Taking notes at the table. What do I write down?

DabbyDabby Red Chipper Posts: 84 ✭✭
So, I want to start taking notes at the table to improve my play. What kind of stuff do I write down? I understand I can write down certain hands where I felt uncomfortable, or questioned whether I made the right move or not. But is there anything else I should be keeping track of? Does anyone else have a method that they use when taking notes? I searched a bit, and found some people recommending apps and such. But I'm curious about he contents of the notes themselves. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!
Tagged:

Best Answers

«1

Answers

  • kenaceskenaces Red Chipper Posts: 1,523 ✭✭✭✭
    I use app to track win/loss..

    I just take note of interesting spots. Sometimes hands I had close decisions in or just F-up, other time I just have random thought about someone else hand/line/situation.

    I also give myself a grade of A/B/C, and estimate of my luck in a session 0EV/+EV/-OE. These were ideas from MGOP book.
  • jimbo123jimbo123 Red Chipper Posts: 107 ✭✭
    I use Evernote, and some short-handed notation.

    e.g. CO AK BB fish. AK9t 2 3 10 25 60 130

    means I raise CO AK, BB a fish calls. Flop AK9, I cbet 25 flop, 60 turn 130 river. I sometimes clean it up if I'm giving hand to someone.

    My own [admittedly blunt, blind sighted] opinion of writing notes at the table in a moleskin book is that its looks completely ridiculous. Thats me though.

  • MattPMattP Red Chipper Posts: 100 ✭✭
    I still struggle with this myself, so these ideas are helpful. I like some of the shorthand notes above.

    I generally use Evernote on my phone to try and jot down quick hand details for significant hands. The catch is that I generally like to be paying attention to hands & players rather than messing with the phone at the table. Later, if I take a break and step away from the table, I'll make notes about specific players. I'd note a tendency and indicate if I've seen something multiple times. If I see that player more than once, I'll add to their notes. Some examples:

    "Tony"
    * slow plays a monster post flop; watch for that (2x)
    * stacked off twice with a pair... gets attached to big pairs, oberplays (3x)

    "Mike"
    * made speeches when holding a set (2x)
    * very still, quiet after bluff with mediocre hand on super wet board on turn....
    * called shove on wet board with bottom two pair
    * called down board with 4 to a straight with two pair
    * pays off with medium hand vs board with flush and straight (he WILL pay off big bet with non-nut hand)
  • DabbyDabby Red Chipper Posts: 84 ✭✭
    @Red When you take notes during a hand, how are you able to hide said notes from other players while writing them? Obviously you don't want them to know that you noticed "Y" when he raises "X" etc. And obviously you don't want the other plays to see the notes about your hole cards. Also, does this significantly delay the action? Just curious, as I've never seen anyone doing this at my local card room.

    @Chibber Well that's just it. I don't know what I want to take notes of. I'm new to studying poker at all. I'm so used to just playing, and doing so with my gut. Sure I tried to notice patterns of people's bets and such, but that's about it. So I need to know what kind of info to track that will be useful for me to study later on, or maybe some hands to post on here for some guidance.

    @MattP Good tips on the writing down the "other" stuff. The speeches thing, etc. I will try to lookout for that stuff, and write it down. If it turns out to be nothing, then oh well.

    @jimbo123 Good tip on the shorthanded notations. Last night at the table I had a situation where I thought I didn't make a profitable move. So I spent the next 2 hands trying to detail it out in my notes app on my iphone. Which might have caused me to miss more information.

    @kagey Yeah, I started out with using the Notes app on my phone do avoid causing suspicion about me taking notes. However, people may catch on, as sometimes when I'm not part of a hand I ask things like "Was there a preflop raise there?" "By who? how much?" etc. I ask these things because I often am pretty forgetful/lack focus. I'm working on that part. Which is where taking notes really kicks in. Often at the end of a session, I don't remember many details about any of the hands. Which is a problem.

    @kenaces Giving myself a grade is tough, when I don't even know what I'm grading. So for now, I'll auto-fill that with "F" lol. As for the +EV/0EV/-EV, how do I really know at the time if it was a +EV play? Perhaps that will come more naturally as a get more into studying.

    Thanks guys for all your input thus far. I'm really trying to get myself to think deeper about hands and poker in general. I'm hoping putting things down on "paper" will help me think about things on another level.

  • RCP Coach - Fausto ValdezRCP Coach - Fausto Valdez RCP Coach Posts: 859 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Hey @Daniel B you should write down any instances where your mind goes blank in a decision and you dont know what to do .. or ... any instances u felt uncomfortable

    Then ask yourself after the game why u felt that way? And correct or research how to improve on what could be a flaw and become a beast

    Rinse and repeat
    COACHING NOW AVAILABLE HERE
    MY COACHING REVIEWS HERE
  • ChibberChibber Red Chipper Posts: 380 ✭✭✭
    @danielb

    Keep things simple at first. Maybe just write down a few basics related to your play.
    For example -

    3 limps, Hero CO J8cc and I called, folded, raised to X. Why?

