Hand History Resellers

Date: 2008-11-21
Author: Chris Wallace

With the new generation of tracking software, most notably Hold’em Manager and PokerTracker 3, we can do things that weren’t possible even two years ago. One of the most important improvements to stat tracking software has been the ability to handle massive quantities of hands quickly and without error. A database with millions of hands used to be an impossible task to manage and often simply froze up my computer, but while I slept last night, I imported three million hands into Hold’em Manager and today I can sort them any way I'd like and run reports on them with very little waiting time.

And where did I get three million hands? That’s the real focus of this article. Like it or not, whether you believe it’s fair or not, there are now services which sell hand histories in massive quantities, most of them updated daily. The three million hands came from HandHQ.com and you can get them yourself for $115. Or, you could subscribe to a daily service like HHdealer.com or HHsmithey.com and get a fresh batch of around 5,000 hands from your favorite game in your e-mail every day.

So the last week or so, I have had subscriptions to both of the subscription sites and downloaded a huge chunk of hands from HandHQ.com as well. The results are excellent, so before we get to the inevitable controversy, let’s take a look at the products:

HandHQ – My hands were cheap, they were in mass quantities and delivered almost instantly in a zip file. Nobody else has this kind of quantity for sale yet, so they are the leader for getting your database started. It’s an excellent service. HandHQ is also the only site that covers the OnGame Network and PokerStars and is the only site to cover any Omaha, although the Omaha hands are only on iPoker for now. We would love to see a subscription service like the other two sites have available.

HHSmithey – The hand histories arrive every day around 3:00 pm, which is perfect for evening players, with thousands of hands from the games the night before. The histories came in a zip file, they were error free, and they were reliable. Histories are available for PartyPoker, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker. The Absolute histories are currently free because they are in beta testing.

HHDealer – Much the same as HHSmithey, the hand histories arrived in zip form every day and everything was exactly as it should be. PartyPoker, Full Tilt Poker and iPoker are supported. They don’t have the prettiest web site in comparison to HHSmithey, but the performance was exactly the same; there are no complaints from us. If you are a daytime player, their e-mails come in at 6:00 am, which might be better for you. At over two million hands a week, they shouldn’t have shortage of histories for you in any game.

There can be no doubt that buying a large number of hands histories can give you a significant advantage over your opponents. There is some gray area in terms of whether these services break the rules of any of the online poker rooms they are selling information from. There will undoubtedly be people who think these services are downright unethical and those who say they are just another tool to help increase your win rate. Let’s take a look at both sides.

Con – The haters will say that this amounts to a shared database, which means you are violating the rules on most of these rooms and technically cheating. They will say that you are getting information on hands you were not at the table for, which amounts to an unfair advantage. They have a point, though, and there is a lot to argue with in those statements.

Pro – When you go out for a smoke at your local card room and your buddy tells you that seat seven at your table is a very loose and weak player, you are getting exactly the same kind of information. The same would be true of watching poker on television. While I don’t look forward to playing Sam Farha heads up, I would be much more prepared for it by watching old film of him than I would be otherwise and I was never at the table for those hands.

No matter which side you are on, it’s important to be aware that they exist and know that your opponents may be using them against you. We recommend that you use them for now if you are multi-tabling and using HM or PT3, but we also advise you to keep up on what your poker room says about these sites and stop using them immediately if they become prohibited.

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