It is vital you are always recording poker results, if you are serious about the game. It is not enough just to keep track of changes to your bankroll. You need to know how much you are making on an hourly basis in terms of big blinds per hour. This way (once you have enough of a sample size) you can track how well you are doing over different time periods – to see if you are potentially improving (if the game conditions have remained constant).
Recording poker results for live players
At UnfairPoker.com, we recommend that for each live cash game or tournament played, you note down:
- Date & Location (e.g. 3/13/20, at Rivers Casino)
- Game type (e.g. Full Ring, No Limit Texas Hold’em)
- Blind level (if cash game, e.g. $2/$5, with a compulsory $10 straddle)
- Start time (e.g. 7.15 pm)
- Total breaks (e.g. 20 minutes)
- Finish time (e.g 11.35 pm)
- Total buy-in, i.e. initial amount, rebuys, and addons (e.g. $2,000)*
- Amount cashed out (e.g. $3,000)
- Total players (if tournament, e.g. 570 entrants, 95 re-entries)
- Finishing position (if tournament, e.g. 5th)
- Tournament players will also want to separate out the rake. For example $1,500 buy-in + $150 fee
This information should be entered into software, so (1) you have a record of all your results, and (2) you can do cumulative calculations, and visualize results.
Using a spreadsheet
There is no need to spend any money on software, if you don’t want to. All the information above can be kept on a spreadsheet. You can use formulae to calculate all sorts of useful cumulative information – each time you enter a new session information, these will usually be automatically updated. For example you can see, big blinds/hour profit overall or separated into specific months or years. You can create a graph or two that will be automatically updated too, so you can visualize everything. You can use your spreadsheet to track changes to your bankroll too.
If you don’t have access to a spreadsheet at the live table, you can note the items down in a paper notepad (although do be careful not to lose this) or on a cell phone/tablet – and transfer the information to a spreadsheet later.
The advantages of the spreadsheet method is that there is free spreadsheet software available on every platform, and with a little bit of work you can customize how the spreadsheet presents the data back to you in at least the same ways the apps do, if not more. The disadvantage is that you have to do the initial set-up, regarding column labels, formulae, graphs etc.
Using an app
If you prefer you can use an app on your cell phone or tablet. These apps are usually not free (although many offer a restricted lite version). These apps usually do exactly the same things a spreadsheet do. You enter in your information every session, and it keeps a record of it all, as well as presenting the data back to you in interesting ways (such as graphs, or combined results). If you do use an app make sure your data is backed up regularly, outside the app. You certainly do not want to lose your data if the app crashes, or has a bug. You would also want to be able to export the data in a way that is usable outside the app – in case the app is no longer developed in the future, or you change platforms and can no longer use the app.
The main advantage of the apps are they may be easier to use, as they require almost no thought – you just enter your results, and the app does the rest. The disadvantages is that the best ones are not free, and you need to trust that the app developer is respecting your privacy regarding the data you are giving it.
Recording poker results for online players
Online players have it much easier. There is relatively cheap software available that can automatically keep track your results on all the major cardrooms, without you having to do anything (once it has been set up).