Two more finals to go – still on a break from poker, but for your reading pleasure…
Any interview I’ve ever read with a ‘professional’ poker player (ie: Interview with new world champion Joe Hachem via Cardplayer) mentions record-keeping and how important it is. Hachem says in the interview with Mike Sexton:
MS: Any messages for those who want to become poker pros?
JH: Poker is a business to me. If you take the game seriously, I believe you should treat poker as a business. Track your wins and losses, write down what game you played in, how many hours you played, who was in the game, and the key hands that came up that you can discuss later, and recognize that your mission should be to strive to get better all the time.
So step one: records. I began keeping records during this school year for SNG tournaments on pokerstars, more specifically their heads up tournaments. The way the spreadsheet I created in Excel worked I calculated ROI% (Return on investment), %Cash (% in the money, which is 1st place in the 4-person heads up SNGs), Total buyin, Total cashout, Total profit, and total rake. What did I find out? I was winning the 4-person tournaments %59 of the time at the $5 level, 51% of the time at the $10 level, and only 41% of the time at the $20 level.
What it broke down to was that I played 100 games of each and made the same profit in the $10 games and the $20 games because of the -10% cash rate. So what did I do? I stopped playing the $20 heads up SNGs, and I saw a much more stable ROI%. I went on to make a spreadsheet for all of pokerstars SNGs (Not including the 45-person of new 180-person ones) to track my play through all the types. You can get that file here.
Don’t play at pokerstars? Make your own spreadsheet. It’s easy in a program like excel, just a few simple functions (take a look at mine for reference or check here to learn for yourself).
Ring games are much harder to keep stats for. There isn’t a payout structure and each session is certainly different. For ring games statistics head over to the boys at PokerCharts, they have a very indepth internet program for a monthly fee that will keep great records and produces all sorts of graphs and spreadsheets for you.
Keeping records alone won’t make you a winning player, but it should help you find your strengths and capitalize on them, which is the first step to becoming a profitable poker player. Good luck!