Even casual players know that it helps to keep stats on your opponents. I’d say that every serious player has software like Hold’em Manager or PokerTracker3 for that purpose. But professional poker players have to go beyond keeping track of their opponents. They have to keep track of themselves and the trends of the online poker rooms where they play.
Here’s what I mean:
Know the Most Profitable Times to Play
You’ll make more money on certain days and at certain times. For example, professional Sit N Go players know to steer clear of SNGs on weeknights between 6 and 10pm eastern time. For whatever reason, it’s just less profitable to play during these times.
Your tracking software will help you determine what time is the most profitable for your poker roll. Tournament players can also go to Sharkscope.com to find out when they’re most profitable.
Know What Limit You Should Play
Logic dictates that when you face better players when you play higher limits so your win rate should go down, but logic doesn’t always hold in this instance. Going back to our Sit N Go example, many players will tell you that there’s a limit that they just can’t beat even if they usually play at a higher limit. For example, I know of a good Sit N Go player that regularly crushes the $30+3 level, but can’t play profitably at the $10+1 level.
In any case, you’ll often find that you do much better at a certain limit. Use your tracking software to determine what limit that is and play there more often.
Know How Many Tables You Should Play
Once again, logic misleads us. Logically your win rate should be higher when you play fewer tables, but this isn’t always the case. A lot of players have a hard time playing just one table because they get bored and start making stupid moves. These same players make a killing when they 6 and 8-table because there’s plenty to keep them busy.
Experiment with multi-tabling to find your sweet spot. Poker tracking software like Hold’em Manager will help you determine how many tables is optimal for you.
Know How You Perform In Different Positions
Almost all players will show more of a profit as they approach the button, but not all players will use that information to their advantage.
One of the most common mistakes in no-limit cash games is being too tight on the button. You should steal liberally with almost any two cards when the action folds to you. If you don’t believe me, check your poker tracking program. I’ll bet almost every hand shows a profit for you on the button. Analyze your play and find spots to squeeze out extra profits.
Hunt Down ATM Machines
Sometimes it’s hard to notice weak players when you have 8 or 10 tables up. You know you’re winning money, but you don’t know who that money is coming from. Check your poker tracking program once a week to see which opponents are giving you the most money and put them on your buddy list so you can sit with them more often.
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Poker tracking isn’t only about tracking your opponents. You need to track your own play as well as the trends of the poker room. Use the information you find wisely and you can drastically increase your win rate.