How’d you do in 2018 on the felt? If you shrugged your shoulders then
this is the post for you.
Hey, it’s Ron again, the amateur recreational player here at The Poker Academy.com.
Let’s talk a little bit about the exciting world of record keeping.
WAIT, before you click away, this is one of the most important skills
a poker player can have.
My hourly rate in cash games in 2018 was positive $16.44. In
tournaments, I was a net loser in 2018: negative $8.59 per hour,
cashing 13% of the time.
We’ll get back to those numbers in a minute, but let’s take a second
to talk about record keeping and why it’s important. This can be a bit
of a Pandora’s Box, so let’s start at the beginning.
Question 1: why do you play poker? My answers are: to make money, and
for entertainment. In that order. So it’s important for me to not be a
net loser year after year. If you don’t keep records currently, are
you doing this to win money? Or is poker something you do for fun or when you’re bored or lonely?
Those are different motivations. If poker is social entertainment for
you, then maybe being a slight hourly loser is no big deal for you.
“Well, I lost $10 an hour, but I got to hang out with some friends,
have a few laughs and it was better than going to the movies.” I’m not
going to say that’s not a legit reason to play poker, it’s just not my
number one reason.
If poker is your form of entertainment, and you have a stable source
of income, then this post is over for you. Carry on and I hope to see
you at my table!
If you continued to read, then I’m going to assume that poker is more
than a fun night out for you. You want to win some money. Good. I like
your style. Knowing how much you win, and when and where you win are all
important things to know.
For example, let’s say you are crushing your $1/2 game. Your hourly
rate is $20 an hour, or 10 big blinds per hour. That’s amazing, good job. You
think that you’re ready to move up in stakes and take a shot at the
$3/5 game or even the $5/10 game. So you start playing at the $3/5
table and find that you win 3BB per hour or $15 an hour. Which is the
better game for you to play? Well, from a strictly monetary
standpoint, the smaller stakes game is paying you more per hour. From
an ego and challenge standpoint, moving up in stakes offers some other
rewards. I’m not going to tell you which game to play, but I will say
the only way you can know this information is if you are keeping
I use an app on my iPhone that is a dedicated poker income tracker,
but you could easily use your notepad or a spreadsheet.
But it’s imperative that you keep track if you want to improve. Here’s
what I mean: it opens up all kinds of information to you.
How do I do when I play long sessions? Do I win more at the casino vs
the card room? What about my win rate when I play the Wednesday regulars
vs the Saturday night crowd?
These are all very valuable pieces of information. If I know that my
least profitable game is at Casino X on Wednesday afternoons, then
maybe I should stay away from that game when there are softer games
available to me.
Or another way to look at it would be to ask why is that game tougher?
Is it one or two specific players? What are they doing that causes me
to lose in that game? Now you have the beginnings of a study plan to
Like I’ve said numerous times, I’m a recreational player that plays
mostly small stakes. I’m actually pretty happy with my results this
year. That negative amount on tournaments was in the red because I
took a shot in Vegas during the WSOP this year and played in some $1k
and up tournaments. Those are big buy-ins for me. I knew I was an
underdog in those events, but I wanted to take a shot. I did not cash.
Take those tournaments out of my year and I would be back in the black
in tournaments as well.
Looking through my stats has given me a todo list for my poker studies
already. Things I wouldn’t have thought of if I hadn’t been keeping
I hope you had a profitable 2018 and that you crush your poker goals in 2019.