Gaming – The Poker Book / Tracking Results

PokerTalkGraphicWe are eight months into 2013 and the question is: How are you doing with your poker results? Are you winning? Are you losing? Are you becoming a better player? And – why are you winning or losing?

If you have a poker book or some sort of system to track your session-by-session results you know the answer to the above questions and are prepared to react with some strong play in the final four months of the year.

Players track different items in their books, but most document the following:

• Winnings or losses.

• Hours played.

• An hourly wage (total amount won / lost divided by hours played.)

• Some key takeaways from the session.

In my case I keep a session-by-session and overall result log so I can track trends in my game. Sadly, at times an hourly rate is negative but the key is to have it positive in the long run.

Obviously, it’s easy and actually fun to record winning sessions. Those little plus signs are a blast to put in the book. The key here is to remember to record the tough sessions every time.

This is where players fail to update their books, when they are losing. When documenting a losing session, it’s like experiencing the loss a second time. And yep, while it hurts, that’s what makes it effective – bringing the pain home.

It’s tough to keep the book up sometimes, especially through losing streaks when nothing is going right – but in the long run, the documentation makes it real. Writing it down and being able to review the session allows a player to remember what went wrong and what needs to be corrected.

Thus, documenting sessions allows a player to replay it a bit, learning, and becoming a better player in the long run – hopefully.

I am proud to say that I have not missed documenting a session this year (although I have had some tough sessions) and my book is up to date. I keep my book very simple for two reasons – first, I avoid messing it up (the math), and second, I find that if simple and easy I’ll document the losses more easily.

Some interesting items from tracking my 2013 poker play:

• I have played a total of 247 hours of poker this year (just under eight hours a week) with a one month sabbatical. Without that time off, the average is just over 12 hours a week. I will be playing more over the next few months, as this is poker season for me.

• These hours includes three tournaments and 65 live sessions. The tournaments only took eight hours, thus there has been 239 hours of live play, with my average session length was just over 3½ hours long. Breaking the live action down: 15 hours of $2 – $5 / $100 Hold’em; 11 hours of $1 – $2 / $100 Hold’em; 8 hours of $20 – $40 / limit Hold’em (Commerce Casino); 4 hours of $40 – $80 Limit Hold’em (Bellagio Casino); and 201 hours of $30 – $60 ½ kill Limit Hold’em.

• 44 of those sessions were winners and only 21 were losers. My largest win has been $2,832 and the largest loss has been $2,000.

• Of those 44 winning sessions 20 were under $200 (amazing in a large $30 – $60 ½ kill game), and, of the 21 losses, 10 were over $500.

• Overall I am $1,318 ahead / or a $5.34 an hour average for playing poker in 2013.

Are these results good? On one hand they are positive and show a consistency of winning, but on the other hand, they demonstrate that I am playing to break even at times and possibly not maximizing the opportunities. Thinking back over the actual sessions, that is the case.

While I am happy to be on the winning side so far this year, I need to play to win all the time. I may not be playing aggressively enough when close to that “getting even” line and that must stop. The only way to allow the odds to help you is to play the odds – all the time.

It’s only through the tracking of my own play that I am able to go back and take a look, making the necessary adjustments. Now, it’s time to make that information pay off and win.

Remember, play your game!

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