One of the most overlooked mid-level poker strategies is the importance of tracking your statistics at various poker games and stakes. When you keep records of your success rate at specific games and limits, you can determine where your niche lies, thereby turning the maximum profit on a more consistent basis.
So often, poker players keep count of only two numbers – the cash they sat down at the table with, and the cash they are leaving with. So you start with $20 and leave with $30; you made a profit, yay! But how long did it take? What game were you playing, and at what stakes? You may remember these answers tomorrow when you go into work and brag to your buddies, but then what?
Let’s say you played $1/$2 NL Holdem for one hour, ending with a $20 profit. You then play $5/$10 FL Holdem for 4 hours, winning $50. At a glance, $5/$10 FL Holdem seems pretty nice, but for the time you put in, the $1/$2 NL Holdem games actually paid off better.
Keeping track of statistics like these will help you pick the best game, at the most beneficial limit and stakes for your playing style. Essentially, it will pin-point all of your strong suits, as well as your faults. By identifying weaknesses in your game, you can work to improve them, or simply avoid situations where they might be exploited.
What You’ll Need
There’s no right or wrong way to keep track of your poker play; so long as you are recording the proper information in some way that you can go back and understand. You may wish to write down your stats on a simple, paper notepad, or a neatly organized Excel spreadsheet. You can even download poker tracking software and import your hand histories for an instant stat tracking.
What You’ll Track
The following is a list of information that should be documented after each poker game session.
- Date of session
- Time you Start playing
- Time you Stop playing
- Limit/Stakes played
- Bankroll at Start time
- Bankroll at Stop time
You may wish to track further data, depending on how you play poker. If you are a member of several online poker rooms, keep track of where you played each session. Perhaps you like a variety of poker games, not just than the standard Texas Holdem format. Recording the game played would be just as vital.
Reading the Results
Obviously it’s going to take some time for your records to reveal any consistently reliable information. Comparing all reports on a month by month basis is recommended as it will show a diverse range of data with more contrasting results. The greater the contrast, the more beneficial your stats can be to the evolution of your poker strategies.
You’ll also want to read a “legacy” report; a complete running total of your overall profits and losses from the day you started keeping records up to present.
Tracking your poker play will give you a clear, outward view of all strengths and weaknesses in your poker game. By avoiding your weaknesses and sticking to the stronger elements, you can easily increase your steady profit margin and minimize losses; the number-one goal of all poker strategies.