Keeping a poker journal isn’t a new idea. Doyle Brunson, Puggy Peason, Bobby Baldwin, and even the maverick Stu Ungar, speak of keeping records back in the 1970’s and 80’s. However, the new dawn of internet poker – about a decade old now – has taken the idea of a poker journal to a new level. By using software programs for a poker journal, the benefits to a diligent and hard working player have expanded immeasurably.
Digital poker journal
There are many basic poker software packages which allow you to keep a digital poker journal of all your hands and tournaments. This digital poker journal also tracks your opponents. Over time, therefore, you can build a huge amount of data on both your own playing style and the playing style of your online opponents.
Why is this useful? Patterns. With such a massive amount of statistical data in your poker journal you are able to spot patterns in the numbers. Most programs also have hand re-players attached so that you can reply hands stored in the database to see how the hand played out. Graphs can be used to show similarities – perhaps you bust out of a tournament consistently at a certain stage. This might mean, for instance, that you are playing too conservatively when the blinds are high and so you are getting blinded away.
The database really is the nucleus of your online game and where you should be studying for hours. With proper focus you can identify leaks in your game that need to be fixed and also spot weak points in your opponent’s styles, which can be exploited.
Poker journal – The Heads Up Display (HUD)
Any serious online poker player will have a HUD running whilst playing on top of a running poker jounal. This is software which both attaches itself to your database and to the poker client which you are playing at. Stats sit neatly alongside each player at your table so that you can see what sort of style of game they play – loose, tight, how often they fold to a raise, how often they see the flop, how often they play to showdown, etc. All these stats allow you to make more educated decisions in play.
A HUD and database is absolutely vital for the serious online player who is playing 10+ tables at a time. He cannot realistically spot patterns in his opponents when playing so many games, or stay aware of his own image at any particular table, so he needs the added assistance of such software.
poker journal – Must Have
Really, if you are looking to take online poker seriously then you should invest in such software. Chances are your opponents are using it on you – so why not use it on them?! You are at a distinct disadvantage against seasoned regular opponents if you don’t!
We found Pokerstars very handy for keeping track of your hand history in order to analyse at a later date or copy to a Poker journal. With the Pokerstars software you can either save all your hand histories to a specific folder on your desktop/laptop/mac or activate instant hand history which will allow you to view the histories from within the pokerstars software. If you are not already a member of pokerstars, sign up today using the link below and you will also be eligible for £20 free when depositing your first £10.