GNN4GN Louisville KY, U.S.A. and/or Manila, PhilippinesRed Chipper Posts: 3 ✭✭
    I always take notes when playing live, always on my phone. I just start a new e-mail with each session, noting times on/off, buy-ins and re-buys, stack size (time stamped) after significant changes either direction, and maybe detailed notes on one or two of the most significant or interesting hands an hour. When I cash out, I send this e-mail to my Evernote account. Later, I review the notes and plug the key data into my custom win rate tracking spreadsheet.

    Very rarely does anyone question what I'm doing. I think they mostly assume I'm just texting or writing some random e-mail. If they ask, I usually use some line like "you know, communication is the key to a good marriage" or "gotta keep the boss happy."

    It really annoys me when I'm at one of the increasingly rare casinos that doesn't allow phones to be used at all at the table. In that case, I typically take more frequent, shorter breaks. And I usually complain to the poker room manager about the policy. I am always very careful not to take notes when I'm in a hand, or in any way let my phone usage slow down the action.

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