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Is Taking Notes Whilst Playing Poker Important?

Some of the best poker players in the world religiously take notes during or after games while many seem to get by just fine without the habit. Knowing what you should do depends on your own style but just the same, here are a few things to consider regarding whether you should take notes on poker or not.

The first aspect to consider is whether you’re playing online or in a brick-and-mortar setting. Obviously note-taking is relatively uncouth (or downright embarrassing) when seated face-to-face with other players so if you feel you need to do it, wait until after the game.

Note-taking is often incorporated into online sites though which is something that encourages the practice. Even when it’s not, many players open a simple text editor (such as Notepad in Windows) to jot good or bad plays into. Deciding whether you need to take notes becomes greatly simplified if you’re mainly an online player. Even keeping just a few short descriptions of plays can often be enough to jog your memory of the event which you figured was worth recording.

Ultimately the decision whether to take notes or not depends mostly on your individual style and how much you trust your memory. Whatever your decision the most important thing is to always remain a thoughtful player who is able to learn from each and every game.

If you need any advice on taking notes, be sure to check out the Productivity blog at

Picking the Right Poker Game to Play

It’s always important to know your place in the poker world whether that relates to choosing the right table, limit or even style of play. Picking the right game to jump into depends a lot on your personal style, bankroll and level of experience. Nonetheless there are a few tips worth providing on the subject of gaming options.

The first factor to consider is, as mentioned above,
your bankroll. Never buy into games that you don’t have a real chance of succeeding in. Even if you’ve saved up for that tournament with a big guarantee it’s necessary to always remember that your opponents will mostly be made up of those who have been playing the game successfully and long enough that their buy-in isn’t a life-changing investment.

The next most important aspect is your
skill level. Knowing your style and strengths in play is completely essential toward picking the right game. If you’re not that adept of a player yet then stick to individual games before attempting full-out tournaments. Practice on freerolls and no-money games (with higher virtual limits) before choosing to enter a game above your current experience.

Knowing where you have and have not succeeded before is essential as well. Some
poker players may excel in fixed limit Hold ‘Em but suffer in the same style’s no limit or pot limit styles. Take note of the type of games you’ve done best in and only enter those until you feel more comfortable playing in a different style of game.

Making the Move from Online to Brick and Mortar Play

One of the most difficult processes that professional poker players can carry out is in switching from online to real world, brick and mortar play. There are a few tips which can help facilitate the change however and they’re worth looking at here.

The first thing to consider is the considerable speed of
online play, compared to the traditional movement of a physical game. Online players must be able to adjust their levels of patience and slow their decision making down when learning to play offline more often.

The next most important factor is probably visibility. Online
poker pros quickly become adept at bluffing and maneuvering around games without having to worry about visual tics and tells but this pretty much gets thrown out the window at face-to-face games. Knowing how to control yourself while reading others is an essential skill to learn.

Seat selection is the last aspect of play to consider here. Online poker games almost never let players pick their own seat but in
casino and hall tables people get up and sit down fairly often. Picking your own position is a luxury worth taking advantage of for players wanting to get every possible advantage out of a game.

When to Give Up on a Good Poker Starting Hand

One of the hardest aspects of poker strategy to get a handle on comes from knowing when to give up on a good starting hand. Obviously, in a game where luck can play a big roll in starting odds, it can be extremely difficult to let go of something good once it has come up. Just the same, it’s important to have the discipline necessary to look at the big picture so you can make sacrifices when necessary.

Concentrating too much on your own cards usually provides the reason for the aforementioned issue. If you have a better grasp of the entire table then it becomes much easier to fold a good hand and place your cards within the broader picture of the game on a whole.

Not using the river as perspective is another big problem. Even if you have pocket black aces, this hand isn’t necessarily going to hold up if the river doesn’t accommodate your cards. Good players with a solid pocket will fold when they know there is a decent chance that other players may be able to beat them based on the board.

