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How To Effectively Take Notes On Your Opponents And Improve Your Winrate

poker strategy Dec 03, 2022

How To Effectively Take Notes On Your Opponents And Improve Your Winrate


In this article, you will discover how to effectively take notes on your opponents to exploit them optimally and improve your winrate.


Note-taking is something you should do every single time you sit down to play. But it becomes even more critical if you are playing an exploitative approach, for example, on lower stakes.

These notes can help you in the future to shift your strategy in one way or another. 


First of all: You don’t need to take actual notes all the time


Taking notes comes in many shapes and forms. 


One of them is to actually write a bit of text in the note section of your poker client. The other one is to use a color coding system based on the general player type. (Read this article to understand the player types and how to exploit them)


This approach is especially useful if you don’t have sufficient information to take a full note of your opponent yet.


For example, if you see someone limp in preflop, it’s fair to assume that the player is a weak player who doesn’t know much about poker. (Seriously, nobody who even has a limited understanding of the game is going to limp pre) 


So you could already color-code him, even if it’s the first hand against this player you’ve seen.


Which colors you use for each player type is completely up to you. 


I recommend you read this article about the different player types and how to exploit them. (Click here to read it now)


What should you look for first?


Mainly, you want to look for showdowns because every single showdown can tell you a piece of the gameplan story of your opponent’s game. 

Then you can see his bet sizes from Flop to the River along the whole hand. After making one note, you won’t know the entire Gameplan of the player, but the more notes you make, the better the picture of his game will be.


It is important to make precise notes, don’t write a long story about every hand. 


Let’s look at one example and see what the note could look like.




We are in the Big Blind with Kh5h, and the Button open raises to 2.5bb. We are defending our Big Blind. 


The flop is Ks8d4h. 


We flopped a Top Pair and a Backdoor Flush draw. 


Button cbets for 33% of the pot, and we are just calling with our weak Top Pair. 


The Turn is the Ts. Board is Ks8d4hTs.

Opponent cbets 75% of the pot. 


We are calling with our Top Pair, and the River is a blank with the 2h. 

We are checking, and the Button checks behind. We win the hand and see that the Button checked behind with Jh9h, and he checked back a non-showdown hand.

Our note could look like this. July/2022 Board: Ks8d4hTs2h, 33% Cbet F, 75% Cbet T, X River with zero Showdown hand


Based on this, we can see a tendency of the player by under bluffing in general. 


We can also get some Bet sizing tells. The next time on a similar board, you see the player overbetting the turn. 

Based on your note, you can read that this player is probably splitting ranges on the turn because he is using an overbet now. 


You could make a simple note like Using multiple Bet Sizings on the turn???


And you have the next piece of his gameplan story.


As a final thought, Note taking is always essential but even more important on sites where you can’t see the Hud stats, like on GGPoker, Party Poker, etc. 


Preflop notes are getting even more important then as well to see if the player fits more into the loose player category.


Useful abbreviations


Online poker is a quick game, and you won’t have time to write a full book or even everything that happened in a hand within a few seconds. And things get worse if you’re playing multiple tables. 


So here is a list of valuable abbreviations that are going to help you take notes quickly:




Under the gun = UTG

Under the gun plus one = UTG

Middle Position = MP

Hijack = HJ

Button = BU

Small Blind = SB

Big Blind = BB




Call = c

Check = x

Fold = f

Continuation bet = cb

Check call = xc

Checkraise = xr

Check back = xb

Check down = xd

Check to showdown = xtsd

Openraise = or

Limp-call = lc

double barrel = 2b

Tripple barrel = 3b

3bet = 3b

3bet shove to 4bet = 3bs

3bet fold to 4bet = 3bf

4bet = 4b

4bet shove to 5bet = 4bf

4bet fold to 5bet = 4bf


The Cards

Ace = A

King = K

Queen = Q

Jack = J

Ten = T

Nine = 9

Eight = 8

Seven = 7

Six = 6

Five = 5

Four = 4

Three = 3

Deuce = 2


from there on, you can combine the cards with their color, the abbreviations are: 


spade = s

diamond = d

Club = c

heart = h


So for example, the Ace of hearts is abbreviated by Ah, the Ace of spades by As


The Board


rainbow = r

monotone = m

On the flop = OTF

On the turn = OTT

On the river = OTR


I would recommend you to copy this list and take it with you whenever you are playing. After some time, you will memorize the abbreviations and make your note-taking more effective.


Side note: Note taking at live poker


All of the above information apply to both live and online poker.


However, sometimes I see live players taking notes on an actual notebook that they’ve brought to the table.


I would not recommend this, as it immediately gives away the information that you are someone who is aware of the other players moves and even takes notes. Which is something only an advanced player would do. (And you never want to give away this information)


So instead, download a note-taking app on your phone and take your notes there. 


This has two main benefits: 

  1. The players on the table will actually think you are not paying attention and just hang on your phone
  2. You have your notes with you wherever you go and won’t lose them

Final thoughts


Note taking is one of the most underrated skills a poker player needs to have to be successful and can level up your game more than you thought.


I hope this article was helpful!


Other articles you might like are: 


How solvers actually work (Click to read)

How to warm-up your poker brain (Click to read)


And if you are ready to take the next step, get 8 live coaching sessions per month and move up in stakes quickly, check out the BluffTheSpot Academy! 


In it, we’ve reverse-engineered the exact same path our most successful students took to achieve outstanding results in short periods of time!

Click here to check it out >>