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Observing Players To Gather Information

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Observing Players To Gather Information - Mon Apr 04, 2011, 01:01 AM
(#1)
PanickyPoker's Avatar
Since: Sep 2010
Posts: 3,168
Here's something I need help with.

I'm a decent poker player. I understand a lot of theoretical concepts, strategic plays, and psychological aspects of the game. But I have one major problem at the tables: I'm terrible at picking up information about other players, especially when I'm not in a hand. I more or less know what I should be looking at. Bet sizing, bet frequency, raise frequency, fold frequency, hands shown down, and bluffing tendencies are all things that players can look at to judge other players. My problem is that my attention wanders a lot. My biggest issue is that my thoughts just wander to other things without me noticing, and by the time I catch myself, I've missed something. Most of the time though, I just don't feel any motivation to watch other players. It's weird, because I'm not lazy about any other aspect of poker, but I'm really lazy with this. Does anyone else have a similar problem, and does anyone have any ways that they deal with it? I think that not watching people is probably my biggest weakness, and I want to get better. It's especially important, because I don't use a HUD (working on getting one, though).

If anyone can help me think of a way to improve, I'd really appreciate it! Thanks a lot!
 
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Mon Apr 04, 2011, 02:05 AM
(#2)
RockerguyAA's Avatar
Since: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,089
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I don't use a HUD. What I do is view every player the same. I assume they will play straightforward and make the standard type plays. If I notice someone doing something out of the ordinary I make a note of it. If they keep raising the button or SB every time it is fold to them, if they bet everytime I check the flop to them, if they limp UTG then fold to a raise, if they make big reraises on the turn with a set or a bluff, if they bet 1/3 the pot on the river with a bluff, shove the river with the nuts, if they turn into a call station when I raise from BB after they limp SB, what hands I see them 4-bet with, etc... etc... I don't usually pay much attention to tables I'm not involved in unless the pot gets big, then I am interested in seeing what the players were willing to get a lot of money invested with. I take most of my notes during or directly after being involved in a hand.

I can do this very well with up to 9 tables running. I just started 12 tabling 5NL tonight and everything worked great so far. My biggest problem(I guess anyways?) is that I sometimes give people too much respect for a hand if I haven't had a chance to pick up on any specific reads on them. Also, so far the amount of players with notes is a minority. By the end of the session there's usually 1 or 2 people with notes taken per table, which makes me think I could improve my note taking.

Anyways, just my approach and thoughts. Besides checking out the Langolier's live training about note taking one night, it is something I've worked out mostly on my own over the last 70,000 hands.

Last edited by RockerguyAA; Mon Apr 04, 2011 at 02:20 AM..
 
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Mon Apr 04, 2011, 02:16 AM
(#3)
RockerguyAA's Avatar
Since: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,089
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I've got a question myself. When I take notes while multi-tabling, every time a table requires action it will cut me off when I am right in the middle of typing in a note. I then have to click on the table I was typing the note and continue typing, just to probably get cut off again when the active window switches to a table requiring new action. It makes it hard for me to take notes during the session. Is there any way to fix this?
 
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Mon Apr 04, 2011, 02:27 AM
(#4)
Deleted user
@Panicky
I suffer from the same problem and found extensive note taking works to help cut down the wandering.Some thing I have decided to really work on this month.IF I cant learn to focus than I might as well give up playing poker.We need to be so aware and lately my mind is wandering a lot.
Decided to focus in on a select SNG and study the regs for that lvl and really learn how to play it.
Will spend the same amount playing as studying the hand histories.Set some goals and where you want to be in 3 months or even 2 weeks.

@Rocker
You can detach the chat box and keep taking notes on that table as other tables pop up.
You will see on the box Chat,Notes,Stats and info and right next to it a symbol of two boxes with a arrow.Click on that and you can note away.
 
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Mon Apr 04, 2011, 03:00 AM
(#5)
JDean's Avatar
Since: Aug 2010
Posts: 3,145
BronzeStar
Quote:
Originally Posted by PanickyPoker View Post
Here's something I need help with.

I'm a decent poker player. I understand a lot of theoretical concepts, strategic plays, and psychological aspects of the game. But I have one major problem at the tables: I'm terrible at picking up information about other players, especially when I'm not in a hand. I more or less know what I should be looking at. Bet sizing, bet frequency, raise frequency, fold frequency, hands shown down, and bluffing tendencies are all things that players can look at to judge other players. My problem is that my attention wanders a lot. My biggest issue is that my thoughts just wander to other things without me noticing, and by the time I catch myself, I've missed something. Most of the time though, I just don't feel any motivation to watch other players. It's weird, because I'm not lazy about any other aspect of poker, but I'm really lazy with this. Does anyone else have a similar problem, and does anyone have any ways that they deal with it? I think that not watching people is probably my biggest weakness, and I want to get better. It's especially important, because I don't use a HUD (working on getting one, though).

If anyone can help me think of a way to improve, I'd really appreciate it! Thanks a lot!

I have a blog on this very subject. Within that blog are a lot of good little tid bits I've picked up along the way to help simplify and clarify what is "important" to look for when formulating your "reads".

