My new and FREE Poker Journal will improve mental clarity, organize your studies, find leaks and track your progress.
Get your FREE Poker Journal here:
Download and open the journal, then listen to the podcast as you follow along below:
Action First, Learn Later
Download the free Poker Journal (in the form above).
After you download it, do a simple study session on the strategy of your choice (3bet bluffing, cbetting on monotone boards, facing a check-raise, etc.) and take notes within the appropriate section of the journal.
Then come back here and learn how I use this journal to turn myself into the player I want to be.
Why I Use a Poker Journal
For years I struggled with improving my game and a big part of that struggle was that I wasn’t tracking my results now was I taking good study notes.
Actually, my study notes were non-existent. I’d just watch a video and hope the strategies I learned would sink in. I’d read a full book and maybe highlight a few lines in the book, but I doubt much of that made it into my game.
I finally realized I had to find a way to put my ideas together to come up with new strategy insights, a way to track my progress and to systematically go from topic to topic while giving myself time to use the strategies I learned.
That’s when I decided to create my own Poker Journal.
Now, this wasn’t anything revolutionary. It’s just a Microsoft Word document but with the way I use it, I’m able to improve my game much more efficiently than without it.
So, if you haven’t already gone to the show notes page and downloaded it, I highly recommend you do that right now. Open it up and follow along through the rest of the podcast as I discuss how I use this journal.
First Journal Section: Statistics and Win Rates Tracker
Measuring your statistics and win rates and analyzing how they change over time will reveal your areas of weakness. And because you can only improve what you measure, this section is at the top of the journal.
As you work to improve your skills, the results can be seen in your statistics and win rates. If you’re studying and playing effectively, you’ll see your statistics and win rates improve. If THEY aren’t improving, YOU aren’t improving and you have more work to do.
I review my statistics every 2,000 hands of so because I want to know how I’m currently playing. I treat my statistical measures like I’m looking at another player’s HUD. So, I’m looking for weaknesses that my opponents can exploit, and this gives me a direction of study.
I love and hate seeing my win rates. Love it when things are going well and I’m in the black with all my aggressive and passive plays. I hate it when I see a lot of red, and that’s normally with the passive plays of calling like calling 3bets or cbets. Seeing where I’m currently losing money helps give me a direction of study as well.
Second Journal Section: After Action Review
According to Wikipedia: An after action review (AAR) is a structured review or debrief process for analyzing what happened, why it happened, and how it can be done better by those involved.
After a particularly bad play session, especially when anger and tilt occurred and resulted in even greater loss, I use this section to help me dissect the reasons behind my bad play or negative emotions.
There are 7 questions in this section to help me dissect my session. You’ll have to download the free Poker Journal to get the questions.
So, what I’ll do is create a new journal entry with today’s date then answer the questions. Sometime this illuminates issues like I didn’t warm-up, didn’t have a strategy focus, or maybe I allowed outside issues to affect my in-game mental state.
I used to call this section of my journal a generic name of “Play Sessions”. But, while listening to David Goggins book called ‘Can’t Hurt Me’ on audible, I learned what after action reviews are so I renamed this portion of the journal.
Support the show with a free 30-day trial to Audible.com:
8 Journal Sections for Study Notes
For my purposes, I have the study notes broken up into 8 sections:
- Poker Forge Study Notes
- Poker Books
- Studying Poker
- Preflop Strategy Notes
- Post-flop Strategy Notes
- Statistics Notes
- Tournament Strategy Notes
- Poker Software Notes
Each section already contains topics for you to take notes and organize your studies. For example, the Preflop Strategy Notes section has these sub-headings:
- Preflop Ranges
- Assigning Preflop Ranges
- Player Types
- Table Selection
- Bread & Butter
- LAG Players
- Open-raising Preflop
- 3betting Preflop
- Calling Preflop
- Facing 3bets Preflop
- Playing Deep Stacked Poker
- Small PP’s
- Exploiting Limpers
- Blind v Blind Play
- Online Play vs Live Play
- Anonymous Online Poker
- Earning Profits
These aren’t all the potential topics to study under the heading of Preflop Strategy, but this list will help you study the most important things.
And speaking of helping you study, with each of these sub-headings in the free Poker Journal, there’s a link to a Smart Poker Study podcast episode or YouTube video that will help you study that item.
Learn how to configure the Poker Journal to suit your needs:
Support the Show
K Lord, Markus Fredriksson, Cesar Da Silva, Julian Arriola, Andy Fisher, Victor Sancho, Alireza, Redman, Mike Paquette, Brandon Reid, Ernesto, Bryan Taylor, Mark Brement, William Dalton, Hans Nordestgaard, Rich G., Jerome Von Allmem and Gary Moore purchased my first book, How to Study Poker Volume 1 directly from me, which supports the show even better than getting it through Amazon. This is the best book to get you started on your poker studying journey especially when you pair it with the free Poker Journal.