note taking at casino

lemmylemmy Red Chipper Posts: 9
edited February 2017 in New To Poker Questions
i have literally never once seen someone taking notes with paper and pen at my casino and the one time i did, a few minutes in, someone started commenting on it, drawing attention to it, making fun of me for it.

i find it difficult to quickly take down a full hand on my phone's notepad or even in an app like Poker Agent. And I've used an app like donkey tracker that tracks vpip live and the floor guy came over and yelled at me.

How do you guys do this quickly, either on pen or in an app? especially when it's not just 2 people in a hand. multiway i find this incredibly challenging.

How do you deal with people drawing attention to the entire table that you are taking notes or tracking vpip/pfr?

What are the best poker tracker style stats that you can realistically track at a live table using paper or an app?


  • tfaziotfazio Red Chipper Posts: 819 ✭✭✭
    I have thought about this a lot. Best is voice memo or notepad on iPhone but I have thought of making notes on a racing form if there is a sports book. It would camouflage
    the note taking and make you look like a real gam bou ler.
  • mbehr1983mbehr1983 Red Chipper Posts: 635 ✭✭✭
    I use an app after hand and try and captur using short cuts like c for call and x for check b for bet. The app is live poker payer notes. It has all suit programmed already it just takes practice
  • lemmylemmy Red Chipper Posts: 9
    mbehr1983 wrote: »
    I use an app after hand and try and captur using short cuts like c for call and x for check b for bet. The app is live poker payer notes. It has all suit programmed already it just takes practice

    is that android or iphone?
  • thepokermonkthepokermonk Red Chipper Posts: 320 ✭✭✭
    In most sessions, I write down every single hand I play that goes past the flop. I use the system Jonathan Little uses. You can see that here:

    There's only been a few times in which someone commented on it and I just pretended I was writing something else. If they see that I'm taking notes on hands I just say that I'm horrible and trying to get better. No one has ever really pressed me on it much.
  • solDragonsolDragon Red Chipper Posts: 53 ✭✭
    I use the Jonathan Little system as well. I put my hand, my position, and my stack at the top because I don't care about the blinds. I also use a Moleskine or similar because I carry it in my back pocket and those wire bindings suck.

    I used to write short stories and would always have a notebook with me to capture ideas or bits of dialog. Since I am used to carrying a notebook anyway and taking notes at odd times or in odd situations, having it at the poker table seems natural to me.

    If someone asked I would let them know that they will probably end up in the novel I'm writing. But no one ever asks.

    I also keep it in my lap and don't leave it laying on the poker table. No sense in letting everyone know what mission I'm working on that day.

    Also, they say some pretty hilarious things at a poker table. I always have the best stories for my co-workers when I return from a trip to Vegas.
  • solDragonsolDragon Red Chipper Posts: 53 ✭✭
    I should have mentioned that I don't takes notes during a hand.

    After the hand I write the cards. Then I go back and write the action. Then I stack my chips. If i play the next hand, I will have to remember to calculate the new starting stack but it is not that difficult to figure out.

    When I am not in a hand I go back and add the pot sizes for every street, make a note of what the effective stacks were (by writing a lower amount under my stack size), and make any notes on the hand if I need to - like what mission it was or a tell I picked up or something to study further off table.

    Also, I don't necessarily write every hand. For standard open raise, cbet, take it type hands, I just adjust the starting stack for next time.
  • SplitSuitSplitSuit RCP Coach Posts: 4,070 -
    This doesn't hide the journal part, but if you like pen/paper I created this for you:

    As for keeping notes, I just use a note taking app on my phone and use a lot of shorthand. Nobody can tell if you are texting, tweeting, or taking obsessive notes =)
    📑 Grab my custom poker spreadsheet pack right now.
    📘 Start the Preflop & Math Poker Workbook today.
  • mbehr1983mbehr1983 Red Chipper Posts: 635 ✭✭✭
    Mine is for IPhone
  • scott815scott815 Red Chipper Posts: 2
    I wanted to see what apps are out there and look at making a new app that would be made for poker players by taking in all input I get. If anyone interested in helping me please let me know.
  • Mr. DontMr. Dont Red Chipper Posts: 370 ✭✭✭
    I used to take a note in old fashioned way, pen and paper, but start using my cell phone cuz
    1) people making a joke about it and kinda embarrassing
    2) people make a note that Im taking a game serious and adjust
  • EazzyEazzy Red Chipper Posts: 1,018 ✭✭✭✭
    In most sessions, I write down every single hand I play that goes past the flop. I use the system Jonathan Little uses. You can see that here:


    Thanks Great Vid it gave me a few ideas to improve my note taking, especially writing out the hands first and then the action.....

    scott815 wrote: »
    I wanted to see what apps are out there and look at making a new app that would be made for poker players by taking in all input I get. If anyone interested in helping me please let me know.

