Without having an online or live poker results database for all the sessions you’ve played, you can’t truly analyze your game. You need to understand where you make your money and how much money each aspect of your game makes you. Anyone who plays poker often enough should keep detailed poker records of their sessions.
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How Much Do You Really Win at Poker?
Most poker players in fact don't even have an actual bankroll management spreadsheet - they just split between real-life needs and their playing money. Just having a poker bankroll spreadsheet noting how much you come into the poker room with and how much you leave the poker room with isn’t an accurate representation. Do you crush $1/$2 for $30/h, but only beat $2/$5 for $15 an hour? It may be a bigger game with more money in play, but if you're not making as much money, why play it?
Almost all winning poker players become losing players at some specific limit. If the only live poker game tracking you do is your poker bankroll management excel numbers, you'll never know which limit is a money pit for you. Example: If you make $20/hour playing a $5/$10 game but lose $10 an hour playing $10/$20, as long as you play more hours of $5/$10 during the month at the end of it you'll end up with a profit. Because you see the month as being in the black you'll continue to play $10/$20 without realizing how much money it's costing you to do so.
More on How Not to Suck at Poker:
- Play Fewer Hands
- Play in Position
- Count Your Outs
- Learn Basic Odds
- Pay Attention
- Have a Bankroll
- Stop Bluffing
- Keep Your Mouth Shut
- Discuss the Game
Start a Poker Excel and Monitor Your Progress After Playing Here:
How to Keep Proper Poker Records
Pick your own poison:
- Poker Excel Spreadsheet or notepad
- In-app poker track tools, like a PokerStars log
- iPhone app (like Hot Poker Log)
Essential Poker Reports
- Legacy Results (A running total of profit/loss for all results)
- Monthly Results
You may also want to know how much you make per hour, how much you make per hour at a specific limit, your BB/hour or even what poker site you make the most money on. On this page, you can see an example of an Excel poker sheet set up to keep track of the essential poker information.
You can have the program run reports for specific months, limits, and dates. You can even have it automatically generate a graph from your legacy profits (see example picture below). Even though poker stats won't help you at the table directly, knowing where your strengths and weaknesses lie will indirectly help you make more profitable choices at the Texas Hold'em tables.
What Poker Results to Track
There is really no one right way to keep your poker records. The more information you record and track while playing poker, the more interesting reports you can create. It's up to you to decide how deep you want to go. Regardless, some poker log items are vital for all players to track poker winnings:
- Hours at the table (start time + end time)
- Total buy-in amount (including all top-ups and rebuys)
- Total cash-out amount
These poker records let you see your profits/losses, hourly rate, BB/hour ratio, yearly trends (what months are more or less profitable) and how many buy-ins deep you go in on average. If you're a casual player, this first set of poker results will do you just fine. If you want your records to be more informative, you can also keep track of:
- Specific players at the table
- Day of the week
- Time of day
Recording this data will help you figure out:
- Where you make the most money
- Which days of the week/times of day you tend to play best
- How your mood affects your poker results
- How specific opponents affect your poker results
- Which variants are most profitable for you
How to Keep Track of Your Own Hands Playing Live Poker
The best way to track live poker stats is to first write them down on your phone while at the table. When you get home put them into an Excel poker sheet, or just through an Excel app on your phone right away. This makes it simple to get instant reports and allows for more in-depth analysis.
If you've never done live poker tracking using Excel before there's no better time to start. Once you have even a rudimentary knowledge of the program you can start to create your stat-tracking poker spreadsheet. No need for any special live poker results tracker. Here's an example of a very simple stat-tracking setup:
The first five columns (A-E) need to be filled out by you but the last two can be populated by Excel automatically. To do that, you'll need to put a formula into each field. If you click on a field and enter an equal sign into that field Excel will discern that you're creating a formula.
- Result: =SUM(E2-D2)
- $/h: =PRODUCT(F2/B2)
Now when you add a new row of data into row three all you have to do is highlight the column with a formula you want to reuse, copy it and paste it into the new cell. bBetter yet you can use the Fill Down function. Use the mouse to select the cell with the formula, and all the cells below it you want the formula in, and hit CTRL-D (or use the "File" menu to select the option "Fill Down"). Now you have a simple poker excel sheet. To easily build other basic formulas use the built-in formula builders in Excel. All you have to do is follow the instructions, point and click.
How to Calculate BB/hour
If you want to get more advanced, do a little Googling and you can figure out how to run almost any report you can think of. For example, here's the formula to calculate your BB/h (based on a table layout like the one above):
- =PRODUCT(_(F2/(RIGHT(C2,LEN(C2)-FIND("*",SUBSTITUTE (C2,"-","*",LEN(C2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(C2,"-","")_)_)_)_)_)/B2)_)
*NOTE: All underscores ( _ ) need to be removed for this formula to work.
This formula is a fancy way of doing this: ((Result/BB)/Hours). All the stuff in the middle is just to get the big blind (or big bet if you're playing limit) from the Limit field. If you had two fields (Low-Limit and High-Limit) this formula would be much simpler. Regardless of how you choose to do it, you should track online poker results of every session you play. If you already do keep track of your sessions, start tracking more info about them. Used logically and truthfully the reports you generate will present you with practical ways to maximize your ROI.
Tricks for Turning Excel into a Poker Results Tracker
A block of solid data can be hard to read at a glance. Since none of us want to spend time trying to comprehend this, here's how to add some formatting to make your poker tracking spreadsheet easier to read.
