The Players’ Guide to Using Poker Tracking Software

by Sachin

Poker tracking software is used for multiple purposes, including analyzing your game, tracking your online poker sessions, providing a detailed play-by-play of your opponent’s sessions, and tracking changes to your poker bankroll over time. Effective poker tracking software keeps meticulous records of every hand you’ve been dealt and every hand that you’ve played. This data is safely stored on your computer’s hard drive. 

By monitoring the performance of your poker games over time, you will start to see patterns of play developing in your game. Careful analysis of your style will help you to improve your game. Your poker tracking software includes many unique features such as a heads-up display, otherwise known as and HUD, leak detectors for remedying your game and countering poker mistakes, poker opponent analysis used for collecting information on your opponents, in-depth analysis of your opponents’ game plan, and the ability to identify which players to exploit and which players to avoid. 

Other features include hand replayer options for sharing hands with your friends, in poker forms, or with your poker coach. Perhaps the most important feature all poker tracking software is the ability to track your bankroll. You will be able to see how your earnings fluctuate over time. As your game improves, so too will your bankroll balance. In order for poker playing software to work effectively, it needs to save details of your playing sessions to your PC. It does this via a text file. This poker hand history records every play in every hand you are part of. 

Poker tracking software and hand histories are now used for an entirely different purpose than auditing online poker rooms. Every time the Flop, Turn and River are dealt, plays are made, and chips are staked, the poker tracking software extracts valuable information from each hand. This is then used to compile what is known as a summary report of your game. Tracking software makes it possible to analyze data in an easy-to-understand format.

What does poker tracking software do for you game?

Online poker games allow you to track your gaming activity. Live play doesn’t. Recall that poker tracking software is used to detect leaks in your game. It’s also a great tool for uncovering your opponents’ habits. You have many different options available when it comes to choosing poker tracking software. Popular tools like PokerTracker, PokerRanger, PokerSnowie, Poker Copilot, Flopzilla, and Hold’em Manager are great for improving your game, even if they cost a pretty penny to get up and running. Experts advise novices to fine-tune their games before opting for this type of software.

Once you’re sufficiently skilled at playing poker, you will need to blend real-time analysis of your software along with real-time gameplay. Some players get so distracted by the tracking software, that it’s not worth the effort. Certain types of software are available to players in a free trial format, while others are relatively inexpensive to purchase. Software easily determines whether you are engaging in too much action. Remember that experienced poker players sit out many more hands than they play. With poker tracking software, you can easily record individual hands and post them online. This is a great way to build a following, and to get advice from poker pros. Many low-stakes poker players typically don’t use this type of software, but high-stakes players do.

Perhaps the best aspect of poker software is the ability to understand your opponents’ playing styles. If you’re the type of player who doesn’t take regular notes, this may be a viable solution for you. The HUD option is great for seeing stats of gaming sessions. Remember that experienced poker players find these to be invaluable resources. This naturally begs the question: is all of this legal at poker rooms? Believe it or not, it is. The software must comply with specific limitations, but otherwise it’s totally legit. Provided the software tracks your gameplay and not somebody else’s, it’s fine. Individual poker rooms may have their own rules and regulations such as summary requirements, rules on sharing hand histories, etc.

In short, poker tracking software is used to show you who is winning, who is losing, and how you can exploit your opponents’ weaknesses and strengthen your game. In terms of analysis, players must understand how to interpret the data. The most important component of the poker tracking software is the HUD. It’s equally important to factor in support options, PC/Mac computing abilities, and compatibility with your online poker room. 

What Poker Software Should Casual Players Use?

Poker tracking software options range from highly sophisticated (for experienced players) to rudimentary for recreational players. As a casual player, you probably want to be using Hold’em Indicator. This poker software is universally accepted at online poker rooms and it’s a great tool for capturing important information about your opponents. It also features a calculator to solve important poker odds issues. Overall, your decision to use poker tracking software as a tool, is designed to enhance your playing style. An investment in this software is an investment in your own game. Many poker professionals swear by the software, owing to its data capturing ability, analysis, and succinct reports.

Video poker enthusiasts can also benefit from poker tracking software. Jacks or Better, Aces and Faces, Deuces and Jokers, and other popular video poker variants typically play out over hundreds, or thousands of hands per hour (multihand video poker). These games present a strong case for video poker tracking software. The astute video poker player typically relies on experience to make rapid-fire decisions about which cards to hold and which cards to fold. Video Poker is an abridged form of traditional poker where the player simply has to make the strongest 5 card hand possible. Players are allowed to discard or hold up to 5 cards before the second and final deal. The rules of each video poker game determine the winner of each hand. Poker tracking software makes it really easy to spot errors, lapses in concentration, and general playing errors. 

If your chosen online poker room allows you to use tracking software and HUDs, use them. Your table sessions will improve, and you also have a reliable backup which you can use to analyze your hands. If nothing else, tracking software will act as the perfect hedge against your opponents’, turning their strengths into weaknesses. The better you become at using a HUD, the tighter your game and the higher the win rate. Poker rooms with HUD support are preferred. But if you find that you are a relative novice with HUDs, choose a room without HUD support. By doing this, you can rest assured that your opponents won’t be gaining any advantage over you. Grinders always perform better with HUDs. Certain HUDs offer free trial versions of their software such as Poker Tracker 4, and Hold’em Manager 2.

Quick Tips for Using Poker Tracking Software

  • Always use optimized HUDs (heads-up display) which include the player name/number of hands, went to showdown stats, VPIP/PFR/Steal/Fold to Steal
  • Take time to learn about the HUD. This is not an easy process, particularly if it’s a new system.
  • Customize your pop-ups based on what works for you.
  • Watch other players and act accordingly. Actions and counter actions are important to develop a game plan that works.
  • Automatic notes are best, particularly with programs like PT4, and HM2.
  • If you’re multi-tabling, try Table Ninja with a 30-day free trial offer. 
  • Don’t use old stats when keeping tabs of other players.

That’s how to get started with selecting poker tracking software for use at your chosen online poker room. Each software system has unique rules of use. It’s important to contact the manufacturer in advance about the nuances of each product. 

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