Guide To Poker Tracking Software
As online poker has become a favorite of gamblers worldwide, tools and web based services have been developed to help players improve their skills and increase their winnings.
Tracking your game play using software is probably the biggest difference between online and live play. With it, you are able to record every hand, thereby allowing you to find your own strengths and weaknesses as well as your opponent’s tendencies
Are you playing too many hands? Perhaps you’re raising too much? Tracking software lets you compare your own statistics with other winning players and get an idea of where your leaks may be. Obviously, all players have their own style, but being able to have a base understanding of your weak playing points by comparing them to winners, is one of the most effective ways to inspect, and improve, your game.
What is Tracking Software?
Poker tracking software gives you the ability to track your wins and losses by displaying the history of all your hands you have played at your chosen poker site. The leading software on the market imports and separates your hand histories which have been logged in the poker site you play at. In a folder on your computer, the software creates a database which you then access for self-analysis or in game opponent analysis; more on that below.
By monitoring each poker session’s earnings, losses, number of hands played, time played and table style, the software will calculate a number of specifics. These include hands per hour, cumulative profit and loss, loss across different currencies and more.
How Does it Work?
Every hand you play online is recorded. The operator may use this for security purposes, but also encourages its players to analyse and improve their own game. As a player, you will have access to all this data, including the hand histories. The software will create a locally stored text file that records this hand history from the online site. From here, the poker tracking software reads and extracts these files after which will be converted into a local database. Using special algorithms, it can transform this data into detailed reports, graphs and statistics. The software has the ability to combine the hand history of multiple accounts from various poker sites. From here, you can aggregate and consolidate your data.
If this seems at all “tech-y”; don’t worry, it’s really a lot easier than it may sound.
Major Choice Brands for Poker Players
The most popular tracking software on the market is “Hold’em Manager” and “Poker Tracker”. On sites and forums, they’re referred to as “HEM” and “PT4”. Both are stable, versatile and powerful.
Both HEM and PT4 offer a variety of different stats, graphs and filters to analyse your game. They also provide customizable ‘Heads Up Displays’ which can be configured to your own needs.
They are easy to use and compatible with Windows and Mac. Both are similar in price and quality; however, most players prefer one to the other. Luckily, both offer free trial versions which enable you to get a feel for the system. After giving them a go, you can use your own judgment to decide which one you like best.
Two more poker tracking software worth noting is “Poker Office” and “FreePokerDB”. The latter is an up and coming open source program which means it’s free and could very well be a good option as it grows in popularity.
Benefits of Poker Tracking Software
Whether you’re just getting started, are a recreational player or play for a living, poker tracking software can be extremely beneficial. By using it you may be able to:
- Discover leaks in your game which you may have not spotted.
- Find out what your best and worst hands have been.
- Determine how many times you made a Royal Flush, Straight Flush or any other hand.
- Seek out the number of times you flopped, bet, raised, won or lost with any staring hand.
- Mark hands you played and go back to them at a later date.
- Easily access detailed analytics, detailed reports and informative graphs.
Another benefit of the software is that it allows you to track your opponents. You can see who is winning and who is losing. This then allows you to target less skilled players and exploit their weak spots. The Heads Up Display (or 'HUD'), which is included in the software, will display all these stats directly on the table.
Something which often goes unnoticed is the ability to select and record specific hands to post on forums, websites or social networks for other players to view and critique. This is a great opportunity to revisit your tough hands at a later date when you’re not pressed for time.
A final benefit of poker tracking software is that it's a great way to track your cash flow, which will be important when it comes time for taxes.
Not every poker player will use tracking software, though many realize it is a valuable tool to beat the game. As poker is a game of skill and strategy, you’ll want all the information possible to better make the right decisions. Top tier players will take advantage of all ‘weapons’ to get ahead and beat their opponents. Tracking software is one of these weapons which will help you to do just that.