Online Poker – Player Note Taking
Being able to take notes on other players is something unique to online poker. Most online poker rooms have a feature that allows the tagging of different players with notes. Most players never take advantage of these note taking features. If you were to start using these features effectively it could give you a significant advantage over your opponents.
Learning to be an effective online poker note taker can take some work. To be an effective you need to create a system. Just writing random notes may help you in one session, but not in the future. You should know what you are looking for and how to write it down so you will understand it later.
What to Look For
As part of your note taking system you need to have a list of information you want to collect. You want to keep your notes simple but informative. So, what exactly should you be watching for in your opponents? Let’s take a look at the top three points of interest you should note when observing your opponents’ play.
The best place to start is by determining the playing style of your opponents. There are four basic styles of play in poker (read more about playing styles here). Watch the way your opponents play their hands. Are they playing a tight aggressive, tight passive, loose aggressive or a loose passive style? Once you have determined their playing style, use an abbreviation to describe their style.
Tight Aggressive – TA
Tight Passive – TP
Loose Aggressive – LA
Loose Passive – LP
Knowing at what position your opponent may play a hand is important information that will help you make pre-flop decisions. You can break down position into three parts of the table, early, middle and late position. Keep track of the number of times they play in each position. This can be vital information after the turn, when used with other notes.
Early Position – EP
Middle Position – MP
Late Position – LP
Once you have their position noted you can add for each time you find them playing that position, this will give you a good ratio over time.
You won’t be able to see every hand your opponent plays, but it is important to keep track of them. Make sure to keep this information with the position they played. Example of abbreviations would look like this AA, AJs, 1009
Here is what your notes should look like so far:
J10 AKs 55
These notes let you know how your opponent will play their hand, where and what range of hands from each position.
Note Taking Summary
We have reviewed the three key pieces of information you should have in your notes, there are a number of others that you could include, such as the number of draws played, betting size and if they use continuation bets. The most important thing is to keep this information organized and to use abbreviations that you can remember at a later time.
If you are consistent with your note taking you will have a strong advantage over your opponents. Remember that having a good set of notes on a player won’t happen within only in a few hands. This is why it is important to be consistent and have a systematic way of taking your notes.