My Experience With PokerTracker

Date: 2008-11-08
Author: Dan Cypra

Note: This article written by Staff Writer Earl Burton

Something that was inconceivable just a few years ago in the online world is the ability to save your playing history and compile statistics on those hands. Just a few years ago, you had to write hands down or request these histories from the sites, but now there are several programs that can do that work for you. One of the best tools that online players have had at their fingertips is PokerTracker, which has recently came out with the third version of their software.

I had used the original PokerTracker when it came out a few years ago. The issues then were the manual downloading of histories to the software, which was a time-consuming task and didn’t help when you were actually playing. The latest version can actually do that in real time…IF you can get it set up correctly.

Downloading the trial version of PokerTracker 3 (new customers have a 60 day period of use before the software won’t work anymore) is a fairly easy task. It took approximately three minutes to get the program downloaded from the site and another five minutes to get PT3 installed on my system. It was at this point that some frustration began to set in.

I fired up PT3 and my favorite site to put the program through a test drive. I could see that there were problems from the start. After telling PT3 the rooms I wanted it to track - and there are six options available under the trial version: Everest Poker, Full Tilt Poker, iPoker, OnGame, PartyGaming, and PokerStars - I was greeted with a message saying, “(Online Site) cannot be auto imported…not configured.”

My own ignorance of how advanced online poker rooms are was preventing me from setting up PT3 to work correctly. In the past, your hand histories were automatically saved to your system and were easily found to process. With online poker rooms today, you have to request to have that feature set up under your screen name, which I didn’t realize. Once I got the setup correct, and the sites configured correctly, PT3 zipped into action easily.

Currently set up for Limit and No Limit games (whether they are cash games or tournaments), PT3 will automatically process the hands that are played whether you are involved in the game or not. There is the possibility that, if you watch too long, it will be cut off from any more ‘datamining.’ I found you have to, at the minimum, be on the wait list for the table you are watching. Once I started playing, I was even more surprised by the features that PT3 contained.

During play, you have an HUD (Heads Up Display) that reveals basic information on each player. I wanted to know more information, however, and found it through clicking on each player’s HUD display. When I did this, I was greeted with approximately 30 categories that detailed what the player did on every segment of betting. How often does a player fold his big blind? It was there. Is a player likely to fold on the river? Check, there too. All of this information is compiled to create the statistics for the HUD. I used VP (voluntarily entered pot), PR (pre flop raise percentage) and AF (aggression factor).

I also liked the fact that I could look at my own statistics during play and see some holes in my game. I noticed that I was folding way too often in the blinds to late position steals. Using this information, I defended my blinds more often and actually got away with some moves that I wouldn’t have thought about trying without PT3.

While I have always thought that an observant player online should be able to notice these tendencies, I found PT3 to be an invaluable assistance to my play. Over the course of a few hundred hands, I noticed my play improve as I built history on my opponents and, more often than not, made the correct decision. Whether I would have made the same decision without the HUD is a good question.

Overall, PokerTracker 3 was well worth the time once I get my system and poker rooms set up for it. More features are available once you purchase the software (for $89.99), of course, but the trial version can give you a taste of what you can expect the software to do for you. PokerTracker 3 is definitely worth your poker dollar.

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