    I also thought of writing an app...What I would love to develop ( or get someone else to do as I'm lazy) is a poker key board....just 1 through 9 :spade:diamond:club:heart A K Q J T....all on one key board.... Maybe postiions as well Bu, Co Hj, Lj, BB, SB and EP type thing...

    I used to use paper and pencil....rarely got comments but my hand writing is so bad..I often could not read my own notes....and often wrote much less then I wanted.

    I then tried a number of general note taking apps....and designed forms...based loosely on Doug Halls article...using a paint app to fill in the form

    Though I now only use his system as far as recording backdoor and front door draws (not recording the suits) ....underline cards in front draw, and over line for back door.


    What finally worked best for me was a note taking app called FilNote. ..on my 7 inch android Nexus 7

    I was able to develop a form using the paint feature's box drawing (which I could save as my background). The cool thing is I can then switch to handwrite, click on the box....and draw big notes, circle things , underline them ect and the program fits it all nicely in the box....

    If I want to write a note on a player,..I go to paint, erase the page (my form)...and go to handwrite, and can again write big notes that are fitted into the lines...

    As I'm just using my finger on an Android device nobody every even notices me.

  • volcanovolcano Red Chipper Posts: 346 ✭✭
    You probbly dont see people taking notes because those people moved up to the 5/10 table.
  • DirtyFilthyRatDirtyFilthyRat Red Chipper Posts: 23 ✭✭
    Taking complete notes on a hand that's played is nearly impossible. You miss observing the play of too much action. However, when I take notes, I just note the line I took (C-Bet, Auto bet, Double or Triple Barrel, IP, OOP, 3-Bet etc.) on an cell phone app. This keeps my head in the game and ensures I'm at least thinking about different approaches of play. I don't get any grief from other players.
  • RedRed Red Chipper Posts: 2,396 ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Hey everybody,
    I've finally hit the local casino (during my holidays in Dublin) after studying a lot (hands, opening, hand reading etc.) - mostly from James @SplitSuit and Jonathan Little. Both of them strongly advise to take notes during live games, to review them off table.

    I had a strong argument tonight for my 3rd visit to the Fitzwilliam (Dublin) with some [censored] player and the floor as I was called a cheater by taking notes down (see the "spoiler" for the whole history). Completely tilted and prohibited to takes notes down, I left, very angry. I won't go there anymore for sure, even if I could take notes.
    Here is the story of my 3 visit of the Fitzwilliam, Dublin.
    - 1st time (last Friday) only with a notebook. I abandon after a while because it was too hard to write down relevant information and following the game. I miss a lot of info and played bad. I was there some hours, but only 1-2 taking notes (trying to).
    - 2nd time (last Saturday) I prepare a sheet of my own with places where to write down my cards, the flop-turn-river and the actions of each players. It was much easier. Some players made fun of me (I was prepare to that), other were amazed and some even asked for a spare sheet. Pretty positive session with only a small issue when the manager asked me not to put my sheets on the table (easier to write); which I complied. (I was the only one taking notes.) I was there for around 4 hours.
    - 3rd time (tonight, Friday) ... was a disaster.
    As I arrived they opened a new table, we were 6 players. After the very first hand a player complained that I was cheating by writing my hands down. The dealer was pretty embarrassed (not knowing what to do). The table manager came and after 5mn of a confused argumentation told me I could not use any paper or write anything down during the game, as it's cheating "like using a phone"; and that I could only use a pen after I fold. (Which I can't because I can't remember the action street by street, my notes would be unusable). He didn't want to understand that my notes aren't like a phone (to calculate odds or else) or that I did not have any helping sheets (like opening ranges, etc.). He camped on his position, saying this time that it was "similar as someone watching a movie". (Even if some others player play games on their smartphone in the cardroom...)
    After a big argument, I decided to leave, as my frustration, the prohibition of me taking notes during the hand and being completely tilted make me impossible to play anymore; letting them know by the way that I was not very happy (euphemism), especially to the one who complained about me cheating. As I was leaving, the manager (who did not move her ass during that time) told me that taking notes is against poker rules - but she couldn't show me any poker rules or floor rules against that after I asked her. She added too that "many players" complained about me taking notes last time, as I was slowing the game down (with my seconds of taking notes down), "especially because (I) do that to all my hands". [Since nobody complained or made any comment about me taking time for my notes, or even sighed, I understand that mostly as "you slow down our income".] The manager even had the nerve to say "professional / good players don't take notes" and that "See, nobody take notes here".

