Poker Tech – An introduction to Hand Tracking and Poker Software

Poker Software Today

Poker existed for nearly 200 years before the first hand of Online Poker was played. In that time, there must have been people whose prodigious memories gave them an upper hand over their competitors. Surely there were those whose brains, by virtue of their birth, gave them what seemed an unfair advantage over the other players. Those born without what must have seemed extraordinary gifts would surely have wished there were a way to improve their skills beyond simple practice. The advent of playing poker online changed things. Poker software was perhaps an inevitable consequence of the development of online poker. People wanted poker tools to make their games more understandable, to remember what happened in previous games for them, and to help them plan for future games. Unfortunately, as understanding of the game increased, and the stakes involved in online poker began to rise, there were those who wanted to create poker software which would play the game for them. Poker bots, as they are known, are a kind of software which plays the game itself. Although for many years these were crude and unsophisticated, they have recently become able to beat human players with increasing frequency. Many poker sites are now banning poker bots, as they are making the game unfair for everyone else. Still though, players are able to use many kinds of computer based poker tools to help them play the game better. This is a guide to those tools which keep the game fair, and are still allowed.

Keeping Track

Poker hand trackers are by far the most used type of poker software online. They allow players to record every hand they play, whether successful or not. Hand trackers are increasingly used by both professional and amateur players as a way of keeping on top of their own play. Very often, online players will have played thousands of hands of poker. It would be near impossible to remember what happened in all of these hands. Hand trackers keep a memory of the statistics from every hand you play. This allows players to examine their own game over a long period of time, and see where they might be making mistakes, and where they might be playing well. Poker trackers are used largely to see if players’ games are ‘normal’ – if they play too many hands, or if they bet too much or too little. By recording a players own statistics, the software allows the player to compare how they play to how very successful players play. Conversely, players can compare their own game to players who have not been doing well. These functions allow the player to learn from what mistakes they might be making on a scale beyond their own memory. Poker hand trackers can also be a comfort. Poker can seem a normative game – as if there is only one way to play. If the records prove that, despite a seemingly odd style, a player is doing well over all, then that can be a boost to continue with what has worked so far.

Looking Back

Poker software is not just used for sober analysis of where players went wrong. One of the most useful tools to appear in many pieces of hand tracking software is the ability to save a particular hand. Most online poker sites have a time constraint for each action. This can be difficult to deal with if a player have a particularly difficult hand. Saving this hand using the software allows the player to post it on poker websites. Other players can then view the hand and offer their advice on it. While this may be no comfort during the game, their advice might be helpful later on. Time banks can be a real pressure on good decision making. This is the same for all players of the game, yet the more experienced players learn to cope with it better. Seeking out the advice of better players after the game can help in becoming a better player. They might have helpful tips on how to deal with difficult hands within the time constraint, or particular advice on what they would have done with a particular difficult hand. Saving hands an being able to show them to people is easier and more accurate than simply describing them.

Heads Up

Most pieces of poker software come with a Heads Up Display, or HUD. This allows the player to keep their statistics in sight as they play, helping them make decisions quickly. Almost all poker sites do allow the use of HUD software, but it is always worth checking the T’s & C’s before using one. They often offer many different statistics options, but a few are more helpful than others. The most often used statistics are ‘VP£IP’ – which indicates how often a player adds money to the pot voluntarily (this often indicates how loose a player is with their money), and ‘Agg’ – which indicates how often the player raises (this is a good indicator of how aggressive a player is). These statistics can help players with judging what their opponents might do next. While this does help the player choose what to do next, it is not technically deciding what to do for the player, and so is generally allowed on most poker sites.

The Future of Poker

While automatic poker bots have been banned by almost all poker sites, poker software is almost certainly the future of online poker. Most of the programmes are becoming cheaper and cheaper, and the majority of programmes even offer a free trial version to test them out. This is not to say, however, that there is no room for human skill in the future of poker. Software, if used properly, exists to make the game simpler to understand on a level beyond the memory of most people. Natural ability, a cool head and skill in reading the game are still the best aids a poker player can have.