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Not keeping a record of your wins and losses at the poker table is one of the biggest ways people suck at poker. In the penultimate episode of our beginner strategy video series How Not to Suck at Poker we teach you the easiest ways to get started tracking your poker results. It's as easy as jotting down a few notes on your phone or in a journal after each session but it's something most poker players fail to do well. Watch the video to find out the most critical information you should be recording, plus a few more detailed statistics you can use to figure out where your profits are coming from and where your losses are greatest. Video Transcript: Most recreational poker players try keep a running tally of how much they’re winning and losing but the truth is, people naturally downplay their losses and only remember their wins. There’s lot of people out there who believe they're breaking even or better. If they kept good records they’d be forced to be honest with themselves and work on improving their game. And if you’� re actually a winning player, you need good records to figure out how much you’re winning and where your profits are coming from. If you’re only playing online poker, tracking your results is really easy. Buy a quality software program like PokerTracker or Hold’em Manager and check out the articles PokerListings.com for detailed instructions on how to use it. Live poker results are a lot harder to keep track of and since a lot of players are just taking cash straight out of their bank account to play each session, this is where most rec players get into trouble. The easiest way to get started is to buy a simple journal and write down the most important information about your poker session every time you play.At the very least you should keep track of how much you win and lose each day as well as a running total of your all-time wins or losses. Once you’ve played for a few months you’ll start to get a clear idea of whether you’re winning or losing.
Not keeping accurate records is one of the biggest ways that people suck at poker. Most recreational players do try to keep a running tally of their wins and losses. But the truth is people naturally downplay their losses and only remembered their wins. There's a lot of people out there who really believe that they're breaking even or better at poker. If they kept accurate and honest records, they'd be forced to be honest with themselves and work harder on improving their games. And if you are a winning player, it's really important to keep good records to know how much you're winning and where most of your profits are coming from.
If you're just playing online poker, keeping a detailed record is super easy. Just buy a quality software program like Poker Tracker or Hold'em Manager and check out the articles on pokerlistings.com to find out how to use it. Live poker results are a lot tougher to track. And since a lot of players are taking money directly out the ATM every time they play, this is where most recreational players get into trouble. The easiest way to get started is to use your smartphone or a simple journal and write down the most important information about every session right after you play.
At the very least, you should be keeping track of how much you win or lose each day as well as the running tally of your all-time wins or losses. After a few months, you'll start to get a really clear idea of whether you're actually winning or losing. Either way, keeping a record is going to help motivate you to work harder and improve your game. On a weekly or monthly basis, spend some time transferring the information from your phone or your journal to a spreadsheet program like Excel. Once you start keeping track of more than just your wins and losses, Excel will make it really easy to analyze all the information.
There are tons of helpful statistics that you can track beyond just how much you're winning and losing. Some of the most important include when, where and for how long you played each session, what game you're playing and the opponents that you're up against. Once you've got a bit of history down on paper, you can analyze that information and use it to make better decisions about when and where you play. For example, you might find out that almost all of your profits come from paying cash games at the casino just on the weekends, or that you're actually losing a ton against just a couple of really good players. Use this information to focus on your strengths and avoid or improve the spots that are costing you money. And if you live in a country that taxes gambling winnings, it's really important to keep a good record so you can deduct your losses and not pay too much tax when you do hit a big score.
On the next episode of how not to suck at poker, we'll explain why discussing hands with better players is the single best way to take your poker game to the next level.