Today more and more aspects of our lives include using some type of a tool or program. It’s not surprising that an industry such as online poker, used for recreational purposes by some, and a money-making means by others, developed these tools early on. Now, after almost 15 years, online poker has changed dramatically to the point that most professional players don’t imagine playing the game without a set of programs on and off the tables.
First, let’s look at a couple of programs you can use off the table to practice and then we’ll more to programs that work on most of the world’s poker clients, like Pokerstars.
Equilab is a free equity calculator that everyone from a recreational player to a professional should use. Poker is partly a luck game but it is crucial to know when you should or shouldn’t test your luck. In Equalab you can put it your cards, opponents range (assumed combinations cards) and see where you stand. Maybe it’s 30%, maybe it’s 2%?
Flopzilla is not free but if you are planning on making money with poker, it’s a worthy one-time investment. It works sort of like Equilab but focuses more on showing how often your opponents, or you, will hit your cards. If there is a monotone flop on the table, after your opponent has 3-bet you, should you be worried he might already have a flush? Even though this is only a simplistic example, the program is very powerful and could improve your game a lot.
PokerTracker and Hold’em Manager
In the world of poker HUDs, these two are the most popular. Two main things about these programs is allowing you to instantly know more about your opponent’s play patterns on the table and allow you to review your play afterwards. Both allow fully customizable, color-coded HUDs where you can put in any information about your opponent’s play from the most basic like raising pre-flop to the most advanced like check-raising on the river in 5-bet pots.
Despite the advantages, there are a couple of drawbacks too. You collect information while on the table, so in order to know more about your opponent, you will have to have him at your tables. The second one is the action. Information is only power when you know how to interpret right. SO, if you decide on using a HUD, take your time, start with basic templates and add more information as you progress as a player.
Some swear by poker programs, other’s say that poker should remain old-school. Whichever side you are on, make sure that poker is fun for you just the way you play. If you are completely new in a poker world, start slow. Maybe from free tournaments and the lowest cash games? At the largest poker site in the world, PokerStars you can play many freerolls every week or other tournaments from $0.01, or 0.01/0.02 cash games. You can download and start playing on PokerStars and many other online poker sites via PokerNews http://cz.pokernews.com/pokerstars/ where you will also get the best bonus to start. Downloading and installing is as easy as any other program. You’ll have to follow the installation steps, create a username and you’ll be set to hit the tables.