Part 2: To Use or Not to Use Poker Software

Date: 2008-11-18
Author: Earl Burton

To read Part 1 of our interview, click here.

There is another side to the argument over poker software, however. Alex, an aerospace engineer and poker player for 15 years, came out directly against online players and their usage of poker software. “My entire life’s work has always been about numbers,” Alex stated, “and I have put that math to poker. Now people can have my math education that I use for poker for the introductory price of $29.99?”

Alex believes that poker is more about the human side of the game than what software players are using. “In my opinion, online poker sites should be run the same as the ability to play live, but playing online,” he suggested. “What I call ‘humans’ should not be given the extra ability to know their opponents without their own individual studies at the table.”

“I use the word ‘humans’ because, with all these poker tracking and poker software programs, real people are no longer playing anymore,” continued Alex. “When you sit at a table and play against someone who is using some form of software that tells them how your opponent plays, you are no longer playing…your program is playing. To me, those who use the software are no better then them being a bot.”

Alex’s disagreements with poker software are with what they provide in heads-up displays, or HUDs. “The HUDS that players use, the software that displays your odds and outs while at the tables, has cut the playing field of skilled players down for the amateur player,” he suggested. “The amateur no longer has to think about calling a re-raise with a small pocket pair; the program tells them what to do. That to me is not skill; it isn't even playing. Instead, it’s ‘humans’ being programmed.”

One of the key points about poker software, Alex points out, is that some online rooms have started to prohibit their usage. “PokerStars has changed its view of SharkScope and the SharkScope HUD. Online players are now being notified with warnings and e-mails telling them it is against the site’s terms of service. This is a big step for online poker and it is against the data mining programs and sites that are out there.”

If you couldn’t tell, Alex is against the proliferation of poker software in the online poker world. He suggests that, “Even if it creates a level playing field against me, it can also provide an edge. I've worked hard to learn the game without taking shortcuts and believe in the ethics of fair play.”

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