If your opponent is reading you well your card quality doesn’t matter much either. In these situations it’s best to fold rather than being taken down by someone who has obviously gotten one up on you psychologically. These situations are probably the trickiest to determine and act upon but they’re definitely worth knowing about and keeping in mind.

The Basics of Poker Slowplay

Learning how to properly execute a slowplay is an important skill for poker players to pick up and use in their game. The idea behind the move basically falls within the realm of bluffing and can be taken advantage of both on and offline.

A slowplay involves hiding a strong hand during the betting rounds. It is used to fool other players into situations where they can be manipulated and thus controlled into all sorts of behavior, from raising to folding. A successful slowplay can be used to gauge other player’s reactions and also force weaker opponents out of the game if so desired.

Slowplays are best used on the flop when your opponents will believe that you’ve been dealt a bad hand and appear to be doing nothing more than a pure bluff. They become less effective with every subsequent deal however and should obviously not be used on the river (when the whole idea becomes pretty well moot).

If used sparingly and wisely slowplays can make all the difference in a game of poker. They can result in bigger pots, controlled opponents and winning rounds. For all these reasons it’s worth incorporating the odd slowplay into your tactical base.

Poker Probing with Bets

Online poker can make finding out your opponent’s habits and play style difficult but many superb internet-only professionals are able to employ a few unique tools to overcome anonymity and figure out their opponents.

Probing with bets simply refers to the act of spending a bit of money to force your competitors into the open. Since you can’t rely on visual tells in online poker, you’re often forced to raise in order to determine what kind of hand your opponents have. Probe bets are the best way to do this; putting some of your bankroll down as a sacrifice in order to figure out how much others are willing to gamble on a hand.

Obviously probe bets are only a wise move when you actually have a hand worth spending a bit of money on. Throw a small number of chips into at least the first turn if you think your pocket is enough to take the hand with. If others respond by upping the pot then you know they probably have something worth playing as well. Of course it’s worth mentioning that others may do the same thing to you (or try to bluff you out of the hand) but experimenting with probe bets is essential toward improving your game.

The Importance of Pot Size in Poker

Pot size can (or should) have a large impact on how you approach different types of games. Whether playing a smaller or larger pot, varying strategies must be applied in order to achieve success.

Good players should usually shoot for smaller pots. If you have a fairly substantial bankroll then your chances of succeeding in a small pot poker game becomes much higher. Most often, the players who enter into these ranges of games aren’t approaching the table with a huge stack of chips. This means that a solid poker player has a good chance of knocking out their competitors through a combination of skill and a fairly large bankroll.

Big pots are much harder to pull off well for the majority of players. Having so many chips at the table can turn larger pot games into a veritable war of attrition where much more is at stake. In many fixed limit tournaments players do the best because they pick and choose which games to enter based on their bankroll and the pot size of matches. If you are able to relate your situation to the importance of pot size then it’s far more likely to find success on the whole.

Introduction to Multi-Tabling in Poker

A lot of players just don’t get enough out of having one game on the go at a time and, luckily enough, online poker often presents the option of enjoying the action on several tables at once. Multi-tabling isn’t for everyone however and a brief introduction to its ins and outs is necessary for those who haven’t attempted it yet.

The most prevalent positive aspect of multi-table play is also the most commonly cited negative part as well. Most players get into multi-tabling simply because they want more hands to occur at all times. For poker enthusiasts who are able to split their attention between a few different games, multi-tabling offers perhaps the most exciting feature in online play.

If you know you don’t have the concentration or ability to constantly review more than one game at a time, multi-tabling is a bad decision however. Even some of the most skilled professionals will not engage in the practice simply because it forces a player to miss little things. When you’re playing only one table it naturally forces you to study all the nuances of your competitors whereas playing over a few games makes every decision more of an instinct.

Ultimately every player has to decide whether multi-tabling is good or bad for their own particular style. It’s certainly worth a shot for the experience alone but the pressure and fast pace make it a practice in which only those suited for the style are able to succeed in. More in-depth tips regarding multi-table play will be discussed in future articles.