In my never ending search for an edge, I downloaded a software package called Poker Tracker created by Pat Isaac out of Pittsburgh, PA. Pat has been fine tuning it since February, 2002. I can't believe that I have been missing the true value found in online hand histories. If you play online you should not miss out on Poker Tracker.
My poker study partner and I have been using Poker Tracker religiously and we are finding some unbelievable value simply by requesting our hand histories. You will get a quick idea of what I'm talking about in this article.
Last month, I played 14,675 hands of poker. Courtesy of Poker Tracker, I have a detailed record of every single hand. I can tell you from what position I have won, or lost, the most money, what starting hands have been the most profitable and the most costly, how much I paid in blinds, and even how my ace-jack suited did against both six players and four players.
Would you like to know the real secret and power of Poker Tracker? Not only will it give me information about my own strengths and weaknesses, it will give me this information about my opponents. Can you imagine having a database of knowledge at your fingertips about every single player that you have played against?
What hands will they raise with?
How many hands will they play?
How aggressive are they?
How often will they check raise?
How often will they defend their little blind if you raise?
What is their win rate when they showdown their hand?
I now maintain an online buddy list of players who play over 60% of their hands. My game selection is terrific and my win rate will prove it. If you study the information available, I have no doubt that Poker Tracker will be a tremendous tool in your arsenal for becoming a better poker player.
Four cool things about Poker Tracker are described next:
1. Replay button
By clicking on the "r" button found throughout the program, you can replay a selected hand or a complete session. When you replay a hand, click on Known Hole Cards, Pot Odds, and Win Percentage in the top right hand corner.
Known Hole Cards: The Known Hole Cards option will show you your opponent's hole cards that you never saw during the hand because, although he went to the river, he mucked his losing hand. (This option will work only if your opponent is in the hand after the river and has mucked his losing hand so you cannot see it during the actually hand.)
This means you can find out what an opponent held when he raised you or tried to run you down. This will go a long way to developing a profile of this player and being able to outplay him the next time you find yourself at the same table.
Pot Odds: For each hand that you replay, the Pot Odds window will help determine the proper play. Once you know the number of outs that you have, you can check the chart as you replay the hand to see if you should have called, raised, or folded. For each number of outs you have, the chart will give you the percentage and odds you have of completing your hand on the turn or river.
This is a great way to learn pot odds, which will help you determine your most profitable play over the long run.
Win Percentage: The Win Percentage will display the odds of each hand winning pre-flop, on the flop, and on the turn. The percentage is displayed in the name box of the player. Once the flop comes, click on the percentage of winning beside each player's name and a box will pop up showing you what two cards are needed for that player to chop or win pot. You can do this again on the turn.
Winning percentages of different hole cards are what determine hand rankings. Understanding hand rankings and when to play each hand is vital to your long term success. Using this will show you why hands are ranked the way they are and why some hole cards should never be played.
2. Player summary report
Once again, in the GENERAL INFO section, click on the "more detail" button to the right of the player summary section. This will give you an in depth statistical detail of your play. It will take all the information that is in poker tracker and organize it into nine different categories. This report will show you everything from your frequency of pre-flop raising to frequency of blind defense and aggression factors.
This gives you important statistical information about your play, which allows you to improve by exposing your strengths and weaknesses.
3. Player icons
In the GENERAL INFO section of Poker Tracker, you have the ability to assign each player in your database an icon. These icons define their playing personality. There are 14 different icons including "good player, gambler, and calling station." Three of the icons you can define on your own. Use the player summary report to get statistical information that will help define the player's personality and assign an icon accordingly. You can also use information that you have written in the player's notes. Poker Tracker will import these player's notes for you (yet another cool thing!). The icons will come up both in the summary section table of your opponents and on the game time table. These icons are invaluable as they will tell you immediately what type of player you are up against.
The icons will immediately tell you the way your opponent plays. Use this function along with the proper betting strategy for this type of player, and you will greatly improve your odds of being "IN THE MONEY" over the long run.
4. Game time table
The game time table actually looks like a poker table and gives you statistical information about each of your opponents. This data can be either historical or as up to date as the current session you are playing. By double clicking on a player's name in the chart below the game time table, you access stats for each hand that your opponents played at the table. From here, you can go to a more detailed page of stats for that player.
It allows you to know your opponents' characteristics as you are playing against them live. The game time table also displays the table averages for each table you have played. You can therefore determine what type of table atmosphere suits your play the best.
If you're a fan of online poker, it is a must to this poker software product.
We have prepared a number of articles to help you play the games better. Regarding poker, we have an article about Poker tournament tips which will put you in the right direction if you play in the world series of poker or any other tournament. For example one tough situation is when you need to be playing with a short stack in a tournament and knowing the correct strategy will certainly help. Scared Poker mistakes shows errors that maany beginners make. Poker Variations explains the various poker formats while poker tells explains one of the crucial weapon of poker, reading poker tells.