Go check it out, it might help.

(I think this link will work)

http://www.pokerschoolonline.com/blo...2&preview=true

If the links dont work, just search my blogs.

Last edited by JDean; Mon Apr 04, 2011 at 03:07 AM..
 
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Mon Apr 04, 2011, 03:31 AM
(#6)
PanickyPoker's Avatar
Since: Sep 2010
Posts: 3,168
I'll take a look in a minute JDean. Gotta grab some cookies out of the oven right now. Btw, has anyone ever tried bacon cookies? I just thought about the idea now. Sounds yummy. If bacon can go in donuts, then they must work in cookies, too...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted user View Post
@Panicky
I suffer from the same problem and found extensive note taking works to help cut down the wandering.Some thing I have decided to really work on this month.IF I cant learn to focus than I might as well give up playing poker.We need to be so aware and lately my mind is wandering a lot.
Decided to focus in on a select SNG and study the regs for that lvl and really learn how to play it.
Will spend the same amount playing as studying the hand histories.Set some goals and where you want to be in 3 months or even 2 weeks.
Alright, back from cookies. I don't know what goals I can set in the way of note taking. I guess I can think of something...

I know! I'll play a game. Each session, I'll make mental notes about each player's stats. I'll start with just one stat for each individual, like VPIP. After the session is over, I'll check my hh's and compare my impression with the actual stats. If my estimate of their tight/loose level is correct, then I'll treat myself to a congratulatory listen to Rebecca Black's 'Friday'. Love that song. Makes me laugh every time.

 
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Mon Apr 04, 2011, 05:58 AM
(#7)
monkeyskunk4's Avatar
Since: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,818
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted user View Post
@Panicky
I suffer from the same problem and found extensive note taking works to help cut down the wandering.Some thing I have decided to really work on this month.IF I cant learn to focus than I might as well give up playing poker.We need to be so aware and lately my mind is wandering a lot.
Decided to focus in on a select SNG and study the regs for that lvl and really learn how to play it.
Will spend the same amount playing as studying the hand histories.Set some goals and where you want to be in 3 months or even 2 weeks.

@Rocker
You can detach the chat box and keep taking notes on that table as other tables pop up.
You will see on the box Chat,Notes,Stats and info and right next to it a symbol of two boxes with a arrow.Click on that and you can note away.
Get ure lazy d-gen butts into the Mzone- the note taking clinic is very cool-- wicked actually-- gl all monk...
 
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Mon Apr 04, 2011, 06:09 AM
(#8)
PanickyPoker's Avatar
Since: Sep 2010
Posts: 3,168
No idea what the M-zone is, and I have missed all of Dave's note taking sessions, unfortunately. I should watch one of those as soon as he runs another, or it gets upped on the site.
 
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Mon Apr 04, 2011, 08:18 AM
(#9)
DEMONTIS7's Avatar
Since: Jan 2011
Posts: 209
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You need a HUD
>Dem
 
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Mon Apr 04, 2011, 08:31 AM
(#10)
Da Sens Fan's Avatar
Since: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,118
I too have a wandering mind , be it tv/porn/random chaos in the house .....

One exercise I found that helped me on focusing and developing hand range skills is quite simple. Instead of trying to develope ranges on your entire table, focus instead on the two people to your right and the one person on your left. Really pay attention to their patterns and bet sizing and try to get a feel on what type of board texture they like to get aggressive with. Every single hand that one of these three go to showdown, try to predict what they have.

As you feel comfortable with the three and start getting your hand ranges consistently close, add another seat left, then right and so on until you are comfortable reading entire tables.

Anyways, good luck out there
 
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Mon Apr 04, 2011, 08:41 AM
(#11)
roomik17's Avatar
Since: Aug 2010
Posts: 4,556
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great advice Sens
 
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Mon Apr 04, 2011, 08:46 AM
(#12)
DEMONTIS7's Avatar
Since: Jan 2011
Posts: 209
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or choose the most active 2 players at your table,,,work on them, see how close you can get...good luck with that one. It's really difficult to put the donkeys on a hand, they are ATC kind of players.
But then that's called fishing.

>Dem
 
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Mon Apr 04, 2011, 08:58 AM
(#13)
PanickyPoker's Avatar
Since: Sep 2010
Posts: 3,168
I think I'll try that. Thanks.
 
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Mon Apr 04, 2011, 09:01 AM
(#14)
mytton's Avatar
Since: Oct 2010
Posts: 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Da Sens Fan View Post
I too have a wandering mind , be it tv/porn/random chaos in the house .....

One exercise I found that helped me on focusing and developing hand range skills is quite simple. Instead of trying to develope ranges on your entire table, focus instead on the two people to your right and the one person on your left. Really pay attention to their patterns and bet sizing and try to get a feel on what type of board texture they like to get aggressive with. Every single hand that one of these three go to showdown, try to predict what they have.

As you feel comfortable with the three and start getting your hand ranges consistently close, add another seat left, then right and so on until you are comfortable reading entire tables.

