Poker Coach Taylor Lackie (Clean) Talks Table Ninja

Date: 2010-12-31
Author: Sean Gibson

If you’re not familiar with it, Table Ninja is the premier set of shortcut scripts and hotkey tools for online poker on PokerStars.  For those on Full Tilt Poker, TableNinjaFT brings all of the functionality to the world’s second largest poker site.  With a long list of features that makes multi-tabling cash games and tournaments a lot easier, it’s become one of the most popular third party tools in the history of poker software.

We sat down with Taylor “Clean” Lackie, formerly a coach at StoxPoker who now does private coaching and plays small- and mid-stakes short-handed games professionally, to get his pulse on Table Ninja and how it can help players reach their potential. How long have you used Table Ninja or TableNinjaFT and why did you pick it over using conventional AHK scripts?

Taylor Lackie: I believe I've been using both versions of Table Ninja since they were in beta.  My choice to use Table Ninja over AHK scripts is mostly for the convenience.  Normally, AHKs are free (i.e. open-source), but the tradeoff for that is that there are no paid developers, which in turn means infrequent updates and no guarantee of quality or actual functionality.

Table Ninja and TNFT are updated almost as soon as either PokerStars or Full Tilt Poker puts out a client update and that helps a lot for someone like me who plays on a daily basis and (admittedly) uses the program as a crutch.  It also congregates a handful of AHKs into one program, making it a lot more convenient.  I don't mind plopping down some coin if it means lifetime updates with a reputable program like that.  Plus, we get to have someone to blame when things go wrong! What are some of the standard "go-to" features you feel everyone should use?

Taylor Lackie: Automatic bet sizing, time bank clicking, and assigning hotkeys - I use the Z, X, and C keys on my keyboard for left, middle, and right bet buttons (a.k.a. fold, call/check, and bet/raise) and also have hotkeys for auto-folding hands, sitting out immediately, and sitting out next big blind.  The features may not seem like much on their own, but when you mass multi-table or play multiple entries of Rush Poker, all of those extra mouse clicks and numpad entries you save really add up. What are some of the deeper functions of the program that you use and how does it help you play more tables or longer sessions?

Taylor Lackie: Mouse scroll bet sizing, automatic buy-in/seating options; various other hotkeys; colored table frames for “needs attention,” “next in line,” etc.; various tournament options; and I could go on.  I really think the program is essential for big-volume players.  It helps get more hands in per hour, reduces the number of mistakes you make, and makes everything just easier.  The only downside is that it's a kind of catalyst to turning yourself on autopilot.  Just make sure you deviate from the preset bet sizes and use the features to actually use your time with every decision. As a coach, how do you think adding Table Ninja or TableNinjaFT to a student's list of poker software programs can help their game?

Taylor Lackie: For budding players, I actually wouldn't advocate using it if it means that the student will be tempted to 16-table or something similar.  I'm a strong believer that slow and steady wins the race when you're starting your poker career.  Four- to six-tabling, thinking through every decision, and playing the best can far outweigh the value of playing as many hands as you can.  Table Ninja goes hand-in-hand with mass-multi-tabling, which goes against what I believe as a poker coach. Are there any wish list items you would like to see in the next build of Table Ninja or TableNinjaFT?

Taylor Lackie: The only new feature I can think of would be a session timer.  The user would input the amount of time they wish to play and then Table Ninja automatically sits out at the next big blind when the timer runs out.  I can think of countless sessions where I've lost track of time and slowly slipped into my B-game and other times when I've started a session losing a pile of money and play well into the night trying to win it back when quitting was probably best.  Other than that, it pretty much has every feature I can think of.

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