Ante Up readers beware: At this time of the year, one is likely to come up against players who have made their New Year’s poker resolutions. I have a good one for you: Keep accurate records.
Keeping records should be more than just recording wins and losses on scrap pieces of paper. One must be able to review your results and assess, adjust and strategize. I hope it’s not lost on you just how much is at stake. Here are a few tips:
• Get your results on a spreadsheet. Record time, date, game hours, money won/lost and keep separate columns for different games. Set up a different page for tournament results.
Also, make sure you have a notebook in your car or use the notes feature on your smartphone to get exact details down right away, so when you transfer your numbers, you’ll have accuracy.
False information might do more harm than no information. Is this starting to sound like work? Make this a labor of love. Have some fun with it. Just commit to 15 minutes daily. Having the information in front of you will assist you in finding leaks.
• Keep a few extra columns for variables. Bluffing is a record-keeping column that should be a must. Imagine a player who bluffs with success;he tends to increase his bluff frequency. Before long, opponents have wised up and our player starts getting caught and after taking a few big hits, he stops bluffing.
Without realizing it, he has gone from a winning player to negative and he has no idea why. Accurate records are a great tool. I can’t imagine running a business without records. If you take me on as a coach, I will insist on record keeping.
This is your job; make it fun. Poker is fun. Winning poker is really fun.
• Notes on opponents. Players who scout adversaries possess strong table awareness. They are more likely to pick up on patterns and even physical tells. Pitted against a player they have never faced, they have the uncanny ability to slide their opponent into a category that makes their decision process superior.
Try using your phone to take a few incognito photos. Once again, if you make this a fun endeavor, you will reap the rewards.
What is most hard to understand is how much information one misses while playing cards. By exercising your observation skills, you cannot help get better as you go.
Make improved record keeping your poker resolution and watch your profit margins grow. Hire a coach.
— Mark Brement has spent 15 years teaching and coaching all facets of poker, including at Pima CC. Email him at email@example.com.