Anyways, good luck out there

I really like this suggestion. I tend to struggle with focus and attention sometimes too, and this sounds a great way to narrow the focus down and get some good quality reads.

Another thing I like to do after sitting at a table for a while, is to look round the table from player to player and ask myself what I can say about each one, based on what I have seen. I may find I have a general 'feel' about a player, but if I can't express it succinctly its probably not very valuable.

On the subject of HUDs, I used a free trial version of PT3 until it expired. It is a great tool, especially for self analysis, but beware of becoming too dependant on it. If you are not careful you will find yourself paying even less attention to the table and relying on the HUD too much. In retrospect i am very glad my trial of PT3 ended, as it is only since then that I have started to make any progress at observing and reading players. Although if I start multitabling to any extent I suspect a HUD will become pretty much essential equipment again.
 
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Mon Apr 04, 2011, 09:03 AM
(#15)
spike8998's Avatar
Since: Apr 2010
Posts: 853
Quote:
Originally Posted by Da Sens Fan View Post
I too have a wandering mind , be it tv/porn/random chaos in the house .....

One exercise I found that helped me on focusing and developing hand range skills is quite simple. Instead of trying to develope ranges on your entire table, focus instead on the two people to your right and the one person on your left. Really pay attention to their patterns and bet sizing and try to get a feel on what type of board texture they like to get aggressive with. Every single hand that one of these three go to showdown, try to predict what they have.

As you feel comfortable with the three and start getting your hand ranges consistently close, add another seat left, then right and so on until you are comfortable reading entire tables.

Anyways, good luck out there
Very Very Interesting

Gonna give that 1 a try

Thanks
 
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Information in four 2 five rounds. - Mon Apr 04, 2011, 09:21 AM
(#16)
13 Origin's Avatar
Since: Dec 2010
Posts: 1
BronzeStar
I agree with the strategy in this thread. I would like to add another strategy which may help some. Learning to read a table is hard, but gets eaiser with practice. I play very few hands in the first 4 or 5 rounds of blinds. I get some hands I play, but fold most. These rounds are what I use to observe the table and players. I watch the cards, what they play, what I had, betting structure, hand position when they bet, raised or called.

I use all of this information to play my hands later. Every player has their own style. I like to find their style and then play the hand against them knowing how they play. I play every hand different for not every players plays the same. When I first started doing this it was hard. With practice it became natural. Now I do it and don't even think.

I hope this helps some. Good Luck. Actually, good skill. LOL!
 
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Trying out some styles - Mon Apr 04, 2011, 10:22 AM
(#17)
sharkatack89's Avatar
Since: Nov 2010
Posts: 536
BronzeStar
Great posts. I'm finding that I've become very HUD dependent as of late. Using HUD instead of notes and even finding I'm not taking advantage of positional plays. Gonna try doing a combination of both now. Play w/o HUD a bit and with. Good Luck to all. -shark
 
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Mon Apr 04, 2011, 10:28 AM
(#18)
JDean's Avatar
Since: Aug 2010
Posts: 3,145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DEMONTIS7 View Post
or choose the most active 2 players at your table,,,work on them, see how close you can get...good luck with that one. It's really difficult to put the donkeys on a hand, they are ATC kind of players.
But then that's called fishing.

>Dem
Picking the 2 most active to "observe" may not be optimal...

Simply picking the most active players to collect extra info on may not be effective because if there are people between you and your "target", you may see an iso raise ahead of you. If there are people behind you to act, you may see folks "squeezing" you out of pots.


It would be far better to conentrate on the 2 or 3 most likely to be in a hand against you, with the least "interference" between you and them, to hinder any "plays" you might make based on the extra info you've collected.

The player on your immediate table right will be the guy you will just about ALWAYS have position on, thus knowing his tendencies are important to leverage that advantage.

The 2 players to your immediate LEFT will have position on you in almost all hands. For the same reasons as you are observing the guy to your table right, these guys may well be playing a lot against YOU...only they have the "advantage". Obviously, any extra info you can gather helps you against that advantage.

If you are not going to work to collect info on everyone at the table, I'd start with these 3 folks first...
 
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Mon Apr 04, 2011, 11:04 AM
(#19)
Da Sens Fan's Avatar
Since: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,118
Exactly Jdean. That's why I suggested working right to left like a ripple effect until the entire table is covered. It's an exercise similar to that most multitablers undergo, adding one table at a time in order to achieve a comfort zone.
 
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Mon Apr 04, 2011, 11:10 AM
(#20)
JDean's Avatar
Since: Aug 2010
Posts: 3,145
BronzeStar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Da Sens Fan View Post
Exactly Jdean. That's why I suggested working right to left like a ripple effect until the entire table is covered. It's an exercise similar to that most multitablers undergo, adding one table at a time in order to achieve a comfort zone.
I hadnt seen your post da Sens...

I prefer to concentrate on the people who will have the advantage on me, simply because when I have position, I will tend to benefit from greater info anyway.

Still...

Focusing on the palyers CLOSET to you, if you must limit your focus, is the way to go...
 

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