Oftentimes, it’s possible to take real world applications and apply them to poker, and other times, it’s poker that can be translated into the real world.
Startup businesses are encouraged to formulate a business plan, to put their ideas on paper in order to get a better grasp of their business and what is needed to build success. It’s the same way in poker. If succeeding in poker were as simple as going out and “playing,” everyone would be a winner. Part of becoming a winning player is learning from your losses. Along these lines, I highly recommend starting a poker journal and putting your action on paper. I like to refer to this as a knockout journal. It’s helpful to make notes whenever you get knocked out of a tournament, whether online or live.
You can come up with poker exercises to help keep your game sharp. It’s always important to be able to identify how many blinds each opponent has, for example. You can draw a t-bar on one of your pages and list a variety of stacks and the associated amount of blinds each player has. To make it work, let’s pretend the blinds are 400/800 and opponents have 42,970 – 24,709 – 33,120 – 14,240 etc. Now, in a real-time situation, it’s up to you to figure out exactly how many blinds each opponent has. Exercises like this will prepare your mind to count and keep track of each chip stack at your table while deciphering exactly how many blinds your opponents have. In tournaments, having a firm grip on the other chip stacks at the table is a must. So, coming up with exercises like this to strengthen your poker playing abilities is one essential part of your poker journal. Write it all down to help you learn, organize and train for improvement.
Another great aspect of having a poker journal is the ability to rate yourself on different aspects of your game, which most people don’t keep track of. For example, measure how much sleep you’ve had in the past day or the past week. Simply tracking this behavior will pay dividends.
Monitoring and ultimately building up your emotional intelligence will give you better insight into your mind and put you in a better position to win. Before every poker tournament, write down 0 to 100 how sharp you feel. If you have a headache and haven’t eaten since lunch four hours ago, maybe 45 is an appropriate rating. If you slept for eight hours and feel ready to take on the world, give yourself a 92 — you get the gist.
The willingness to take notes on all major pots you get involved in is important. It’s also vital to track hands that cause tough decisions, so you’re able to evaluate the scenario later. The ability to look over these hands at a later date can help you identify trends in your game (whether positive or negative).
Most people have a tendency to focus and work on their strong points first. I argue that focusing on your weakest points is the best way to plug leaks. Having a record to use when deciphering what causes you to gain or lose money is necessary if you want to properly supervise and take ownership of your poker learning progression.
It’s extremely important that in the game of poker we worry about the factors within our control and not worry about too many external variables. Just like in your everyday life, if you write yourself a note, the likelihood the task gets completed is higher. By putting pen to paper you will allow your mind to let go of tasks outside of poker, focusing your full attention to the action at the table.
All together, writing things down helps personal accountability and progression tracking. Putting your poker thoughts on paper will better enable you to learn from your mistakes, highlight patterns that need to be emphasized or corrected and provide a retrievable record of your progress. Having a poker journal will also give you a better handle on your results and will very likely be viewed positively by potential backers.
In this past year’s WSOP, we saw Bryan Devonshire make a deep run and the television coverage let everyone know that he’s had a poker journal for years. Devonshire is a great example of a pro doing his due diligence when he plays poker, but this form of taking ownership of a poker career shouldn’t be relegated just to pros. For online players, consider using Excel or a Word document to log your poker updates.
Arguably the best thing about having a poker journal is that it helps you clear your mind and focus just on the action when you’re playing. Anything other than the action taking place at your tables is a distraction, as poker involves so many decisions to be made. I like to think of this approach as remaining mentally neutral and organized. Doing this allows me to make decisions more accurately and in a faster manner. You can do this, too.
The details worth tracking in a journal will vary from player to player. Important factors to include would be bustout hands from tournaments, hands you have questions on and need to revisit, chip stacks of yourself and your opponent in big pots you win or lose, a chronological emotional intelligence rating and many others. If you haven’t done so yet, it’s time to start your poker journal.
David “The Maven” Chicotsky is Bluff Magazine’s 2008 Online Player of the Year and a well-respected poker coach — you can reach him at TheMavenTraining.com. David is currently the marketing director for PokeroomUSA.com and founder of TicoTours.com, a travel and business development company based out of Costa Rica.
Write it all down to help you learn, organize and train for improvement.
The willingness to take notes on all major pots you get involved in is important. It’s also vital to track hands that cause tough decisions, so you’re able to evaluate the scenario later.
source : bluff