You may be surprised to learn that my memory is horrendously bad. Sadly, it is true.
Whenever I am in a major live poker tournament, I write down every significant hand I play. I usually reread all of the hands I play at the end of each day.
This allows me to review my play with a clear mind. It is not uncommon for me to pinpoint a few leaks that I actively work to plug. These notes also make it easy for me to accurately discuss my hands with my friends, which is incredibly beneficial. Discussing your play with other good poker players is mandatory if you want to improve at the game.
I am constantly asked “How do you take notes at the table? You don’t have enough time!” Well, I made a video explaining exactly how I do it. I strongly suggest you check out the video, experiment with note taking at and away from the table, and figure out what works for you. Let me know how it goes!
If this video was helpful, please share it with your friends.
28 thoughts on “How I Take Notes at the Poker Table”
Great video Jonathan! I’ve struggled with remembering hands and trying to replay them accurately and just figured I that was just one of the things that separate the players skill. Now I know that I’m not alone and a great way to improve my game. Thank you.
I am glad to help. I just posted a video blog at http://www.jonathanlittlepoker.com/barcelona1-5 and I couldn’t even remember how I busted out of an event a few days ago.
Thank you for posting this Jonathan! I have experimented with note taking before on an iPad, but also found it too slow to work for me. I will try your method (seems more feasible). Appreciate it!
I tried on both my iphone and ipad but quickly realized they are way too slow. Paper and pen work much better for me.
Thanks for all that you do for us aspiring poker players.
I’ve been playing for at least 6 years and seriously for the past 2 years. Never having a friend or family member to discuss my passion with, as nobody I’ve ever known plays poker, I now see how important it is to have peers to learn from and evolve with. Your note taking suggestions, I feel, will help me immensely now that I’m actively seeking forums and online social media groups for the propose of discussion on the game that I love. I once saw someone in an HPT main event with a notepad taking notes and I thought it to be odd. Because of you, I now see the purpose and potential benefit from it.
Again , thank you.
I am glad you now realize the importance of taking notes and discussing your play with your peers. When I started playing poker, I only discussed poker with my “friends” online. Now, most of us play high stakes poker for a living. If you try to learn the game by yourself, you will have a tough time. The sooner you start learning from players who are better than you, the better. Good luck!
Great idea to take notes, I haven’t thought about writing the hands down…..I usually just discuss hands after I finish the tourney …… Writing hands down might help with a problem I have , if I get a stack early I seem to loose late…. I don’t think I’ve ever won a tourney that I was up early in….. Why do you think that is?
I have no clue. I’m not really taking notes to track my chip stack. I am more doing it to ensure I am not playing poorly. I constantly ask my friends about my hands to see if I can improve.
Thanks for posting this video. I wish i had seen this years ago. I am sure it will help improve my game tremendously.
I am glad to help. Good luck in your games!
Great video. Very informative. I am going to start note taking during my live sessions. I usually try to recall and write down my hands after the tourney but I tend to forget the betting amounts and the specific cards and such. The little details that are important. What do your opponents think of you taking notes on them?
They tend to not say anything although someone makes a comment from time to time. I don’t worry about them. I have the worst memory! If I want to have any ability to remember my hands correctly, I simply must write them down. Good luck!
Learning tons from you website and twitch channel. Like seeing in a professional poker player’s head while he plays.
Thanks! I am glad you like the content.
Great video really opened my eyes to the the need for (and benefits of) note taking. Going to really try to implement this in to my live games asap. When I’ve tried (unsucessfully) before, I have always struggled to work out which hands are noteworthy.
How do you decide if a hand is worthy of later analysis?
If you are unsure if a hand is worthy of analysis, it probably is. I personally write down every hand where more than 5 big blinds goes in the pot.
Hi, first of all great video! I don’t know anyone with whom I can discuss the hands that I play online. Can you suggest what can I do?
I suggest you post your hand questions on the free forum at FloatTheTurn.com and also sign up for the free trial at PokerCoaching.com. Good luck!
Don’t you use sharemypair now? 🙂
I do, but I don’t post every hand I play.
Hi Jonathan, thanks for sharing this approach. I am a big fan of note taking in business and believe there is great carryover in poker. This strategy will provide great value. Do you provide additional coaching outside of your $27 a month subscription service?
I have lots available! Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you are looking for.
this is simple and easy thanks for sharing the quick format you have found useful PS almost a week in with poker coaching quizzes and still loving them 🙂 PDL_PokerCanada
I never knew you were allowed to take notes during a tournament. For small local games do you think it would be good to check w the tournament director before the event? I guess if somebody calls me a nerd that’s their problem – hopefully in a short period of time I will be at the winner’s table while they continue to get busted early.
There is no need to ask the tournament director. You can read books, write books, watch TV, etc while at the table.
Jonathan – great website
My question is that in any tournament I play I have a difficult time reading my opponents ( either they are not at the table long enough or it’s early in the tournament) . Any advice?
***** Hand History for Game 1111111111 ***** (Poker Stars)
Tourney Hand NL Texas Hold’em – Saturday, April 14, 02:43:03 ET 2018
Table 2242824196 42 (Real Money)
Seat 4 is the button
Seat 1: Player1 ( 6415 ) – VPIP: 5, PFR: 5, 3B: 3, AF: 0.0, Hands: 59
Seat 2: Player2 ( 9468 ) – VPIP: 32, PFR: 6, 3B: 0, AF: 1.0, Hands: 31
Seat 3: Player3 ( 7360 ) – VPIP: 10, PFR: 3, 3B: 4, AF: 0.5, Hands: 59
Seat 4: Player4 ( 9051 ) – VPIP: 10, PFR: 3, 3B: 0, AF: 0.0, Hands: 30
Seat 5: Player5 ( 11461 ) – VPIP: 22, PFR: 8, 3B: 0, AF: 0.7, Hands: 59
Seat 7: Player7 ( 3248 ) – VPIP: 53, PFR: 33, 3B: 0, AF: 2.6, Hands: 30
Seat 8: Player8 ( 7485 ) – VPIP: 10, PFR: 5, 3B: 5, AF: 1.3, Hands: 59
Seat 9: Hero ( 27418 ) – VPIP: 36, PFR: 19, 3B: 6, AF: 1.7, Hands: 12125
Player1 posts ante of .
Player2 posts ante of .
Player3 posts ante of .
Player4 posts ante of .
Player5 posts ante of .
Player7 posts ante of .
Player8 posts ante of .
Hero posts ante of .
Player5 posts small blind .
Player7 posts big blind .
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to Hero [ Ac Ah ] Ed dever
Hero raises 
Player7 calls 
** Dealing Flop ** [ 7c, 6h, 9c ]
Player7 bets 
Hero calls 
** Dealing Turn ** [ Qd ]
** Dealing River ** [ 5s ]
Player7 shows [8d, Kh ]
Hero shows [Ac, Ah ]
Player7 wins 6771 from main pot
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