Below you'll see negative values are in red (done with standard formatting). But by using the conditional formatting tool, you can make it more obvious and change the red text to this:
To do this you need to highlight the cell(s) you want to format and choose "Conditional Formatting" from the main "Home" toolbar. Now we want to highlight the boxes if they're negative, so choose "Highlight Cells Rule" then "Less Than." Then put 0 in the text box and choose red as the color.
Using the Excel Drop Down Box
For some entries you only ever choose one from a small selection of options. Rather than type these in each time (which can result in formatting errors and typos, which can break calculation codes), we can create a drop down box with your selection choices. The easiest way to do this is to use a named range. The first thing you need to do is click on a tab at the bottom of your poker cash game spreadsheet to go to a new page of the same document. As you can see our document has three parts:
We want to focus on the data page for this task. The first thing you want to do is create a list with all the values you want. Even though it's not required I recommend you do the same. Click on the column header and where it says B1 write in the name of that list; I chose Limits for the Limits List. Now go back to the sessions tab. Click on the box (or boxes) where you want the drop down and choose the data tab from the main toolbar. Click on the option named "Data Validation."
From here change the Allow field to "List" and in the source box write =Limits. If you named your range something else replace =Limits with =Whateveryouchoseasyourname. Now you'll have a dropdown with everything in that named range. If you like you can enter an input message when in the data validation dialog box. That will show up like this:
Here's a Site That Allows You to Track Progress:
Conditional Equations, or IF Statements
Here's how IF statements work in Excel: =IF(condition,output if true, output if false). Here are some other things you need to know:
- = : Equal to
- <> : Not equal to
- "" : Null, or no input
- AND(condition1,condition2) : Both conditions must be true to return a true result
- OR(condition1,condition2) : Either of the conditions must be true to return a true result
So, using the result field as my example, the equation in the box reads as:
This means that if both F2 and G2 have anything in them (they <> (do not equal) "" (blank)) then output G2 minus F2 to give us our result. If either box is empty, a standard formula will return an error, so with this IF statement it returns "" (blank) instead. Excel is able to do very detailed equations, in my Reports page I use nested IF statements, such as this:
As you can see, you can make it as complex as you like, depending on how fancy you want to get. The SUMIF function is a pretty useful little tool. Here's how it works:
=SUMIF(range to pick from, condition, range to add up)
Range to pick from - range of cells to use in formula, typically A2:A11, or a named range like I used.
Condition - Anything you want. If you wanted just results for one limit your condition would be "$2-$5".
Range to Add Up - This is what actually gets added. The range to pick from are dates, but we want to add up the results for those dates.
As you might have expected this is only scraping the surface of what you can do with the program. But for formatting online or live poker stats, this is about all you need to know. If you have any questions, drop them in the comments and I'll see what I can do.
Use Your Poker Results to: Do Better Here
Avoid the Spots That Cost You Money
At the very least you should be keeping track of how much you bought in for and how much you left with. As well as having a running total of all-time losses vs poker winnings tracker in your excel. Taking it one step further you should track things like when and where you're playing and what kind of opponents and games you were in. By looking closely at these stats you'll be able to focus on your strengths and avoid the spots that are costing you money.
Make a point of taking a few notes on your phone right after you finish every poker session. Then, on a weekly or monthly basis transfer that info to a cash game or poker tournament results spreadsheet. Once you get into taking more detailed records, Excel will help you organize and analyze all the information.
- The 5 Most Common Beginner Mistakes in Poker
- How to Fix Your Poker Mistakes
- Why (and How) to Take Proper Notes in Poker
Top Six Sickest Online Poker Graphs
The best part about online poker, compared to live, is that if you want to know someone's lifetime poker results it's pretty easy to find out. In live poker people win and lose money all the time and no one's really keeping track (sorry IRS). But online you can bring up a player's lifetime graph in a matter of seconds if you know the right places to look. Here at PokerListings.com we know all the right places to look. We've used our know-how to bring you the sickest graphs of all time. Let's get started.
Yes, the famous Viktor “Isildur1” Blum. First we have the infamous $5 million upswing (mostly thanks to Tom Dwan) followed by the $6 million downswing (most of it thanks to Brian Hastings). And last we have his most recent foray into the high stakes cash games. When isildur finally does go completely broke he can charge admission to ride the rollercoaster that is his graph.
Randy Lew aka Nanonoko has one of the sickest, seemingly variance free, graphs of all time. It looks so smooth because the guy puts in more volume than any player in the world. He shipped over a million last year at middle stakes alone!
4. Joe "jcada99" Cada
Hrmm what do we have here? Some small stakes, some more small stakes, some more small stakes, oooh a tourney bink and Main Event final table! Cada followed that up with some (failed) shots at bigger games. According to his graph it didn't work out very well for him.
Richierichzh was a somewhat serious poker player playing random tournaments whenever he found the time, until he shipped the biggest Sunday Million of all time and its $1.1 million first prize. Richierichzh and his graph became an instant legend. This is his poker tournament spreadsheet.
2. Ben Grundy
Ben Grundy posted his PLO graph, showing the world he's an almost $8 million winner over just 320,000 hands. What's even more surprising is that he's playing nosebleed PLO and he's never had a downswing worse than 10bis. AND THAT'S AT PLO.
1. Brian Hastings vs Isildur1
The biggest win in online poker in a single day belongs to Brian Hastings who, in a 2,900 hand session, took $4.2 million off the Swedish unknown Isildur1. He managed to completely break Isildur1 who took a couple months off to help ease the pain of running $3 million under equity.