BonusGeek wants to know if you track your results in an online poker log, and if you consistently critique your own play. There are multiple ways to play any given hand in poker, due to the fact that at any given time there are hundreds if not thousands of possible outcomes. And even among professionals who make a very good living playing poker, there are different groups of thought given any particular situation. Some poker pros like Gus Hansen, as well as most poker beginners and newbies, will play literally any two cards in a given scenario, while mathematically inclined poker experts like Chris Ferguson play a very regimented and low risk style. How would you classify yourself as an online poker player?
The reason we ask you this question is because many players look upon their own poker playing abilities with rose-colored glasses. But the truth is that even professionals make mistakes, and you can only realize your true potential when you are constantly critiquing your play after every session. Whether in a cash game, sit-and-go or huge multitable tournament, online or off, asking yourself hard questions and answering them honestly is a quick path to improved poker play, leading directly to a fatter bankroll. Do you actively monitor and grade your own online poker play?
The easiest way to ensure that you are playing smart online poker is to keep a log in which you include your starting bankroll, the type and version of game you’re playing, how long your session lasts, and other important data. By simply keeping a log that you fill with relevant information on other players, your own behavior in particular situations, and the outcome, if you are honest with yourself you can actually improve your chances of having a winning session. The two keys to making this strategy work that pros use are brutal honesty with yourself, and keeping a poker log over an extended period of time.
Just critiquing your play over three or four sessions on one weekend is probably going to do very little to improve your abilities as a poker player. But when you have compiled an extensive data pool, you can compare similar situations, and use the results to improve your play. Since there are a limited number of possibilities due to the limited number of variables (4 suits of 13 cards each, for 52 cards in a deck), honestly analyzing your reactions to various common online poker situations can immediately allow you to find holes in your strategy. A player who says “I like to take a chance every once in a while” may find after truthfully analyzing his online poker play that he is reaching too often, and playing poor hands much more frequently than he thought.
And if poker legend Doyle Brunson knows anything about the wonderful game of poker, then the average poker player needs to be folding more hands. He once said that, “To win more, you’ve got to fold more.” And in the online poker world this is even more important, as the speed of the hands is much quicker than in a brick-and-mortar casino. Simply calling a hand because the blinds went unraised and are relatively low means you are playing entirely too many hands, and those small blinds add up over time. Play fewer hands, critique your play aggressively and honestly, keep a poker log, and maybe one day soon we’ll be mentioning your name in an article here at BonusGeek alongside the likes of the poker greats mentioned above.