Even the most honest and able-minded poker players have a tendency to distort the truth about their results from their poker sessions.
Most poker players in fact don't even have a physical poker bankroll - money that is only used for poker.
Their money is split between real-life needs and their poker playing.
Without keeping stats, it can be really easy to lose track of exactly how well you're doing at the poker table.
How Much Do You Really Win at Poker?
Out-of-pocket players like this are only concerned with two numbers:
- The amount of money they come into the poker room with.
- The amount of money they leave the poker room with.
If you want to not suck at poker you'll need to know exactly how much you win or lose at a specific game or limit.
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?
Ultimately you need to know exactly where your strengths and weaknesses are (yes, you have weaknesses).
How to Keep Proper Poker Records
There is really no one right way to keep your records. The only thing that matters is you keep all the information you need to get a complete perspective.
Pick your own poison:
- Pad of paper and a pencil
- Excel spreadsheet
- Online stat tracking
- iPhone stats app (such as the Hot Poker Log. Seriously, it's actually named the Hot Poker Log)
- Start time
- End time
- Total amount of buy-ins
- Cash-out amount
- Limit played
- Location played
The more information you keep track of, the more reports you'll be able to run. Some reports are more valuable than others.
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.
If you click on the main picture in this article you can see an example of an Excel spreadsheet set up to keep track of the essential information.
Depending on how savvy you are with Excel, you can have the program run reports for specific months, limits, dates ... anything you want. You can even have it automatically generate a graph from your legacy profits (see example picture below).
You can never have too much data but you can find yourself with too little. Take note of everything.
It really doesn't take that much time to do. And with honest, accurate notes, you'll be able to stand back and take an objective look at your game.
Even though 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.
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 a running total of your all-time wins or losses.
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 in a journal or on your smart phone right after you finish every poker session. Then, on a weekly or monthly basis transfer that info to a spreadsheet program like Excel.
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
Check out the video below for more:
More on How Not to Suck at Poker:
- How Not to Suck at Poker: Play Fewer Hands
- How Not to Suck at Poker: Play in Position
- How Not to Suck at Poker: Count Your Outs
- How Not to Suck at Poker: Learn Basic Odds
- How Not to Suck at Poker: Pay Attention
- How Not to Suck at Poker: Have a Bankroll
- How Not to Suck at Poker: Stop Bluffing
- How Not to Suck at Poker: Keep Your Mouth Shut
- How Not to Suck at Poker: Track Your Results
- How Not to Suck at Poker: Discuss the Game