Important Tools for a Serious Poker Player

Here are the poker tools you need for all formats.

In future articles, I plan to talk about various poker concepts. I will be referring to tools that I consider important, so I want to define them in this article before things start getting more technical. Hopefully, that will put us all on the same page from the start.

These tools are important for all poker formats (cash, SnG, MTTs etc.) although the way they are used slightly differs.

Tracking and Analysis Software

What does it do?

Why is it important?

This type of software is generally not free (if it is, there will be problems with support and resolving technical issues) but is very cheap for what it does.

If you can’t afford to buy it, it’s possible to simply juggle free trials (1 month per software) for a while and then eventually buy the best one. I certainly recommend buying a small stakes license.

I have earned enough in my first month of playing (starting from zero) to buy Holdem Manager 2 and have used it ever since, but other software should be OK too.

Look around and use the trials to see what is best for you.

Equity Calculator

What does it do?

Why is it important?

I will be using screenshots from equity calculators a lot in future articles.

Behold the most lopsided pre-flop matchup in No Limit Hold’em

There are 2 good free applications I use and can recommend (have tried a few others but those were poorly made):

Manual Note Taking

What does it do?

Why is it important?

Example: There is a player who I have noticed raising and stacking off flops when in position, always with flush draws but never with sets (he raised turn with those unless flush draw has arrived). I went and checked my database to be sure the note is correct.

After that it was very simple to always stack off flop when I had a hand with a significant edge against his flush draw (and correctly fold baby flush draws of my own) or simply call the raise and stack off turn correctly (via XR shove) if his flush draw missed. He never noticed the exploitation because nobody else picked up on his little habit.

I recommend taking notes inside the poker client and not inside the tracking software because it is the simplest way to do it and we can always access them. It is possible and advisable to back them up if we need to reinstall the software.

I currently use 5 different colors to mark 5 typical player types. When a player is colored but has no textual note, he is a typical example of his type or I don’t have any special reads on him.

This allows me to pick the correct default exploitative strategy quickly and reading the textual notes (when they exist) makes the strategy more precise.

This is how it looks in practice:

Every color signifies a player type. When the colored circle has a big “N”, there is a textual note attached.

There is software that takes automatic notes, yet I have found that there are drawbacks (inflates database size, slows down the computer) and the benefits can be duplicated with a good HUD and manual notes.

I could talk more about each of these tools, but there is no need for information overload in a blog post. If people show interest, there might be special focused articles at a later date.

Share on Pinterest