re: Poker & Taking Notes
I brought this over from my Thread, which was posted once before I did by Al
Here is a template of my player notes:
(Tricky/Good/Ok/Poor) :: (Tight/Semi-Tight/Loose)/(Maniac/Agg/Solid/Caller/Passive) :: (PSER / NO PokerStars) :: (BLUFFER!)(Tricky/Good/Poor)
Bets: (Draw / Top pair / TP weak kicker / Mid pair / Low pair / trips, etc)
No Bets: (Draw / Top pair / Mid pair / Weak kicker / Low pair, etc)
PR: (Cards) NOPR: (Cards) TRN: (Cards)
This is my overall view of the player when I need to take a quick look and figure them out. You should usually only note this down after many hands, when you have got a good sense of whether or not this player is a complete moron (poor) or card shark (Good/Tricky/Solid). This is most useful actually after you've left the table and meet this person again somewhere down the road. This piece of information alone will give you a good idea of how to deal with this person.
A very important note to take down when you need information. Tight players are those that are selective about their hands and won't see too many pots or showdowns. Loose players are the opposite and will play many hands. So for example, when a tight player is in the pot with you and is raising what seems like rags on the board, you should start to get a hunch that they're either holding complete crap or have a monster like trips waiting for you. For poor players however, they could quite likely have paired the rags. If there are high cards on the table however, a tight player will more likely to have paired, while the poor player is more likely to not have paired, or is holding a weak kicker.
This is the demeanor of the player, which combined with how Tight/Loose they are, should tell you *a lot* about their hand strength. Maniacs are people who bet everything under the sun and bluff at all sorts of pots. Agg means aggressive, which doesn't necessarily mean bluffer, but this person will bet with any kind of strength, be it a draw, low pair, mid pair, Ace high and so on. Solid is a player who plays the game straight up, meaning they'll bet strong cards and fold when they are weak or have nothing. Callers are those who don't bet often, but will call many bets and raises to the river. Passive players are Callers who just never, ever, ever bet. So, an example combination would be Loose/Caller, which should tell you this guy is going to be in the pot with you with just about anything, so you shouldn't always be afraid if he calls your raise. If you have a Tight/Solid player however, then any bets or calls from this guy could be a warning sign for you.
(PSER / NO PokerStars)
Short for "Pot stealer" or "Pot shooter". This means this person will bet at the pot when it's been checked to them and they are in late position. I find this specific piece of information very useful, because while many players just don't bluff, many players do like to try and steal the pot in this situation. Players who consistently do this, you can setup with a check-raise trap or even a check-raise bluff. A lot of times when you also want to make a call, this is important information when you want to know if someone is just trying to steal the pot or actually has strength.
This is an optional tag that I don't use often, but when I do, it means this player is a major bluffer and needs to be called down when there is ANY shred of doubt. A number of players will *always* raise/re-raise a trip or flush threat (among other things) to try and scare people out. These players need to be called or raised if you have any kind of strength (although that said, watch out for players with stronger hands calling the bluffer too).
I don't have anything written for this field for most players, simply because in my opinion, tells
are a bit overrated than what they actually are. Especially in online poker. That being said, some players *do*
have tells that will give their hand away. The most common descriptors you'll see in my notes are simple and to the point:
- PAUSE = MONSTER (a drawn out delay means this person has the nuts or close to it)
- AUTO = MONSTER (auto means they use the 'Raise anything' button that bets out immediately)
- CR = MONSTER (cr = check-raise)
Note that I will only write these tells when I'm pretty darn sure after seeing this behavior enough times. If I'm not sure, I'll add a (?) to the end of it and verify it later. Otherwise, I don't want to fold a hand when I'm not really sure if they have the nuts or not. But otherwise, when I do have this tell, I know to basically fold when the person does this.
Bets: (Draw / Top pair / TP weak kicker / Mid pair / Low pair / trips)
This is getting into the fine details of this person's behavior. This is where you specifically write down what kinds of hands this player bets with. Does he only bet with top pair, or with low pair and mid pair too? What kind of kicker does he bet with? (very important!)
. By tracking these, you can then figure out what category of player this person falls into (Agg/Solid/Caller/Passive).
No bets: (Draw / Top pair / Mid pair / Weak kicker / Low pair, etc)
Exact opposite of the above, you can also tell a lot about a player by what they're *not* willing to bet. Are they the type to just check on the flop if they have trips? Do they not bet their flush/straight draw?
Will they not raise with a King high flush? Little notes like these can give you a fine aspect of this person's game.
PR or PF (Cards):
Short for "pre-flop raise". Also referred to as PF. What I list after PR is the actual hands I see this person pre-flop raising with. This is usually very important information, because you will always stand to lose the most money when you hold a dominated hand. And most of the time, you won't know if you're dominated until you flip those cards over. Because most people only raise strong cards pre-flop, you can tell with varying degrees of success how powerful your opponents' cards are. A large group of players will only raise three hands: AA, KK and AK. If you can catch onto this and note it down, the next time they PR, you'll know to fold your hand quite quickly, even if you're holding a hand like AJ or possibly even AQ - which will save you lots of money in the long haul. Versus a hyper-aggressive player, if you notice them raising pre-flop with K2o, you'll also be well prepared to call their PR if you hold ATo or another moderately strong hand.
NOPR or NOPF (Cards):
Short for "no pre-flop raise", the exact opposite of the above. Why mention this? Sometimes, there are players who never raise AA, KK, AKs, QQ, JJ or many other strong hands. Then suddenly, they'll bite you on the flop with some unexpected raises. By recording this information down, you can possibly tell if that person is hiding something strong that they didn't let anyone know about pre-flop.
Short for "Train" as in the locomotive. I use this metaphor when someone will pretty much bet these hands to the river without any hesitation or thought; when they've already decided before the flop what they plan on doing. This is not a compliment. What this usually indicates is that this person will over play certain hands because he/she thinks they are strong and can just force people out of the pot. A common theme is marking people as "TRN: AK", which means they will bet big-slick like there is no tommorow, even if they don't pair on the river. I also use it when they train a draw, like "TRN: flush draw", as many people seem to fall under that category.
Short for "plays". This is a listing of what kind of cards this particular player will play. An example would be "p: 95o,A5s,23s.." and so on. This is useful because a quick look at your notes will tell that this player is a garbage collector, as opposed to another player with the notes "p: ATs, KQ, AJ, TT..". An important thing to mention is to ignore the players in the big and small blind when taking notes on what hands they play, since they'll automatically be playing those hands for the most part.
Other acronyms I use when taking player notes also:
- RR: Raises (Example: RR top pair)
- RRx: Re-raise multiple times (Example: RRx flush draw)
- (Cards)*: Usually this means they'll play this hand when it has been raised (Example: "p:TT**" means they'll play TT even with two raises pre-flop)
And finally, some pointers when taking notes:
- Don't directly insult players in your notes, it'll make you play worse against that person
- Following the above, don't take notes after a bad beat, calm down and make a note later
- Don't be so excessive about your note taking that you miss out on the action
- Don't always take notes when people play good cards (KQ, QJ, KJ, etc). Everyone plays good cards, it's a given.
- If it can't all fit on the notes screen, it's not going to be useful in a pinch.
- Don't worry about keeping your notes neat and tidy. I try but often fail. As long as it's useful, it's good.
Anyhow, that's pretty much my system of player notes. Don't think of this as a defacto standard; this is just what I use and what works for me. If you have no system, hopefully this will get you thinking to what kind of things you want to jot down when you play