I am very new to poker, mostly playing online ofc, but I hope with time I will also participate in some live events. My concern is that I want to develop some sort of "keeping track of my oponents" type of skill, as I understand it is very important in poker. In online poker there are softwares and HUDs that can do that for us.

I am afraid of using it as I don't want to rely on such software on account of lack of these tools at live events, thus being inferior to people with such abilities. Playing online can be considered like training so I don't want to train with powerful tool that I will not be able to use live.

So my question is: is it possible to develop such strong memory skills to keep very good track of opponents actions over time (I realised it will never be as good as HUDs, but maybe close enough to be useful) or maybe as a beginner I am missing something here and my concerns are not real?

2 Answers 2


There's a basic problem with these "database" approaches.

So you keep track of what a person bets etc. when they have a particular hand. Then you look for those bets in an attempt to discern their hand from their betting. OK.

But your target has to remember what he is "supposed" to do when he has A8 off-suit. Which, most likely, he does not. Indeed, his own hand is only part of why he bets the way he does. He is also taking into account what everybody else does. And how long they take to do it. And what they have been doing since the start of the game.

So your database is unlikely to capture all the factors he includes in his betting. He may not even be aware of exactly why he bets that way. If the guy to his right dithers over a bet or bets quickly, for example, he may change his mind without knowing exactly why. And that choice may have been influenced by the hand up to that point, or even by the previous several hands. He may have a "feel" for some of the players at the table. (Whether that "feel" is right or wrong is another matter.)

And then your target logs in with his other account where he has his big bankroll. And you don't know it's the same guy. And he cleans your clock.

Live games are even more complicated. Looking across the table and trying to decide what the other guys are holding is a thing. If you are trying to remember what he had the last time he bet that way, you are likely to miss the "tell." You are thinking "the last time he matched the blind he had a small pair" you will miss that he holds good cards in his right hand and bad cards in the left. And you won't spend the effort to kill off your own "tell."

So generally, my own personal bias is, don't bother with these database things. Learn poker, not computers. Your mileage may vary.

That being said, there is a "computing" skill you should work at. That's looking at the cards that you have seen and figuring out what hands are thereby impossible. And so working out what remaining hands could beat your hand. And also whether the hand you hope to build has been wrecked. And whether other people could reasonably guess what you were building from what is showing and how you bet. This is important in various "stud" games, Texas Holdem, and other games where cards get shown to everybody. And to some extent in "draw" games where you need to remember your discards and how they affect things.

  • thanks for answer, But first of all I only meant keeping track of the current table only, last 20, 30, 40 hands for example, so re-logging from different account will not apply here, as I will consider this person a fresh player and start building new "stats" for him.
    – GKozinski
    Feb 2, 2023 at 16:01
  • Secondly, in all books I've read so far they say we need to figure out a type of players we deal with: tight, "calling station", agressive raiser, etc. seems to me that knowing stats such as how often he raises/calls/folds preflop, how often calls vs raises postflop, can be useful for that. I noticed often we can have wrong impression of players after first few hands as it is very possible to have very good or very bad hands few times in a row and these stats could be skewed for such small sample, but could make some sense with more hands played.
    – GKozinski
    Feb 2, 2023 at 16:07
  • Poker HUDs do not ordinarily show any information about the ranges of each player, but only about their tendencies to bet, call or fold in different spots (on each street, in and out of position, when facing a check/bet/raise etc.) which is obviously valuable, if you have enough data on an opponent. An opponent may or may not have had good reasons to call with A8off in early position in one particular hand, but if a significant sampling reveals they call 25% more often from a particular spot than they are "supposed to", then you have found an exploitable leak. Mar 29, 2023 at 11:18

Some sites allow HUDs and others do not. Without a HUD it's best to try and play game theory optimal versus the player pool, and take notes on betting sizes and tendencies.

Examples of notes should be short and give info which could deviate from the standard player at the stakes. Examples can be like:

  • raising too much preflop
  • small 3-bets in position
  • called down with middle pair
  • overbet turn on a wet board
  • small c-bets

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.