If you want to make it as a poker player, you will have to invest in poker tools. That’s according to Canadian poker legend Daniel “Kid Poker” Negreanu, whose six World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets and 36 final table appearances certainly qualify him to comment on the matter. His career began long before poker software and algorithms existed, so he’s seen how the game has evolved beyond all recognition. Unlike players 20 years ago, today’s up-and-coming online poker stars use tools that provide hard proof of the correct plays for various situations. These poker tools allow for continuous self-improvement, with the result that former stars who learned how to play poker 20 years ago are left behind. As Negreanu said in an interview with CBS’ Bill Reiter, “The game will always continue to evolve and improve in terms of the quality of players, but if you don’t study as well, you’re very likely to be surpassed by the young up-and-comers.”
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the top poker tools on the market right now.
Your first port of call if you want to learn how to play poker with skill is a poker tracking program. After every hand of online poker that you play, the poker room provides hand history files containing information such as player names, time, date, stack sizes, and action in the hand. Poker trackers process the raw files to create information that you can use to study your opponents and learn more about the game. A good poker tracker typically has an HUD (heads up display), which allows you to place tracking information besides an opponent’s name at the table. Trackers also have filters so you can examine specific scenarios and analyze your results.
One of the top professional poker tracking programs out there right now is Hold’em Manager 2 (HM2.) In addition to customizable opponent analysis and HUD options, this poker tool comes with cash reports that keep you aware of your upswings and downswings, and integrated statistical tools that enable you to calculate your likely win rate, equity value (EV), rakeback and multi-tabling performance.
HM2’s main competition is PokerTracker 4 (PT4,) which is equipped with the Vector HUD real-time tracking and recording engine. You can apply filters to show the current table or all-time statistics, player hands, blinds, and more. Analyze your play and money management with interactive reports, charts, filters, review reports, and charts related to player leaks, hand ranges, and money flow. PT4’s hand export options support all the best online poker sites for US players, and its expanding player database allows you to scan tables for profit.
Game Theory Optimal (GTO) solvers are designed to help you develop unexploitable poker strategies. These powerful pieces of software go through millions of combinations to generate optimal decisions for pre-selected situations. These insights can help you answer questions such as whether to play passively or aggressively, the right amount to c-bet on the flop against a specific opponent, which cards to double barrel on the turn, when to overbet the river, and many more. You can get optimal results for any situation you can imagine.
GTO solvers do have their limitations, the chief one being that you can only use them for heads-up situations, but they’re invaluable (if expensive) long-term strategy tools that can help you raise your game to a much higher level. PioSOLVER, GTO Range Builder, and SimplePostflop are the most popular GTO solvers right now.
Tools for great poker tournament play
Having the right poker tool is one of the best poker tournament tips. ICMIZER, for example, is an advanced calculator that can help you find the best end-game solutions for multi-table tournaments (MTTs) and sit and go’s (SNGs). Use this advanced calculator to make the right preflop decisions at the later stages of tournaments, understand when to push or fold and gain insight into independent chip model (ICM) thinking. Another useful tool for SNG players is SnapShove, a free poker tool that helps you to perfect your push and fold ranges. This helps you to make the right decisions at every stage, especially when you’re short-stacked and the blinds are going up!
In poker, your equity is your pot share based on the percentage of time that you should win a poker hand. If you’re a 75% favorite to win and there’s $100 in the pot, your pot equity is $75. If you have an equity advantage over an opponent, a winning strategy is to bet for value. If your opponent calls, your equity increases. By betting and giving your opponent a chance to fold, on the other hand, you can prevent them from gaining equity. However, a player’s equity changes all the time, from preflop to flop, turn and river, so you have to assess constantly what their hands and range could be.
This process can put strain on your focus, especially if you’re playing multiple tables of Texas Hold’em Poker online! You can use Equilab to analyze any range’s equity against a specific hand to make it easier. This powerful free poker tool also allows you to enter board textures so you can check your equity on any runout or a specific range. You can also save your ranges to use later on.
Live poker timer
Live poker is a great equalizer because you can’t use an HUD to read your opponents (although the knowledge you pick up from playing online poker with an HUD should be of great assistance in time.) One poker tool you can use to your advantage in live poker is 888poker’s handy timer for Android or iOS. With this poker clock, you’ll never miss an increase of the blinds or tournament stage. You can also use it to randomize your action time and keep a table of your opponents’ decision times, which can yield very useful information when compared with their hands.
Get the poker tools you need at BetMGM
The best poker tool you could have is the opportunity to practice against other players – and you’ll get that in spades when you register at BetMGM. Read our beginner’s guide on how to play poker and check out our blog for tips. Our daily cash games, MTTs, and SNGs are the ideal platform for you to hone your skills against like-minded players, regardless of your skill level or budget.
You may want to explore our online casino in between hands, with its broad range of online slots, casino table games, and live shows.