Some types of poker software are not allowed by poker sites. If you are planning on using poker software, then you should either contact the site directly (or better) post online and see what others' experiences are with using the software. If you are using a kind of software that is prohibited by a site, then your account may be banned. Given that there are few highly-liquid poker sites to play at now-a-days, you certainly don't want this top happen.
Some poker software incorporates multiple types of software in one application. Here is a breakdown of the different types of poker software:
Poker trackers parse the hand histories that poker players download at the end of their playing session. The software accumulates all of these hand histories and stores the statistics into a file on your computer. Poker tracking software allows the user to run reports in order to monitor various statistics about the player, such as: profit & loss, hands played, and time played. The software calculates statistics for each session, cumulative, and averages. It may present the information in graphical form for easier analysis. The software can be utilized to find holes in your game by looking at statistics broken down by position, or a specific starting hand or final hand. This software may come with a hand replayer, which enables the user to replay any specific hand.
Most of the poker tracking software is fairly sophisticated so it won't be free. Since poker tracking software doesn't allow you to see hole cards or automate decision-making, it is generally allowed on most online poker sites.
Odds calculators automatically calculate the odds for a given hand, using the information about your own cards as well as other players' that is available. Odds calculators can be good for people who are really bad at math and need a crutch. They can also be good for beginners who are still learning how to calculate odds on-the-fly. To become a skilled poker player you will need to develop the ability to assess the odds of a hand, even if you can't calculate them exactly.
Odds calculators can be broken down into two separate types - "offline" and "live". Live calculators connect to the online poker site and calculate the odds of the hand that you are playing in real-time. This kind of odds calculator is usually not allowed by the site. Offline odds calculators require you to manually enter the information from a hand.
A HUD ("Heads-Up Display") allows you to display information about your hand that you are playing directly onto the poker table. It can display your personal statistics from poker tracking software or display the odds of the hand. A HUD is sometimes built into other poker software, such as odds calculators or poker tracking software.
Buddy list software will allow you to keep a list of bad players that you want to play against. The software will tell you which table they are playing at, and may even alert you when they log on. With buddy list software you will be making manual notes for each player. Buddy lists are some of the least sophisticated software, and some of the poker sites themselves allow you to make notes on players.
A poker journal is used to record your poker sessions, but is used more to keep track of non-quantitative factors. For example, you may want to write down which hands you played wrong, or talk about how you psychologically handled the sessions. Many professional poker players write about their sessions. Some of them take short notes. Some of them write longer blog entries. Since you don't actually need software to do this, poker journal software tends to not be that popular.
Tournament software is software that gives you statistics and advice based specifically about tournament play. This usually has to do with monitoring your stack size and the average stack size to advise you on how aggressively to play. The software can help you with both Sit-N-Gos (SNG) and multi-table tournaments (MTT).
Poker training software has become more popular over the past couple of years as some of the non-famous poker professionals have branched out into the poker education market. Poker training software can help you develop your overall poker skills and is not geared towards people looking to help with specific or mathematical aspects of their game. Poker training software is usually complemented with poker training videos and discussion.
Any poker pro knows that table selection is one of the keys to being a winning poker player. Table selection software automatically scans current tables (according to a user-selected limit and game type) . The software uses popular table statistics as indicators (such as "Flop %") of how profitable the table will be. Some table selection software will hook into your poker tracking software and calculate the profitability of the table based on the specific players at the table. Poker table selection software is disallowed by some of the major poker sites.
Poker data mining software collect large quantities of hand histories that can be used by poker tracking software to allow a player to create a database of data about all the players at a particular poker site. The data is analyzed (and can be displayed using a HUD) and is used to become a more profitable player.
A poker bot is a piece of software that it programmed to automatically play without any kind of human work. All online poker rooms normally prohibit their use. Although many poker conspiracy theorists love to point out that every site uses bots, poker bots are not considered to be common.
A card scanner is software that allows you to see other players' cards. This kind of software is considered more of an urban myth. There has been no specific program (to my knowledge) that has ever been shown to successfully see other people's cards. There have been programs that have been sold to poker players which have claimed to be able to see other players' cards. These ads are scams in order to trick people into playing them money. One such purported software was "Spyonpoker". If someone truly had software which allowed them to view other players' cards, they would be able to make millions of dollars by using it to play poker, and would never sell it for $50.
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