    I would like to know if you had issues taking notes in casino like being forbidden to take notes or received complains ?
    Or if you do anything to prevent that ?


    ps: Really, really don't go to the Fitzwilliam in Dublin. Out of this bad story, most of people working there aren't nice; they don't try to help you / answer your question. The ground (main) floor is tiny and squeezed (almost no space between tables) and the 1st floor is like playing in a warehouse or in a construction site. They only propose NLHE 1/2€ (not higher) and some pot limited Omaha.
    It's by far the worst cardroom I've visited, way below Montréal (CAN), Berlin (DE), Montreux (CH) and Fribourg (CH) (which I visited before I started studying poker.)
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper Posts: 4,312 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    That's annoying but in reality it is best to be discrete in these matters.

    When you are on a date do you bring a notebook and jot down important info you will use later to -- someone?
  • tfaziotfazio Red Chipper Posts: 819 ✭✭✭
    Doug has suggested stepping away from the table and discretely using voice memo. I think this may not work 100% the first time but you will get better at remembering hands after a while. I thought of a neat way if there is any dog or horse betting using a racing form and writing in the margins. The point is be discrete. In tournaments it may be more acceptable or if you happen to be Johnathan Little. I must admit I have trouble recording hands.
  • GoStumpyGoStumpy Red Chipper Posts: 57
    I can't see taking notes during a hand to be a good thing......... after the hand is over right away start jotting things down, yes... I use my phone, a nice side benefit to using your phone is that other players usually think you're NOT paying attention!!
  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 2,241 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Never take notes DURING a hand when you have cards.

    it's sort of like cheating cuz you could be calculating odds on your sheet of paper.... the game is supposed to be done using cards and chips only. (BTW... sometimes I count out my odds using chips as I'm contemplating whether or not to call or raise..... shhh... don't tell anyone!)

    Floor was correct.
    Taking notes while in the hand can hurt the game.

    Learn to work your memory.
    Then jot hands down AFTER the hand is over... hopefully away from the table or out of view.
  • RedRed Red Chipper Posts: 2,396 ✭✭✭✭
    After reading your comments, I've the feeling that taking notes down is not a good thing / really accepted. Even when it's only taking info down; not like a smartphone which could be use to have a precise odd calculator or hand ranging software >_>

    Ok tho, I will work on memorizing hands to be able to write down hands, flop-turn-river and action after the SD or having fold. Not always easy, esp. in MW pot.
    Argl, I've always been bad with my active memory.

    Thx for your feedback and advises
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
    You can take notes during a hand when you're not in the hand. I think phone is best since they assume you're texting. My local game would make fun of me so bad if they ever caught me taking notes, but they've never suspected a thing since I'm on my phone.

    If I am in the hand, then I just wait until after. If you're paying attention (and you will get better at this with practice), then it's easy to write down roughly what happened even a few minutes later.
  • Doug HullDoug Hull RCP Coach Posts: 1,875 -
    I have taken pencil and paper notes before at the table between hands. My entire Poker Plays You Can Use was annotated at the tables. In all that time, exactly one person asked about it. They were not even playing.

    One guy, I wrote down every hand he played for like 20 hours. He was sitting next to me much of the time. He never seemed to notice. Oddly, when it was over and I offered him my notes, he was not interested. I would pay someone to annotate all my hands...

    We want to keep the mood friendly and casual, so some amount of stealth is good, but I think the fear of being called out is overblown. Do you really care what people think of you?

    Overwhelmingly now, I have moved to voice recorder for myself.

    When sweating a student, I will write in a book. This is only a problem about 1 in 20 tables. If someone bitches to the Floor, I apologize and we switch rooms. In my regular rooms, I have never had a problem doing this.
    Co-founder Red Chip Poker,
    Author Poker Plays You Can Use
    Author Poker Workbook for Math Geeks
  • AcesaladAcesalad Red Chipper Posts: 240 ✭✭
    If you have an iOS device, try my Poker Hand History app to quickly record every detail of a hand:

    Here is a recent example of a hand history I created with it:

