Datamined Hand Histories on HandHQ

Date: 2008-11-15
Author: Dan Cypra

Hand history databases are some of the most popular poker software tools. Although they differ in their acceptance across the major online poker rooms, global databases allow users access to hand information that they may not have been involved in gathering. HandHQ is one newcomer into the business and offers past hand histories from iPoker, PokerStars, PartyPoker, Full Tilt Poker, Ongame, and Absolute Poker. sat down with David Barnes, the owner of, to learn more. When you took over the business earlier this year, did you view it as an investment that might pay off or just a hobby?

Barnes: I took it on as a hobby without expecting to make much profit from it. There is a lot of work involved and I certainly would not do it purely for profits, but helping people win more at the tables and then seeing them return looking for higher limit hands is very satisfying.

PS: While you have a ton of hand histories, you don't offer a subscription service for daily or weekly e-mailed hand histories. Is that in your future plans?

Barnes: We may start to offer a complete subscription service in the future, but there is some development work needed before that is possible. Although it’s not advertised, we can offer subscriptions at the higher levels, $400 No Limit and up.

PS: You have an incredible database of hands at your disposal. Are you able to query that database to find out things most players would never know? Have you been able to determine what the real winning stats are at every level and what the highest possible win rates are? If so, we would love to hear about some of your calculations.

Barnes: Our hands are stored in a database designed for quick retrieval of the hand history text. This database is not suitable for running queries such as win rates. If all our hands were imported into a PokerTracker database, it would be over a terabyte in size.

We have made our database available to third parties who wish to analyze the data. One analysis that is currently being performed is aimed at discovering any fixing of games by looking for unusual patterns in board cards. I'm afraid that I can't give any details of the results until the analysis is complete.
PS: Your product is somewhat controversial, with less experienced players often crying foul when they hear about it. So far, none of the sites have banned your product, but do you anticipate problems from online poker rooms in the future?

Barnes: Bans that cannot be enforced are bad for the game. Some online poker companies feel that the use of datamined hands offers an unfair advantage. This is nonsensical, as anyone is free to datamine or use our service. A ban that’s not enforceable means that only players who break the rules (and there will be players who break the rules) have an advantage. Players who stick to the rules will be punished for doing so.

Many sites solve this problem by making datamining difficult or impossible by the way their software acts. This is a fair way to stop the use of datamined hands, as nobody is able to datamine and everyone competes on a level playing field.
PS: Where is your business headed next? Alternate games or more poker rooms maybe? We would love to see some Omaha!

Barnes: We already offer Omaha on the iPoker network! We may expand this to some of the other sites if our iPoker Omaha service proves popular. We would love to support more rooms. Creating and managing the datamining software is quite time intensive, so we can't give any timeline for new rooms.

PS: Can you give us some idea about how many people use your service and how many people you think are actively using a huge database when they play?

Barnes: The datamined hands that we provide really make an immense difference in our customers’ win rates. The advantage of knowing how much your opponents have won or lost and how they played each of their last few thousand hands is immense. Our service, and even the idea of using datamined hands, is unknown to many, but is very popular with those who are familiar with it.

Visit our HandHQ review right here on

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