The PokerTracker Guide: A Review

I feel late to the party (no pun intended) in writing my PokerTracker Guide review but I wanted to make sure that I had given the product a full and thorough analysis before making any comments. Oh, who am I trying to kid? I�ve been busy with a slight case of laziness. Anyway, on with the review.

First the disclaimers: Unlike with my review of poker coaching services, I did not receive a comp�d copy (but please do not let this dissuade any other product manufacturers from comp�ing me products or services). Didn�t even ask. I purchased it within 2 minutes of receiving the email with no hesitation (I�m hoping I was Customer #1 in the PokerTracker Guide publishing empire (again, no pun intended)). Why? Was it because I had a burning desire to put $20 into the hands of my fellow bloggers? No. If I wanted to do that I would sit with them at the poker table. The real motivation came out of a conversation I had with co-author, HDouble (a.k.a. Henry) over dinner one night at Commerce. As Henry was telling me about the PT Guide I will now admit publicly that I was envisioning some sort of aggregation of everything I had already read on 2+2 and other forums. Then, he said something that jolted me out of my cynicism. He said [Warning: Liberal paraphrasing about to follow] �We totally re-did the auto-rating rankings. BisonBison�s stuff is good but . . . � As Henry rattled off the issues he and Iggy had with BisonBison�s model I was left thinking to myself that I had had the same exact thoughts but I was far, far too lazy to figure out a better model myself. Needless to say, I was pretty much sold on the spot.

Of course the PT Guide is more than just a new auto-rating model. It�s relatively short but there�s no fluff. It�s page after page of useful advice and instructions on how to get the most out of PokerTracker. I mean, PT is a great tool but it�s like trying to sip from a fire hose. It�s an overwhelming amount of statistical data with no real key on how to use it effectively. The PT Guide walks you through looking for specific (and all too common) leaks. It doesn�t waste space telling why it�s a leak but instead refers you to excellent articles on the web written by folks like Abdul Jalib so you can relate the stats you�ve just uncovered with strategy advice.

All in all, it�s a commendable effort from both Iggy and Henry. I think it will/should become required reading for all aspiring poker players.

I did have a few improvement recommendations (i.e. beefs) though. First, the intellectual property (IP) protection schema is a bit oppressive. The doc is tied to one computer which sucked for me because I purchased it at home and wanted to print it out at work on the color printer. Listen, in my day job all we do is deal with IP issues. I know what a bitch it is to pour time and energy into creating some form of IP and then see others trade it freely. Unfortunately, the state of IP protection is such that oppressive restrictions are the only thing really available to anybody wanting to put any measure of security on their product. Bottom line, I empathize but wish there was a better solution.

Second, I would have liked to have seen more on direct data-mining. I�m a geek and writing SQL queries is not something I�m unfamiliar with. I know Henry is a fellow geek so I was expecting a little more in that area. I guess the good news is that Pat (the creator of PT) is in the middle of developing a MySQL compatible version which I�ll be all over. Really, not a fatal flaw, just a personal wishlist item.

In summary: If you use PT and don�t/won�t pony up $20 to learn how to use it, you�re a fish! If you play low limit Hold �Em ($2/$4 – $8/$16) and it just helps you spot one or two leaks that moves your win rate per 100 hands up a fraction of a percent it�ll pay for itself in a few hours of play. If you play micro-limits ($1/$2 and below) . . . . well, you probably need it more than you even know. :-)

Ahhh . . . now if we could get HDouble to get FullTilt to export hand histories . . . my life would be complete.

Bill Rini
Bill Rini is currently the Head of Online Poker for WSOP. He has been working in the online poker industry since 2004 and has held management roles at Full Tilt Poker and PartyPoker.

4 thoughts on “The PokerTracker Guide: A Review”

  1. “PT is a great tool but it’s like trying to sip from a fire hose.” Well said man! Great post, and glad to see folks supporting HDouble/Iggy’s work.

  2. Great review. I agree with everything you said, especially the protection part of it. I bought and downloaded it at home and as a geek I have to admit that I know ways around all of these protection attempts, so I was able to get it printed off at work and even bound in a nice spiral bound book. After all you need to keep investments like these protected with a plastic cover! I’ve only played a couple of sessions with the assistance of PTG so far, but I’d bet the $20 has already been paid for.

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