What is Tracking Software?
Tracking Software in online poker began with databases. These allowed players to store downloaded hand histories to track their play and save key hands for review.
Players could track winnings, rake, time played and gameplay stats. The same information was kept for opponents.
The birth of Heads-Up Displays (HUDs) from tracking software changed poker forever.
These stats would appear on the table in real time using what is called a “Heads-Up Display” (HUD). Suddenly, grinders had unbiased stats they could use to analyze their opponents on the fly.
Advantages of Tracking Software
Tracking software allows players to easily judge their opponents’ tendencies. HUDs place unbiased information at the player’s fingertips. HUDs also make constantly taking detailed notes unnecessary.
In short: a winning player’s profits come from maximally exploiting weaker players. HUDs helped grinders to do this on many more tables at once.
Disadvantages of Tracking Software
The primary disadvantage of tracking software is use of system resources. Players often run browsers, odds calculators, music players and Skype while grinding. Some older PCs may struggle with a larger workload.
Furthermore, tracking software requires an upfront cost of time and money. That being said, investing money and time to buy and learn a tracking software will pay returns many times over.
Finally, some people think tracking software can be a distraction. Critics argue that by relying on tracking software, grinders never learn to make and note down their own reads. Others say that players put too much faith in statistics.
Our view: This is only a problem if you make it one. It is important to always consider your sample size, the value of each statistic and the unique circumstances of each hand.
Best Tracking Software: Hold’em Manager 2
My personal recommendation for tracking software is Hold’em Manager 2 (HM2). HM2 has a massive array of functions including, but not limited to:
You can view winnings, rake, time played and many more gameplay stats. You can also generate a winnings graph.
Hold’em Manager 2’s extensive functionality is expanded even further by Apps. Popular options include:
- SitNGo Wizard 2 – Allows you to calculate the maximally profitable move in SNG tournaments
- Table Ninja 2 – Multitabling tool that makes managing multiple tables easier
- Leak Buster – Scans your database to determine your largest leaks and suggests videos and exercises for improvement
- NoteCaddy – Automatically takes specific, detailed notes on opponents’ tendencies
- Snowie – Suggests maximally profitable move in cash games based on Game Theory
- KingsHands Converter – Converts your stats for poker rooms and networks, which don t support Hold’em Manager or PokerTracker
- HHDealer – HHdealer is a premium service to buy hand histories to extend your database
The major competitor to Hold’em Manager 2 is Pokertracker 4. Many players prefer PT4 to HM2. PT4 offers essentially the same functionality, though I have heard it may run a bit smoother on older PCs.
I chose HM2 when I started and have become comfortable with it. HM2 has everything I need and my PC is more than powerful enough to run HM2 smoothly.
The bottom line
You are wasting money, if you haven’t invested into a HUD and learned how to use it.
You can’t go wrong with either HM2 or PT4. If you are a poker grinder on a network that allows tracking software, you need to be using one of the two.
HM2 and PT4 come with 30 and 60-day free trials so that you can find the one that best matches your needs.