Originally Posted by armor32
Keeping track of too many hands (let alone stats etc') is hard, not effective and will prevent you from playing the next hand well. So yes, just take note of hands that you think are interesting, on your phone, using text editor of your preference. Most of the hands are standard so it's really about 2-3 "interesting" hands every 10 hours or so.
OP, you said that you want to "keep track of each hand." I sincerely hope this doesn't mean that you want to "keep track of every
hand," as this is a terrible thing to attempt at the table in a live game. There is way
too much information you should be trying to attain by paying attention to the game as it is being played (in real time), rather than trying to write down every detail from every hand you're involved in. Though you clearly have the right intentions ("trying to improve your game"), attempting to record every detail of every hand played is totally counter-productive
, as Armor says. For example, when a hand ends, you should be watching the other players at the table as they are dealt their cards for the next hand, not writing about the last hand. Far too many players--even relatively good players--can't help but look at their hand as soon as it is dealt, rather than watching other players until it is their turn to act. I am always struck by how otherwise good players are perfectly willing to provide live tells as to whether they intend to get involved in a hand preflop by, e.g., cutting out checks for a raise, cutting out checks for a call, moving their card protector, etc., before the action has even gotten to them. Information like this should play a major role in your own preflop decision as to whether or not you want to get involved in the hand. And, later in the hand, when faced with an otherwise close decision, information you picked up by paying close attention preflop can be exceedingly valuable and be the decisive factor to fold, call, or raise.
For my part, I use the Poker Income app on my phone to track my sessions. When I am done with a session, I plug all the info from the session into the app, including anything noteworthy about hand play into the "Players and Hands" option. I learned to play stud before I learned to play LHE, which I believe gives me better "card recall" than people who only play community flop games. But when a hand arises which--for whatever reason(s)--requires me to memorize a great deal of detail in order for me to be able to consider properly the play of the hand later on, I just enter the info into the app when I get up to go to the bathroom or when I need to take a walk to get the blood flowing (never sit through a long poker session without getting up to walk a bit!). I find this to be more discreet than entering the info into my phone at the table. My often-LAG-ish style of play (really, it's one "gear" of my play) can render the impression that I am not a "thinking player"--nor a player who keeps meticulous records--to the rockish pro's whom I play with on a semi-regular basis. I do not want to disabuse them of this impression of me by sitting at the table keeping good notes.
In my experience, most poker players are so self-absorbed (focused on their own play) that they will be less inclined to notice much of anything that you've done as far as keeping notes is concerned. But the exceptions are generally the best players, and they're the ones whom you don't
wish to notice how hard you're working to play well. So just jot a few notes in the bathroom every couple of hours or whatever--don't sit there are write a book. If this was a worthwhile exercise, you'd see it done a hell of a lot more often.
Finally, I'd suggest that perhaps you're putting too much emphasis on your notes. The way to learn from the play of a particular hand does not require that you record too many hands in any given session. If you find that there are many hands in a session where you feel in retrospect that you've erred, you've got bigger problems than can be solved by efforts to maximize your note-taking skills. Don't second guess yourself too much after a session if doing so is a form of being results oriented in scenarios where you otherwise played well. And while certain LHE situations will, obv., reoccur frequently enough that it is good to have some sense of "what to do next time," I am a firm believer that the value of discussing hand play is in fleshing out the underlying concepts
that are implicated by any given hand. If your goal is to try to record as many possible LHE scenarios so that--should a similar hand be played in the future--you'll already "know the answer," you're kidding yourself. The beauty of this game is that you will NEVER play the same hand twice because game conditions necessarily change so much from game-to-game, hand-to-hand, session-to-session... There are just too many variables, and there is, simply, no substitute for experience. Please don't get me wrong: recording several hands played over the course of a session is a GREAT thing to do! But not because you're ever going to be able to catalogue each and every difficult situation you'll be faced with in the future. Rather, hand play discussions are useful as a tool to get us thinking about key concepts and how they are implemented in game-like conditions. There are patterns in poker, but rarely does the discussion of a particular hand provide us with a "black-letter rule" about how any given decision should be made in the future. As you go about your note-taking, try to see if any particular patterns of play rise to the surface. Maybe you're missing value in thin spots? Maybe you're not as "aggro" as you thought you were in tough situations? Maybe when faced with another player's aggression, your otherwise aggro play all of the sudden becomes weak and passive... Determining your own patterns and giving hard thought to difficult poker concepts--that's the value in note-taking, and, for this reason, there is certainly no need to record a high volume of hands in any one session. In fact, it would probably behoove you more to think longer and harder about a few hands, rather than mull over many, many hands in a less thoughtful and reflective manner.