Is there a standard notation, like there is for chess, for describing Texas Hold 'Em, poker, or other poker-like card games?

I think there was a standard for Bridge because I remember they would print games/hands in the newspapers.

3 Answers 3


Yes there is a standard for notating poker games, though it's not so widely used. One of the reasons for this is doing it as a player in game is cheating, writing down the cards that have come out would be counting cards.

The card values are: 2-9,T,J,Q,K,A in standard notation.

Suits can be noted, with the symbol of the suit (♠♣♥♦) or the first letter of the suit name (SCHD), though usually this is not bothered with as suits only matter in poker for the three flush type hands. Often is it just noted if a players hole cards are suited (s) or offsuit(o) - ATo would be an ace and a ten with different suits.

For community cards they are grouped and ordered as they would be on the table - 3 in the flop, 1 in the river then one for the turn.

Beyond that, notation for the players are BB(Big Blind), SB(Small Blind), BTN(button, the dealer), UTG (Under the Gun, to the left of BB and the first to bet) and CO(cut off, to the right of the button). Players if any between UTG and CO are notated by their distance from the closest of these, like UTG+1 or CO-2.

Bets are noted by the dollar value of the bet, or by how many times it is the big blind (2.5x)

  • 1
    These are all interesting, but how would one string them together to describe an example hand? How would the log output of a hand look when combining these notations?
    – Mike Skott
    Feb 23, 2018 at 15:08
  • 1
    I think it'd be worth noting that in high-stakes games (such as the WSOP) the values of the bets aren't tied to money, but to the relative value of the chips. That's to say that a $100,000 bet doesn't necessarily mean the bet is worth USD100,000 (and it usually isn't).
    – J. Sallé
    Feb 23, 2018 at 15:08
  • There're no "CO-2" or similar noted positions with negative values. Check my answer. Moreover, there's no need to "write down cards" in THE, community cards is an information always available to anyone, and the deck is fully reshuffled before a new hand begins.
    – Galandil
    Feb 23, 2018 at 15:19
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    @J.Sallé True, but it's a bit of a distinction without a difference there, the chips themselves have no dollar value in WSOP games, but part of the reason for those high value chips is to give the illusion of there being alot of money on the table, and artificially increase excitement.
    – Andrew
    Feb 23, 2018 at 15:36
  • @Galandil In THE specifically you are correct, but I didn't refer only to hold em, draw and stud versions of poker can be played with multiple decks, which are usually not reshuffled every hand, the question is about poker in general, though while much of the rest of the answer only applies to THE.
    – Andrew
    Feb 23, 2018 at 15:39

Yes, there's a notation used in all discussions and software poker related.

Face value of the cards: 2-9, T, J, Q, K, A

Suits of the cards: s, h, d, c

So King of spades is Ks, 5 of clubs is 5c etc.

When talking about hole cards, you can write them using the suits, i.e. AsTh, or, when the suit doesn't matter (usually preflop), just note if they're suited, i.e.: AJs, or off-suited, i.e. KQo.

Same goes for the flop: you can note the suit of every card, i.e. AsTh5h, or group only the face value and the fact that the flop is rainbow (i.e. all cards have different suits), suited (two cards of the same suit) or monotone (all cards of the same suit), like this: AKTr, T73s, QJ2m.

Positions are noted this way: Dealer is called Button, notation BTN or BU. Small Blind is SB, Big Blind is BB. The player before BTN is called the Cut-off, notation CO. Then, depending on the number of players, the other positions are grouped as Under The Gun (UTG) or Middle Position (MP). UTG is the first player to talk during preflop, thus is the one sitting after the BB. If the table has 6 players, the player between UTG and CO is the MP. If the table is a 10 players table, you have UTG, UTG+1, UTG+2, MP, MP+1, MP+2, CO, BTN, SB, BB. A very seldom used notation for the player before the CO is Hijack, or HJ. Regarding heads-up game, the only positions are SB (=BTN) and BB.

