It's been a while since I posted a helpful thread here in micro, and after a good long day at the 3/6 tables, I decided I'd write up a little something on the notes I take during and after play.
Right now I 4-table 3/6, and I end up seeing the same players, often good, day in and day out. At 3/6, you run into the same people more often than you do at 2/4 (or 1/2 or .5/1). The game remains the same, but as you move up, it becomes more and more important to find tables with unskilled players and adjust to the play of skilled players. To help me with this, there are 3 basic things I use:
1. PokerTracker stat profiles. Some players here don't use pokertracker, or use it mainly to track their own play and results over time. Beyond the simple accounting and storage of hands for myself, I mainly use it to keep track of my opponents. PT makes this easier by allowing you to export stats (through the advanced export feature) and to assign icons to track player profiles. In the newest beta patch, which I recommend everyone download, you can set up different stat ranges for each icon, and have PT automatically update each player's profile to make sure they're in the right range.
MS Sunshine had a very popular post (which someone can link to) that detailed his stat standards for passive, very passive, tight, v. tight, aggro and so on. At the moment, PT provides 12 icons. I use one of these to mark 2+2ers, and 11 to sort everybody else.
Everybody gets a preflop designation and a postflop designation. If there were more icons, I'd break it down more precisely, but I've found this is pretty helpful so far. The stats I use are VP$IP (basically, pre-flop tightness), PFR (preflop aggression) and Total Aggression (not counting preflop, so it gives us a nice summary of postflop aggression).
TA-P - triangle icon - Tight preflop (VP < 20). Aggro preflop (PFR > 5). Passive postflop (TOT-A < 1).
TA-N - eagle icon - Tight preflop (VP < 20). Aggro preflop (PFR < 5). Neutral postflop (1 < TOT-A < 2).
TA-A - moneybag icon - Tight preflop (VP < 20). Aggro preflop (PFR < 5). Aggro postflop (TOT-A > 2). This is the group I am in and the group you want to be in.
I automatically assign anyone with 30 hands to these categories, and advance export notes on everyone with > 20 hands after each day's session. In the end, everyone I've played 3 orbits with has the # of hands, the icon, the 2 preflop stats and the street by street postflop aggression stats exported.
For those wondering, here are the breakdowns by group count from all my hands this year (min. 30 hands):
LP-P - 1604
LP-A - 267
sLP-P - 578
sLP-A - 231
LA-P - 948
LA-A - 538
sLA-P - 307
sLA-A - 391
TP-P - 417
TP-A - 320
TA-P - 92
TA-N - 168
TA-A - 342
2. The PT game time window. All that exported stuff is well and good, but it's static, and you'll often want to keep running tabs on players that are new (or get a substantial number of hands) during a given session. For this, I set PT to request HHs every 5 minutes, import hand histories the moment they arrive, and keep an external game time window open at all times.
That way, I can switch the game time window to the current session quickly and make preflop decisions a lot easier. UTG raises, (I see he's not a rock so I confidently 3-bet w/TT) then see what his postflop aggression looks like to have a vague hint as to whether he'd push at me with overcards. It's not precise, but as a multi-tabler, it's really helpful.
3. Shorthand notes. For the moment, party and it's affiliates are restricting the character count of player notes to something like 84 characters, which is not a lot. With this in mind, I'm going to tell you to ignore preflop notes. Honestly, unless he does something really interesting like not raise from blinds with AK or QQ, you're better off using your notes for postflop action where the decisions are more important. What notes you should take is up to you, but I do something like the following:
"Player made a flop bet into the preflop raiser in a multiway pot with bottom pair" becomes "F b 2 pf-r mw w/bp"
"Calls down with any part of the board" becomes "cd w/apob"
"checkraised flopped trips on turn" becomes "cr F trp T" with the possible addendum "w/o pf-r".
That way when the flop comes I can open up everyone's notes real quick and see:
"b 2 LPpf-r w/bp on prdF" - "Bet into late position preflop raiser with bottom pair on a paired flop" (note, bp meaning not trips)
"no b F OESD mw" - "Did not bet a flopped openended straight draw multiway."
"blf cr scr T flsh w/nil HU pf-r" - "bluff check-raised a scary turn flush card with nothing heads up vs. the pre-flop raiser (and probable aggressor in hand)"
That's all I have to say. That's my system, feel free to use it or change it or ignore it. I just thought that the prospect of note-taking on all the people you see may seem daunting to a lot of people but it boils down to this:
Let pokertracker handle some automatic sorting and use your limited time and space to note the unusual things that your opponents do.
I used to export at 30 and only classify at 100, but now that PT let's you set up these ranges and automatically reclassify, I export at 20 and classify at 30.
Frankly, the auto-reclassifying made me sit up and really rethink my note-taking process (especially my need to focus on postflop notes) and this is the result. Essentially, as long as you don't treat the stat groups as gospel, it's very very helpful.