PokerTracker Developer Discusses Mac Client

Date: 2010-01-17
Author: Sean Gibson

Derek Charles is the lead developer and site manager for PokerTracker, a member of the Recommended Software program here at  We sat down with Charles to discuss topics including a recap of 2009, what might be in store for PokerTracker in 2010, and the prospects of a World Series of Poker (WSOP) online bracelet event. What were the biggest successes for your team in 2009 with PokerTracker?

Derek Charles: Our biggest success of 2009 was clearly releasing PokerTracker 3 for Mac near the end of the year.  The PokerTracker development team was working over half of the year on the Mac part and it was very rewarding to get it out into public testing.  There were a lot of users waiting for PT3 for Mac and I am glad that we were able to deliver the product that they sought for such a long time. You've mentioned before that some online poker sites give you advanced warning about changes?

Derek Charles: Yes, we work very closely with the majority of poker sites on upcoming changes that may affect PokerTracker.  This allows for us to ensure that PokerTracker will continue working with the poker sites through upgrades with little to no down time.  An example would be a small modification to a hand history file.  If we knew of any major upcoming changes to any sites, we would not be able to share them publicly. How has the first release of PokerTracker for Mac gone?  What has the overall reception to the software been?

Derek Charles: PokerTracker 3 for Mac has been very successful thus far.  As with any initial release, there are going to be some issues.  With the hard work of our alpha testers, we have been able to keep the issues to a minimum.  So far, the public release has gone very smoothly and has been a resounding success.  Being able to play online poker solely on a Mac is long overdue and we are glad to be able to contribute to that progression by allowing users to run PokerTracker 3 natively on Mac OS X. How hard has it been converting PT for the Mac and how far do you have to go in the development process?

Derek Charles: One of the main goals when initially building PokerTracker 3 was to ensure that it was entirely modular so that it was easily expandable and upgradeable.  This caused the initial PokerTracker 3 development to be slower than expected, but we felt that it was a very important step.  Much like building a house, it is important to have a solid foundation and we have done that with PT3.  Since PT3 is so modular, converting to a Mac was fairly simple.  The only code that needed to be changed was Windows-specific code and that mainly resided in the Heads-Up Display (HUD). Does PokerTracker on the Mac in a similar environment run faster than it would run on a Windows system?

Derek Charles: We have not done any benchmarking of PT3 on Windows versus Mac.  It would depend heavily on the operating system.  For instance, I suspect that Windows 7 would run faster than Vista.  With all hardware being equal in specifications, I would not be surprised to see better performance with a Mac. Omaha support was also recently released. What has been the general consensus internally and with your users?

Derek Charles: Yes, along with PokerTracker 3 for Mac, we simultaneously released PT3-Omaha around the end of 2009 in free public beta testing.  As with the Mac development and release, PT3-Omaha has also been very smooth.  We still have a lot to do before the commercial product is ready, but we are well on our way.  Additional features and site support should be added rapidly during the beginning of 2009. Are there any add-ons that are being planned or are in development?

Derek Charles: There are no new products or add-ons planned for the near future.  Our current goal is to improve upon our core products (PokerTracker 3-Holdem, Omaha, and Table Tracker), at which point we will begin working on a Stud version.  We're not looking to expand upon our product selection, but instead improve upon what we already have. The online poker industry actually grew in 2009 when many expected it to follow the brick and mortar casino trend and fall significantly.  What's your take on the growth of the industry and where it's headed in 2010?

Derek Charles: Online poker is a much more profitable game for the average player simply due to being able to play more tables and more hands per hour.  With the recent economic woes worldwide, every company and person has become more efficient.  Online poker is simply much more efficient than its brick and mortar version.  It's not easy for the average person to take time off from work, travel to their nearest casino, and play.  In comparison, it's extremely easy to start up your computer when you get home from work, if you are lucky enough to have a job, and play online poker for a few extra dollars.

I believe that the growth of the online poker industry in 2010 is very closely tied to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).  Hopefully, the UIGEA is repealed and I think we will see another mini-boom with an influx of U.S. players back into market.  If the UIGEA fails to get repealed and officially goes into effect, then I suspect that the industry will grow slightly or remain stagnant as more U.S. players are lost.  The industry could still continue to grow even with the UIGEA being enacted; however, that is going to depend heavily on the continued growth of the non-U.S. market, which I suspect will happen. Would you ever want to see a WSOP online bracelet event added to the Series and if there were one, how hard would you push PokerTracker as one of the sponsors of the event?

Derek Charles: This is a very interesting idea and I really like it.  Online poker is such a different game than live play.  I believe that the online player is much more sophisticated than those players who mainly play live.  If an online event such as this were to come to fruition, PokerTracker would certainly entertain the idea of becoming one of the main sponsors. Do you have any plans to attend the 2010 WSOP Main Event and Expo in Las Vegas this year?

Derek Charles: Nothing has been made official, but yes, we do plan on being at the 2010 WSOP and having a booth at the Expo.  We will also be running a small promotion of our own for PokerTracker users attending the WSOP that we will be announcing at a later date. Are you building any relationships with any new poker sites or third party software companies to build on PokerTracker?

Derek Charles: New poker sites and third party companies bombard us daily.  It is very easy to get lost in the wealth of ideas.  Our goal right now is to focus entirely on PokerTracker and continually improving our product to ensure that our customers are always using the best poker tracking/analysis and HUD software on the market. For people who haven't yet tried out PokerTracker, what would you tell them to convince them to take advantage of the 60-day free trial?

Derek Charles: It's free!  You can test drive PokerTracker with absolutely no strings attached for an unprecedented 60 days.  Unlike most softwares’ free trials that limit usage or functionality, the free trial of PokerTracker 3 offers essentially full functionality for 60 days.

I tell every online poker player who is not yet using PokerTracker that it is the single most important tool for every online player.  Since the software is so powerful and offers such a wealth of information, it is easy to get overwhelmed and frustrate new users.  However, it really is worth taking the time to learn the software, as it will greatly improve your poker game and pay huge dividends instantly and over time.

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