Answering your question in the comments, usually online rooms log the result just by using the standard notation, i.e.:

Player 1 - AsAc
Player 2 - KsQh
Board - Ts,Js,2d,7d,9c

There're too some less used notations, for example when describing a board at the turn which is double suited (2 cards of a suit and the other 2 of another one), like AT75ss, but these are mostly used in analysis/discussions.

Edit: I forgot to add the notation for the players' actions.

Check - X
Bet - B
Call - C
Raise - R
Fold - F

So, if a player for example check-raises, it's noted as a X/R.

  • Please don't use codeblock for anything that is not code. Emphasis and strong emphasis should be applied instead.
    – Nij
    Feb 23, 2018 at 17:43
  • And welcome to the site! Feb 24, 2018 at 8:35
  • @Nij Strongly disagree, ideally ofc there would be a way to create <pre> tags.
    – ruohola
    Sep 8, 2023 at 18:52

There is no a universal standard that I know of. But they read similar. It would be nice to have an XML standard.

You can get hand history from many sites and applications. They typically don't include hole cards of the players that did not have to show.

Hand history is not widely released as it is more valuable to bots than people. A bot can look up when they did X what was the range they were holding.

Internally most sites keep a history to spot cheats. It could be real people colluding or bots.

As stated in other answer cards are 2-9, T, J, Q, K. The suits are c, s, d, h and usually in lower case (e.g. Td). Positions have names and pretty standard abbreviations. You typically get seat number and where the button is like the example below.

Hero is you and your hole cards are known.

Sample hand from PokerStars

Hand #156605842579: Tournament #1618015625, $2.00+$2.00+$0.40 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level XVIII (300/600) - 2016/07/29 23:25:05 MSK [2016/07/29 16:25:05 ET]
Table '1618015625 40' 9-max Seat #7 is the button
Seat 1: nossoff (22844 in chips) 
Seat 2: Gr0z3LB (27895 in chips) 
Seat 3: yarikkkkk (7005 in chips) 
Seat 4: sigis1313 (18222 in chips) 
Seat 5: S21berlin (25318 in chips) 
Seat 6: Hero (8240 in chips) 
Seat 7: tommesk (8185 in chips) 
Seat 8: gergelyt3 (17912 in chips) 
Seat 9: endreooo (50289 in chips) 
nossoff: posts the ante 90
Gr0z3LB: posts the ante 90
yarikkkkk: posts the ante 90
sigis1313: posts the ante 90
S21berlin: posts the ante 90
Hero: posts the ante 90
tommesk: posts the ante 90
gergelyt3: posts the ante 90
endreooo: posts the ante 90
gergelyt3: posts small blind 300
endreooo: posts big blind 600
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [Jd Ac]
nossoff: raises 600 to 1200
Gr0z3LB: folds 
yarikkkkk: folds 
sigis1313: folds 
S21berlin: folds 
Hero: raises 6950 to 8150 and is all-in
tommesk: folds 
gergelyt3: folds 
endreooo: folds 
nossoff: calls 6950
*** FLOP *** [7h 2h 5s]
*** TURN *** [7h 2h 5s] [5d]
*** RIVER *** [7h 2h 5s 5d] [4d]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
nossoff: shows [Qd Ah] (a pair of Fives)
Hero: shows [Jd Ac] (a pair of Fives - lower kicker)
nossoff collected 18010 from pot
nossoff wins $1 for eliminating Hero and their own bounty increases by $1 to $6
Hero finished the tournament in 5028th place
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 18010 | Rake 0 
Board [7h 2h 5s 5d 4d]
Seat 1: nossoff showed [Qd Ah] and won (18010) with a pair of Fives
Seat 2: Gr0z3LB folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: yarikkkkk folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: sigis1313 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: S21berlin folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: Hero showed [Jd Ac] and lost with a pair of Fives
Seat 7: tommesk (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: gergelyt3 (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 9: endreooo (big blind) folded before Flop  

At a live table you are typically not allowed to take or refer to notes during the hand if you are in the hand. People that track have their own notation and do it between hands.

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