TThis week, the World Series of Poker again infiltrated the city of fear, loathing and dream break-/making for a 45th year. From Omaha to Texas Hold’em, H.O.R.S.E. to Razz, Las Vegas’s Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino hosts 65 bracelet events from now into early July. Many will enter; few will win.
From a guy who appreciates how difficult it is to be the e pluribus unum (one out of many), an app called Poker Notes Live. Designed to diminish the incomplete information gap inherent in the game of poker, Poker Notes Live eliminates the need for complete reliance upon memory retention or the primitive practice of handwritten note-taking to keep track of opponents’ tendencies during live games.
Downloadable via Google Play and the App Store, the free version of Poker Notes Live has already been accessed by more than 5,000 users since its end-of-2012 inception. The Premium version, now available at the discounted price of $4.99 in celebration of the start of the WSOP, does the important job of allowing you to build a read repository. Local guy with the lazy eye feigns frustration when he has the nuts… Woman with the flip phone and the e-cig tends to inhale a drag when the flop hits her. Or, on the off chance you feel uncomfortable spelling out strangers’ discernible features for your personal gain, just slyly take a pic of them (only for iOS devices) instead.
The storage distinction alone justifies Premium’s moderate expense. No need for Captain Obvious to point out: an app founded on the importance of readily accessible, augmentable records needs the ability to provide access to readily accessible, augmentable records. It’d be like writing Genesis and then shredding it to make shelf room for Exodus. EXACTLY LIKE THAT.
Robbie Strazynski, co-founder of Poker Notes Live, doesn’t endorse the above comparison, but he has no qualms reminding purchasers that the investment of “a couple big blinds” could seriously increase their handicap. The marketing mind with a master’s degree in linguistics isn’t just turning phrases when it comes to Poker Notes Live. His partner, Alessandro Roaro, is a skilled app developer operating under the name ChipStack. He found Alex by some stroke of “has anybody else thought of this” Google search kismet. Though the two have never met in the flesh – Alex lives in Italy, Robbie in Israel – they’ve managed to merge their talents through very effective brass tacks Skype meetings.A recreational poker player himself, Robbie moved to Israel as a teenager with his family to fulfill Zionist beliefs. Now 32, the father of three learned the game, in its many iterations, from his own father at age eight. That a family man committed to a religion lauding individual’s contributions to the betterment of society would consort with a gambling lot construes counterintuitive at first blush. It’s not. Robbie says, “I play poker for fun [as does his father]. Mainly though, my passion for the game exhibits itself via what I produce for my blog [Cardplayer Lifestyle].”
In the Charity Poker section of Cardplayer Lifestyle, Robbie writes, “We’ve long believed the game of poker carries with it the tremendous potential to create good in the world.” He goes on to outline ways to donate to charitable causes through large-scale, organized tournaments as well as casual home games.
During one such home game, Robbie reached a disciplined and wise conclusion any father would be proud of. “I realized after a while that I probably wasn’t going to make millions playing poker,” he says. Not wanting to completely turn a blind eye to the game he loved, he focused on growing Poker Notes Live as well as his blog, with other potential poker-related ventures in the pipeline.
“I spend time on the blog on nights and weekends and during my train commute to and from work,” says Robbie. The writer and editor by trade is responsible for 95% percent of Cardplayer Lifestyle’s content. “Most contributors are friends and fellow players,” he continues. This includes real-life Robert Redford “Sneakers” character Eddie Harari, a cyber security expert and seasoned hacker. “I like that contributors only post when they really feel passionately about the topic, not out of obligation or deadline. Anything they produce with that sort of mind frame practically guarantees that it will be excellent content and that it will resonate with my audience.”
In March, Robbie’s side project got a huge break, as he snagged a Q&A interview with the poker pro to put all other pros to shame, Phil Ivey. During the interview, encouraged by a piece of solid advice from a mentor, Robbie subtly asked for Ivey’s thoughts on note-taking during live poker sessions. Ivey’s reply:
Well, I’m not personally a note-taking type of player. Certainly, poker is a game of information and the more information you have the better off you are. If you can work out a way of taking notes that enhances your knowledge and doesn’t give away too much information in the process, and that doesn’t create negative feelings that you can’t exploit, then by all means.
There you have it, people. Direct from the mouth of the Plato of poker. Ivey sums it up in true gambler fashion. If you think you can get away with it, go for it. Now, to put this into perspective, Danish proker player (proker= “professional poker”) Gus Hansen in the past got away with using a Dictaphone during deep stack tournaments. Surely then, recreational players should be able to pull off some inconspicuous neo-note keeping of their own. After all, doesn’t everyone bring their Smartphone to the tables these days?
Feasibly Poker Notes Live’s most valuable feature, the “Overall Style” tool, allows a user to categorize players as one of the following: ABC player, fish, loose-aggressive, loose-passive, maniac, rock, tight-aggressive, and tight-passive. Each style has its own accompanying emoticon: a bull’s eye for tight-aggressives, a rat for tight-passives, a monkey for loose-passive, etc.
Poker Notes Live makes note taking during live play virtually seamless. And, as a collateral bonus, keeps the player focused on the felt, not on Facebook. “Don’t ante-up without it!”