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6 Tools Every Poker Player Should Have

Published April 23, 2008 - RSS/XML Feed RSS

 

More than other forms of gambling, poker is a game of skill and calculating probability.Ultimately, the skilled poker players take home the winnings.
 

With skill in mind, you need to be armed with the best weaponry available to keep you in the fight.Sharpening your game during each hand, as well as afterwards, can give you the competitive edge to win at the table.Poker software can be a great addition to your poker skill arsenal – but keep in mind that not all software is created equal – or legal.
 
Powerful Types of Poker Software
 
For the poker player who wants to enhance skill at the table, there are two types of poker software that vie for your attention: calculating vs. player tracking software.Of course, poker training software is also available, but this article focuses on how you can increase your skill real-time at the table.
 
Calculating poker software is utilized during your game play, while player tracking software provides you with a statistical analysis of your play – making it useful for honing your skills before and after your games.
 
The two types of poker software tools are useful to both beginning and advanced poker players who wish to build upon their strengths and overcome their weaknesses in poker skill and strategy.
 
Calculating Software: Aids during Play
 
With the advent of online poker, players can effectively enhance their real-time play at the table.Instantly calculating the odds, these poker software programs empower you with the information to focus effectively on your hand.
 
When selecting during-play calculating software, you want to utilize a program that provides you with the most advanced assistance:
 
Tool #1: Hand odds and pot odds – Most all calculating software programs offer hand odds, which calculate the statistics of making a hand.For example, if your hand has two hearts, and the flop already has two hearts, then the chances that your hand will be a flush is 2 to 1.However, having the advantage of pot odds increases the skill in your game.Knowing your pot odds lets you know if your hand is worth the risk of your bet.Pot odds calculate whether your hand, compared to the total amount of potential winnings in the pot and the probability of hitting your hand, will be sufficient to call.For example, if the pot is currently $100, and you will need to call $10 in order to stay, then your pot odd is 10:1. Now, if the probability that you draw a winning card is greater than 10:1, then your hand has positive expectation, and thus based upon long-term averages, you will win more than you lose.Hand odds alone simply cannot provide you with this statistical information, so having a program which gives you pot odds further helps you win money. A couple of great toolsare Pokerbilityand Poker Office.
 
Tool #2: Hand recommendations – Utilizing sophisticated algorithms, your calculating software should provide you with hand recommendations – which take into consideration the fold depth, position, opponents’ present and future probability, as well as pot odds.For example, based upon your hand analysis, if the software finds that you hold high pairs, then it would recommend that you raise or re-raise.In the long run, this improves your personal game and understanding of the best strategies for each hand.Pokerbility and Poker Office's software can help you make these decisions.
 
Tool #3: Customization – An effective calculating software can be customized to your risk tolerance and playing style.Whether you are aggressive or conservative, your poker software should take these factors into consideration in its recommendations For example, if you are a tight-passive player – meaning that you like tight starting hands – then the software will provide a different recommendation than an aggressive player, who is willing to strongly raise to keep players out of the hand.
 
Tool #4: Track your competitors – A solid software program will keep track of the different poker players that you sit at the tables with – giving you an ability to understand their strategies in real-time.Whether the player is aggressive, a bluffer, a fish, or tight, you will know their approach to the table.In addition, a good software program will allow you to create rules that easily categorize players based upon their play – showing you quickly how you should approach their hand.Software programs like PokerAce Hud can track information on hundreds of your previous opponents. Therefore, if you see that one of your former opponents likes to play aggressively, you will know that his raises and re-raises are not necessarily a reflection of the strength of his hand.
 
In addition, you want to ensure that your poker software has a user-interface that is easy to understand – giving you the time advantage against your competition.Using powerful calculating poker software, such as the popular PokerAce Hud, Calculatem Pro and Holdem Genius, gives you an intelligent “sidekick” who possesses all of the statistics and odds you need.
 
Player Tracking Software: Skill Enhancement with Before/After Play Analysis
 
Regardless of the type of poker software you choose, it is important to select one that will be a worthy investment.Only poker software that will save you money – from avoiding costly mistakes or helping you increase your win probability – is worthy of your time.
 
Choosing player tracking software, which provides you with before and after play analysis, can give you an edge in your skill.Learn from your mistakes and prepare for the table with the valuable statistics provided by these poker trainer programs.However, not all player tracking software programs are created equally, and thus, you should look for several features:
 
Tool #5: Analyze your hand histories – Choose software that will allow you to import your hand histories from your online poker websites.Poker Tracker and Poker Stove combined provide powerful analysis – and they are two popular software programs compatible with all the top sites.
 
Tool #6: Evaluate your poker performance – Considering that poker is indeed a skill game, taking the time to review your performance at the tables is the key to taking your game to the next level.Your player tracking software, such as Poker Pro’s Table Shark, should easily show your winning games, losing hands, blind level performance, your table aggressiveness, and your position performance.All of this important information should be analyzed mathematically by the software, such as Poker Tracker, to provide you with hand statistics and details pertaining to your win/loss ratio.The ultimate purpose of a poker trainer is to discern your weaknesses from your strengths, helping you find those leaks in your game.For example, you can better gauge which starting hands are most profitable and how to play them best, or depending upon how loose a game is, you will know how to modify your starting hand.With software evaluation, you will gain knowledge as to when you should play passively, aggressively, or fold.
 
Prohibited Poker Software
 
Any professional card player’s main concern, following behind good cards, pertains to whether or not the opponents are cheating.The severity of this concern is witnessed throughout history, ranging from the death of cheating outlaws in the Old West to theabolishment of the biggest card sharks and hustlers today.
 
With online poker being “real money” games, endless programmers and developers look to create the best techniques to gain an edge on a poker player’s table competition.Software concepts are created endlessly that obviously push the limits allowed by the major gaming sites.When choosing “as you play” software, make sure your favorite gaming sites will allow these statistical, analytical features of your software.
 
There typically are several reasons why poker software is banned from a gaming site:
 
Shares hole card data with other players
Utilizes a main database that tracks players and their hands
Runs with a “bot” or minimizes the need for human interaction
Incorporates data mining to create central databases of player history
Provides hand advice that goes beyond the customization of aggression and tightness levels – and bases “bot” like raise, check, fold, or bet recommendations upon the opponent’s style of play.
 
Gaming sites certainly address the issues because many of their customers wish to use poker software, while others are worried their opponents have unfair advantages.Most large sites will have policies in place regarding acceptable and unacceptable programs, and it is important to ensure that your software does not fall into the realm of prohibited programs.
 
Creating a Winner!
 
No matter what you feel your strongest poker needs are, there are many software programs that can plug the leaks in your game.Take a few moments to review poker software providers to find the best program for you.Today’s technologies give you a competitive edge that can quickly increase your game – and winnings.


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