poker note taking

poker note taking

If you want some good online poker advice, take it from me: poker note-taking is one of the great advantages of poker tracking software. Taking advantage of the notes that you keep, you can give yourself top quality poker advice about different players whom you consistently come up against when playing online poker.


With nearly all the top poker rooms, you have a notes function. You can take notes about players you find yourself facing in your favorite online casinos, and when you come across them again your program will tell you that you have "notes" on that players. These notes, which of course you have previously taken yourself, may say things like "BB Raise = Me Raise" or "PFR = Me Call". You are supposed to take notes based upon your observations of other players. Once you have a player well-documented, you can add him to your buddy list and follow him from table to table and use your knowledge of his playing style against him. You don't have to worry that you'll be figured out, at least by most players. Let's face it: most people just aren't that observant. Also, many online players are constantly engaged in multiple table games, and your target is likely to assume that he keeps winding up at some of the multiple tables that you're playing.


Poker note-taking online makes up for the disadvantages that you can have online vs. live play. Live, you can look for opponents' tells; however, most of those tells are erased in the relatively anonymous online poker environment.

Another great thing about it is you don't have to lose your mental notes on someone just because you retire for the night, as happens live. You can keep on revising your notes about a certain player if you keep on finding him and playing against him.

The disadvantage to poker note-taking online is that you run the risk of relying too much on your notes and not enough on immediate, in the moment observations. But if you use your notes correctly you make up for the reads you can't get on these mere icons and this can translate into some bigger bucks for you.

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Well, if you can't get good reads on tells online, then how are you supposed to take notes that will help you? Once you start taking notes you'll discover that there are tells, just not the usual ones, and these tells must be documented because you don't have the visual or emotional memory cues that you get from playing live.

So, what are these common poker tells?

  • Closely observe people's bet sizing, especially on showdowns. Once you get to know how they bet, you can figure out if they play hands for value or try to win big pots through aggression. Most poker players do one of these two things nearly exclusively and when they try to do the other one they're not that good at it. So if you find a player who bets conservatively on a continuation and wins the pot with a flush in a showdown after the river, they're the same type of player who would go all in with a pair of 8s after seeing the flop. In future games you can get a read on them by their bet sizes, especially if you have first been able to put them on a hand.
  • Also observe betting patterns. Many online players will fall into easy patterns, especially if they are novices who haven't done much to carve out their own style yet. They have no subtlety and after a few rounds they become pretty predictable. Then, thanks to your notes, you can act in erratic ways toward them when you bet and they'll never be able to read you while you read them.
  • Note timing. The player who has been checking all game but then suddenly goes all-in on the river is probably bluffing--because if he'd had anything good he would have been trying to sweeten his own pot up to that point. And sure enough, when you take your notes you'll find this to be the case 98% of the time. Also be wary of players who very suddenly start taking their full time limit to decide what to do--they, too, are probably bluffing. Note down the players who do these things.

Finally--also take notes on players who are not consistent with any of these patterns. You should soon enough be able to tell if they are either a card shark or if they have read this same article and are now trying to act as if they are falling into patterns when they aren't!

So, again, take my poker advice and give yourself some poker advice about the players you play against online with poker note-taking. Make sense?

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