    2016-12-13, 21:25:29
    Bob is the dealer
    Jimmy posts $1.00 small blind
    Ken posts $2.00 big blind
    Fred folds.
    George folds.
    Bobby A raises $3.00 to $5.00
    Steve calls $5.00
    John folds.
    Pete calls $5.00
    Wild Bill calls $5.00
    Steve folds.
    Bob calls $5.00
    Jimmy calls $4.00
    Ken folds.
    Total Pot is $32.00
    Flop is Jh Th 4c
    Jimmy checks.
    Bobby A checks.
    Steve opens for $11.00
    Pete folds.
    Wild Bill folds.
    Bob folds.
    Jimmy calls $11.00
    Bobby A folds.
    Total Pot is $54.00
    Turn is Ts
    Jimmy checks.
    Steve checks.
    Total Pot is $54.00
    River is 7h
    Jimmy checks.
    Steve opens for $16.00
    Jimmy calls $16.00
    Total Pot is $86.00
    Steve had As Td
    Jimmy had 3h 4h
    Effective Stacks: $150
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper Posts: 4,312 ✭✭✭✭✭
    kagey wrote: »
    (BTW... sometimes I count out my odds using chips as I'm contemplating whether or not to call or raise..... shhh... don't tell anyone!)

    This is the best thing I've read here in a while!

    Some of the more tedious poker vloggers should liven up misplaying their hands by doing this. I'd enjoy that.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Doug Hull wrote: »
    One guy, I wrote down every hand he played for like 20 hours. He was sitting next to me much of the time. He never seemed to notice. Oddly, when it was over and I offered him my notes, he was not interested. I would pay someone to annotate all my hands...

    I was watching a guy play the heads up Holdem computer outside the poker room at the Bellagio. One of the interesting things about the computer is that after every hand is over, you can hit the Peek button to see what cards the computer had. So this guy kept folding and I said to him "Did you know you can look at the computer's cards after any hand?" He said "Yeah I know, but I never do. That thing bluffs me and it drives me crazy to know when."

    Some people just don't wanna know.....

  • RedRed Red Chipper Posts: 2,396 ✭✭✭✭
    @Doug Hull Thanks for sharing your experience!

    This also goes in the same direction as I've read else where. I.e. after my last message (during the wait on my flight) I read different forums, articles and interviews. Apparently, it seems that there is no unique policy and every floor manager or director have their own acceptance of a poker player taking notes, during or out of the hand.
    This article of Eric Larcheveque shows interesting discussion and points of view, inclusive of Tournament Directors:

    I would do as you (Doug) says: switch room for a more notes-friendly one.

    Thanks all!
  • eugeniusjreugeniusjr Red Chipper Posts: 427 ✭✭✭
    I can't imagine players at my table would fail to notice me taking notes. They might not ask. Some who notice might not care. It seems most prudent to do this all on a smart phone. It should look like you are just texting away.

    (Will someone please develop firmware that allows me to record action and stacks at the table simply by looking at them? A camera in glasses perhaps?)
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
    They have voice recognition software - dictation - voice to text. Now if some genius could invent sight recognition software - video or pictures to text - that would be awesome.
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper Posts: 4,312 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • volcanovolcano Red Chipper Posts: 346 ✭✭
    Dont be this guy=
  • EazzyEazzy Red Chipper Posts: 1,018 ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    I take notes and write down hands on my Nexus 7 (7 inch android)...I use a program called fiinote....which I first designed a form (which I set as background)....

    The p;program lets you wright as big as you want, with underlines brackets circles t ect...and then fits it into the lined page..

    ..So I can do it with just my finger (despite terrible hand writing) and players have no idea that I'm not playing a game or whatever....

    I do it after a hand sometimes a few hands later. Like you I have some problems remembering hands write after I played them....

    But the thing to remember is it does not really don't take one hand home and see if it was played right....every hand should be thought of a multiple hands against multi types of opponents.....What if type thing....

    So if say you had an :Ah:Td:2h board and then :5d:2c run out....thats how you remembered the hand the went check bet call/ check bet call/ shove...

    And you want to know if you should have called with you :Qc:Ac hand......
    But your not sure which card was the diamond on the flop....if it was the ace he has less back door draws..and that might make a difference... An your not quite sure of the bet sizing... and perhaps the turn was a slightly different diamond.

    This is a great opportunity to think about the hand....if the A was the Diamond or not how would you have played in both cases ....if his river bet was pot, 1/2 pot, 1/3 pot 2/3 pot....which should be called and not called... would a slightly different turn card...maybe :9d make a difference as you now realize the :5d...puts 3 to a straight on the board...

    Buy thinking multiple scenarios around the hand you "remembered" you not only will probably hit the actual hand but also figure out how to play other similar hands in the future....

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