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How to write effective player notes

February 11, 2020

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Do you use the player notes feature on Replay Poker? We have some tips on how to make effective notes that will help you face repeat opponents at the table.

The usual purpose of player notes at a poker table is to give your future self some insight on your opponents’ poker strategy.  However, you might just want to help yourself remember their name, whether their partner plays, and whether they have grandkids or dogs. But getting into the habit of jotting down a few words will make dealing with friends and foes alike much easier. 

Most of us find it easy to remember that a particular player was super aggressive or never ever seemed to fold when you tried to bluff them. In order to exploit these bad habits you’ve noticed, you’ll need to describe which situations caused the opponent to be vulnerable. 

Start with general notes

As you play against new opponents, or even against regulars, start with a general feel of their play, remembering to add context if necessary. Some steady ring game players like to let loose in a rebuy tournament or a knockout SnG. But don’t assume that’s how they play at all variants.

Note hand IDs and come back to them at the end of the session. Playing through them blow by blow will reveal subtle details like bet sizing and positional awareness, which will have escaped you in real time.

Don’t be too general, though. “Player is a fish” or “Player is too lucky” won’t help you break down their play very well. It’s fine to assign players a category initially, but be prepared to adjust as new information is revealed.

Keep notes updated

Remember that the older the notes are, the more likely it is the player has modified their game.

Beginners can learn quickly, and it’s useful to have an idea of how long ago the play you found noteworthy took place so you can weight its relevance. Of course, some players never change their pre-flop limping, their hero calls, or terrible attempts at bluffing obviously strong hands. But keep double-checking that they haven’t changed their ways to an extent where you are the one falling into their traps.

Note the important stuff

Different stats are important in different games. Correct pre-flop raising by position is more important in ring games and SnGs than in most stages of a tournament, apart from the final table. If a player obviously does not understand pot odds and calls nearly any bet with a draw, make sure you indicate whether it was in a rebuy turbo, or in a high stakes ring game. If they under-represent huge hands, be on the look out for opportunities to get cheap draws to punish them for not protecting their hands.

Keep it simple

Notes should be short and easily decipherable. You should write them in a standard format which you will be able to follow later.


What are some of your tips for writing effective player notes?