Comparing Hand History Resellers

Date: 2009-08-20
Author: Chris Wallace

I was recently given the task of writing up an evaluation of the four hand history resellers that we have reviewed here on As far as we know, they are the only four real players in the market. In our estimation, these four do their job well and provide excellent value for your dollar. To evaluate them, I came up with several criteria: pricing, quality, availability, and intangibles.

Pricing – I choose three different buy-in levels and received pricing for each of them in order to determine which reseller had the most reasonable rates. All of the sites came out pretty well in this category; no one was terribly expensive and the value that you get from having the data available to you is awesome compared to the cost of purchasing the hands. The games evaluated were $50 full ring, $200 short-handed No Limit Hold’em, and $10/$20 short-handed Fixed Limit Hold’em.

Quality – I tested the purchased hand histories to find out if they were exactly as promised, all from the correct time frames, and without errors. Freshness of the hands was also important, as hands from this week are significantly more relevant than hands from a month ago.

Availability – This was a measure of how many hands were available at different sites and different games. There are diminishing returns here, so diversity was more important than quantity. Every site had a large number of hands for every game they offered, so quantity wasn’t a big issue anyway.

Intangibles – This includes the site’s design, ease of use, customer support, and anything else that might give it an edge.

HandHQ was one of the first hand history resellers. HandHQ is the only site currently offering hand histories from the OnGame network. It does not offer a subscription plan like its competitors (all sales are in bulk, which is anywhere from 200,000 up to around four million hands at most levels and sites). HandHQ also covers every site that any of our competitors work with, so if you are looking for a one-stop shop to buy in bulk and get a head start on amassing a database, HandHQ is your best bet.

Some of the hands we received from HandHQ were a few months old, but this is to be expected when you purchase millions of hands. The smaller quantities of hands were always fresh, with most of them coming from the past few weeks. HandHQ was very easy to buy from, with lots of payment options and nearly instant delivery of hands via download from the site itself, which went very quickly. The overall value of HandHQ is very high, with the ease of use and selection giving it a significant edge over competitors in those areas.


HHDealer offers hand histories from PartyPoker, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and the iPoker Network with a slick download client that sets them apart from their competitors. Their selection is great, with Pot Limit Omaha hands available from all four sites and a nice quantity of hands at nearly all levels.

The download client is the saving grace for HHDealer because, while we liked their selection and the hands were of good quality, they were the most expensive overall. The $50 No Limit hands were between $2.75 and $3.50 per 100,000 hands and the price jumped up to $8 to $10 per 100,000 hands at the $200 Six-Max No Limit level. The $10/$20 Fixed Limit hands came in between $14 and $25 per 100,000 hands, the highest price we saw.

Luckily for HHDealer, the download client is fantastic. If you spend a few extra bucks to subscribe via HHDealer, you get the download client, which automatically downloads and unzips new hands history files for you every day. You simply hit two buttons and have all of your hands for the day.

There are fewer payment options available with HHDealer and you may have to e-mail them to get your hands once you have paid, but in our experience, this was only a very small negative because the customer support is fast. Once you have the payment made and the download client set up, there is nothing more to worry about.


HHSmithey offers hands from PartyPoker, Full Tilt Poker, the CEREUS Network, and the iPoker Network. The hands are available via subscription only; there are no bulk sales at this time. The $50 NL level is $5 per month, while the $200 No Limit level is $10 and the $10/$20 Fixed Limit subscription is $25. The quantity of hands available is good, although not as large as some of the others.

You may want to check their coverage of your favorite game before subscribing because the subscriptions are done by level. Only the highest level you purchase is full price, with any lower levels available for half-off.

The hands we received were fresh and accurate. Most sites and games appear to have about 5,000 hands per day, which is certainly enough once you get a database started with a large purchase at one of the bulk resellers.

ProDataMine does not try to do as much as the other three sites we’re reviewing, but their focus on Hold’em games on PokerStars is definitely paying off for the consumer. There is nothing else available at this time, although we are hoping to see them expand to other sites and games.

Hand histories from ProDataMine are available on a weekly basis, allowing you to purchase a week’s worth of hands at most games for $4 to $6. While this is not a better value than the other two subscription sites in terms of a monthly rate, it is an amazing value when you see the quantities of hands available each week. Most weeks for our two No Limit games, there were over 700,000 hands, which comes out to less than $1 per 100,000 hands, a rate none of the other sites can even approach.

The $10/$20 Fixed Limit hands were a little more expensive, but at around $7 per 100,000 hands, they are still the cheapest available.

ProDataMine is an awesome value for Hold’em players on PokerStars. If you don’t play a lot of Hold’em on Stars, all you can do is pray that ProDataMine starts covering your game on your site. Delivery of hands was very fast, the shopping cart was easy to use, and the value was fantastic. If ProDataMine offers what you need, they are definitely the best place to buy it.

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