    Hero open raised to X with AKo from MP, 3 callers, flop AT3r. Hero bet // checked. Why?

    Hero has been card dead for X orbits, 5 callers to Hero in SB with A5o. Hero completes. Why?


    As you get an idea of what you want to capture then you can tailor your notes from there.
  • RCP Coach - Fausto ValdezRCP Coach - Fausto Valdez RCP Coach Posts: 859 ✭✭✭✭
    Hey @Daniel B you should write down any instances where your mind goes blank in a decision and you dont know what to do .. or ... any instances u felt uncomfortable

    Then ask yourself after the game why u felt that way? And correct or research how to improve on what could be a flaw and become a beast

    Rinse and repeat

    Meant to write @Dabby
    COACHING NOW AVAILABLE HERE
    MY COACHING REVIEWS HERE
  • DabbyDabby Red Chipper Posts: 84 ✭✭
    Hey @Daniel B you should write down any instances where your mind goes blank in a decision and you dont know what to do .. or ... any instances u felt uncomfortable

    Then ask yourself after the game why u felt that way? And correct or research how to improve on what could be a flaw and become a beast

    Rinse and repeat

    Meant to write @Dabby

    Looks like my username just got changed! Either way, I appreciate your advice!
  • ChibberChibber Red Chipper Posts: 380 ✭✭✭
    Chibber wrote: »
    @danielb

    Keep things simple at first. Maybe just write down a few basics related to your play.
    For example -

    3 limps, Hero CO J8cc and I called, folded, raised to X. Why?

    Hero open raised to X with AKo from MP, 3 callers, flop AT3r. Hero bet // checked. Why?

    Hero has been card dead for X orbits, 5 callers to Hero in SB with A5o. Hero completes. Why?


    As you get an idea of what you want to capture then you can tailor your notes from there.

    Intended for dabby
  • kenaceskenaces Red Chipper Posts: 1,523 ✭✭✭✭
    just take note in evernote app on phone and then they sinc to laptop for later review

    the A/B/C is just note on my mental game performance

    the EV is just my estimate if i was very lucky or unlucky in given session
  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 2,241 ✭✭✭✭✭
    kenaces wrote: »
    the A/B/C is just note on my mental game performance

    the EV is just my estimate if i was very lucky or unlucky in given session

    @kenaces I've heard some coaches/players talk about the ABC & EV rankings... and wondered what benefit do you get from it? (Not saying there is no benefit.)
    I've never tried it - but on the surface, I don't really see the value.

    Say I played my "A" game and lost $500 - then next week played a "B" game and won $1k... would that mean that I should play a more low variance/spewy game?
    Or if I was "lucky" (hit lots of sets) and won $1k but next week was unlucky and lost $600... how does that contribute to future evaluations? (Seriously asking... not trying to be jerk. It's an intriguing idea that I've heard before so it's totally novel...)

    In my accounting software - I do occassionally put in notes like KK vs AA or JJ vs AQs... just as a reminder that I lost a flip or was in a spot where variance wins. (So this is in essence a type of EV ranking... to "excuse" my poor performance...)

    But unsure of the ranking idea... would like to know how that factors into determining your growth....

  • kenaceskenaces Red Chipper Posts: 1,523 ✭✭✭✭
    I can't recall all the reasons - you have to check out MGOP. I think the idea of the EV note was to help realize and appreciate the variance in poker and to help build what Tendler called stable confidence.

    I will say that anything that helps to raise my awareness and create feedback loops is good. These days the ABC and +-EV notes just take a second and only occasionally will I delve more deeply into them.

    Most of my time is spent think about spot or HH and exploring it in detail with some software.

  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 2,241 ✭✭✭✭✭
    MGOP = mental game of poker!
    I'm sure that's where I heard about this idea a while back.

    Will give it some more thought.
    Like I said, I guess I'm already doing the "unlucky" side of the equation on bad days so I can determine that it was a bad variance day and not a poor performance day. I guess the ABC grade is more to have you realize how often or when your at the top of your game and when your not. (Might be more applicable for online players maybe?)
  • kenaceskenaces Red Chipper Posts: 1,523 ✭✭✭✭
    I think it is applicable to both online and live play
  • EazzyEazzy Red Chipper Posts: 1,018 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    for me I have a general model of how I think the general public palys, and most classes of player play. My base lines are made to maximize EV against these assumptions. Things like small bets mean week hands, big bets mean strong hands. 3 bets or AA or KK (maybe QQ and AK). Large river bets are not one pair hands..

