ALL ABOUT POKER:
KEEPING A LOG BOOK
by Bill Burton
Bill Burton is the Casino Gambling Guide and columnist for the Internet portal About.com located at:www.casinogambling.about.com. He is the author of "1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets" (available online at www.billburton.com) and "Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em" (available at 10% discount from the BJI online store). Bill is also an instructor for Golden Touch Craps: www.thecrapsclub.com
One of the most informative reference books you will read about poker will be written by you. It is your log book where you will record the results of all of you poker sessions. If you are serious about your game, it is imperative that you keep a log. You'll be able to tell if you are a winning player or losing player by keeping records of all your play. Since this is the start of a new year it is the perfect time to start one.
Many players don't feel that it is necessary to keep records. If you ask these same players if the are winners they will usually answer in the affirmative. The truth is that without records, there is no way to be certain. Many players have selective memories. They tend to remember the big wins and will tell you that they occasionally lose "a little." It is possible that these little loses when added together will offset the winning sessions that they remember. The only way to be sure if you are truly a winner is through honest and meticulous record keeping.
Keeping records is a matter of being truthful with your self. Your log is your own personal record. If you fudge it, or put in false figures, you are defeating the purpose of keeping the log. If you aspire to be a winning player, you need to know if your game has leaks so you can plug them and get back on a winning course.
You log does not have to be fancy. If you have a computer, you can use a spreadsheet program to keep track of you sessions. You may want to print out a log sheet similar to the one at the end of this article and keep it in a notebook. There are also poker diaries you can purchase that are made specifically for players, which also contains some poker data and out charts. No matter what method you use, there is some information that should be put in all logs. This includes:
Date and Location
Record the date and the card room where you played. You may find that you play better in certain locations than others. This could have to do with travel time or just the fact that you are more comfortable playing in certain locations. It could also be that the competition is easier in one place than another.
You should note the limits that you play for each session in your log. You may play several different limits. Maybe you are playing in No Limit games as well as limit games. Some card rooms may offer only $3/6 games, while another could offer a $2/4 or a $4/8 game. You might find that you are more confident at the lower limits or you may do better against players at the higher limits. This will be one of the factors you evaluate when you look at your results.
You want to record the length of time that you play. This is one of the equations used in figuring your hourly win rate. It will also be important in evaluating your level of stamina and concentration. You may find that you get better results with shorter sessions than you do in marathon games.
Money Won or Lost
Record the money you won or lost for each session. This is easy to do. You know how much money you bought in for and you write down the difference at the end of the session.
Figuring out you hourly win or loss rate is just a matter of simple math. You divide the amount of money you made or lost in a session by the number of hours that you played. If you played and won $28 after four hours of play your hourly win rate is $7 per hour. (28 divided by 4 = 7.)
You should figure your hourly rate for each session. If you play more than one session during your visit to the casino or card room, then record each one as a separate entry. You can now add all your sessions together to get your total for the week, month or year.
Your log is your poker diary. You should write down any other information or events that occurred during the session. I printed my log on only the front side of the sheet that I keep in a notebook. On the back side I record any information that may help me in the future.
Review Your Log
You should review your log to help analyze your play. If you have been losing, try to figure out the reason why. Are you playing too long? Are you doing better at one limit than another? Are you having wide swings in your results? If you keep good notes you should be able to gain some insight into your own play when you study your log. As you grow and improve as a player you should be able to notice the difference and see the results by looking at you log
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