The Importance Of Good Memory As A Poker Player
Written by: Christine Winter
You’re in a heads up at the end of a big tournament. The final table has been cleared out and you’ve been set it with this other player for about 50 hands. The stacks are pretty much equal and there’s enough money on the prize pool for your to get a brand new iPhone.
You’re dealt a pair of eights (8c8d), and there is a little bit of pre-flop action but nothing too crazy. The flop comes, 5c, 6c, 7d appease. As soon as your opponent sees the flop, he shoves it all in.
What does he have?
The importance of memory in poker
The answer to this question might be hidden in the about 50 hands you’ve played with him in the heads up, and in the whole of the final table. How tight was he? How aggressive was he?
Most people in the situation described above might just want to fold if the blinds aren’t too high, as the villain might have a straight, aces or even a flush draw. No blinds are mentioned, so let’s assume both players are still 20 BB deep.
A good poker player would probably start looking at the odds of the whole thing, trying to see how profitable it would be for him to just call. This is one way to look at the problem, but a very thought and flawed way. What if the opponent has nothing and we end up folding thinking he has a straight flush draw?
A player with good memory would have so much information on the opponent by now this call wouldn’t even be a hard one to make, provided the player was actually paying attention.
The solution to the problem lies in the little things we managed to pick up on the opponent throughout the game. How badly did he raise? With what? In what position? Against who? How many hands was he in throughout the final table?
These are just a few examples of questions we need to answer before making that dreadful decision. That is already a lot to remember, these are already a few great uses for memory in poker.
But there’s more to it than that. The example given is of a specific heads up situation. In a real game, we need to memorize things about the whole table around us and, moreover, we need to easily recall everything.
To solve the situation above, we’d need Tom recall a lot of events with ease so we could use the information we had against our opponent. With good memory, we could easily make the call/fold decision. Situations like these happen regularly.
How to really memorize in poker
Now that we’ve established a good memory is essential in like, we need to know how to properly use it to our advantage. Having s good memory is crucial for any poker player, but so is using it.
The first you need to do is to pay attention, whether it is offline or online poker, paying attention is going to give you insights on the enemy. Pay attention to how much they bet, what range they raise with, what do they call with and how much they raise. Whatever you can get is going to be useful.
Additionally you can use mnemonic devices [link to an explanation of what these are] in order to control the table. Just get a mnemonic device of your own for each player type (solid, aggressive, super aggressive, etc.) and apply it to the table. If done correctly, you’ll soon be able to read the table with ease.
Finally, replaying hands in your mind can get you a few more insights on the player around you. Sometimes we miss small details but if we look back at the hands, we’ll notice them. Remember these small details can be the difference between a brand new iPhone and a lousy second place.
Training your memory on a daily basis is also a good idea. Try to remember small things, play some memory games and remember a few hands every day. It might look like it won’t do much at first, but it’ll do a lot in the long run.