    If I have KK on an A high board I assume most Regs will only bluff an Ace high once so I plan to check/call and check/fold the turn, if I see a reg bluff twice when checked to on and A high board, I note it and change my line.

    I like to think how regs (and other players like lags) play each part of the range. How do they play bluff catcfhers....big hands...draws.

    A min raise by a reg on a two tone flop means top pair ok kicker ( ...where am I at...type thing (my assumption). I have a base way of handling these plays. But once I see a "reg" make a min raise on the flop, get called then make a big bet on the turn....or the reg show up with a set, or a draw, I note these things, as they are exceptions to my rules, and change the way I play against that reg.

    If you model how you think your opponents play. Write it down. How do they play draws, big hands ect. Even if your wrong, make a guess and write it down. Then as you watch you can note players who don't play the way you think they play. If lots do, it then change your assumptions of how the general public plays, and note the ones who don't follow that.

    Use your assumptions to put players on hands when your not in a hand. If it proves wrong then make a note...if proven write don't bother he plays the way you think.

    When ever I find a reg who's style gives me trouble, I write everthing I can about him. Make copious notes take them home, think how they fit together and model that player. Go back and see if the new model lets me hand read him better next time, If its not working, make new assumptions and see if they give me a better feel. I had a player who seems to float a lot. would bet if checked to. I assumped that was what he was doing....but it did not quite work in hand reading him...wrote down a bunch of hands he played, took them home brain stormed....now I thought he loose preflop, overvalues bluff catchers...goes for very thin value when checked to. Has bet tells.....boom next time I played him it was like his hands were face up.




  • RedRed Red Chipper Posts: 2,396 ✭✭✭✭
  • RedRed Red Chipper Posts: 2,396 ✭✭✭✭
    Dabby wrote: »
    @Red When you take notes during a hand, how are you able to hide said notes from other players while writing them? Obviously you don't want them to know that you noticed "Y" when he raises "X" etc. And obviously you don't want the other plays to see the notes about your hole cards. Also, does this significantly delay the action? Just curious, as I've never seen anyone doing this at my local card room.
    @Dabby
    First of all I don't hide taking note. If a player asks me, I will show them a blank sheet (or an uninteresting hand when they want to see notes). I even gives one sample if they ask. But I don't take notes in the broad light either.
    First because I don't want them to see what I'm writing down - which included some notes about them, and my hands. Second because it's usually not allowed to have anything on the table. So I put the sheets on my right leg; use my right hand to write, my left one to play. It's hard for anybody to see anything; and I put a finger on my written hand to hide it at any time. To help avoiding any peeks, I always try to sit to the direct left of the dealer; so the best place to get a look on my right leg / my sheets is taken by the dealer.

    I also don't hide noting to the floorman. I always ask him if I I'm allowed to take notes - none of them denied it so far (even if they were surprised, as I was always the first very first one who want to take notes), but after an issue in Dublin when I didn't inform the floorman first, I think it's preferable.

    Taking note shall not delay the action. For that I always note when any action is done. Thus I only lose 1-2 seconds when the action arrived to me. (It's not easy when they play very fast, esp. postflop on a very dry or very wet board). Also I look at my hand asap preflop, to know if I will play it - i.e. if I've to note preflop actions. I know this gives a strong tell to my opponents - they know if I want to give action or fold - , but that the price I pay to have proper preflop notes.

    Finally I want to say: noting during the game is really hard. You lose a lot of concentration as part of your brain focus on taking good notes and no more on the actions and profiling. My first session taking notes was a disaster: lost everything AND the notes were unusable. You need practice, and a sheet you're comfortable to use.


    PS: I've not seen anybody noting either. Maybe some on an app (hard to see what they do with their mobile), but never with paper.
  • bigburge10bigburge10 Red Chipper Posts: 1,311 ✭✭✭✭
    I use the Notes app on my iPhone. Here's a exact note I took:

    Straddled pot, UTG 2 opens to $50, I raise to $150 with AcTc. He calls. Flop 4c9h3s. I bet $150, he calls. Turn 6d. Check check. River Kd. He bets $600. Effective starting stack are $1200. Tough card for him to bet $600 as it smashes my range. Maybe set of 9's?

    Also, I take similar notes of hands that I witness and find interesting or worth exploring.

    I was exploring hand history apps, but I can't say that I found one I was loving. Poker Analytics has the best hand history app, but I still find the Notes app better. To me, entering info into these apps is clunky.
  • RedRed Red Chipper Posts: 2,396 ✭✭✭✭
    @Dabby : I respond you, but my answer got lost somewhere after I edited it. And now I'm feeling too lazy to write down all over again. Maybe it will appear again after it as been "validated"...

