Thursday, August 29, 2013

Holdem Manager

I have a bit of an issue with the pursuit of perfection. If I'm going to do something I want to do it right! Unfortunately this often means that when I don't really know how to do it right I end up spending a lot of time thinking about doing things without actually doing them. Trying to get over that need is one of the reasons I started blogging (initially I wouldn't edit any posts at all because otherwise nothing would ever get posted) and it didn't kill me so I guess it's worked out a little bit at least? At any rate, trying to find the optimal option from a big list of confusing options tends to result in analysis paralysis for me, and nothing actually gets done.

That's where I am when it comes to giving poker a spin. There's a lot of different sites to play on, each with a huge variety of sign up bonuses. There's quite a few different stat tracking pieces of software. There has to be an optimal pair of site plus software that would be right for me. But how to find that out? Normally I'd turn to the internet and do some research but the internet is a little flawed here because most of the people posting about poker sites or software are getting paid to do so. Online poker has this whole crazy system of affiliates set up where the person who gets you to sign up for something gets a cut of what the something eventually makes off of you. And then those affiliates share some of that cut back with you. So the people who would normally be the ones talking about what is a reasonable thing to do end up being the people who make money if you listen to them. BLEH!

Earlier this week I decided to just say screw it. There may be an optimal solution but I'm not going to find it by reading books or the internet. So I picked a piece of software pretty much at random, installed the free trial, and went to play super low stakes to try it out. It didn't have a very good tutorial or anything, and it didn't seem to be working at all. It thought I was some other guy and couldn't detect a Ziggyny playing at all! Eventually I figured out that it gets the data it needs by reading log files and PokerStars defaults to not saving the log files. Turn that on and suddenly things started happening.
One of the many, many, many screens that HoldEm Manager has for stats. Of course this chart suffers from an incredibly small sample size. This was me just screwing around for a couple hours to get some sort of data and see what the software would do. I was even positive for a brief period of time! Woo?

More interesting was the stuff it was showing at the table itself. There was a screen with probably 30 numbers for each player, and I really need to figure out what those represent. But it also gave each person a little picture showing what the software thought of the way they were playing, and it would jot down notes about odd things they did. A fish, or a whale, or a mouse. It gave me a picture of a die.

The software also gives me a list of every hand I played, and shows the actions and results. It has an option where you can tag hands to look at later, which is nice.

I did have some issues with the software putting it's stuff over top of my cards. From one seat at the table I couldn't see my whole hand, which is a bit of a problem! I think I found a way to force PokerStars to always give me a specific seat when I sit down, which should help fix that problem. I know of at least one seat where I can see my hand properly!

Is this the software for me? Would PokerTracker or something else be better? Maybe! But I don't care! I have a starting point now, and the way to go from here is to learn how to use the one I randomly picked. Just having a path to walk along is the key, I think, and now I have one. Woo!

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