Taking Notes in Online Poker

Having the option to take notes on opponents in online poker is one of the most overlooked features of playing at online poker tables. Unlike live poker, if you are playing reasonable cash game stakes online, $0.10/$0.25 or above, then you are going to encounter the same opponents in future sessions, since the total player pool is smaller with more regulars, and it only gets smaller the higher you move up in limits.

So, if you take notes about a certain player, then the next time you play against this same person, the same notes you took on them will show up next to the player’s avatar. The only time this isn’t true is if you uninstall the poker software without backing up player notes. If you need to reinstall your operating system or the poker client for whatever reason, make sure to save the notes folder which would be located in the main poker folder installed before reinstalling.

The more you play against a certain opponent, the more information you will know about this player, which you can use to your advantage. These reads will get more accurate over time and will help you to make those tough decisions, but unless you have photographic, then you can’t expect to remember everything that has happened in previous hands against a specific player. This is why taking notes in online poker is important as it will help you immensely in future hands.

When playing online poker, if you pick up information that describes an opponent’s general playing style, for example, knowing a player is a calling station, capable of light 3-betting, etc, then this information is definitely note worthy! Basically anything that is going to help your decision making is worth taking a note on.

Just don’t get in the habit of taking vague notes like “fish” or “donkey” isn’t going to help you much at all. There are different levels of fish in poker you will encounter. There are fish who call too much, there are fishy players that open tighter and will always c-bet but shut down on the turn. The point is you want to know more about an opponent’s playing tendencies, so you can know what to expect, and more importantly, how you should act and react to their play in order to play in the most optimal manner against them.

You want to pay close attention to hands that get to showdown and how they played them as that can give you a better picture of how you expect an opponent to play. The problem is that if you are thorough with your note taking which is a good thing because you can never take too many notes, that you will find yourself struggling to have sufficient time to take them.

This is why it’s crucial to have solid note taking abilities, because if you are multi tabling, then you are not going to have a great deal of time to take detailed player notes. You don’t need to take manual notes of every hand you’ve played against someone. By only taking notes on important hands, it will give you more time to actually play poker!

What you need to keep records of is how an opponent has played in certain situations, especially when they’ve played differently to what you would consider is “standard” play. It definitely helps to abbreviate your notes so that it takes less time to take them.

For example:

Bad Player Note: “Opened really big with pocket eights from the under the gun position, then shoved all in when three-bet from player on the button.”

Good Player Note: “Opened 6x bb /w 88 UTG and 4bet shoved vs BTN 3bet.”

As you can see from the above example, you can get the same amount of information in much less space. It shouldn’t take more than one line to describe the action that took place in a hand. Simply abbreviate positions, hand combinations, and betting actions.

You can also abbreviate on the various types of playing styles. These can be combined of course for various kinds of players:

TAG – Tight Aggressive

LAG – Loose Aggressive

TP – Tight Passive

LP – Loose Passive

This give you an idea about a a players general playing style, but you want to try and get better reads on a player’s tendencies. For example, do they always continuation bet on the flop if they were the pre-flop raiser? How do they size their pre-flop raises? Do they have a standard raise amount or do they vary their bet sizing in relation to their position at the table or their hand strength?

When all of this information is combined, it’s going to give you a much more accurate read on your opponents so you can be more confident if they are weak/strong in certain situations. Like, for example, if you have a note that a player is c-betting 100% of the time, and they’re raising a decent number of hands before the flop, then you can expect them to have a weak range on the flop when they c-bet.