    In short: I said I don't hide that I'm taking notes (but nobody cares). I write with my right hands, sheets on my rights leg; and play with my left hand. But I hide what I note.
    With practice, there is only few seconds delay so no bother.

    But it's a difficult exercise. You loose part of your concentration as you focus on the sheets and not on the game. You need a sheet/app which suit you and your needs. (My 1st noting session was -100BB and useless notes.)
  • kenaceskenaces Red Chipper Posts: 1,523 ✭✭✭✭
    Red wrote: »
    In short: I said I don't hide that I'm taking notes (but nobody cares).

    people are going to notice this

    just because they haven't said anything(surprising) doesn't mean they don't care

    I don't know how large the effect of this is as I have never done, but anything that make the game "more serious" isn't good for the game. ie if people see one player paying sooo much attention that they have to take notes people will try to play better


  • RedRed Red Chipper Posts: 2,396 ✭✭✭✭
    kenaces wrote: »
    Red wrote: »
    In short: I said I don't hide that I'm taking notes (but nobody cares).

    people are going to notice this

    just because they haven't said anything(surprising) doesn't mean they don't care

    I don't know how large the effect of this is as I have never done, but anything that make the game "more serious" isn't good for the game. ie if people see one player paying sooo much attention that they have to take notes people will try to play better


    By "they don't care" I wanted to say that all of them were fine with me taking notes.

    It's possible it changes some behaviors, but so far I've not noticed anything (I didn't face more strange or tricky bets, not more C-R, not more or less fold than before or else).
    What's sure is that I show a strong preflop tell. If I want to note well enough, I've to look at my cards asap and decide very early if I want to take action or not - if yes, I will / have to write down all preflop actions before it comes to me. I know I leak my intention to play, but I consider this as a price for good preflop notes. (Also, even with this tell I've not noticed any significant preflop play so far neither.)

    So sure they notice, but they don't adapt / don't know how to adapt.
  • kenaceskenaces Red Chipper Posts: 1,523 ✭✭✭✭
    you are writing down every hand??????

    OK not only are you not helping to create fun game by being mr note taker:
    -you are giving off preflop tells
    -likely missing other information as you are busy noting something that isn't going to help you learn(is folded 72o after action xxxx)

    Just create and memorize solid preflop game and focus on applying that. Then use extra time/attention to focus on postflop play, and just note stuff worth later study.
  • RedRed Red Chipper Posts: 2,396 ✭✭✭✭
    @kenaces
    Yes I'm writing down all of them (when I'm in the hand ofc). I'm totally aware of the downside you cited, but I've no other choice...

    On one side I don't know a priori which hand is gonna be more interessant postflop. Sometimes a casual hand turns to Hell on the Turn or River. So I prefer to write down every actions, even if at the end there is few to analyze. But still there is always something to learn from apparent boring hands.
    On the other side, I've a terrible active memory. I've a great passive memory but my active one not really. So if I wait the end of the hand, I've already forgotten some details, like preflop bet sizes or which cards were suited on the flop. I remember the concept - like Villain c-bet tptk on a wet MW board - but not the details. And I want these for my off table analysis. Hence I pay this with more notes.

    Yep I'm not the funniest when I'm busy noting, and I'm not on my a-game. That's also why I only note some sessions and not all of them.
    Don't worry for my games neither :) ; your consideration is appreciated
  • kenaceskenaces Red Chipper Posts: 1,523 ✭✭✭✭
    Red wrote: »
    @kenaces
    Yes I'm writing down all of them (when I'm in the hand ofc). I'm totally aware of the downside you cited, but I've no other choice...

    smart phone + evernote :)

  • kenaceskenaces Red Chipper Posts: 1,523 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    sorry to hear your memory sucks

    Could this be a matter of focus? more experience? I know my ability to remember details of HH has improved as I have gained experience/knowledge of game.
  • RedRed Red Chipper Posts: 2,396 ✭✭✭✭
    kenaces wrote: »
    sorry to hear your memory sucks.

    Not my whole memory is bad haha

    What I name "active" and "passive" memory are named in English explicit memory and implicit memory.

    I've never been good with my explicit memory. Learning a new language, esp. vocabulary, is hard for me (was hell at school). But I have a great implicit memory. Learning mathematics is easy for me (was easy at school) - so it was to learn how to handle Flopzilla.
  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 2,241 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @kenaces .... @Red plays overseas.... so that makes a difference too.
    But I've heard stories of players being asked NOT to take notes at the table because it's some sort of invasion of privacy.... and makes others feel uncomfortable.

    hey - if it works for you - and you get no flack from floor... carry on!

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Emoji
Image
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file