Is the Deck Stacked Against You? Prove it with PokerProb

Date: 2012-12-06
Author: Jason Glatzer

Some inexperienced online poker players feel that the cards are stacked against them and use this as an excuse for extended downswings instead of analyzing their game. There is now a mathematical program, PokerProb, that will compare statistics about your card distributions in online poker compared to what the normal distributions should be.

To me, dry spells stick out more in live poker than online poker. I believe this is due to both playing far fewer hands per hour and the lack of post-game analytical tools for live play other than jotting down a few hands and situations and discussing them with friends and other poker players. Many people I know say online poker is “so rigged” because the bad beats stick out in their heads. While this program will not adjust your winnings for bad beats, it will show you how often you are receiving certain hand combinations compared to the norm.

I personally prefer not to focus on things I can’t control, such as the statistical breakdown of cards, and focus on things I can control when reviewing my sessions. However, when I feel I went too dry, it would be helpful to look back at my hand distributions to see if this assertion is imaginary or true.
PokerProb works with hand histories on your computer from PartyPoker and PokerStars and can also coordinate with your Holdem Manager 2 database. The report itself is a little too basic for my taste, but it does break down your hands pre-flop into three categories: pocket pairs, suited cards, and no pair unsuited cards.

For pocket pairs, you can see how often your hands turn into four of a kind and a full house on the flop, turn, and river compared to statistical norms. For suited cards, you can see how often you received a flush draw on the flop or hit a flush on the flop, turn, or river compared to statistical norms. For no pair unsuited cards, you can see how often your hand improved to one or two pair compared to statistical norms. For all three categories, you can see how often you are in those categories pre-flop compared to the norm.
There was a post on a popular poker forum saying that there needs to be improvements before PokerProb should charge for its service. This poster’s feedback included needing to split pre-flop pocket pairs into premium and non-premium pairs, splitting the suited hands and offsuit no pair hands into premium and non-premium hands, and needing to offer conclusions based off all of the statistics such as whether getting dealt a premium hand like A-A more times than expected is more valuable than flopping sets more times than expected.

The software is free for a 30-day trial period, and after that, it's $4.95. For under $5, Poker Prob can give you some peace of mind by providing comfort that your distribution of cards is near normal. It is also a fun tool for statistical junkies.

For those of you who do not have Holdem Manager or PokerTracker, the program also includes some basic in-game filterable graphs.

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