Some years ago when tracking software first became available then players were availing themselves of this piece of software from various manufacturers and getting an even bigger edge over their opponents. However the average player base became much tougher and players started to improve their poker games all round. So stats like VPIP/PFR/AF became more and more uniform and it became much harder to detect a difference in many poker games. This meant that the importance and key features of tracking software changed. These days the two key features of using tracking software is to keep a track of your results.
The second key feature is to review hands that you have played and see if you made any errors. Did you notice that I didn’t say to track your opponents? When you play at lower stake levels then you will encounter so many opponents that it simply will be impossible to track them all. Also players come and go frequently and players also evolve with regards to their poker games at a very rapid rate these days. This means that one of the key reasons for using tracking software has largely been diminished.
A very strong online poker player these days tends to focus on thin margins and large volume and this means multi-tabling. It is difficult to get loads of data in real time that means anything from your HUD (Heads up Display) when you are playing numerous tables at the same time. So this means that game dynamics and table selection play a huge part in how you play poker. For example if you have two short stack players to your left then you may need to tighten up your raising range from all positions.
Game dynamics are never constant and the behaviour or stack size of just one single player can alter a table dynamic totally. It is much more effective and better for your results to be able to read table dynamics and hand ranges on the fly than it is to over utilise tracking software. You can review your hands anyway on the hand history section of most poker sites and so this feature of tracking software is less effective these days. Being able to read hands and table dynamics at speed is the key critical skill for success in beating games like no limit Texas hold’em these days.
Carl Sampson is an online poker ambassador and online poker pro at 888poker